Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Generally speaking, the Title IX accusation will be kept confidential by the school. The school follows a procedure to investigate the Title IX complaint. The complaint will be assigned to a specific investigator and that investigator will conduct a preliminary investigation and determine whether or not the conduct alleged falls under Title IX.
During the investigation, the investigator will interview the accusing person or student. This person is commonly referred to as the claimant or petitioner since they are bringing the claim. The accused student is referred to as the respondent. The investigator will generally review any corroborating evidence that the claimant presents, such as texts, social media posts, videos, pictures, emails, and they may even interview other witnesses. In the vast majority of cases, the investigator finds, at least preliminarily, that there is enough evidence to affirm the accusations.
Once the investigator makes an affirmative determination, they will ask the accuser what they wish to do – if they want to file a formal complaint or not. Once a formal complaint has been filed, the complaint can no longer be confidential as the individual being accused has the due process right to know who it is that is accusing them of misconduct.
Sometimes, if a student or individual states that they do not want to file a formal complaint or continue with the Title IX investigation, the school can take over and proceed forward against the accused regardless. If this is the case, the school may choose to disclose the identity of the student who is making the accusation. The accused then has the right to know who has accused them. However, if the school does not wish to proceed on its own against an individual, it may not release the name of the accuser. If the school does wish to proceed, some of the factors weighing in their determination are: Does the person have a history of misconduct? The seriousness of the accusation. The egregiousness of the alleged conduct. And if there are witnesses or evidence that support the allegation.
More often though, a school will respect an individual’s wishes to remain anonymous or confidential until a formal complaint is issued. Once a formal complaint is issued, the individual can no longer remain anonymous because the student who is being accused, has a due process right to know the accuser’s identity. In fact, the accuser is oftentimes asked to sign the formal complaint stating those were/are the facts and all that they stated was or is true.
For more information on Title IX in Michigan contact our office for your free initial consultation.