Policy Change Key Points
TO: Students, Faculty, and Staff
FROM: Kendra Wesson, M.Ed.
DATE: January 24, 2020
SUBJECT: Changes to Texas State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct (Title IX)
This communication serves as a follow-up on the email sent on January 6, 2020, to the university community regarding the updated changes to The Texas State University System Sexual Misconduct Policy. Below is a summary of key points from that email. We ask that you read this email in its entirety, and please follow-up with our office if you have any further questions. Our staff are also available to attend your unit meetings to provide Title IX training.
- As a result of Senate Bill 212, starting January 1, 2020, all employees who witness or receive information about sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking that involve a current student or employee must promptly report the incident to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Reports can be made by phone: (512) 245-2539; email, or online.
- Reports to the Title IX Coordinator must include all relevant information that is known about the incident.
- Student employees are encouraged, but not required, to report under SB 212. However, if a student employee is designated as a responsible employee, they are still required to report under Title IX and their responsible employee duties.
- Retaliation against persons who make a good faith report is prohibited.
- An employee who does not report an incident or who makes a false report can be charged with a criminal offense (Class B or Class A Misdemeanor).
- Additionally, if an employee fails to make a required report or makes a false report, the law requires that the employee be terminated. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has issued rules implementing HB 1735 and SB 212 and such rules expressly provide that an “institution shall terminate the employment of an employee whom the institution determines, in accordance with the institution’s disciplinary procedure, to have committed an offense under Texas Education Code §51.255.” 19 Tex. Admin. Code §3.8 (2019). For further clarification on disciplinary procedures, employees should refer to the appropriate section in Chapter V of the TSUS Rules and Regulations. https://www.tsus.edu/tsus-rules-and-regulations/chapter-5/general.html.
- Employees who have been designated by the university as confidential employees are only required to report the type of incident. Confidential employees refers to physical and mental health professionals, including licensed counselors who provide mental health counseling to members of the school community, and those who act under the supervision of a health employee; and individuals whose scope of employment include confidentiality requirements under Texas law. A list of confidential employees is available on the Title IX website.
- The Title IX Coordinator must submit a written report containing all of the reports received by the institution to the President at least quarterly.
Texas State University Statement on
Prohibition of Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
The Office of Equity and Inclusion is responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students are aware of the policies and procedures regarding discrimination and sexual misconduct.
“Title IX” refers to part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that prohibits sexual discrimination in federally funded educational programs or activities, which includes Texas State University. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sexual discrimination. Texas State is committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sex. The university’s Title IX Coordinator addresses concerns related to sexual discrimination on campus. Title IX protects all Texas State students, faculty, staff, and visitors from discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation.
During the 2019 Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 212 (SB212) was passed into state law. This new law requires all employees of Texas universities to report sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to the Title IX Coordinator. An employee who fails to report an incident may be subject to criminal offense (misdemeanor) and the university is required to terminate their employment. Reports must include all relevant information that is known about the incident. The new reporting obligations and penalties that come from this law took effect on January 1, 2020.
This notice is to provide general information about recent changes in state law. It is important that all students, faculty, and staff understand the impact of this law and its purpose in helping diminish sexual misconduct on college campuses. For more information, please review Senate Bill 212, talk with your supervisor, or reach out to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Report all instances of sexual misconduct online. Reports can also be made in-person, by phone, or by email at TitleIX@txstate.edu. We also encourage our Bobcat family to familiarize yourself with our additional resources in raising awareness of Title IX within our university community.
Kendra Wesson, M.Ed.
Interim Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator