Honor Principle

Judicial Board Confidentiality 

What does confidentiality mean, and what does it cover?

Confidentiality in relation to honor case proceedings binds individuals involved in an honor case to refrain from speaking about the nature of their involvement. This means that if you are the complainant or respondent, or have been called as a witness in a case, you are bound by honor to keep that fact confidential. All participants may, however, state that they are participating in an honor case, but may not disclose the nature of their role, since that would divulge details of the complaint itself. Confidentiality ensures that the complainant, respondent, and witnesses can testify without being concerned that details of their testimony will be leaked to the Reed Community or the wider world. Additionally, it ensures that the case can be heard without being tried in the court of public opinion first. Confidentiality covers:
  • any details about the case proceedings, including the other participants or any participant's role; 
  • any new information gained during the case’s development, including written and oral testimony from all parties, and any evidence submitted.
Except in cases of sexual misconduct (see below), confidentiality applies both during the hearing of a case and indefinitely afterwards, unless all parties and witnesses waive their right to confidentiality. However, confidentiality does not apply to communication with confidential sources such as counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, clergy, family members, and lawyers. All parties and witnesses are also free to contact the Procedural Aide (PA) with questions at any point during a case.

What does NOT have to be confidential?

Confidentiality does not cover the existence of the events and experiences that led to the bringing of the case. Individuals involved in an honor case can still seek out support and discuss their experiences prior to the case with anyone, and may even divulge that they are a participant in a case, but they must not speak about the case itself or their particular role in it.

They may still speak with individuals called as witnesses about the events or experiences that lead to a case being brought, as long as they don’t discuss any new information gained through their participation in the case. Once a case has been filed, the complainant and respondent should not speak to witnesses about their presence in a hearing, except as is necessary to the development of his/her testimony or the identification of appropriate witnesses. In addition, participants must make no attempts to influence, bias, or silence the testimony of witnesses.

Complainants and respondents may discuss their involvement with the honor case with their selected “Seconds” prior to, during, and after the hearing, though no legal counsel may be present during the hearing. The second must be a member of the Reed community. Complainants and respondents may communicate with their seconds about confidential material. Seconds are an important source of support throughout the honor process, as they are the individuals with whom a complainant or respondent can gain encouragement and advice and share the proceedings of the case.

Confidentiality and Sexual Assault

In cases of sexual assault, confidentiality is slightly different. In J-Board cases no information gained during the proceedings of the case may be released unless all parties and witnesses waive their right to confidentiality, but for alleged sexual assault cases heard by the Sexual Misconduct Board (SMB) the accuser (for more information see FAQ) and the accused (the respondent) may release three pieces of information at the completion of the process (the notification by the president of the final outcome after the appeals process):

  1. The name of the accused
  2. The institution's final determination with regard to the alleged sex offense
  3. Any sanction(s) imposed against the accused on account of the finding of a sex offense

This is in accordance with the Clery Act and FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act).