New Department of Education guidelines provide an opportunity for universities to reconsider the scope, function, and effectiveness of sexual misconduct reporting polices on their campuses. Currently, most universities require their employees to report student disclosures of sexual misconduct to university administrators, even when students explicitly ask them not to. Research suggests that this type of compelled disclosure can harm students, weaken the student-faculty relationship, and does not increase campus safety.
To reduce such harm, the Academic Alliance for Survivor Choice in Reporting Policies advocates for the creation of evidence-based reporting policies that prioritize survivor choice and autonomy. While we strongly believe that university employees should be required to report information that a student wishes to share, we oppose compelled disclosure that occurs against a student’s will. The Alliance for Survivor Choice (ASC) thus seeks to promote trauma-informed and evidence-based policies that center survivors’ voice and choice.
To facilitate such change, ASC will share research about the negative impact of compelled disclosure policies, offer alternative research-based policies and approaches, and provide guidance to faculty, students, and staff seeking to change the reporting policies on their campus. Through this work, ASC affirms the primacy of an intersectional approach that recognizes the increased risks and harms of mandatory reporting for members of marginalized racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ communities, persons with disabilities, and higher education’s more vulnerable employees: staff, graduate students, and untenured faculty.