Mandatory Reporting of Sexual Misconduct at College: A Critical Perspective
Many universities and colleges now require all “responsible employees,” including faculty, to report known or suspected sexual misconduct to designated Title IX administrators. The intention of these mandatory reporting policies is to ensure institutional accountability and compliance with Title IX’s prohibition against sexual and gender-based discrimination. Yet, critics argue that such policies are overreaching, paternalistic and, ironically, discriminatory. Drawing from prior research on sexual victimization and original exploratory data on gender-based college harassment, this article provides a critical perspective that delineates both the intended goals and unintended consequences of Title IX’s mandatory reporting policies, specifically focusing on three overlapping issues: ambiguous definitions, reporting risks, and faculty’s role in disclosure. We conclude by proposing alternative strategies for achieving Title IX’s objectives.