Title IX reporting process: what you need to know

Reporter

Title IX violations are taken seriously on the campus of St. Edward’s University and students have the option of reporting a complaint have several different ways.

The Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires any educational institute that receives federal funding to promote gender equality and safety. Sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes based on gender, stalking and sexual harrassment all fall under violations of the Title IX code.

Dean of Students Lisa Kirkpatrick is the Title IX Coordinator for St. Edward’s University and her job is to be make sure the university is in compliance with the law and make sure the university and the community have the resources they need to address Title IX concerns.

“The other thing that I am doing at all times is being available to the community if they need clarification, or information or consultation about any related concerns to Title IX,” Kirkpatrick said.

To report a Title IX violation, students can file a complaint online through the Dean of Students webpage (http://think.stedwards.edu/titleix/filing-complaint), in person at the Dean of Students Office or at the University Police Department.

All employees of the university are also mandatory reporters of anything that seems may fall under Title IX misconduct.

Associate Dean of Students Steven Pinkenburg explained that some students may just want to share something with a faculty member they trust. However, students should know that the faculty member is required to bump the information up the the Dean of Students if it is related to Title IX.

“The good thing is that students know that anything they share is taken seriously and the university is going to do something about it, as much as we can,” Pinkenburg explained.

After a misconduct has been reported to the Dean of Students office — whether from a witness, a third party, or the victim herself/himself —, an investigation will follow if the student wants to proceed. The Dean of Students office will speak with the potential perpetrator and the victim and any witnesses of the offense.

After the investigation, a hearing board will be set up with three representatives from the Health and Counseling Center, Student Life and Human Resources. The hearing board will make a decision as to whether someone is responsible for a student code of conduct violation. Both parties have a right to an appeal, which would go to another hearing board, and that decision would be final.

If a student is found responsible for a student code of conduct violation, they could face a number of things depending on the circumstances.

“Depending on the severity of the offense, it could be separation from the university, which would be expulsion or suspension,” Pinkenburg said. “Whereas, if it’s not necessarily not as severe, you’d most likely be sanctioned and it could be conduct probation, could be community service, could be some time of counseling.”

An investigation and hearing through the Dean of Students would take about 60 days.

Students also have the opportunity to file a report with the University Police Department at any time, but are not required or pressured to.

UPD would hold a separate investigation and charges would be filed for any violation of state law. Austin Police Department may also help UPD with their investigation depending on the circumstances of the case.

“UPD can handle the criminal investigation, collection of evidence and filing of charges through the criminal justice system,” Sgt. Homer Huerta said.

After the investigation, UPD will present their findings to a district of attorney’s office and the consequences are up to the courts, Huerta said.

“In order for UPD or APD to arrest a suspect, they must present acceptable probable cause to a judge,” Huerta said.

UPD will send out an SEU alert, via text message and email, of a Title IX occurrence in a timely manner if the crime is seen to pose a serious or continuing threat.

If a sexual misconduct occurs off campus between two students, it is not considered a Title IX situation. However, the perpetrating student can still be found in violation of the student conduct, and the responding law enforcement agency for the location would be responsible for the investigation.