All members of the University community who are involved in a matter before the UWC should understand their obligations regarding the confidentiality of UWC proceedings and documents.
The UWC’s procedures state that “all members of the Yale community who are involved in a matter before the UWC are expected to maintain the confidentiality of its proceedings and the information obtained for those proceedings.” The purpose of confidentiality is to encourage parties and witnesses to participate in UWC proceedings and share all the pertinent information they have to offer, which is essential to reaching a fair outcome. If parties or witnesses fear that their participation or testimony in a UWC proceeding could be revealed, then concerns about reputation, social tension, or retaliation may cause them to keep silent. Every member of the University community should recognize that breaches of confidentiality hurt the participants and have the potential to erode respect for the UWC process.
The UWC’s procedures allow parties to select an adviser with whom they can discuss all aspects of the proceedings, and the University understands that parties will seek support and advice from their families. We expect, however, that parties will impress on their advisers and families the importance of maintaining strict confidentiality. Of course, persons involved in a difficult situation will also seek support from friends, but participants in UWC proceedings are expected to do so without revealing details of the proceedings or information they have obtained as a result of the proceedings.
The UWC’s procedures impose strict and unequivocal confidentiality obligations regarding documents prepared by, prepared for, or received from the UWC in connection with a UWC proceeding (“UWC Documents”). Parties may not disclose UWC Documents to anyone other than their UWC advisers, family members, and attorneys, and parties must inform these recipients that the UWC Documents are strictly confidential and may not be further disclosed. The University may take disciplinary action against any member of the Yale community who discloses UWC Documents in violation of UWC procedures or who is responsible for the improper disclosure of such documents by others. In addition, whether or not a UWC Document has been disclosed, disciplinary action may be taken against a member of the Yale community who breaches confidentiality in order to retaliate against a person for his or her participation in a UWC proceeding as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
Finally, breaching the expectation of confidentiality may have legal implications. The circumstances surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct are often sharply disputed and have the potential to affect the reputations of the persons involved. The University believes that statements made in good faith as part of UWC proceedings are legally protected. Statements made outside of UWC proceedings may lack that protection and could lead to a legal claim against the person who makes them.
If you have any questions regarding your responsibility to preserve the confidentiality of UWC proceedings, please contact UWC Chair Mark Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org or Secretary Aley Menon at email@example.com.
Last updated: May 8, 2015