Please refer to the Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF) policy for confidential and non-confidential support resources.
The university recognizes the importance of confidentiality and privacy. Information received in connection with the reporting, investigation, and resolution of allegations will be treated as private and will only be shared with individuals whom the university determines are necessary to conduct an appropriate investigation, provide assistance and resources to parties, perform other appropriate university functions, or in accordance with applicable law.
As a public institution, the university cannot promise complete confidentiality. Each situation is resolved as discreetly as possible, maintaining confidentiality to the extent allowed under state and federal laws. However, reports and other records may be shared under some circumstances. For example, reports about faculty and staff may be subject to public records requests. In addition, there may be situations that mandate reporting, such as child or elder abuse.
Reports against students are protected under federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (more information available here), and records are shared only in compliance with that law. Information can only be shared with university officials if there is a “legitimate educational need.” In order for information to be shared outside of the university, an exception to the law would need to apply, such as release with the student’s explicit permission or release pursuant to a subpoena.
If a member of the university community has any questions about what will happen if they share information with any university employee, it is important to ask.
Ohio State is obligated to respond to all allegations. However, response can take different forms. When a report is submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity, a Civil Rights Intake Coordinator will send outreach to the impacted party to provide information about supportive measures, resources, and resolution options. There are times a matter can be resolved without revealing the complainant’s identity; however, it is typically necessary to reveal the complainant’s identity to conduct an investigation.
Medical services provide confidentiality to patients. In general, a medical/health professional is required to keep a patient’s information confidential. That is, no information can be shared without explicit permission from the patient unless it is subpoenaed due to a court case or another legal exception applies. Please note, however, that if someone presents a danger to themselves or others, medical/health professionals may break confidentiality to ensure safety.
You may make an anonymous complaint by contacting the University Anonymous Reporting Line by calling EthicsPoint toll-free at 866-294-9350 or visiting the website. However, without the identity and contact information of the complainant and the ability to obtain additional information, the university's ability to investigate and resolve the situation may be limited.