Confidentiality

As a public institution, BGSU cannot promise complete confidentiality. Each situation is handled as discreetly as possible. The university will treat all individuals with respect, and maintain confidentiality to the extent that the state and federal law permits.

Under Title IX, whether an individual is obligated to report incidents of alleged sexual violence generally depends on whether the individual is a responsible employee of the school. A responsible employee must report incidents of sexual violence to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate school designee, subject to the exemption for school counseling employees. BGSU is obligated to address sexual violence that a responsible employee knew or should have known about.

The responsible employee will make every effort to ensure that the student understands:

(i) the employee’s obligation to report the names of the alleged perpetrator and student involved in the alleged sexual violence, as well as relevant facts regarding the alleged incident (including the date, time, and location), to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate school officials;

(ii) the student’s option to request that the school maintain their confidentiality, which the school will consider, and;

(iii) the student’s ability to share the information confidentially with counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual assault related services. (e.g., sexual assault resource centers, campus health centers, pastoral counselors, and campus mental health centers).

If you wish to speak with a confidential resource you may contact the Counseling Center at 419-372-2081 or a confidential advocate through the Cocoon Shelter by calling the Link at 419-352-1545. Please note, however, that if someone presents a danger to themselves or others, medical/health professionals may break confidentiality to ensure safety.

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Here is some more information about specific laws regarding confidentiality in Ohio and in the United States. 

Ohio’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws, collectively known as the “Sunshine Laws,” give Ohioans access to government meetings and records. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office helps public officials and citizens understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws.

The federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) prohibits educational institutions from releasing a student’s “education records” without the written consent of the eligible student or his or her parents, except as permitted by the Act. “Education records” are records directly related to a student that are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. The term encompasses records such as school transcripts, attendance records, and student disciplinary records. “Education records” covered by FERPA are not limited to “academic performance, financial aid, or scholastic performance.”

A record is considered to be “directly related” to a student if it contains “personally identifiable information.” The latter term is defined broadly: it covers not only obvious identifiers such as student and family member names, addresses, and Social Security Numbers, but also personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily linkable. In evaluating records for release, an institution must consider what the records requester already knows about the student to determine if that knowledge, together with the information to be disclosed, would allow the requester to ascertain the student’s identity.’

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