Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
Throughout this page, we use the phrase "sexual misconduct" as a catchall for all forms of sexual harassment and sexual violence. If you have any questions regarding the classification of specific conduct, please click on a link below to contact a Title IX Coordinator.
Sexual Harassment, which includes acts of Sexual Violence, is a form of Sex Discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
Sexual Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it:
- Explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment;
- Unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or educational performance; or
- Creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment.
When determining whether a hostile environment has been created, the University will consider the conduct in question from both a subjective and objective perspective. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment. A single incident of sexual violence may create a hostile environment.
To file a complaint, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator
Additionally, conduct that does not reach the level of a hostile environment may still be prohibited under university policies and the Student Code of Conduct.
Sexual Violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. This includes sexual assault. All acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
Sexual Assault and Rape both refer to sexual intercourse against a person’s will or without their consent. However, under Texas law and University rules, “sexual assault” is the term used to define nonconsensual, physical sexual acts.
A situation in which an individual(s) takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. For example, sexual exploitation could include such actions as secretly videotaping sexual activity, voyeurism, sexually-based stalking, invasion of sexual privacy, and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection to another person.
Knowingly engaging in conduct, including following a person, that one reasonably believes is threatening the bodily injury or death of themselves, a member of their family or household, or their property. (Texas Penal Code 42.072)
An act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an individual against a victim with whom there is or was a romantic or intimate relationship or marriage, and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably results in a fear of such harm. (Texas Family Code 71.0021)
DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE
An act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or the threat of which reasonably causes fear of such harm. (Texas Family Code Section 71.004)
A clear and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. A person who was asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, or whose agreement was made under duress or by threat, coercion, or force, cannot give consent.
Laws and procedures regarding criminal complaints of Sexual Assault vary greatly from University rules and procedures. To find out more information about Sexual Assault under the Texas Penal Code, contact the University Police Department at 361-591-2611 or click on the Resources tab. If you need immediate assistance, please call 9-1-1.
TITLE IX AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
Sexual Assault is defined in the Student Handbook as: The oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ of another or anal/vaginal penetration by any means against the victim’s will or without their consent. An individual who is mentally incapacitated, unconscious, or unaware that the sexual assault is occurring is unable to give consent. The type of force employed may involve physical violence or force, coercion, intentional impairment of an individual’s ability to appraise the situation through the administering of any substance or perceived threats of harm to the victim.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND RETALIATION
The University’s ability to address sex discrimination claims depends on the ability of all involved to candidly participate in the process. We recognize that individuals filing a complaint may be concerned about the privacy of information they are sharing, as well as potential retaliation.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville cannot guarantee unqualified confidentiality. The University must balance the privacy of individuals with the safety of the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator or designee is responsible for determining what information must be shared and with whom. Additionally, administration involved in providing interim measures and other accommodations will also need to know the identity of individuals involved in a complaint.
Anyone who, in good faith, participates in a report or investigation, has the right to do so without fear of or actual retaliation. Retaliation against any participant will be viewed as harassment itself and may result in sanctions or other disciplinary action, regardless of the merits of the original complaint. Any person who believes they have been subjected to retaliatory actions should report this to the individual(s) investigating the compliant or to a Title IX Coordinator.
When an individual reports sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will conduct an initial inquiry, gathering information surrounding the allegations and understanding the complainants needs and wishes. If the complainant does not want to participate or requests the University not pursue the matter, the University will balance the wishes of the individual with the safety of the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator may be required to pursue an investigation and disciplinary action against the wishes of the complainant if it is in the best interest of the campus community. Even if the complainant does not wish to participate, the Title IX Coordinator, along with other University administrators, will work to provide reasonable accommodations.
After an initial inquiry is conducted, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if a comprehensive investigation is appropriate. The person(s) alleged to have committed the sexual misconduct (the respondent[s]) will be notified in writing. An investigator, or team of investigators, will attempt to interview all relevant persons. Both the complainant and the respondent are allowed to have an advisor of their choosing accompany them during throughout the investigation; however, the advisor is not allowed to participate.
In circumstances where physical sexual acts are not alleged, an informal resolution may be permitted. Any informal resolution must be approved by the Title IX Coordinator. In cases involving sexual violence, informal resolution is not permitted, even on a voluntary basis.
When the person(s) accused of sexual harassment/violence is not affiliated with the university, the response will vary depending on the level of control the university has over the respondent.
FILING A REPORT WITH TAMUK
Whenever an individual discloses sexual misconduct to a university employee, that employee must report the disclosure to a Title IX Coordinator as soon as practically possible. We strongly encourage individuals to file a report directly with a Title IX Coordinator and in person, as these individuals have the greatest knowledge regarding your options and resources.
If you need to talk to someone but do not want to file a report with the university, please access our Resource page. Students may also make an appointment with a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) at Student Health and Wellness. LPCs are the only university employees who are not required to disclose sexual misconduct to a Title IX Coordinator.
If an individual files a report alleging sexual misconduct and requests that his/her name not be disclosed or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether or not the university can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all members of the campus community. There may be circumstances where the Title IX Coordinator must override a request in order to meet the university’s Title IX obligations. Additionally, honoring the request may limit the university’s ability to respond fully, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged offender.