Dear TCU community
Recently, the University restructured the Title IX office into two separate units – the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Institutional Equity. The Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, will process and investigate student and employee reports of discrimination and harassment (i.e., age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, genetic information, covered veteran status, and any other basis protected by law), sexual misconduct and retaliation. This includes reports related to Title IX specific sexual harassment issues.
The OIE is located in the new administrative building, The Harrison, in Suite 1800. You can find OIE’s new policies (TCU Policy 1.008 and TCU Policy 1.009) posted on this website in the policies tab. These policies will apply to conduct occurring on or after August 14, 2020. Spanish versions will be posted soon. Conduct occurring on or before August 13, 2020 will be addressed using the Prior Policy.
Lastly, you can still report a Title IX issue or other harassment and discrimination by emailing us at TitleIX@tcu.edu, or calling us at 817/257-8228.
Thank you for your patience as we update our website to the Office of Institutional Equity.
The term Complainant refers to someone who is accusing another person (Respondent) of violating TCU Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, or Related Conduct. The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) will treat all parties with respect and ensure the investigation is executed as thoroughly, fairly and as efficiently as possible.
If you feel you are in immediate danger of harm by another person or yourself, call 911. It is important that physical and emotional needs are met first.
Confidential Resources are confidential by federal and state law. These resources will not share any identifiable information with Title IX, the police, parents or anyone else without permission first, except in cases where there is concern of imminent harm to yourself, someone else, or the campus community. Please see the FAQ section for a list of TCU’s confidential resources.
The Title IX Coordinator or their designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint, next steps, resources and options to file an informal or formal complaint. Receiving a letter of notice does not mean the Respondent has been found in violation of a policy. It means an investigation has been started to determine if there was a violation of policy.
The investigation process can be stressful and complicated. It is important for complainants to understand the process and the rights afforded to them. Please contact the Title IX Office at 817-257-8228 to address any questions or concerns. You may also view the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation at https://titleix.tcu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/policy-prohibited-discrimination-harrassment-related-conduct_7-16-19.pdf
Retaliation Is Not Tolerated
TCU has a strong policy against retaliation, including by third parties. The university will not tolerate retaliation against persons who, in good faith, report or make a complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
Nor does the university tolerate retaliation against those who testify, assist, participate in, or are a party to, any investigation, proceeding, or hearing involving such complaints.
If you experience retaliation in any form, please contact Sharon Gooding, Director of OIE and/or Andrea Vircks, Title IX Coordinator at 817-257-8228 as soon as possible so that the retaliatory behavior can be addressed and disciplinary action can be taken, if possible.
Navigating the Process
Potential Emotional Responses after Experiencing Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment
Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Experiencing sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to sexual misconduct are normal reactions to a difficult situation or experience. You may choose to express your emotions outwardly or you may prefer to keep your emotions to yourself. Personal style and culture may affect your emotional responses and reactions. If you have experienced any form of sexual misconduct, you may be impacted by unanticipated emotions. Below are some examples of feelings you may experience.
Anger: Anger is a common emotion when someone has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault. The University has several resources available to help you to deal with any anger you are experiencing (browse our resources for professional and nonprofessional counseling options). Internalizing your anger may lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping (e.g., alcohol consumption, drug use, causing harm to yourself or others, or other destructive behaviors).
Fear: Fear may take many forms. You may be experiencing the fear of the unknown as to the outcome of the investigation or your status at the university related to your classes or your extracurricular activities. You may worry about how those closest to you may perceive you along with other members of the university community. It is common to far that someone may retaliate against you. (If you believe that you are being retaliated against, please visit the retaliation section above).
Feeling Alone: Experience an incident of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone or isolated. It is common for survivors to prefer not discussing the situation with others for the fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. Talking with a counselor or advisor may offer assistance with the processing of your experiences and feelings.
Other Emotional Reactions: In addition to fear and anger, you may also experience other emotions or a combination of emotions. These emotions may include embarrassment, vulnerability, a lack of control, confusion, shock or disbelief, and/or denial.
Impact on Your Daily Life: With all the emotions listed, you may feel that your daily life has been impacted. While working through the physical, emotional, and physiological effects of an incident of sexual violence and/or an investigation of the incident, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with coursework. You may also experience a change to your sleep routine, change in appetite, and/or an increase in anxiety and depression. Accommodations may be available. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Sr. Deputy Title IX Officer at 817/257-8228.
All of these emotions can be overwhelming. It is important to remember there are resources on and off-campus to assist you.
How to Help a Friend
- Listen The first thing you can do to help is to listen and be supportive. Listen without judgment. Talking about what happened can help a survivor regain a sense of control. Let them guide the conversation and when they choose to talk about it.
- Believe It is often very difficult for survivors to talk about their experiences and disbelief can cause additional pain. The fear of not being believed is a real concern for people who have experienced an assault or interpersonal violence.
- Support Support the survivor and encourage them to get support. Share the numerous options and resources available. If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to file a report, offer to be there. Their decisions to report or seek support is the survivor’s alone, but your involvement can be encouraging and positive.
- Be Respectful Be respectful of the survivor and their privacy and confidentiality. If you are not a mandatory reporter, it is not your place to share their story without their permission, either in conversation or on social media.
- Blame the Survivor Do not blame a survivor for what happened or make them feel guilty for what happened. It is important to understand that no matter what happened, it is not the survivor’s fault.
- Be Judgmental Do not criticize or judge how a survivor reacted during or after the assault or related incident — why they stayed in an abusive relationship, whether they said no or not, why they do/do not wish to report the matter. Understand people react differently to situations and they need your support even more following a traumatic incident.
- Make Decisions for Them Do not force a survivor to do anything they do not want to do. After an assault or harassment, survivors often feel powerless. It is important to empower a survivor to make their own decisions about what do following an incident, including decisions surrounding reporting and seeking help.
- Promise Privacy or Confidentiality If you are a mandatory reporter, you must report any conduct that raises Title IX and/or VAWA issues to the Title IX Coordinator.
Role of Advisors
All parties involved in any investigation are allowed to be accompanied to any meeting or hearing as part of these processes by an advisor of their choice to provide support, as long as the advisor is not a fact witness, a staff member in the Title IX Office, the Office of Campus Life, or the Confidential Advocate.
What is the advisor’s role in the Title IX process?
As someone who helps the Complainant or Respondent navigate the student conduct process, the advisor is a silent participant during all official meetings. This means that the advisor may provide advice outside of these meetings but may not advocate on behalf of, speak on behalf or instead of the individual they are assisting, or act in opposition to university policy during the course of the resolution of a complaint. The advisor may not provide testimony, otherwise intercede in, or obstruct the process. However, you may request a break at any time during meetings to talk to your advisor, as long as it does not unreasonably impede the meeting.
The advisor is someone who is present to help the Complainant or Respondent understand the proceedings and to support them in what can be a difficult and stressful experience. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that the advisor become familiar with the investigation and resolution process to effectively advise the participant and accurately and appropriately guide them throughout the process. The Title IX Coordinator and designees are available to speak with the advisors, should the need arise. Additionally, advisors are encouraged to review the information and resources on the Title IX website so that they know the university process and proceedings and can more effectively assist the Complainant or Respondent.
Does an advisor need to be an attorney?
No. A student may select any person to be an advisor, including but not limited to:
- Another student not involved in the complaint
- A parent or family member
- A member of the faculty or administration not involved in the complaint
- An attorney (limited to one attorney)
Do I need to have the advisor complete a form?
If you have chosen an advisor for the student conduct process, you (the student) must complete the Advisor Designation and Authorization form.
Where can my advisor get more information on the student conduct process?
An advisor can call the Office of Institutional Equity to talk with a staff member about process and the policy on prohibited discrimination, harassment, and related conduct. They may also visit http://titleix.tcu.edu
Does the designation of an advisor affect the process?
The designation of an advisor does not change how a report of student misconduct will be resolved because the process is a student-centered process. All communications will be directed to the Complainant or Respondent. The investigator reserves the right to postpone an interview or meeting if an advisor distracts, derails, impedes or disrupts any part of the process, and that advisor may be excluded from participating in future meetings or hearings.
Can I have more than one advisor?
Yes, you may choose more than one advisor; however, only one advisor may attend interviews or meetings. If you choose more than one advisor or switch advisors, it is your responsibility to keep them updated throughout the process.
TCU is committed to a fair, unbiased, and consistent learning environment where every student is treated with dignity and respect and is granted all procedural protections afforded by TCU Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Conduct.
Upon request, the university can provide reasonable interim measures to support Complainants. The Title IX Coordinator, Sr. Deputy Title IX Officer, or Campus Life Office or the Title IX Coordinator’s designees who reaches out to you can assist in arranging these types of interim measures.
3025 Lubbock Ave.
Fort Worth, Texas 76129
TCU Counseling & Mental Health Center
Lower Level Samuelson Hall
817-257-7233 (24/7 hotline)
TCU Confidential Advocate
TCU Campus Life Dean of Students
TCU Box 297010
Sadler Hall 2006
Fort Worth, Texas 76129
John Peter Smith Hospital
1500 S. Main
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Texas Health RESOURCES – Harris Methodist Hospital
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Fort Worth Police
I speak English as a second language. Are there additional resources available during the process?
The Complainant or Respondent may choose at their own discretion an English interpreter to assist them with the process. Individuals have often sought assistance from professors, advisors and friends or family when language has been a barrier to full participation. The interpreter may accompany the student to official meetings along with the advisor, but their role at official meetings will be limited to language translation.
Who should I contact if I need disability accommodations during the student conduct process?
The Complainant or Respondent should promptly notify the Investigator in charge of their investigation if they may need accommodations during any part of the process. They will discuss what accommodations may be appropriate for their particular situation.
What does the “preponderance of the evidence” mean?
The preponderance of the evidence standard is the required standard of proof in TCU’s investigation procedures for Title IX cases. It is also referred to as “more likely than not” and is equivalent to 50.1% or “50% plus a feather.” A school will find an individual responsible for violating the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Related Conduct when the evidence supports the finding based on a preponderance of the evidence.
What is the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of evidence?
“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of proof that applies in a criminal trial. It is a very high standard of proof that is significantly greater than the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard of evidence is NOT used in the TCU student code of conduct investigations facilitated through the Title IX Office.
Will I ever be required to meet with or see the other party involved in my case?
No. Respondents and complainants do not have to meet or speak to each other as part of a Title IX investigation or informal resolution. Both parties will have the opportunity to read and respond to the statements and evidence of the other, but all communication will be facilitated through the Title IX Office.
Can I provide my own witnesses and evidence?
Yes. Both parties will have the opportunity to present witnesses and the investigator will make every effort to speak with every witness. The investigator may also develop additional witnesses. Both parties may also provide any relevant evidence. Evidence is often comprised of text messages, emails, photos, videos, or other documents. Evidence can be any information that corroborates or contradicts the complaint, and both parties will have equal opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.
What is a SANE Exam?
A sexual assault medical forensic examination is performed by specially trained medical professionals for the purpose of evaluation and treatment of trauma, treatment of possible exposure to infection, referral to counseling and follow-up medical care, and for the collection of evidence following a report of sexual assault by a victim. The medical well-being of the patient is the primary objective of the SANE at all times during the examination.
The State of Texas provides for a report and non-report option allowing survivors of a sexual assault to obtain a medical forensic exam and have evidence collected, without cost to the victims, even if they do not wish to involve law enforcement at the time of evidence collection.
What is the difference between a formal investigation and an informal resolution?
A formal investigation follows a prescribed process and will conclude with a formal finding and outcome. In nearly all cases, discipline and sanctions can only occur after a formal investigation is complete. However, if the preponderance of the evidence standard is not met, there will be no discipline and the case will be closed. An informal resolution is an educational process that works to conclude the matter quickly and confidentially, at the end of which there may or may not be a formal finding or sanction.
Who is a mandatory reporter?
All TCU employees, except confidential resources are considered mandatory reporters. They have an obligation to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator any conduct that raises Title IX and/or Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) issues, including any reports, complaints, or allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and those forms of prohibited conduct that relate to non-consensual sexual intercourse or contact, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, stalking and retaliation involving any member of the TCU community.
Who is a confidential resource?
The following employees are Confidential Resources when they receive information from students in the context of providing professional services: Counseling Center, Health Center, certified confidential advocate, ordained clergy members, including ordained University Chaplains in TCU’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, acting in their professional capacities.