Responsible Employees & Officials with Authority
|Responsible Employees (REs)||vs.||Officials with Authority (OWAs)|
|Employees of the College who have been tasked with the duty to report allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct due to their administrative or supervisory responsibilities on campus. Responsible Employees do not have the authority to take action to redress sexual violence (aside from fulfilling reporting obligations) but are able to assist those who have allegedly experienced harm by informing them of College reporting process and available resources.||Employees of The College of New Jersey who are explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures on behalf of the institution for sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, and/or retaliatory conduct involving students, faculty, staff, or third-parties.
The Title IX Final Rule states: “[N]otice to the recipient’s Title IX Coordinator or to ‘any official of the recipient who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the recipient’ (referred to herein as “officials with authority”) conveys actual knowledge to the recipient and triggers the recipient’s response obligations.”
Notice means that an employee, student, or third-party informs the Title IX Coordinator or other Official with Authority of the alleged occurrence of sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, and/or retaliatory conduct involving students, faculty, staff, or third-parties. Once the College has received notice/”actual knowledge” of the allegations, it has the obligation to respond in a prompt and non-deliberately indifferent manner.
Institutional policy and federal regulation require REs and OWAs to maintain the confidentiality of the notice they are given, except to fulfill their mandated reporting responsibilities, which are detailed below. Even though REs and OWAs are non-confidential resources, these individuals can still be discreet and helpful in navigating resources & reporting options.
See below for further details regarding:
- Reporting obligations of Responsible Employees and Officials with Authority
- Who at the College has been identified as a RE and/or OWA
- Responsible Employee Training
- When/how to complete the training
- Responsible Employee training database
- Access to the RE training presentation
Both Responsible Employees & Officials with Authority must –
- Report ALL information regarding incidents involving forms of sexual harassment or violence or other forms of Prohibited Conduct to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct, including:
- Name of the person who allegedly experienced harm (often referred to as the victim)
- When the alleged incident occurred
- Where the alleged incident occurred
- Name of Accused individual (if shared/known)
- All relevant details regarding the incident
- Report information immediately
- REs & OWAs are required to contact the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct within 24 hours of receiving the disclosure or becoming aware of the allegations
- This is the case regardless of where or when the alleged incident occurred
- Report through one of the following options
- Submit a report through the online Title IX Reporting Link
- This is the preferred reporting option
- Email Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Staff directly:
- Phone: 609-771-3112 (or 609-362-2062 while working remotely due to COVID-19)
- In-Person: The Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct suite is located in BSC 202
- Submit a report through the online Title IX Reporting Link
- Be caring & compassionate to the reporting party
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE –
- It is not up to the Responsible Employee or Official with Authority to determine if the institution has jurisdiction over the alleged misconduct, or to determine whether misconduct took place. This determination will be made by the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate officials on behalf of the institution. If a RE or OWA receives a disclosure or becomes aware of information regarding allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct, they must be reported to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct regardless of where or when the alleged incident occurred.
- REs & OWAs are not permitted to submit anonymous reports. An RE or OWA may report their own experience of sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, and/or retaliatory conduct anonymously; however, anonymous reports may significantly impact the College’s ability to effectively respond to alleged misconduct. This means that when the incident/allegations do not personally involve the RE or OWA, an RE or OWA must include their own name and contact information when submitting a report as well as all information known about the Reporter/complaint which created notice.
You can access a helpful Responsible Employee Cheat Sheet at the bottom of this page or through the provided link.
Who is a Responsible Employee at TCNJ?
Some students such as CAs, RAs, Griffins, and Orientation leaders are also Responsible Employees and training will be facilitated by their advisor in collaboration with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct.
If you are only listed under one of these links please contact Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, and she will clarify your role.
Who has been designated an Official with Authority?
Official with Authority (OWA) means an employee of The College of New Jersey who’s explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures on behalf of the institution for sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, and/or retaliatory conduct involving students, faculty, staff, or third-parties.
Officials with Authority at TCNJ include all individuals with the following titles/positions:
- Title IX Coordinator (required by the Final Rule)
- Associate Vice President for Strategic Human Resources
- All Vice Presidents / Members of Cabinet
- Sworn Officers within Campus Police Services
- EEO Officer
- Dean of Students
- All professional staff within the specific areas:
- Student Conduct & Off-Campus Services
- TCNJ CARES
- Title IX & Sexual Misconduct
- Residential Education & Housing
- Director of Athletics
What happens after an alleged incident is reported?
Once a Responsible Employee learns of any information that may be a form of Prohibited Conduct under the College’s Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy they are required to report this information to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator wants to ensure that all TCNJ community members feel safe in their environment and will reach out to the student or employee to give them information on supportive measures, how to file a Formal Complaint, the College and Criminal process if they are interested in pursuing the allegations, and numerous on-campus and off-campus resources. The Reporting party does not have to participate in any College process and the main concern of the College is helping to maintain that the incident does not impact their educational pursuits and evaluating whether there is a threat to the overall TCNJ community.
For more specific details on what happens after a report is made to the College, see our File a Report page for some more information and helpful graphics that outline the process.
Required Responsible Employee Training
Members of the TCNJ Campus Community can receive training around Title IX & sexual violence, including on-campus reporting options and resources (Responsible Employee Training), in a few different ways –
Live Virtual Sessions –
The Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Staff will be hosting live Responsible Employee Training virtually via Zoom throughout the Fall 2021 semester.
Those interested in attending any of these virtual in-person trainings please REGISTER through the provided links found in the flyer below.
Report = Support is an online sexual violence education program through the College’s external vendor, Catharsis Productions, that is designed to educate College employees on Title IX, sexual violence, and legal reporting obligations. As a TCNJ employee you have FREE access to this program throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. The program is approximately 30 minutes and you have the freedom to log-in and out of the program to accommodate your schedule.
Employees can access the online training program HERE.
Employees who elect to complete the training through this online platform, must forward their confirmation of completion email from Catharsis Productions to firstname.lastname@example.org to verify they’ve met their training obligation.
Below are some resources that you may find helpful as an RE and/or OWA if an individual reports allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct to you:
Who are Responsible Employees (Mandated Reporters) and what are their duties?
At TCNJ, various members of the community, including certain faculty and staff, are considered “Responsible Employees” and are required to report information to College personnel necessary to carry out College policies and procedures.
To see whether you have been identified as a Responsible Employee and/or the most recent year you’ve completed training, you may do so through the College’s Responsible Employee Database
You may also refer to this document which indicates who at the College would fulfill the role of a Responsible Employee by their Role.
I am a Responsible Employee, why do I have to report a sexual violence, stalking or sexual harassment incident?
The College of New Jersey strives to provide a safe environment in which faculty/staff and students can pursue their education and work in an environment free from the detrimental effects of sex discrimination and harassment. If there is a culture of sexual violence in our community, then we are not meeting this effort. Reporting incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct help us in meeting this effort. Second, Title IX of the United States Department of Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sexual discrimination. A student who is sexually harassed or assaulted may also suffer from unequal access to educational opportunities and may be afraid to come to campus, go to class, or visit a faculty or staff member’s office. The same can be said for an employee who may have experienced sexual harassment at the hand of a colleague or supervisor – their workplace could then be seen as a potentially hostile environment. While statistics on sexual violence on campuses across the nation have increased, it is still believed that these cases are severely under reported and by having those on campus who are trained/required to report, the College can become aware of incidents occurring and work to try and mitigate the associated effects.
As a Responsible Employee or an Official with Authority, do I need to report if…?
- I heard the information second hand?
- If you were acting within the scope of your role at the time, and if the information involves at least one member of the TCNJ community, then yes. You are not required to ask for or obtain identifying information about the people involved, unless you already know it. Just report what you heard/what was shared, the location, when the incident occurred, and any other details you may have.
- You can do so here: File A Report
- The person really doesn’t want me to report?
- You are required to report all instances of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct that you become aware of when you are within the scope of your role to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct.
- This may be a challenging situation to navigate – honoring the individual’s wishes while balancing your reporting obligations. However, our Office is here to support you in this as well.
- See the information associated with the following two FAQs for some helpful recommendations on how to respond in this type of scenario
- The incident happened off-campus and/or before they were associated with TCNJ?
- Regardless of where or when an incident occurred (even if the incident occurred prior to the individual being a student or employed by the College, ie. when they were a child, etc.), if at least one of the parties involved is currently a member of the TCNJ community, you are required to report the information the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct.
Do I let the student, faculty, or staff member know that I am required to report? If so, when is it best to do that?
If a student, faculty, or staff member begins to tell you about a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident you should make an effort to politely interrupt the individual and explain you are mandated to report any information they confide in you. Being prepared by having the statement below in your office or discussing it with a student group you advise at the beginning of the year may help to keep misunderstandings from occurring.
Sample prompt to share –> “I have a feeling that you may be about to disclose something to me that is very personal, and it may end up falling into one of the categories of things I am required to report to the College due to my role of a Responsible Employee/Official with Authority. In this role I’m required to report any information regarding sexual violence to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct because your personal safety and overall health is our number one concern. I’m not telling you this to prevent you from sharing this information with me, nor to scare or intimidate you, but rather to let you know this in advance so that you can decide whether or not you’d like to disclose this to me knowing that a report may have to be made in response. The reason we do this report is to make sure you are able to get all the help and support you need. However, if at this time you are not interested in a report being made, but would like to speak to some one about what may have happened/be going on, I can point you in the direction of confidential resources whom you can speak to who do not have the obligation to report. You have the right to maintain your privacy, and I will support whatever decision you make and should you wish to continue, know that I will only report what you confide in me and I am here to support you.”
How should I respond to an individual who discloses an experience of sexual violence to me?
The most important things to do are to listen, believe the individual, ask if they feel safe, and determine how to best help ensure their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A helpful graphic detailing tips on how to navigate disclosures can be found to the right.
As a Responsible Employee or Official with Authority, although the individual may request that you refrain from sharing the information they disclosed to anyone else, you should be honest about your mandated reporting obligations while still trying to ensure their autonomy the best as possible.
It can be challenging to let the individual know you’re going to bring a new person into your conversation, so different options and language have been provided below. It may be helpful to think about what you might say in a sexual harassment/misconduct reportable scenario. We know this is a hard conversation to have. As professionals and educators, we have hard conversations every day, and we work to bring warmth, patience and a supportive presence into those conversations. We can also apply those same elements in having conversations about incidents of sexual violence and reporting obligations.
“Menu” of Possible Response Options
You may wish to respond with something like…
“Thank you for sharing that with me and I’d like to support you as best I can. I wanted to let you know that I’m a Responsible Employee or Official with Authority, which means I have to inform the College when I learn that an incident of sexual harassment/misconduct has occurred. I know that may sound a bit scary and perhaps not what you had intended when you disclosed to me. Although I’m required to report I want to be able to share the information you disclosed to me in a manner that you feel most comfortable with (review options on HOW to report – see top of page for details). Please know that regardless of how a report is submitted, you will receive an email from the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct, which contains information about your rights and available resources. They’re going to offer you an opportunity to meet with them to discuss this information further along with your available resolution options and interim & supportive measures/resources the College can implement to best support you. However, meeting with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct is completely voluntary, so you can decide if that is something you’re comfortable doing at that time. If right now you’re not interested in meeting with them, that’s completely okay, and should you change your mind down the road and wish to connect with them about the variety of supports/options available to you, you can always reach back out to them and schedule a meeting. With that said, I want to be able to share the information you disclosed to me in a manner that you feel most comfortable with.“
“Thank you for sharing this with me. TCNJ has a lot of helpful resources available, including confidential ones like Anti-Violence Initiatives and Mental Health Services (and the EAP if the individual is an employee). I’m not a confidential resource, which means I do have to share this information, but only with the Title IX Coordinator. Her name is Chelsea, and she can send you all of the resources available to you.”
“I know that must have been difficult to share, thank you for trusting me. My role on campus requires I share information like this with our Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator’s job is to make sure individuals who may have experienced harm are aware of all resources available to them. I can call her, send an email, or send a report. Do you have a preference of how I share this information? And would you like to sit with me while I reach out to her?”
However you choose to respond, you should make sure it is in a way that feels most authentic to you, while also demonstrates empathy and compassion.
It is also helpful to remind them that they:
- Are welcome to connect with a confidential resource at the Office for Anti-Violence Initiatives, Mental Health Services, Student Health Services, or the Center for Integrative Wellness (formerly the TCNJ Clinic)
- Can file a police report with TCNJ Campus Police at any time – 607-771-2345
- Can file an online report themselves through the College, as well:
Why do I have to report immediately?
Responsible Employees and Officials with Authority are required to report the incident within 24 hours after learning about or witnessing an incident involving any form(s) of sexual harassment/misconduct. This is because the sooner you report, the sooner the individual who has experienced harm can receive resources, the information can be addressed (as appropriate), and there’s less opportunity for an offender to continue the behavior or put the campus community at further risk.
*This cheatsheet is also relevant for OWAs.
These lists and links are continuously updated as trainings occur and additional resources are offered. Please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Chelsea Jacoby at email@example.com or (609) 771-3112, if you have any questions about the role of Responsible Employees or Officials with Authority.