Title IX Frequently Asked Questions
Title IX Coordinator
Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault
The federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions is Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 (amending the Higher Education Act of 1965). This act is codified as Title 20, United States Code, Chapter 38, Sections 1681-1686. The act was also amended by the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 ("Title IX").
VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) is a federal law set forth to improve the criminal justice response to violent crimes against women. VAWA coverage, however, extends to male victims/survivors as well. VAWA defines defines sexual violence to include rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
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The Texas Penal Code - Section 22.011 defines sexual assault in several ways. Generally, sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another. Sexual assault can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent (under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc.). Sexual assault is a general term which covers a range of crimes, including rape. As defined under Texas law, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that involves the use of threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Sexual intercourse is considered non-consensual and, therefore, rape when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs, or if a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability renders the victim incapable of giving consent. Whether the accused is a stranger, acquaintance, spouse, or friend is irrelevant to the legal definition of rape.
Beside rape, other acts of sexual assault include forced anal intercourse, forced oral copulation, penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, and forcibly touching an intimate part of another person. Men as well as women can be victims of these other forms of sexual assault. If a student, staff person, member of the faculty or other academic appointee is charged with rape; s/he can be prosecuted under Texas criminal statutes, as well as disciplined under appropriate discipline procedures. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action and the complainant can file a civil suit. In addition to rape, as defined by Texas law, the University will not tolerate any non-consensual penetration, however slight, or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus, and will take appropriate action when such acts are reported.
To be consensual, there must be ". . . positive cooperation" and "the person must act freely and voluntarily . . ."back to top
The Texas A&M University System defines Sexual Harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct is so frequent or severe that it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. It is Sexual Harassment when:
In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of circumstances, including the nature and frequency of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
Sexual harassment may be distinguished from sexist attitudes in that sexual harassment is sexual in content and behavioral, rather than attitudinal.
It is not unlawful to hold sexist attitudes, as long as they are not translated into discriminatory treatment. Harassment by someone with the power to affect your employment or academic relationship includes situations in which any person with institutional authority explicitly threatens negative consequences, or promises positive consequences, as a means of securing acquiescence to unwelcome sexual behavior. While such explicit conditioning of academic or employment benefits upon acceptance of sexual advances may be rare, supervisors, instructors, and others with institutional authority should be aware that in some circumstances, a student or employee may feel that tolerating unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature is the tacit price s/he must pay in order to receive the services and benefits to which s/he is entitled. Such behavior is a violation of the Texas A&M University System’s Regulation on Civil Rights Compliance (08.01.01) and WTAMU’s Civil Rights Complaint Procedure (08.01.01 W1.01).
Whereas this type of harassment can be perpetrated only by a person with institutional authority, a sexually hostile and intimidating environment may be created by the actions of instructors, supervisors, subordinates, or peers.
Behaviors that may contribute to a hostile environment include, but are not limited to:
It is important to be aware that in many instances, the intentions of the accused may be regarded as irrelevant in determining whether her/his behaviors constitute sexual harassment; it is the effect of the behavior on the recipient that may define a hostile environment.back to top
If you are a WTAMU student or a non-faculty employee:Talk to your supervisor, the Director of Human Resources (651-2116), Title IX Coordinator (651-3199), the University Police Department (651-5000), a professor you trust, a person at the University, a friend, or a counselor at Student Counseling Services Center (651-2340), or Campus Ombudsman (Students, 651-2051).
If you are a faculty employee:Talk to your department head, dean, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the Director of Human Resources (651-2116), the Title IX Coordinator (651-3199), the University Police Department (651-5000), or the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (651-2044).back to top
No, both females and males can be victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.back to top
Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX and WTAMU policy.back to top
Find a safe place away from the assailant and call 911.
The Title IX Coordinator also can coordinate other assistance including no contact orders, escort services, relocation of the individuals involved, and reassignment of schedules if the victim and the accused have similar schedules.back to top
In certain situations, a person does not have the capacity to agree to participate in consensual sex. Examples include individuals who are under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc. Anyone engaging in sexual contact with someone who is unable to give consent may be committing sexual assault.back to top
Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to West Texas A&M (if it occurs at a WTAMU event, if it involves a WTAMU student, staff member or faculty member, etc.) then WTAMU can investigate and provide resolution.back to top
West Texas A&M’s priority is to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence. While the specifics of the situation will be considered, WTAMU’s primary focus will be to address the sexual harassment or violence. West Texas A&M does not want the involvement of alcohol or drugs to prevent the reporting of such serious misconduct. Also, the use of alcohol or drugs will not excuse sexual violence or harassment.back to top
If the behavior is brought to your attention, apologize; ask for a description of what was offensive and who found it offensive. Consider the following actions:
Know your rights. Members of our university community have the right to work and learn in an environment that is free from verbal or physical sexual conduct which might either interfere with an individual's performance, or create a work or educational climate that is hostile, intimidating, or offensive, whether that conduct originates with an instructor, a supervisor, or a peer.back to top
Sexual harassment is conduct that is unwelcome or uninvited. Examples include (not exhaustive):
Sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator and/or to the West Texas A&M UPD.back to top
Sexual harassment and sexual violence are potential crimes but they also are violations of Title IX, West Texas A&M University and A&M System policy. Sometimes, specific conduct may not constitute a crime, but it still constitutes a violation of Title IX, West Texas A&M University and A&M System policy. West Texas A&M is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, regardless of whether such activity constitutes a crime.back to top
If you believe you have been sexually assaulted or a victim of any other crime, then you should contact West Texas A&M UPD.back to top
Any person needing assistance about sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other Title IX/Civil Rights concerns may call or make an appointment with the Title IX Coordinator. You will not be required to give your name or anyone else's name to receive information and advice on your options and referrals. Resources are available for advice and information regarding reports of sexual harassment or sexual assault that are totally confidential. An example of a confidential resource includes counselors in the Student Counseling Service Center. Individuals who consult confidential resources must be advised that their discussions in these settings will not be considered reports of sexual harassment and will not, without additional action by the individual, result in any action by the University to resolve their concerns.
Procedures provide for protecting the privacy of individuals involved in a report of sexual harassment to the extent allowed by law and University policy. A report of sexual harassment may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the University community. While such information is considered confidential, University policy regarding access to public records and disclosure of personal information may require disclosure of certain information regarding a report of sexual harassment. In such cases, every effort will be made to redact the records in order to protect the privacy of individuals.
Individuals wishing to make reports of sexual harassment must understand that certain University employees, such as the Title IX Coordinator, managers, supervisors, and other designated employees responsible for reporting or responding to reports of sexual harassment, have an obligation to respond to reports of sexual harassment, even if the individual making the report requests that no action be taken. The expressed wishes of individuals regarding the confidentiality of reports of sexual harassment will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such wishes will be considered in the context of the University's legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although requests for confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.back to top
Your confidentiality will be protected to the maximum extent possible, but anonymity may hinder an investigation into your complaint.back to top
Yes, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, the alleged perpetrator must be identified.back to top
Yes. If you have concerns for your safety, WTAMU can provide escort services and take other steps to assist you. In addition, WTAMU has a strong retaliation policy that is aggressively enforced if a complainant or a witness is retaliated against for participating in a Title IX investigation.back to top
Be supportive – listen to what she or he has to say then encourage your friend to report the incident to the police or to the Title IX Coordinator. You should also consider reporting the incident yourself. You may also suggest that they contact West Texas A&M University’s Counseling Services.back to top
You also can report to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. However, WTAMU is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, and WTAMU is best able to do that when it is made aware of possible violations.back to top
The Human Resources section of WTAMU’s website includes information pertaining to Title IX and the Civil Rights Complaint Procedure (08.01.01 W1.01). If you can't find the information you're looking for on the website, please contact Harvey Hudspeth, Director of Human Resources/Title IX Officer, at 651-2116, or email@example.com to top
Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX Coordinator is the university official responsible for ensuring WTAMU complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating all complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at WTAMU.back to top
Title IX Coordinator:
No, not entirely. Title IX addresses discrimination based on sex/gender. Title IX considers sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and it requires that all incidents of sexual harassment be viewed as discrimination and be investigated.back to top