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Institutional Equity

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Complainant Information

The term Complainant refers to someone who is accusing another person (Respondent) of violating TCU’s Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy. The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) will treat all parties with respect and ensure the investigation is executed as thoroughly, fairly and as efficiently as possible.

Confidential Resources

Confidential Resources are confidential by federal and state law. These resources will not share any identifiable information with OIE, the police, parents or anyone else without permission first, except in cases where there is concern of imminent harm to yourself, someone else, or the campus community. Please see the FAQ section for a list of TCU’s confidential resources.

Resolution

The Title IX Coordinator or their designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the report, next steps, resources and options to file an informal or formal complaint. Receiving a letter of notice does not mean the Respondent has been found in violation of a policy. It means an investigation has been started to determine if there was a violation of policy.

The investigation process can be stressful and complicated. It is important for complainants to understand the process and the rights afforded to them. Please contact OIE at 817-257-8228 to address any questions or concerns. You may also view the Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy.

Retaliation Is Not Tolerated

TCU has a  strong policy against retaliation, including by third parties. The university will not tolerate retaliation against persons who, in good faith, report or make a complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

Nor does the university tolerate retaliation against those who testify, assist, participate in, or are a party to, any investigation, proceeding, or hearing involving such complaints.

If you experience retaliation in any form, please contact the Title IX Coordinator Andrea Vircks at 817-257-8228 as soon as possible so that the retaliatory behavior can be addressed and disciplinary action can be taken, if possible.

Navigating the Process

Potential Emotional Responses after Experiencing Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment

Emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Experiencing sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to sexual misconduct are normal reactions to a difficult situation or experience. You may choose to express your emotions outwardly or you may prefer to keep your emotions to yourself. Personal style and culture may affect your emotional responses and reactions. If you have experienced any form of sexual misconduct, you may be impacted by unanticipated emotions. Below are some examples of feelings you may experience.

Anger is a common emotion when someone has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault. The University has several resources available to help you to deal with any anger you are experiencing. Internalizing your anger may lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping (e.g., alcohol consumption, drug use, causing harm to yourself or others, or other destructive behaviors).

Fear may take many forms. You may be experiencing the fear of the unknown as to the outcome of the investigation or your status at the university related to your classes or your extracurricular activities. You may worry about how those closest to you may perceive you along with other members of the university community. It is common to far that someone may retaliate against you. (If you believe that you are being retaliated against, please visit the retaliation section above).

Experience an incident of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone or isolated. It is common for survivors to prefer not discussing the situation with others for the fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. Talking with a counselor or advisor may offer assistance with the processing of your experiences and feelings.

In addition to fear and anger, you may also experience other emotions or a combination of emotions. These emotions may include embarrassment, vulnerability, a lack of control, confusion, shock or disbelief, and/or denial.

With all the emotions listed, you may feel that your daily life has been impacted. While working through the physical, emotional, and physiological effects of an incident of sexual violence and/or an investigation of the incident, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with coursework. You may also experience a change to your sleep routine, change in appetite, and/or an increase in anxiety and depression. Interim measures may be available. If you have questions regarding interim measures, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at 817-257-8228.

All of these emotions can be overwhelming. It is important to remember there are resources on and off-campus to assist you.

 

How to Help a Friend

Do:

The first thing you can do to help is to listen and be supportive. Listen without judgment. Talking about what happened can help a survivor regain a sense of control. Let them guide the conversation and when they choose to talk about it.

It is often very difficult for survivors to talk about their experiences and disbelief can cause additional pain. The fear of not being believed is a real concern for people who have experienced an assault or interpersonal violence.

Support the survivor and encourage them to get support. Share the numerous options and resources available. If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to file a report, offer to be there. Their decisions to report or seek support is the survivor’s alone, but your involvement can be encouraging and positive.

Be respectful of the survivor and their privacy and confidentiality. If you are not a mandatory reporter, it is not your place to share their story without their permission, either in conversation or on social media.

 

Do Not:

Do not blame a survivor for what happened or make them feel guilty for what happened. It is important to understand that no matter what happened, it is not the survivor’s fault.

Do not criticize or judge how a survivor reacted during or after the assault or related incident — why they stayed in an abusive relationship, whether they said no or not, why they do/do not wish to report the matter. Understand people react differently to situations and they need your support even more following a traumatic incident.

Do not force a survivor to do anything they do not want to do. After an assault or harassment, survivors often feel powerless. It is important to empower a survivor to make their own decisions about what do following an incident, including decisions surrounding reporting and seeking help.

If you are a mandatory reporter, you must report any conduct that raises Title IX and/or VAWA issues to the Title IX Coordinator.

 

Advisors

Role of Advisors

All parties involved in any investigation are allowed to be accompanied to any meeting or hearing as part of these processes by an advisor of their choice to provide support, as long as the advisor is not a fact witness, a staff member in Office of Institutional Equity or the Office of Campus Life.

As someone who helps the Complainant or Respondent navigate the Title IX resolution process, the advisor is a silent participant during all official meetings with the Office of Institutional Equity. This means that the advisor may provide advice outside of these meetings; however, the advisor may serve as an advocate for the person they are assisting. Additionally, they may not speak on the behalf or speak for the individual. Additionally, they may not act in opposition to the university’s policy during the course of the resolution of a complaint. The advisor may not provide testimony, otherwise intercede in, or obstruct the process. However, you may request a break at any time during meetings to talk to your advisor, as long as it does not unreasonably impede the meeting.

The advisor is someone who is present to help the Complainant or Respondent understand the proceedings and to support them in what can be a difficult and stressful experience. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that the advisor become familiar with the investigation and resolution process to effectively advise the participant and accurately and appropriately guide them throughout the process. The Title IX Coordinator and designees are available to speak with the advisors, should the need arise. Additionally, advisors are encouraged to review the information and resources on the OIE website so that they know the university process and proceedings and can more effectively assist the Complainant or Respondent.

No. An individual may select any person to be an advisor, including but not limited to:

  • Another individual, including a student, not involved in the complaint
  • A parent or family member
  • A member of the faculty or administration not involved in the complaint
  • An attorney (limited to one attorney)

If you have chosen an advisor for the conduct process, you must complete the Advisor Designation and Authorization form.

  • Student: Please use the OIE Advisor Designation & FERPA Consent Form.
  • Employee: Please use the OIE Advisor Designation.

An advisor can call the OIE Office to talk with an OIE staff member about process and the Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy.

The designation of an advisor does not change how a report of sexual misconduct (i.e., sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking) will be resolved. All communications will be directed to the Complainant or Respondent. The investigator reserves the right to postpone an interview or meeting if an advisor distracts, derails, impedes or disrupts any part of the process, and that advisor may be excluded from participating in future meetings or hearings.

Yes, you may choose more than one advisor; however, only one advisor may attend interviews or meetings. If you choose more than one advisor or switch advisors, it is your responsibility to keep them updated throughout the process. If you switch advisor, you will need submit another Advisor Designation Form.

 

Interim Measures

Upon request, the university can provide reasonable interim measures to support Complainants. The Title IX Coordinator, or the Title IX Coordinator’s designees who reaches out to you can assist in arranging these types of interim measures. 

Resources

TCU is committed to a fair, unbiased, and consistent learning environment where every student is treated with dignity and respect and is granted all procedural protections afforded by TCU Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Conduct.