The term Respondent refers to someone who is accused 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.
If a complainant seeks disciplinary action against you or is pursuing a formal complaint reporting discrimination, harassment or related conduct, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will meet with you to outline next steps and discuss 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.
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
Common Feelings after Being Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Whenever a student is accused of a policy violation, emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Being accused of sexual misconduct can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to these accusations are normal reactions to a difficult situation. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, you may deal with some unanticipated emotions. Below are examples of feelings you may experience:
Anger is a common emotion whenever someone has been accused of sexual misconduct. There are several resources available to you to help you process or deal with any anger you are experiencing. Internalizing your anger could lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping including the consumption of alcohol, the use of drugs, causing harm to yourself or others, or other destructive behaviors.
Fear can take many forms. You may be experiencing fear of the unknown as the outcome of the investigation can impact your status at the university. You may also fear how those closest to you perceive you along with other members of the university community. Also, it is common to fear that someone may retaliate against you. If you feel as though you are being retaliated against, please see the section on retaliation above.
With all the emotions listed, you may feel like your daily life has been impacted. While participating in an investigation, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with your coursework. Other areas of your life that may be impacted include: sleep routine, change in appetite, 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.
Being accused of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone or isolated. It is common for individuals who are accused to prefer not to discuss the situation with anyone for fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. However, talking with a counselor or adviser may offer assistance with processing your experiences and feelings.
How to Help a Friend
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 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.
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.
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. For example, respondents of an alleged incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking may drop a course in which both parties are enrolled without any academic penalty.
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.
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