A “responsible employee” is a University employee who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this duty. When a survivor tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual misconduct, the survivor has the right to expect the University to take prompt and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably. Generally, all Pitt employees are responsible employees unless their job requires professional confidentiality, as in the case of mental health counselors, physicians, nurses, and clergy.
With respect to confidentiality, a responsible employee must report to the Title IX coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the survivor and that the University will need to determine what happened – including the names of the survivor and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time, and specific location of the alleged incident.
To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the University’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information with law enforcement without the survivor’s consent or unless the victim has also reported the incident to law enforcement, or if there is a health or safety emergency. Generally, the following categories of employees are Pitt’s responsible employees:
- Department Chairs
- Title IX Coordinator
- Judicial Board Personnel
- Resident Directors (RDs) and Resident Assistants (RAs)
- Faculty, Teaching Assistants
In addition, depending on the circumstances, most University employees will be considered responsible employees.
Before a survivor reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should make sure that the survivor understands the employee’s reporting obligations—and, if the survivor wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the survivor to confidential resources. If you have any questions about confidentiality, do not hesitate to ask.
If the survivor wants to tell the responsible employee what happened but also wants to maintain confidentiality, the employee should tell the survivor that the University will consider the request, but cannot guarantee that the University will be able to honor it. In reporting details of the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, the responsible employee will also inform the Coordinator of the victim’s request for confidentiality.
Responsible employees will not pressure a survivor to request confidentiality, but will honor and support the survivor’s wishes, including for the University to fully investigate an incident. By the same token, responsible employees will not pressure a survivor to make a full report if the victim is not ready to do so.
Download A Guide for Responsible Employees (PDF) for additional information.
Visit SHARE for additional information regarding the role of the Responsible Employee vs. the Confidential Employee.