Guiding Principles for Incidents Teams
1. Reports are considered truthful until shown not to be true; i.e., persons who consider themselves to have been victimized are believed.
2. While knowledge about motivation of alleged offenders can be useful in planning responses, the perceived motivation also must be considered. Even in the absence of knowledge about motivation, the teams can still assist persons who report having been victimized.
3. For the teams to take steps to resolve a situation, they must first have consent from persons who have reported being victimized. This does not preclude, however, taking action that could be considered general, as opposed to directly related to an individual case.
4. The teams do not conduct formal investigations per se, but their decisions must be based on information believed to be factual because of evidence that is available; e.g., if a victim does not want the team to contact persons who may have information about facts, the team’s ability to act is greatly reduced.
5. In all cases, a primary goal of the teams is to make systems that already exist work effectively in resolving conflicts; i.e., the teams do not replace existing mechanisms, such as staff in other offices whose job it normally would be to intervene in a given case.
6. When there is no existing procedure for resolving an incident, the teams will intervene to the extent that the victim wishes.
7. The teams do not advocate for victims “at all costs.” If the rights of others would be violated in carrying out action requested by a victim, an alternate action that protects the rights of all parties must be sought. The teams will never condone responses that violate law or university policy. The team response does not always satisfy all parties.
8. While a part of the university administration, the teams function with a large degree of autonomy in order to encourage students to report incidents, if only for consultation and data purposes.
9. The ultimate goal of the teams is to support victims while changing the behavior of offenders through educational means.
10. Reliable and consistent participation of team members is necessary for effectiveness.
11. Confidentiality, as defined for use in the teams, includes three dimensions: (1) The extent to which information about a victim’s case is protected from disclosure; (2) when or if an offender’s supervisor should be informed about a case; (3) when, if ever, it is acceptable to share information from a team meeting with colleagues who are not team members. In general, information about cases is not shared without the consent of the person who has reported being victimized.