URP: V.17.b Sexual Misconduct Regulation and Procedures Guide

PURPOSE

This Guide is an essential addendum to the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and provides the following information for TWU students, staff and faculty:

  1. Expanded Definition of Consent
  2. Privacy and Confidentiality
  3. Identifying/Contacting Campus Authorities/Responsible Employees
  4. Role of the Title IX Coordinator
  5. How to Submit a Report/Complaint
  6. Interim Remedial/Protective Measures
  7. Informal/Formal Resolutions
  8. How a Report/Complaint is Formally Investigated
  9. How a Report/Complaint is Adjudicated
  10. Campus Resources/Support Services
  11. Community Resources/Support Services
  1. EXPANDED DEFINITION OF CONSENT

Consent is a voluntary, mutually understandable agreement between individuals that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in each instance of sexual activity. Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to another or different sexual act.  Past consent to sexual activity does not imply future consent to sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one specific person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another person.  A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent to sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time.  Any expression of an unwillingness to engage in any instance of sexual activity or to any level of sexual activity establishes an absence of consent

Consent is not in effect if it results from the following conduct or condition:

  • Use of physical force
  • Threat of physical force
  • Coercion
  • Incapacitation
  • Any other factor that would eliminate the person’s free will to choose whether to engage in sexual activity
  1. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in reporting sexual misconduct. To the fullest extent possible, consistent with a thorough and fair investigation, information will be shared only with those who “need to know” to assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the complaint or to enable the University to comply with other requirements. 

Individuals who are involved in receiving the report, conducting the investigation, or adjudicating a complaint are trained to respect the importance of safeguarding private information. Students or employees who wish to obtain confidential assistance or access on-campus resources without making a report to the Title IX or Deputy Title IX Coordinators may do so by contacting a confidential resource identified in the Confidential Campus Resources section of this Policy. Confidential on-campus resources include Student Health Services and the TWU Counseling Center (for TWU students) and the Employee Assistance Program (for faculty and staff). These resources will not share any personally identifiable information with other University employees without the Complainant’s express permission unless doing so is necessary to address a serious and ongoing threat to the greater campus community.

When TWU receives a report of sexual misconduct, but the Complainant requests that her or his identity remain confidential or that the University not pursue an investigation, the University must balance this request with its responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the TWU community.

TWU will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond effectively to the report in accordance with the Complainant’s or Respondent’s request for confidentiality, but its ability to do so may sometimes be limited.  If the University determines that it cannot ensure a Complainant’s or Respondent’s confidentiality, the University will inform the Complainant or Respondent as soon as practicable.

TWU employees who are not able to guarantee confidentiality will maintain the Complainant’s and Respondent’s privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information the Complainant provides to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator and others as appropriate to investigate and/or seek a resolution.

Regardless of how a Complainant chooses to report an incident, TWU will, when appropriate, assist the Complainant with reasonable academic, housing, employment, and other reasonable interim remedial measures.

If TWU determines that a reported incident of sexual misconduct poses a threat to the Complainant or the TWU community or involves potentially criminal conduct, the University may not be able to ensure the requested level of confidentiality. Immediately threatening circumstances include, but are not limited to the following: reported incidents of sexual misconduct that involve the use of force or a weapon; threats of physical violence; or, other circumstances that pose a potentially serious threat to TWU students, employees, or visitors.

In such instances, TWU may also choose to report the incident to the TWU Department of Public Safety and/or local law enforcement. However, University policy does not require a Complainant to speak to a law enforcement agency or to pursue any legal action against a Respondent.

  1. TITLE IX COORDINATOR and DEPUTY TITLE IX COORDINATORS Texas Woman’s University is required to designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator is designed to coordinate these compliance efforts for TWU.

           Duties of the Title IX Coordinator include the following:

  • Maintaining her/his knowledge and training about TWU’s current related policies and procedures, as well as current relevant Federal and State laws
  • Coordinating the investigation, resolution, and adjudication of all reports of sexual misconduct under the Policy
  • Advising any individual including a Complainant, a Respondent, or a third party, of the procedural options, both informal and formal, that are available through the University, as well as through local law enforcement
  • Advising any individual, including a Complainant, a Respondent, or a third party, about support services, reasonable remedial interim measures, and other resources available both on-campus and off-campus
  • Providing information to TWU community members regarding how to respond appropriately when receiving a report of sexual misconduct
  • Monitoring compliance with all procedural requirements and time frames outlined in the investigation and adjudication process
  • Promoting prevention, education, and training initiatives and implementation of enhancements to the University climate and culture related to Title IX

The Title IX Coordinator has also designated specific University employees to act as Deputy Title IX Coordinators to receive and forward reports of sexual misconduct on a timely basis. Any one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators may serve in the role as Title IX Coordinator in the Title IX Coordinator’s absence, or when otherwise delegated by her/him.

All members of the TWU community are strongly encouraged to report information about any type of possible sexual misconduct involving a student, employee, or visitor. Making a good faith report of possible sexual misconduct will not affect the reporting party’s grades, academic standing, work assignments, or employment.

Reports should be made to the Title IX Coordinator or any one of the  Deputy Title IX Coordinators. For a current directory please visit: https://twu.edu/Title-IX/

Other than incidents reported to the Confidential Resources listed in the Confidential Campus Resources section below, the Title IX Coordinator must be advised on a timely basis of all incidents of sexual misconduct which are reported to the University.

  1. TRAINING OF TITLE IX COORDINATORS, INVESTIGATORS, HEARING AND APPELLATE AUTHORITIES.

All Coordinators, Deputy Coordinators, Investigators, and those with authority over sexual misconduct proceedings, appeals, and sanctions shall receive training each calendar year, which shall include but is not limited to: knowledge of offenses, investigatory procedures and due process procedures related to sexual misconduct.

  1. HOW TO SUBMIT A REPORT OR COMPLAINT

At the time a report or complaint of sexual misconduct is made, a Complainant is not required to decide whether to pursue resolution of the complaint through the University’s formal investigation and adjudication procedures. Deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that unfolds over time. Although the University may need to take timely action as a result of a particular complaint, the University will endeavor to respect an individual’s concerns in making these important decisions and provide support to assist each individual in making her/his own  determination. Because sexual misconduct frequently involves behaviors or interactions that are not witnessed by third parties, complaints cannot always be substantiated by additional evidence. A perceived lack of corroborating evidence should not discourage individuals from reporting the incident.

Individuals Who Are Required to Forward a Report When Received: With the exception of an individual employed in the areas listed under Confidential Campus Resources, any employee or student entrusted with the welfare of another employee or student who receives a report of sexual misconduct must refer the report to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators specifically charged with responding to and investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. In addition, individuals designated as “Responsible Employees” are also required to report. A “Responsible Employee” includes any full-time or part-time regular employee who is reasonably perceived to have the authority to take action to redress sexual violence and sexual misconduct; or, who has been assigned the duty of reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator; or, who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. While TWU recognizes that a student or employee may choose to report sexual misconduct to any trusted employee of the University, the most effective approach is to report to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Upon receiving a report or complaint under this Policy, no one other than the individuals previously listed, should, under any circumstances, attempt to make further inquiries, investigate, or otherwise resolve the report or complaint.  They should report it immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. Any failure or delay to report may subject the individual with such knowledge to disciplinary sanctions.

Timeframe for Reporting: All reports/complaints of sexual misconduct should be made as soon as possible after the alleged conduct occurs. Although there is no time limit for reporting, prompt reporting will enable the University to investigate the facts, determine the issues, and provide an appropriate remedy and/or disciplinary action. Additionally, Federal guidelines state that the timeline for the resolution of a Complaint begins with the initial report or complaint.  If the Respondent is not a current student or employee, the University will still seek to support the Complainant and take all available measures to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

Emergency Reporting: TWU encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or local law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual assault or violence. This is the most effective means of ensuring preservation of evidence and initiation of a timely investigative and remedial response. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, year-around by calling the TWU Department of Public Safety at 940.898.2911 and/or the local police department in Denton, Dallas, or Houston.

Amnesty: The health and safety of every student and employee at Texas Woman’s University is of utmost importance. TWU recognizes that a student or an employee who has been drinking and/or using or abusing drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that sexual misconduct occurred may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences as a result of their own conduct. TWU strongly encourages students and employees to report possible sexual misconduct to University officials. A Complainant, bystander, or other individual who in good faith reports any incident of sexual misconduct to TWU officials or law enforcement will not be subject to any action under TWU’s Code of Conduct (students) or Standards of Conduct (employees) for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the reported sexual misconduct.

False/Bad Faith Allegations: An individual found to have knowingly made a false report or complaint, or to have knowingly/willingly given false information during an investigation, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the University (student) or termination of employment (employee). Inconclusive findings based on a report of sexual misconduct or a finding that there has been no violation of the Policy without more evidence, will not result in a determination that allegations were made falsely or in bad faith.

Anonymous Reporting: TWU community members also have the option of making an anonymous report concerning sexual misconduct. An individual may choose to report the incident without disclosing his or her name, or identifying the Respondent, or requesting any specific action. However, depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individual(s) involved, anonymous reporting may significantly limit the University’s ability to respond or pursue appropriate action. The University’s response may be limited if information contained in the report cannot be verified by independent facts. Moreover, the University may not be able to take disciplinary action against an individual based solely on an anonymous report. Individuals wishing to make an anonymous report can use the TWU Ethics and Compliance Hotline online at www.lighthouse-services.com/TWU or by calling 844.406.0004.

The Title IX Coordinator will review all anonymous reports and determine appropriate steps, including individual or TWU community remedies as appropriate and/or, in consultation with the Executive Director of Public Safety, the inclusion of the incident in the Annual Security Report (ASR) as required by the Clery Act.

Coordination with Law Enforcement: A Complainant may make a report under this Policy and/or pursue criminal action. If a Complainant wishes to file a report with the TWU Department of Public Safety or local police department, an appropriate TWU staff member will be available to provide assistance and support. The University will support Complainants who elect to pursue criminal action for reported incidents of sexual assault and for other serious sexual misconduct that may also be criminal in nature. The University may, upon request, assist a Complainant in making a criminal report and, to the extent permitted by law, will cooperate with law enforcement agencies during their investigation and any subsequent prosecution.

Neither a decision by law enforcement about whether to prosecute a Respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, determines whether a violation of this TWU Policy has occurred. Reporting and adjudication under this Policy are independent of other civil and criminal processes and may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following other civil or criminal proceedings off-campus. Initiating a report on-campus does not preclude, limit, or require a student or employee access to local, state or federal justice systems.

Notifying the local police department may result in the Complainant, and in some cases, the Respondent, being interviewed by a police officer and by the district attorney’s office, to make a determination about whether a criminal investigation will occur or if the case will be referred for prosecution. A case not referred for criminal prosecution will generally still be subject to an investigation and response from TWU, because the two processes are separate. The University’s investigation may be temporarily delayed while criminal investigators gather evidence; such delays should not last more than ten (10) days except when law enforcement requests and justifies a longer delay. In such a case, the University will resume its investigation as soon as practicable and will take reasonable interim measures as necessary to protect both the Complainant and the TWU community.

If a Complainant chooses not to file a police report, TWU will not, in most cases, file a police report. The University may file a report if the incident is sufficiently serious or could pose a threat to the safety or security of the Complainant or the TWU community, or if the Complainant is a minor. However, University policy does not require a Complainant to speak to law enforcement or to pursue legal action against a Respondent.

  1. INTERIM PROTECTIVE MEASURES

After a report of sexual misconduct is received, the University will determine the necessity and scope of any reasonable interim protective measures pending the completion of the adjudication process. Upon request, a Complainant will be afforded a reasonable and prompt review of any interim remedy that directly affects her or him. All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by a reasonable interim measure. TWU will take immediate action to enforce a previously implemented measure.

Reasonable interim measures, which are available to both Complainant and Respondent include, but are not limited to the following:

Contact and Communication Restrictions:  A Complainant or Respondent may request contact and communication restrictions to prevent potentially distressful interactions between the parties. In some instances, the University may implement these measures without a specific request. For example, the University may implement a no-contact directive, prohibiting the parties from having contact with one another, either directly or through third parties, in person or otherwise. Under such a directive, if a Respondent and Complainant should observe each other in a public place, the Respondent is responsible for leaving the area immediately without directly contacting the Complainant. Once such a directive is instituted, any continued intentional conduct by a Respondent with the Complainant will be considered a violation of this Policy and may result in sanctions or other disciplinary action against the Respondent. Both a Respondent and the Complainant may request a review, reasonable under the circumstances, of the need for and terms of a no-contact order and shall be allowed to submit evidence in support of his or her request for modification or termination of this type of restriction.

Under certain circumstances, an individual may wish to consider obtaining a protective order from the court. Upon request, TWU will, to the extent possible, provide the individual with appropriate assistance in efforts  to obtain such an order. If a protective order is issued, the University will, to the extent possible, assist the individual in implementing the restrictions imposed by the court, and facilitate on-campus compliance with the order.

Academic, Employment, or Living Arrangements:  A Complainant or Respondent may request and be allowed to drop a course in which both parties are enrolled without academic penalty. A Complainant or Respondent may request, or the University may impose, a change in academic, employment, or living arrangements after a report of sexual misconduct. The University will review the need for and terms of any such requested change, including reviewing any appropriate evidence submitted by the Complainant or the Respondent in support of the request. Such changes may include:

  • Accommodations in class, work, rehearsal or performance schedules, including the ability to withdraw from a course or performance without penalty
  • Limitations on an individual’s access to certain TWU facilities or activities pending resolution of the complaint
  • Reassignment of housing, if practicable
  • A leave of absence for the Complainant or Respondent
  • Providing a campus escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities
  • Providing academic or other support services
  • Any other interim remedy that can be reasonably tailored to the involved parties to achieve the goals of this Policy and Guide.

When taking steps to separate the Complainant and the Respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to minimize any unnecessary burden on either party, and reasonable efforts will be made to allow the parties to continue in their respective academic, employment, or living arrangements .

Interim Suspension:  When a Respondent is a student who the University believes may present a continuing threat to the health and safety of the Complainant and/or TWU community, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Vice President of Student Life may suspend the Respondent, temporarily, after the initial meeting with the Complainant has been completed and a determination has been made to pursue a formal  investigation. The temporary suspension will not become a part of the Respondent’s permanent record. The length and nature of the suspension, if any, will depend upon the facts of the specific case. Both the Respondent and Complainant may request a review, if reasonable under the circumstances, of the need for and terms of any interim suspension and are allowed to submit evidence in support of his or her request for any potential modification of an interim suspension.

Emotional Counseling:  When appropriate, TWU will assist in providing counseling services to students through the TWU Counseling Center and to employees through the Employee Assistance Program. The University will also assist in providing a referral to off-campus agencies, as detailed in the Community & Campus Resources section of this Policy.

  1. INFORMAL/FORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESSES

The adjudication process provides a number of options for those who believe they have been the victim of sexual misconduct but not sexual assault or violence.The option selected will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the alleged misconduct, the information available, the degree of confidentiality sought, and the specific relief sought by the Complainant.

A Complainant may request an informal or formal resolution process. An informal resolution focuses on stopping the harassing behavior without a formal investigation. It is remedies-based and does not include sanctions. A Complainant’s decision to pursue informal resolution may be made before, during, or after a formal investigation by the University. A formal resolution involves a formal investigation and may result in sanctions if a violation of this Policy by the Respondent is found to have occurred. Regardless of whether a Complainant wishes to pursue an informal or formal resolution, or ultimately chooses not to seek a resolution at all, the Title IX Coordinator will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such action as is reasonably practicable to support and protect the Complainant and, if necessary, the TWU community.

Informal Resolution:An informal resolution is a viable option when the Complainant desires to resolve the situation cooperatively or in cases when a formal investigation is not desired. Informal resolution is a remedies-based approach designed to eliminate the misconduct resulting in the complaint without taking a long time for this review and response by the parties, not to exceed five (5) business days. In the absence of a disciplinary action against a Respondent, Informal Resolution will not be appropriate for all types of allegations, including those involving sexual assault or violence.

The means for seeking an informal resolution will vary from case to case, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) the direct approach, (2) third party mediation, or (3) indirect action taken by the Title IX Coordinator. In the informal process, after a report of sexual misconduct is received, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an appropriate level of inquiry to facilitate the resolution process.

Direct Approach: After a discussion with the Title IX Coordinator, a Complainant who feels comfortable approaching a Respondent may choose to communicate with that Respondent directly. This approach might include a face to face discussion, telephone conversation, email correspondence, or other written communication with a Respondent, letting him or her know exactly what behavior is offensive or unwelcome and asking him or her to stop. In some cases, this approach may resolve the situation; in others, it may be ineffective or place the Complainant in an stressful position. Under no circumstances should a Complainant feel pressured to address a Respondent directly or otherwise handle the matter alone, and a decision not to confront an alleged offender will not be viewed negatively. At a Complainant’s request, the direct approach may also be undertaken by the Title IX Coordinator who may intervene on the Complainant’s behalf and approach a Respondent directly to discuss his or her behavior.

Third Party Mediation: This option involves having the Title IX Coordinator or other trained mediator to mediate between a Complainant and a Respondent, bringing the Complainant and Respondent together informally to attempt to resolve the issue. This type of approach may result in solutions such as negotiating an agreement between the parties, separating the parties, referring the parties to counseling programs, and/or conducting targeted education or training programs. If third party mediation is used, the mediator will conduct a follow-up review after a reasonable period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively.

Indirect Action Taken by the Coordinator: Alternatively, the Complainant may choose an indirect approach. This option has the advantage of maintaining the anonymity of the Complainant and Respondent. One example of indirect action is to have the Coordinator address a faculty and staff meeting covering TWU’s policy against sexual misconduct and/or reminding students, faculty, and staff of their responsibility to foster an environment free of sexual misconduct and other forms of unlawful discrimination.

  1. HOW A REPORT/COMPLAINT IS FORMALLY INVESTIGATED

Individuals trained in the investigation of sexual misconduct and designated by the University (the “Investigation Team”) will then conduct a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation. The Investigation Team includes two trained Title IX Investigators under the supervision, as it relates to process and administration, of the Title IX Coordinator.

During the investigation, the Investigation Team will conduct interviews with all involved parties, including witnesses; gather and assess evidence;  and, compile all statements and facts into a draft report to be evaluated by the Title IX Coordinator. After any changes are incorporated, a final report will be produced with the Investigtion Team’s recommendation as to whether the Respondent is responsible for sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will make the ultimate determination of responsibility.. If a Respondent is found to be responsible for sexual misconduct  in violation of Title IX and this policy, sanctions will be imposed as later described within this URP.

Notice of Investigation: The Title IX Coordinator will simultaneously notify a Complainant and a Respondent, in writing, of the commencement of an investigation. Such notice will to the extent possible, (1) identify the Complainant and the Respondent; (2) specify the date, time, location, and nature of the alleged Policy violation; (3) specifically identify potential Policy violation(s); (4) identify the Investigation Team; (5) clearly explain the prohibition against retaliation; (6) instruct the parties about preserving any potentially relevant evidence in any format; (7) inform the parties how to challenge participation by the Investigators on the basis of bias or a conflict of interest; and (8) provide a copy of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and these accompanying Regulations and Procedures.

Presumption of Non-Responsibility and Participation by the Parties: The investigation is a neutral fact-gathering process. The Respondent is presumed to be not responsible. This presumption may be overcome only when the Investigation Team concludes and documents that there is proof of responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence.  The University may continue an investigation without the participation of the Complainant, the Respondent, or any other party.

Overview of Investigation: During the investigation, the parties will have an equal opportunity to be heard; to submit information and corroborating evidence; to identify witnesses who may have relevant information; and, to submit questions that they believe should be directed by the Investigation Team to each party or to any witness. The Investigation Team will notify and seek to meet separately with the Complainant, the Respondent, and third-party witnesses, and will gather other relevant and available evidence and information, including, without limitation, electronic or other records of communications between the parties or witnesses (via voicemail, text message, email, and/or social media sites), photographs (including those stored on computers and smartphones), and medical records (subject to the consent of the applicable party).

Advisors: Throughout the investigation and resolution process, each party has the right to choose and consult with an advisor. The advisor may be any person, including an attorney, who is not otherwise a party or witness involved in the investigation. Each party may be accompanied by his or her respective advisor to any meeting or proceeding involving the presence of that advisee during the investigation and resolution of a report under this Policy. While the advisors may provide support and advice to the advisee, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the parties or otherwise participate in, or in any manner disrupt, such meetings and/or proceedings.  The party who intends to be accompanied to any meeting by an advisor must notify the Investigation Team in advance.

Prior or Subsequent Conduct: The prior or subsequent conduct of a Respondent may be considered in determining of a pattern of conduct.  For example, evidence of a pattern of a Respondent’s conduct which is prohibited by this Policy, regardless of whether there was a prior finding of a Policy violation, may be deemed relevant in imposing sanctions if the Respondent is found to be  responsible for a violation of Title IX or this Policy. The determination of relevance of pattern of conduct evidence will be based on an assessment of whether the previous or subsequent conduct was similar to the prohibited conduct under investigation. The Investigation Team will determine the relevance of this information, and both parties will be informed if evidence of prior or subsequent conduct is deemed relevant.

Prior Sexual History: The sexual history of a Complainant or Respondent will never be used to prove character or reputation. Moreover, evidence related to the prior sexual history of any of the parties is generally not relevant to the determination of a Policy violation and will be considered only in limited circumstances. For example, if the existence of affirmative consent is at issue, the sexual history between the parties may be relevant to help understand the manner and nature of communications between the parties and the context of the relationship, which may have bearing on whether affirmative consent was sought and given during the incident in question. However, even in the context of a relationship, affirmative consent to one sexual act does not, by itself, constitute affirmative consent to another sexual act, and affirmative consent on one occasion does not, by itself, constitute affirmative consent on a subsequent occasion. The Investigation Team will determine the relevance of this information, and both parties will be informed if evidence of prior sexual history is deemed relevant. Any party has the right to exclude his or her own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party, as well as his or her own mental health diagnosis or treatment, from consideration in the procedures under this Policy for the purposes of determining responsibility.

Relevance: The Investigation Team has the discretion to determine the relevance of any evidence provided by the parties and witnesses and to include or exclude certain types of evidence.

Site Visit(s): The Investigation Team may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written, photographic, or other means.

Expert Consultation(s): The Investigation Team may consult medical, forensic, technological, or other experts when expertise on a topic is needed in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the issues under investigation.

Coordination with Law Enforcement: The Investigation Team will contact any law enforcement agency that is conducting its own criminal investigation to inform that agency that a University investigation is also in progress; to ascertain the status of the criminal investigation; and to determine the extent to which any evidence collected by law enforcement may be available to the University in its investigation. At the request of law enforcement, the Investigator may delay the University investigation temporarily while an external law enforcement agency is gathering evidence. Such delays should not last more than ten (10) calendar days, except when law enforcement requests and justifies a longer delay. The Investigation Team will promptly resume the University investigation following such a delay.

Draft Investigation Report: At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigation Team will prepare a Draft Investigation Report summarizing the information gathered and outlining the contested and uncontested information. The draft Investigation Report will not include any findings. The involved parties will have an opportunity to review the draft Investigation Report; meet with the Investigation Team; submit additional comments and information to the Investigation Team; identify any additional witnesses or evidence for the Investigation Team to pursue; and submit any further questions that they believe should be directed by the Investigation Team to the other party or to any witness. The Investigation Team will designate a reasonable time during which that information may be submitted.

Final Investigation Report: Unless there are significant additional investigative steps requested by the parties or identified by the Investigation Team, within five (5) business days after receipt and consideration of any additional comments, questions, and/or information submitted by the parties or witnesses during the designated review and response period, the Investigation Team will prepare a Final Investigation Report, which will include a recommendation as to whether there is sufficient evidence, by a preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding of responsibility for a violation of this Policy. The Investigation Team will deliver the Final Investigation Report to the Title IX Coordinator, who will ultimately determine responsibility. The Title IX Coordinator will simultaneously notify both parties, that the Final Investigation Report is complete and available for review.

  1. HOW A REPORT/COMPLAINT IS ADJUDICATED

All adjudication proceedings under this Policy are to be conducted in compliance with the requirements of Title IX, FERPA, the Clery Act, the Campus SaVE Act (VAWA), Texas State law, and TWU policy.

Formal Resolution and Adjudication Procedure:  The formal resolution process is available whenever informal resolution is inappropriate or unsuccessful and whenever either party withdraws his or her prior agreement to participate in informal resolution. Formal resolution includes a full investigation and, if a Respondent is found responsible, may result in the imposition of sanctions, ranging from a verbal warning up to and including dismissal from the University or termination of employment.

The formal resolution process will be overseen by the Title IX Coordinator and will be completed in a timely manner. However, all time frames expressed in this Policy are guidelines rather than rigid requirements. In any particular case, circumstances may require extending these timeframes. Considerations may include the complexity or scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening University break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Acceptance of Responsibility:  A Respondent may, at any time, elect to resolve the formal resolution process by accepting responsibility for the alleged violations of this Policy, in which case the appropriate administrator will determine sanction(s).

Notice of Findings and Recommended Sanctions:  The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant and Respondent simultaneously in writing of the outcome of the investigation as promptly as possible after a determination has been reached. When there is a finding that it is more likely than not that Respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate the finding and recommended sanction in writing to the appropriate administrator with authority to determine and issue appropriate Sanctions, as described below.

The Respondent will be fully informed of any proposed/recommended sanctions. For reports involving sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, the Complainant will also be fully informed of any proposed/recommended sanctions. For all other reports under this Policy, the Complainant will be informed only of those sanctions that directly relate to the Complainant.

If appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will also keep the Complainant apprised of any steps taken by TWU to prevent recurrence of the sexual misconduct and to correct its adverse effects on the Complainant and other members of the TWU community.

The University will request that disclosure of the decision and sanctions are limited to family, close friends, or advisors. Each party has the right to choose whether to disclose or discuss the outcome of the complaint more broadly; however, retaliation is prohibited by this Policy and will not be tolerated. Widespread disclosure, as well as any form of disclosure on social media, may potentially be viewed as retaliatory and could subject the disclosing party to separate sanctions under this Policy.

Sanctions

If there is a finding of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, and any appeal of the finding has been exhausted, the Title IX Coordinator will recommend that appropriate university action be taken, and any sanction imposed on the Respondent(s) will be determined by and implemented by the appropriate administrator after consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.

The appropriate administrator will impose sanctions that are fair and appropriate, consistent with the University’s handling of similar cases, adequate to protect the safety of the TWU community, and reflective of the seriousness of the misconduct issue.

Disciplinary and remedial sanctions may include, but are not limited to:    

  • Remedial education/training about sexual misconduct
  • A written warning placed in the Respondent’s file
  • Reassignment of academic and/or employment responsibilities
  • Reassignment of student housing and/or class and activity scheduling
  • Probation in the case of a student
  • Suspension from an academic program or from employment
  • Dismissal from the University (student) or termination of employment

Education and training sanctions may include, but are not limited to::

  • Active counseling (clinical and/or psychiatric as determined by a practitioner)
  • Alcohol or substance abuse program
  • Anger management program
  • Assault prevention education/training
  • Community service
  • Sexual harassment sensitivity education/training
  • Safe sex education/training

For claims where the respondent is a non-faculty employee, a summary report and recommended corrective disciplinary action for the Respondent will be forwarded to the supervisor, department head, and the divisional vice president. The divisional vice president, area associate vice president, or other trained designee shall issue a written, final Sanction decision and provide a copy to the required parties.

For claims where the respondent is a student, the summary report and recommended corrective disciplinary action for the Respondent will be forwarded to the Vice President of Student Life, or her or his trained designee, for resolution and corrective action. The Vice President of Student Life, or her or his designee shall issue a written, final Sanction decision and provide a copy to the required parties.

For claims where the respondent is a faculty member a summary report and a recommended corrective disciplinary action will be forwarded to the Office of the Provost, or her or his designee.  The Provost, or his/her appointed trained designee will review the recommended corrective disciplinary action for the Respondent. The Provost or her or his designee shall issue a written, final Sanction decision and provide a copy to the required parties.

In situations where the respondent is an unrelated third party (a person outside the University), the Title IX Coordinator will notify the appropriate University Officials regarding the facts of the claim and will work with those officials to resolve the complaint.  In situations where an unrelated third party is subjected to sexual misconduct by a member of the TWU community, the process outline above will be followed.

In situations where the complainant is against the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant will notify one of the designated Deputy Title IX Coordinators for them to proceed as dictated by this document.

An Appeal:  Complainants and Respondents are each entitled to request an appeal of the Finding of Responsibility and/or sanctions determined and imposed by the University. A request for appeal should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator by the requesting party no more than five (5) business days after receipt of the Notice of Outcome/Findings and Proposed Sanction. The Title IX Coordinator will then notify the other party of the appeal and provide him or her opportunity to review it.

The only grounds for an appeal are:

  • Procedural error when the appealing party alleges that there was a deviation or change from the procedure outlined in the adjudication process that may have had a material impact on the outcome of the complaint.
  • New evidence when the appealing party alleges that, subsequent to the Title IX Coordinator’s notice of outcome/findings, new evidence became available that could have had a material impact on the outcome of the complaint.

The Title IX Coordinator will make a timely decision based on the merits of the appeal. If the appeal is found to have merit, the Title IX Coordinator may either task the Investigation Team to evaluate and report on the basis of the appeal or assign a new Investigation Team to that task. The Title IX Coordinator will then issue a written recommendation based on the outcome of the Investigation Team’s report and shall provide a copy to Complainant, Respondent and appropriate administrator(s).  The appropriate administrator may then reverse or modify the original proposed Sanction. The decision on any appeal will be final.

Record Keeping and Disclosure:  The Title IX Coordinator will maintain a confidential record of all reports and proceedings under this Policy. This information will be used by the Title IX Coordinator to monitor repeat complaints against the same individual, as well as to document the investigation of each reported occurrence of sexual misconduct in the TWU community. In general, records will be kept for a minimum of five (5) years after the date the reported incident is resolved. Records may be maintained longer in the University’s discretion and any requirements for records retention as prescribed by law or policy.

If the reported incident involves a criminal act, federal law requires the University to keep a record of the offense and to give timely warnings of any crime that may present an ongoing threat to the safety of the TWU community. The identity of the reporter will not be disclosed.

Disciplinary proceedings conducted by the University are subject to the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law governing the privacy of student information. FERPA generally limits disclosure of student information to parties outside the University without the student’s consent, but it does provide for release of student disciplinary information without a student’s consent in certain circumstances.

Any information gathered in the course of an investigation may be subpoenaed by law enforcement authorities as part of a concurrent investigation into the same conduct, or required to be produced through other compulsory legal process.

Other Available Procedures - The procedures available under this Policy do not preempt or supersede any legal procedures or remedies otherwise available to a victim of sexual misconduct or other discrimination under Federal or State law. Alternately, or in addition to using Texas Woman’s University’s internal procedures and/or reporting to local law enforcement, a student or employee has the right to file a complaint of sexual misconduct with Federal and State agencies that investigate discrimination charges. An external complaint must be filed directly with the appropriate agency. The agency also should be consulted concerning any deadlines for filing the complaint.

Office of Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education

1999 Bryan St., Suite 1620

Dallas, Texas 75201-6810

214.661.9600

OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Dallas District Office

207 S. Houston St.

Dallas, Texas 75202

800.669.4000

  1. CAMPUS RESOURCES/SUPPORT SERVICES

Texas Woman’s University is committed to treating all individuals with dignity, care, and respect. A Complainant, Respondent or any other person that reports, will be offered counseling services through the University, by a counselor that does not provide counseling to another person in the incident. All parties are strongly encouraged to utilize on-campus and/or off-campus resources for assistance.

Emergency Resources:  Any individual who has been the victim of a crime, such as sexual assault, is encouraged to get to a safe place and contact the TWU Department of Public safety or local law enforcement or call 911 immediately. Even if the individual does not wish to report the criminal conduct to the University or to local law enforcement, he or she should still consider going to a hospital, both for his or her own health and well-being and so that evidence may be collected and preserved should future action be taken. Any evidence collected may be critically important in any future investigation, adjudication, or prosecution.

Medical providers can also facilitate and/or provide the following:

  • Emergency or follow-up medical services: The medical examination has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma and to consider the possibilities of sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy; and second, to collect and preserve evidence as part of a “rape kit” or sexual assault examination for potential use in a criminal prosecution (provided only by a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) in a hospital). A victim should not shower, bathe, douche, brush teeth, drink, or change clothing before having a medical examination, because evidence may be destroyed.
  • HIV and STD testing
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Health care concerns related to the incident may be discussed with the hospital emergency staff, a personal physician, or in the case of TWU students, with TWU Student Health Services staff, who can also provide referral services to off-campus providers. TWU Student Health Services can also provide TWU students with a list of University employees with whom an individual may file a complaint under this Policy.

Medical providers, both on-campus and off-campus include:

TWU Student Health Services         (for TWU students)             940.898.3826

Denton Regional Medical Center      (for students and employees)        940.384.3535

3535 S. Interstate 35E

Denton, TX 76210

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital (for all students and employees)       940.898.7000

3000 N. Interstate 35E

Denton, TX 76201

Confidential Campus Resources:  Texas Woman’s University recognizes that not every individual will choose to make a report to the University or to local law enforcement about sexual misconduct. For these individuals seeking to talk confidentially to someone about an incident of sexual misconduct, TWU provides confidential on-campus support, counseling, and/or referrals to all members of the TWU community. Individuals seeking assistance may choose from the following options:

  • TWU students can speak to medical professionals at TWU Student Health Services, 940.898.3826, located in Hubbard Hall. Medical professionals employed by the University will treat a report of sexual misconduct as confidential and under most circumstances will not share information with other individuals without the patient’s consent. Exceptions to this confidentiality include: where the medical professional believes there is an imminent risk of suicide or other harm; where the medical professional believes there is an imminent risk of physical or mental injury to another individual; or where the student communicates to the medical professional a specific threat of imminent harm against another individual. Under such circumstances, the medical professional may make disclosures that he or she believes are necessary to protect the student or another individual from harm.
  • TWU students can also speak to a counselor at the TWU Counseling Center, 940.898.3801, located in West Jones Hall. Professional counselors employed by the University do not share information with other TWU departments unless there is an imminent risk of danger. Individuals who have been victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged to obtain help from a professional counselor and/or support group. The TWU Counseling Center staff members are available to meet with students by appointment or, in an emergency, on short notice.
  • TWU faculty and staff can use the Alliance Work Partners Employee Assistance Program, 800.343.3822, for confidential counseling and support. Assistance is available 24 hours a day.
  • All students, faculty, and staff can visit a medical facility or hospital listed in the Emergency Resources section above. Information provided to medical professionals typically cannot be released without consent of the patient.
  1. COMMUNITY RESOURCES/SUPPORT SERVICES

Confidential Community Resources:  Additional counseling and support services may be obtained through the Denton County Friends of the Family Sexual Assault 24 Hour Hotline at 800.572.4031 or at www.dcfof.org. Denton County Friends of the Family provides compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, through partnering with the community to promote safety, healing, and prevention.

Individuals in the Dallas area may contact the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC) by calling their 24 Hour Local Hotline at 972.641.7273 or visiting their website at www.dallasrapecrisis.org. DARCC’s comprehensive program includes counseling, crisis intervention and advocacy for those whose lives have been affected by sexual violence.

Individuals in the Houston area may contact the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) by calling their 24 Hour Local Hotline at 713.528.7273 or visiting their website at www.hawc.org. HAWC’s comprehensive program includes counseling, crisis intervention and advocacy for those whose lives have been affected by sexual violence.

Details

Article ID: 40224
Created
Thu 10/5/17 1:36 PM
Modified
Fri 2/15/19 9:01 AM