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Office of Compliance

Title IX

Sexual Harassment and Sex-based Misconduct Policy


If you have any questions, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at 361-593-4761.
Title IX and Sex-Based Misconduct

 

Faculty, staff, students (including applicants for admission and employment, and third parties) may file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator at 361-593-4761, titleix@tamuk.edu, or in person at  the Office of Compliance, Lewis Hall, suite 130.

Formal complaints alleging discrimination based on sex will fall under either Sexual Harassment (Title IX) or Sex-Based Misconduct.  Both types of complaints will be adjudicated using the same process.  Responsibilities of TAMUK faculty, staff, and students as well as information about the reporting and investigative process can be found in System Regulation 08.01.01, Civil Rights Compliance, TAMUK Rule 08.01.01.K1, Civil Rights Compliance, and the TAMUK Student Handbook.

Information about the investigation and adjudication process is below.  The following contain reference guides for each step in the process:

Sexual Harassment or Sex-based Misconduct

Investigation Process

Appellate Process

A formal complaint does not need to be filed for a reporter to obtain assistance and resources.  Additionally, conduct that does not reach the level of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct may still be prohibited under university policies and the Student Code of Conduct.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

A form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex (of a sexual nature or otherwise): (1) by an employee of the member who conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the member on an individual’s participation in that unwelcome sexual conduct; (2) determined by a reasonable person to be so severe and pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the member’s education program or activity; or (3) sexual assault or dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking based on sex.

SEX-BASED MISCONDUCT

Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create a work, educational, or campus living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, abusive, or offensive. Sex-based misconduct is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of sex-based misconduct is also prohibited under this regulation. Sex-based includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking based on sex.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape as used in the FBl's Uniform Crime Reporting system. A sex offense is any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent. These offenses are defined as:

Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. Sexual assault is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of sexual assault is also prohibited under this regulation. Sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct.

CONSENT

Clear, voluntary and ongoing agreement to engage in a specific sexual act. Persons need not verbalize their consent to engage in a sexual act for there to be permission. Permission to engage in a sexual act may be indicated through physical actions rather than words. A person who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, or whose agreement was made by threat, coercion, or force, cannot give consent. Consent may be revoked by any party at any time.

DATING VIOLENCE

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

(a) The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

(b) For the purposes of this definition:

(1) Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. (2) Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence. [34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10)]

Dating violence is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of dating violence is also prohibited under this regulation. Dating violence is a form of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

(a) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;

(b) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;

(c) a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;

(d) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or

(e) any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred. [34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8)]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

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, exposing one’s genitals or causing another to expose one’s genitals, and knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection or disease. Sexual exploitation is a form of sex-based misconduct.

STALKING (Based on Sex)

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

(a) fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or

(b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition:

(a) Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.

(b) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

(c) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. [34 CFR 668.46(a)]

Stalking is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of stalking is also prohibited under this regulation. Stalking based on sex is a form of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct.

Please note: System regulation, TAMUK rules, and procedures regarding the definitions above vary greatly from the Texas Penal Code and criminal procedures.  To find out more information about Sexual Harassment and Sex-based misconduct 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.

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 retaliation.  Retaliation against any participant will be viewed as a separate violation of TAMUK code of conduct 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 the Title IX Coordinator.

Retaliation is defined as intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured under civil rights laws and regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute prohibited retaliation, nor does the filing of a mandatory report as required by Section 2.1 of this regulation. In addition, a university official who files a mandatory report or charges an individual with making a materially false statement in the course of an investigation has not engaged in prohibited retaliation. Retaliation is explicitly prohibited under this regulation. Aiding another in the commission of retaliation is also prohibited under this regulation.

UNIVERSITY PROCEDURES

When an individual reports discrimination on the basis of sex (sexual harassment or sex-based 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 supportive measures.

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 sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct (the respondent[s]) will be notified in writing.  If a complaint is dismissed under Title IX, the complainant may file an appeal with the senior compliance officer or designee located in the Office of Compliance and Risk Management.

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 throughout the investigation; however, the advisor is not allowed to participate during the investigation process.

Both parties must have an advisor for the hearing process.  If a party does not have an advisor, the university will appoint one.  During the hearing process, parties may direct their advisors to ask relevant questions to the opposing party, investigators, and witnesses.

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 rape, dating violence, domestic violence, or any case in which imminent threats of harm exist, mediation cannot be used to resolve the complaint. 

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 harassment or sex-based 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 reporting options 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 identifiable information about a report of sexual harassment or sex-based misconduct to a Title IX Coordinator.

If an individual files a report alleging sexual harassment or sex-based 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.