3.5 Confidentiality and Indemnification

This policy was last updated January 5, 2024. See the update history page for more information.

An essential component of the evaluation process at MIT is the solicitation of written assessments from persons familiar with the individual's character, research and teaching capabilities, and academic qualifications. In order to ensure that the most candid and useful evaluations are provided, MIT affords these assessments the highest degree of confidentiality legally possible. Letters requesting written assessments of an individual should include the following statement in the text of the letter or as an enclosure: "MIT will continue its long-standing policy of treating evaluations with the highest degree of confidentiality. This policy includes taking the necessary actions, including legal actions, when appropriate, to resist attempts to obtain such confidential records, and, if disclosure is legally required, to try to limit the scope of disclosure so as to protect the identity of the person providing the confidential information."

Although letters and reviews are confidential, a department head may, for counseling purposes, disclose information from letters with faculty under consideration for promotion, using their best efforts to assure that no original text or information that would permit identification of the author is conveyed.

The Institute considers the participation of members of the Faculty and staff in peer review, governance, and related service to be a part of their regular duties as MIT faculty and staff members. Responsible participation in these important processes should not place individuals at personal risk. Accordingly, the Provost will authorize legal assistance and indemnification to faculty and staff members who face legal involvement and associated financial expense arising from their responsible participation in these processes.