To find out if you are an Academic or Administrative Officer (A/AO), go to the "Mandatory reporter" defined page. The university's Sexual Harassment Policy provides context and additional information about A/AOs and their responsibilities.
Additionally, under state law and university policy, all university employees who in the course of employment receive information related to physical or sexual abuse of children must immediately report such information to the University of Iowa Police.
Responding to Disclosures as an A/AO
As a university employee, you may learn of an incident of sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. How you respond is very important, both for the victim/survivor and for university policy. OSMRC is here to help - contact us to consult or request training for your department. Download a PDF version of this guide for responding to disclosures as an A/AO.
As soon as you think you might be hearing about sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, let them know about your responsibilities and the limits of your confidentiality.
"I want to make sure you know that there are limits to my confidentiality. I am responsible to share information related to [sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking] so that someone can get in touch with you to make sure you know where to turn for help."
"This conversation may feel uncomfortable. I want to acknowledge that, but I will do my best to help you feel safe during this time."
Start by believing. Remember what barriers they may have had to overcome to share this information. This isn't the time to press for details.
"Thank you for sharing this information with me and trusting me with it."
"You've been through a lot."
"I'm sorry you had that experience."
"It's not your fault."
Ask if they have immediate safety concerns. If necessary, contact the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) (319-335-6000), Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) (800-373-1043), or Threat Assessment Team (TAT) (319-384-2955) for help with safety planning.
"Do you have any immediate safety concerns?"
"Do you feel safe at work? At home?"
Refer them to RVAP or DVIP. Give them a copy of the Resource and Referral Guide.
"Here is the contact information for people who can help you."
"An advocate can support you and help you with any hurdles that may come up in this process."
Is the person who shared this information with you a student or an employee?
If the information came from a student:
- Refer them to OSMRC.
- Notify OSMRC of the allegation within two business days.
If the information came from a non-student employee:
- Inform them of options available under the sexual harassment policy (i.e., informal resolution or formal investigation).
- Provide notice of the allegations to OSMRC or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity within two business days.
- Provide notice of the allegations to the senior human resources leadership representative of the unit in which the alleged behavior occurred or, when incidents do not occur within a unit, notify the senior human resources leadership representative of the accused individual.
It is common to be uncertain about how much and what type of assistance it is appropriate to provide. For example, you may want "to get to the bottom of it" or confront the accused individual, especially if the accused is someone with whom you are acquainted or if you feel a personal connection with the victim/survivor. Resist this inclination.
University policy prohibits unauthorized "investigations" or other attempts to informally resolve reports of sexual misconduct. Even with good intentions, you may exacerbate a situation or compromise a future investigation.
You may be able to provide essential and immediate assistance by providing an accommodation, like an extension on an assignment or an excused absence from class. If someone needs more than you are able to provide or feel comfortable providing, don't hesitate to contact OSMRC. We often work with employees who are trying to assess what constitutes a reasonable accommodation.