Student Frequently Asked Questions
What conduct is prohibited by Title IX? Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender (sex). Title IX prohibited conduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual intimidation, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic (family) violence, and stalking.
What do I do if I know of or have experienced sexual misconduct? If you know of or have experienced sexual misconduct, you have a number of options. You should report to the Title IX Coordinators located in University West, rooms 116 and 117 or by calling 361-570-4835 or 361-570-4800. Confidential consultations about sexual misconduct are available from individuals who have non-reporting status based on their licensure. At UHV, you can contact the UHV Counseling Center by calling 361-570-4135 or Toll free: 1-855-848-4279 (1-855-UHV-ICRY). You can also report via a secure web-based reporting system called MySafeCampus, which allows the option of anonymity. The web address for MySafeCampus is http://www.mysafecampus.com. Recognize that during the course of a MySafeCampus investigation, a reporter's identity may be discovered. If that occurs, the reporter will received the same confidentiality safeguards offered to those who make a formal report under this Policy.
What do I do if my friend was sexually assaulted? First, know that sexual assault can happen to anyone. Although there is no one response to a traumatic experience, some common reactions can include: self blame; distrust of others; feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, hopeless, or sad; trouble eating or sleeping; having trouble concentrating/focusing; using substances. Second, offer unconditional support, be patient and listen. Avoid making assumptions or suggesting reasons for the assault. Reassure them it was not their fault and help them find appropriate resources and discuss options and ask them what they want to do next. Recognize that some individuals will want to talk about what happened but others will not. Do not pressure them to make decisions or take action. Just let them know that you are there for them. Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Pay attention to how what you learn impacts you. Seek counseling if you need help understanding what has happened and how it makes you feel.
Who are Title IX Coordinators? Title IX Coordinators are the individuals who have been designated to coordinate efforts to comply with and implement the UH System Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Coordinator conducts the administrative investigation of reports of Sexual Misconduct, can discuss options, provide support, explaing University policies and procedures and provide education on relevant issues. The Title IX Coordinator for UHV is Laura Smith 361-570-4800 and the Assistant Title IX Coordinator is Chari Norgard 361-570-4835.
What are the University's obligations when it has notice of a sexual misconduct related incident?
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a "Dear Colleague Letter (DCL)" on April 4, 2011 to educational institutions receiving federal aid. The DCL outlined institutions' responsibilities with regard to sexual misconduct. The DCL states, "If a school knows or reasonably should know about student-on-student harassment that creates a hostile environment, Title IX requires the school to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects." Sexual assault is the most extreme form of sexual harassment.
What happens if I file a formal sexual misconduct complaint? When you talk with the Title IX Coordinators, they will explain the complaint process and answer any questions you may have. Remember that filing a formal complaint is different and separate from filling a criminal complaint. You can file a sexual misconduct complaint without filing a criminal/police complaint.
Does the complaint remain confidential? The privacy of all parties involved in a complain of sexual misconduct must be strictly observed, except as it interferes with the University's obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Dissemination of information and/or written materials is on a controlled need-to-know basis. (e.g. the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Director of Student Life and Services, Academic Deans, and UHV's Police Sergeant). In all complaints of sexual misconduct, the complainant will be informed of the complaint, procedures and the outcome. In some instances, the University may need to make a brief announcement of the nature of the violation, especially if the safety of others on campus is a concern. If you report an act of alleged sexual misconduct, the University also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parents be told? Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the University's primary relationship is with you and not your parents, unless you are a minor (under the age of 17). However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. University officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in certain instances where a health or safety emergency exist, or if the University determines such communication is necessary.
What if I was drinking alcohol and I am underage? Will I get in trouble for that if I report? The University encourages the reporting of Sexual Misconduct. Sometimes victims and witnesses are hesitant to report because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interest of the University for you to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct. To encourage reporting, the University follows a policy of offering victims and witnesses of Sexual Misconduct amnesty from being charged with alcohol or drug-related University policy violations.
What about changing residence hall rooms, changing classes? We can take interim remedies to make you more comfortable on campus. Talk with the Title IX Coordinators about remedies that may be available to you.
Do I have to name the perpetrator? Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. It is extremely difficult for the University to respond without the name of the perpetrator.
What happens if I file a criminal complaint? If you file a criminal complaint, you will work with Sergeant Rick Gammon, the UHV police sergeant. He will talk with you and explain the process involved in filing a criminal complaint. Remember that filing a criminal complaint is different and separate from filing a Title IX complaint. Talk with us about your options and what is best for you.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct? Do not contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You should also contact the Title IX Coordinator who can explain procedures for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center.
What are my rights if I am accused of committing sexual misconduct? If a Title IX Coordinator or Assistant Coordinator notifies you that you have been accused of sexual misconduct, you have the right to due process which means you have the right to
Know who is making the allegations,
Know what the allegations are,
Have an opportunity to respond to the allegations, and
Have the opportunity to appeal a Title IX finding and a Title IX-related sanction.