Frequently Asked Questions About Title IX

What is Senate Bill 212?

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 the incident. 

effective: Jan. 1, 2020. 

What is House Bill 1735?

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

What do I report under SB 212?

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.”

What does SB 212 mean when it says that reports are to be made “promptly”?

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.”

I am a student, and a faculty or staff member reported to the Title IX coordinator that I am the complainant (i.e., the individual against whom an act of sexual misconduct was committed) in a Title IX-related incident. Am I obligated to participate in a Title IX investigation?

No. As a student, you always have the option to request that the district not investigate the incident or to refuse to participate in the investigation. Factors that may result in the district 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 district 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.

I am a student and involved in a Title IX investigation. What if I decide to leave before the conclusion of the investigation?

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

I am not sure if the information I have received qualifies as stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault or dating violence. What should I do?

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

What if the person who shared information with me requests confidentiality?

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.

Where do faculty and staff report sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking incidents committed involving a student or employee under SB 212?

An incident report must be filed with the location Title IX coordinator or district Title IX coordinator. You can use the Report Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct form.

Does SB 212 require a student to report incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking involving a student or employee?

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.

What are the penalties for noncompliance with 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. 

What are the penalties for noncompliance with HB 1735?

DCCCD 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. 

I am a faculty member. Am I required to report something that gets disclosed in one of my classes?

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 DCCCD or a district-affiliated student organization, or if you learned of the incident during the course of the district’s investigatory process or confirmed with the person or office overseeing the process that the incident was previously reported.

Are there any protections for an employee who makes a report as required by this new law?

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 that the Title IX coordinator submit to the chancellor at least quarterly a written report of all reports received under SB 212 during the district’s reporting period. What information must be included in this report?

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 district to publish an annual report (during the Spring or Fall semester) that provides information on the number of reports the district 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.