Posted on Mar 28, 1995 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 95-07
March 28, 1995
UH Sexual Harassment Report Released if Suspension/Discharge

[OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-03 partially overrules this opinion to the extent that it states or implies that the UIPA’s privacy exception in section 92F-13(1), HRS, either prohibits public disclosure or mandates confidentiality.]

The University of Hawaii College of Arts and Humanities Faculty Advisory Committee on Academic Freedom (“Committee”) creates reports on complaints of sexual harassment filed by students against faculty members. When complaints have not led to suspension or discharge, the faculty member has a significant privacy interest in the complaint and the Committee’s report.

Segregation of individually identifiable information within portions of the report discussing the sexual harassment allegations is not sufficient to protect privacy interests because, based on information provided to the OIP in this instance, the faculty member’s identity is generally known within the University of Hawaii (“UH”) community and the faculty member’s department.

However, sections of the report which contain no information about the faculty member, but do contain the Committee’s recommendations for improvements to the UH’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure, and discussion and analysis thereof, are public because the recommendations do not pertain to the faculty member, but to perceived problems with the UH’s policy and procedure. The UH’s collective bargaining agreement’s terms which keep information in complaints confidential are void insofar as they conflict with the UIPA.

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