Frequently Asked Questions About Title IX

Senate Bill 212 (SB 212) passed during the 2019 legislative session. It is a Texas state law that requires all employees (both faculty and staff) at a public or private postsecondary institution to promptly report any knowledge of any incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking (collectively “sexual misconduct”) involving a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of th​e incident.

effective: Jan. 1, 2020.

House Bill 1735 (HB 1735) passed during the 2019 legislative session. It is a Texas state law that builds on existing requirements for institutions to adopt a “policy on sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking” that applies “to each student enrolled at and each employee of the institution.” The law creates new requirements for institutional policies on sexual misconduct and authorizes a civil penalty for noncompliance.

effective: Aug. 1, 2020

A report to the Title IX coordinator under SB 212 must include “all information concerning the incident known to the reporting person that is relevant to the investigation.”

The word “promptly” is not defined in SB 212, so standard rules of construction look to the dictionary definition of the word in question. “Prompt” is defined as “done, performed, delivered, etc., at once or without delay.”

No. As a student, you always have the option to request that the college not investigate the incident or to refuse to participate in the investigation. Factors that may result in the college determining to investigate an alleged incident of sexual misconduct despite the objection of the complainant include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct;
  2. Whether the college has received other reports of sexual misconduct committed by the alleged respondent(s) (i.e., the person alleged to have committed the act of sexual misconduct);
  3. Whether the alleged incident poses a risk of harm to others.

HB 1735 requires an institution to continue with the disciplinary process even if a student withdraws or graduates while the process is taking place.

When in doubt, report any information that was shared with you to the Title IX coordinator to determine whether the information qualifies.

Inform this person before or after receiving the information that you are required to report all known sexual misconduct information to the Title IX coordinator.

No. SB 212 only requires employees to report. Student employees are encouraged to report, but are not required to report, incidents of sexual misconduct under SB 212.

SB 212 has strong penalties for not complying with the law. Employees failing to report incidents of sexual assault can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor (or Class A if the person intended to cover up the incident) and termination.

Dallas College could also face a disciplinary action as a failure to comply with the bill’s requirements and incur as much as a $2 million penalty.

Yes. SB 212 provides only a few exceptions to its reporting requirements. You are not required to report an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking if you are the victim of the incident, if you received the information due to a disclosure made at a “public awareness event” sponsored by Dallas College ​or a college-affiliated student organization, or if you learned of the incident during the course of the college's investigatory process or confirmed with the person or office overseeing the process that the incident was previously reported.

Yes. If you report something in good faith or assist in the investigation of a report, you are protected under both SB 212 and the Freedom From Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation, Sex and Sexual Violence Policy. A report made in good faith is one where a reasonable person, given the known facts of the incident, would more likely than not conclude that a prohibited conduct had occurred.

Retaliation for making a report is strictly prohibited.

SB 212 requires the Title IX coordinator to submit to the chancellor at least quarterly a report that includes all of the reports submitted to the college/campus. The report will include information about the investigation status of the reports submitted to the college/campus and the status of any disciplinary processes that resulted from the investigation process, including the reports for which the college/campus determined not to initiate a disciplinary process.

Additionally, SB 212 requires the college to publish an annual report (during the Spring or Fall semester) that provides information on the number of reports the college received during the academic year, the number of investigations conducted as a result of those reports, the status of any disciplinary processes and disciplinary action, if any, that resulted from the investigation of those reports, and the number of reports for which the college/campus determined not to initiate a disciplinary process, and any disciplinary action taken as a result of a failure to or false report.

 

An advisor accompanies a party to a Title IX case to meetings related to the resolution process, advises the party on that process and conducts cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if one is held.

Yes, both parties have the right to an advisor of their choosing. Upon request, an advisor will be appointed. The advisor must not have any institutionally conflicting roles (such as being a campus Title IX coordinator presiding over the case, a supervisor who would implement sanctions in the event of a finding of responsibility or a witness in the process).

The advisor may be a friend, family member, attorney, neighbor or other individual. Dallas College has a list of trained advisors who stand ready to serve if requested by a party. Trained advisors are familiar with the Dallas College resolution process as well as how to best serve in their advisor role. If a party chooses an advisor from outside the pool of trained Dallas College advisors, they would not have been trained and may not be familiar with Dallas College’s policies and procedures. Parties also have the right to choose not to have an advisor in the initial stages of the resolution process, but at the hearing stage, the party without an advisor would be appointed an advisor to conduct the cross-examination during the hearing. The party can reject the appointed advisor in favor of selecting their own advisor, but the party cannot proceed in the hearing without an advisor present. This is the case because the parties are not permitted to directly cross-examine each other or any witness.

The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present. Advisors should help the parties prepare for the meetings and interviews. Advisors are expected to advise ethically and with integrity (i.e., not permitting a party to knowingly lie or to knowingly present false evidence).

Dallas College cannot guarantee equal advisory experiences, meaning that if one party hires an attorney to serve as their advisor and the other party does not hire an attorney, Dallas College is not obligated to provide an attorney advisor for the other party. Also, if one party selects an advisor from the Dallas College list of advisors and the other party selects a family member as an advisor, the Dallas College advisor would have received training in order to serve in this capacity, while the family member advisor would not have received such training. Dallas College is not obligated to train the family member advisor.

All advisors are subject to the same Dallas College policies and procedures, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors are expected to advise without disrupting proceedings. Advisors should not address Dallas College officials in a meeting or interview unless they are permitted to do so by the investigators — for instance, to ask procedural questions. Advisors are not permitted to make presentations or opening/closing statements during any meeting or proceeding (including during a hearing). Advisors are also prohibited from speaking on behalf of the advisee to the investigator(s) or the designated administrator/decision-maker (at a hearing), except during the cross-examination at the hearing.

Although the advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or by conferring or passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks to allow for private consultation.

Any advisor who oversteps their role as defined by this policy will be warned only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the meeting will end, and the campus Title IX coordinator will determine how to address the advisor’s noncompliance moving forward. The campus Title IX coordinator may prohibit the advisor from continuing to act in that capacity in future meetings/proceedings. The party will be allowed to select a new advisor.

Dallas College expects that the parties may wish to share documentation and evidence related to the allegations of Title IX sexual harassment with their advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their advisor or other individuals, if they wish. If the party wants Dallas College to share documentation and evidence with advisors, Dallas College will provide the party with a FERPA authorization to disclose consent form to sign. The authorization will remain in the Title IX file.

If a party requests that all communication be made through their attorney advisor, Dallas College will not comply with that request.

It is permitted for an advisor to request to meet with the campus Title IX coordinator in advance of these interviews or meetings. This pre-meeting allows advisors to clarify and understand their role and Dallas College’s policies and procedures.

Yes. The party is expected to provide timely notice to the campus Title IX coordinator if they change advisors at any time during the proceedings. It is assumed that if a party changes advisors, consent to share information with the previous advisor is terminated, and a release for the new advisor must be secured. Parties are expected to inform the campus Title IX coordinator of the identity of the new advisor at least two (2) days before a meeting where the party and their advisor are to be present. If a party changes advisors before the hearing, the party is expected to inform the campus Title IX coordinator of that change at least two (2) business days before the hearing.

Dallas College expects advisors to adjust their schedules to allow them to attend scheduled meetings and proceedings. Dallas College may make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing or other similar technologies as may be convenient, but only if the advisee agrees to the provision.