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Institutional Equity

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Any person (e.g., student, staff, faculty, visitor) may report what they believe to be an act of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator, or to a Deputy Title IX Officer, or to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).

Complaints or reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation should be made as soon as possible after an incident. All individuals are engaged to report discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation so that prompt effective action can be taken. All complaints and third-party reports of conduct in violation of the University’s Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy should be made to the Office of Institutional Equity, the Title IX Coordinator, or to a Deputy Title IX Officer.  
There are several ways to submit a Title IX complaint or report.

  • Make an OIE report;
  • Leave a private message for the Title IX Coordinator at 817-257-8228;
  • File a written complaint with the Title IX Coordinator;
  • Make an appointment to see the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Officers;
  • Complaints against a student for conduct alleged to have been committed by a student in violation of this policy can also be made to Campus Life-Dean’s Office

Ms. Andrea Vircks
Title IX Coordinator
The Harrison Suite 1800
TCU Box 298920
Fort Worth TX 76129
817-257-8228

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating, implementing and overseeing compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 (Title IX), The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Campus Save Act and the Clery Act. The Title IX Coordinator coordinates and tracks all Title IX complaints and reports of alleged violations of  TCU’s Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation Policy. The Title IX Coordinator may handle a complaint alleging a violation of this policy or another appropriate University official. Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator can provide information about TCU’s policies regarding Title IX and will ensure that such complaints are addressed by the appropriate University officials. The Title IX Coordinator will assist the parties in receiving support services and will facilitate any interim measures during the investigation.

Upon receipt of a Report of a possible violation of TCU’s policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation, the OIE will make an Initial Inquiry to determine what actions should be taken based on the Report, including whether Interim Measures are appropriate; and the next steps for resolving the Report, including whether the Complainant, if any, or the OIE will submit a written Complaint and proceed to an Investigation.

Initial Inquiry

As part of the Initial Inquiry, the OIE will: contact the person who reported the conduct, if appropriate; contact the Complainant, if any; assess the nature of the Report; address immediate needs of the Complainant and the campus community; implement or recommend Interim Measures, as appropriate; discuss available options for resolution with the Complainant; provide the Complainant with information about resources both on and off campus; and assess for pattern evidence or other similar conduct by the Respondent. This assessment will continue until the OIE has sufficient information to determine an appropriate course of action to resolve the Report.

Investigation and the Formal Resolution of a Complaint

If the Complainant or the OIE submits a Complaint, the OIE will assign an investigator(s) to conduct the Investigation. In the Investigation and formal resolution of any Complaint, the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the conduct alleged in the Complaint, with any determination concerning responsibility made at the conclusion of the Formal Resolution process, including any hearing or other process afforded to student respondents under the Code of Student Conduct or afforded to any employee respondents under applicable TCU policies.

Ordinarily, within forty-five (45) calendar days of the submission of a Complaint, the investigator(s) will prepare a summary of the information gathered and considered by the investigator(s), including a summary of the information provided by the witnesses and a list of any documents or other any materials considered. This summary will not include any preliminary investigative finding The investigator will provide access to the Complainant and to the Respondent to the summary and any documents or other relevant materials considered by the investigator(s). Access will be provided to the parties and advisors in electronic format or they will be provided hard copies. The parties will have ten (10) calendar days to submit a written response which the investigator(s) will consider prior to the completion of the Investigative Report. The investigator(s) will complete the Investigative Report within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of the parties’ comments or additional information following their review of the summary.

If the Respondent is an employee, the final investigator’s report will include a determination of responsibility by the investigator with recommendations of sanctions and/or remedies. The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) will provide this report to the Office of Human Resources and appropriate management.

If the Respondent is a student, the final investigator report will not include any investigative findings or determination of responsibility. The OIE will deliver the report to the Office of Campus Life-Dean’s Office for determination of responsibility and appropriate sanctions and/or remedies. In making such determinations, the Campus Life – Dean’s Office will follow applicable student conduct procedures set forth in the TCU Code of Student Conduct, including providing for a hearing with enhanced processes if required to do so by federal Title IX regulations.

For additional information or inquiries regarding Title IX, you may visit Office for Civil Rights for the address and phone number of the U. S. Department of Education office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.

The Complainant or Respondent may choose at their own discretion an English interpreter to assist them with the process. Individuals have often sought assistance from professors, advisors and friends or family when language has been a barrier to full participation. The interpreter may accompany the individual to official meetings along with the advisor, but their role at official meetings will be limited to language translation.

The Complainant or Respondent should promptly notify the Investigator in charge of their investigation if they may need accommodations during any part of the process. They will discuss what accommodations may be appropriate for their particular situation.

The preponderance of the evidence standard is the required standard of proof in TCU’s investigation procedures for Title IX cases. It is also referred to as “more likely than not” and is equivalent to 50.1% or “50% plus a feather.” The University will find an individual responsible for violating the Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation Policy when the evidence supports the finding based on a preponderance of the evidence.

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of proof that applies in a criminal trial. It is a very high standard of proof that is significantly greater than the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard of evidence is NOT used in the conduct investigations facilitated through the Office of Institutional Equity or the Office of Campus Life.

During the initial inquiry and investigation, respondents and complainants do not have to meet or speak to each other as part of an investigation or informal resolution. At that time, all communication will be facilitated through the Office of Institutional Equity. During the formal hearing process, which is facilitated through the Office of Campus Life, parties will be in the same room, either virtual or otherwise.

Yes. Both parties will have the opportunity to present witnesses and the investigator will make every effort to speak with every witness. The investigator may also identify additional witnesses. Both parties may also provide any relevant evidence. Evidence is often comprised of text messages, emails, photos, videos, or other documents. Evidence can be any information that corroborates or contradicts the complaint, and both parties will have equal opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.

A sexual assault medical forensic examination is performed by specially trained medical professionals for the purpose of evaluation and treatment of trauma, treatment of possible exposure to infection, referral to counseling and follow-up medical care, and for the collection of evidence following a report of sexual assault by a victim. The medical well-being of the patient is the primary objective of the SANE at all times during the examination.

The State of Texas provides for a report and non-report option allowing survivors of a sexual assault to obtain a medical forensic exam and have evidence collected, without cost to the victims, even if they do not wish to involve law enforcement at the time of evidence collection.

A formal investigation follows a prescribed process and will conclude with a formal finding and outcome.  In nearly all cases, discipline and sanctions can only occur after a formal investigation is complete.  However, if the preponderance of the evidence standard is not met, there will be no discipline and the case will be closed.  An informal resolution is an educational process that works to conclude the matter quickly and confidentially, at the end of which there may or may not be a formal finding or sanction.

All TCU employees, except confidential resources are considered mandatory reporters. They have an obligation to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator any conduct that raises Title IX and/or Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) issues, including any reports, complaints or allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and those forms of prohibited conduct that relate to non-consensual sexual intercourse or contact, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, stalking and retaliation involving any member of the TCU community.

The following employees are Confidential Resources when they receive information from students in the context of providing professional services: Counseling Center, Health Center, certified confidential advocate, ordained clergy members, including ordained University Chaplains in TCU’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, acting in their professional capacities.