Policy on Confidentiality
Mediation is a confidential conversation that occurs among the participants and the mediator. The purpose of confidentiality is to encourage full sharing of information and creativity in option generation without fear that ideas or remarks will be later be used against participants and to increase the likelihood of resolution. The outcome of, or agreements resulting from, the mediation may or may not be confidential: the participants, in consultation with the mediator, make this decision, consistent with the reasonable expectations of the participants and university policy.
This policy on confidentiality applies to the Campus Mediation Service (CMS) program director, CMS mediators and mediation participants.
Scope of confidentiality
Confidentiality applies in the following circumstances:
- Pre-mediation screening and the intake interview;
- The mediation session itself;
- Post-mediation discussions among mediators and their supervisors;
- All records associated with a mediation.
While participants may bring written documents or other materials to mediation, they do not become confidential simply through their use in mediation and continue to be available for the parties to use outside of the mediation process.
Exceptions to confidentiality
These exceptions will be clearly identified in all promotional material, referenced in the intake interview, covered in the mediator's opening orientation or statement, and included within the agreement to mediate so that a participant will understand the outcome of making and elaborating upon statements which fall within the following exceptions.
The University is committed to providing a safe and hospitable working environment. Mediation is available for addressing workplace disputes that undermine that goal. Some disputes, however, may be the result of serious misconduct. The University assumes an on- going responsibility to investigate allegations of the following matters: sexual harassment; discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, or sexual orientation; and the express intent to commit physical harm.
Therefore, the following circumstances are not covered by confidentiality and require the mediator to report their occurrence to the appropriate University official:
- Sexual harassment (forward to the Division of Diversity, Access & Equity);
- Discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, or sexual orientation (forward to the Division of Diversity, Access & Equity)
- Express intent to commit physical harm (forward to designated official of the Campus Police Department);
- Information reasonably required by a mediator to defend him/herself against a misconduct complaint (forward to the Campus Mediation Services program director).
Record-keeping and statistical analysis of program
The following records will be kept secure in the Campus Mediation Services office:
- Intake forms;
- Signed agreements to mediate;
- Final agreement forms;
- Evaluation forms completed by participants.
Any notes taken by the mediator during a session shall be destroyed so that they are unreadable after they are used to write the final agreement.
Information used to generate statistical analyses of the Campus Mediation Service will be done in the aggregate and not reported in a way that allows the identification of participants.
Participants role in maintaining confidentiality
Participants will be required to agree verbally and in writing that they will not ask or attempt to compel the mediator to describe the contents of the mediation session if the dispute moves into a formal proceeding of any kind.
Participants will also be required to agree verbally and in writing that they will not talk about the contents of the session with other people.
Participants may mutually agree on whether and how to share any outcomes from or agreements made in the mediation session.
No Campus Mediation Services mediator will be asked or compelled by any University official to divulge the contents of a mediation session, nor will they be disciplined for refusing to do so.
Failure of mediator to comply with policy
A mediator will be removed from the CMS roster if:
- S/he learns of and does not inform the Director of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action about:
- information regarding sexual harassment; or
- information about illegal discrimination (race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, or sexual orientation).