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 Respondent refers to someone who is accused of violating TCU Policy on Discrimination, Harassment or Related Conduct. The Title IX Office will treat all parties with respect and ensure the investigation is executed as thoroughly, fairly and as efficiently as possible.
If a complainant seeks disciplinary action against you or is pursuing a formal complaint reporting discrimination, harassment or related conduct, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will meet with you to outline next steps and discuss resources.
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 respondent to discuss the complaint, next steps, resources and support. Receiving a letter of notice does not mean a 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 respondents 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 the Title IX Coordinator Andrea Vircks 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
Common Feelings after Being Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Whenever a student is accused of a policy violation, emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Being accused of sexual misconduct can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to these accusations are normal reactions to a difficult situation. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, you may deal with some unanticipated emotions. Below are examples of feelings you may experience:
Anger: Anger is a common emotion whenever someone has been accused of sexual misconduct. There are several resources available to you to help you process or deal with any anger you are experiencing (browse our resources for professional and nonprofessional counseling options). Internalizing your anger could lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping including the consumption of alcohol, the use of drugs, causing harm to yourself or others, or other destructive behaviors.
Fear: Fear can take many forms. You may be experiencing fear of the unknown as the outcome of the investigation can impact your status at the university. You may also fear how those closest to you perceive you along with other members of the university community. Also, it is common to fear that someone may retaliate against you. If you feel as though you are being retaliated against, please see the section on retaliation above.
Impact on Your Daily Life: With all the emotions listed, you may feel like your daily life has been impacted. While participating in an investigation, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with your coursework. Other areas of your life that may be impacted include: sleep routine, change in appetite, increase in anxiety and depression. Accommodations may be available. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or Sr. Deputy Title IX Officer at 817-257-8228.
Feeling Alone: Being accused of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone or isolated. It is common for individuals who are accused to prefer not to discuss the situation with anyone for fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. However, talking with a counselor or adviser may offer assistance with processing your experiences and feelings.
All these emotions can be overwhelming, and it is important to remember there are resources both on and off-campus to assist you.
How to Help a Friend
- Listen from your friend’s point of view and be supportive.
- Accept your friend as a person, even if you have questions about your friend’s behavior.
- Provide an atmosphere where your friend can express honest feelings.
- Be honest with your friend about how much support you can provide.
- Help your friend generate alternatives and options for dealing with emotions and the situation.
- Let your friend make the ultimate decision about how to respond.
- Realize you may also be affected and seek counseling if necessary.
- Do not offer insincere help or support.
- Do not pre-judge the situation.
- Do not blame the student who has brought the complaint.
- Do not assume you know how your friend wants to be treated.
- Do not break your friend’s trust by telling others what might have happened in conversation or on social media.
- Recognize your own limitations. No one expects you to be an expert; please avoid making strong recommendations.
- Remember that sharing details of your friend’s experience online or in person with other students could be upsetting to your friend or the student who brought the complaint, so please refrain from sharing information with anyone other than your friend or the confidential resources you seek.
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 Title IX Office to talk with a Title IX 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 Respondents. The Title IX Coordinator 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
Counseling & Mental Health Center
Lower Level Samuelson Hall
817-257-7233 (24/7 hotline)
TCU Confidential Advocate
TCU Campus Life Dean of Students
The Harrison Suite 1700
Fort Worth, Texas 76129
Fort Worth Police
I speak English as a second language. Are there additional resources available during the process?
The Complainant or Respondent may (on their own) select 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. Non-student participants should contact the Investigator to discuss accommodation requests.
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.
If the Title IX Office has contacted me, do I have to participate in the investigation?
No. Participation in an investigation facilitated through the Title IX Office is up to you. However, the investigator will be required to come to a finding at the conclusion of the investigation based on all the available evidence and information. If you decline to participate, whatever information you may have but did not share will not be considered when the investigator determines the finding. Additionally, and per the university’s policy, it is important to note that this information will NOT be able to be submitted once the final outcome is determined if it was reasonably available but you chose not to submit it.
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 VAWA issues.
Who is a confidential resource?
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.