West Texas A&M University

Buff Transit Tracker
Human Resources Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault

1. What is Title IX?

2. What is sexual violence?

3. How do I know if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

4. How do I know if I’ve been sexually harassed?

5. What is a sexually hostile and intimidating work environment?

6. What should I do if I think I’ve been sexually harassed or victimized?

7. Are women the only victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence?

8. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?

9. If I think I’ve been victimized and I don’t feel safe, what can I do?

10. The definition of sexual assault says it can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent. What does “when a person cannot give consent" mean?

11. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can the University investigate?

12. If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking, will I get in trouble?

13. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?

14. What is the best way to prevent sexual harassment?

15. What are some examples of sexual harassment?

Reporting

1. To whom should I report that I've been sexually harassed/assaulted?

2. I’ve already gone to the police, so why do I need to go to the Title IX Coordinator?

3. If I reported being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to the Title IX Coordinator, do I still need to go to the police?

4. Will my complaint remain confidential?

5. What if I want to remain anonymous?

6. Do I have to identify the alleged perpetrator?

7. I’m concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?

8. My friend told me he or she was assaulted. What can I do to help?

9. Do I have to report to WTAMU? Is there someone outside WTAMU I can report to?

10. Where can I find WTAMU’s Title IX and Civil Rights Complaints Procedures?

Title IX Coordinator

1. What is a Title IX Coordinator?

2. Who is the Title IX Coordinator?

3. Isn’t Title IX just about Athletics?

 


Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault

1. What is Title IX?

The federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions is Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 (amending the Higher Education Act of 1965). This act is codified as Title 20, United States Code, Chapter 38, Sections 1681-1686. The act was also amended by the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 ("Title IX").
The law states that "no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The amendment in 1987 expanded the definition of program or activity to include all the operations of an educational institution, governmental entity or private employer that receives federal funds.
Title IX forbids sex discrimination in all university student services and academic programs including, but not limited to, admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, Registrar's office, classroom assignments, grading and discipline. Title IX also forbids discrimination because of sex in employment and recruitment consideration or selection, whether full time or part time, under any education program or activity operated by an institution receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance ("recipient").

back to top

2. What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion. All such acts are forms of sexual harassment and covered under Title IX.


back to top

3. How do I know if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

The Texas Penal Code - Section 22.011 defines sexual assault in several ways. Generally, sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another. Sexual assault can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent (under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc.). Sexual assault is a general term which covers a range of crimes, including rape.  As defined under Texas law, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that involves the use of threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.  Sexual intercourse is considered non-consensual and, therefore, rape when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs, or if a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability renders the victim incapable of giving consent.  Whether the accused is a stranger, acquaintance, spouse, or friend is irrelevant to the legal definition of rape. 

Beside rape, other acts of sexual assault include forced anal intercourse, forced oral copulation, penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, and forcibly touching an intimate part of another person.  Men as well as women can be victims of these other forms of sexual assault.  If a student, staff person, member of the faculty or other academic appointee is charged with rape; s/he can be prosecuted under Texas criminal statutes, as well as disciplined under appropriate discipline procedures.  Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action and the complainant can file a civil suit. In addition to rape, as defined by Texas law, the University will not tolerate any non-consensual penetration, however slight, or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus, and will take appropriate action when such acts are reported.

To be consensual, there must be ". . . positive cooperation" and "the person must act freely and voluntarily . . ."

back to top

4. How do I know if I’ve been sexually harassed?

The Texas A&M University System defines Sexual Harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct is so frequent or severe that it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  It is Sexual Harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any University activity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual;
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive university environment.

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of circumstances, including the nature and frequency of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

Sexual harassment may be distinguished from sexist attitudes in that sexual harassment is sexual in content and behavioral, rather than attitudinal.

It is not unlawful to hold sexist attitudes, as long as they are not translated into discriminatory treatment.  Harassment by someone with the power to affect your employment or academic relationship includes situations in which any person with institutional authority explicitly threatens negative consequences, or promises positive consequences, as a means of securing acquiescence to unwelcome sexual behavior.  While such explicit conditioning of academic or employment benefits upon acceptance of sexual advances may be rare, supervisors, instructors, and others with institutional authority should be aware that in some circumstances, a student or employee may feel that tolerating unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature is the tacit price s/he must pay in order to receive the services and benefits to which s/he is entitled.  Such behavior is a violation of the Texas A&M University System’s Regulation on Civil Rights Compliance (08.01.01) and WTAMU’s Civil Rights Complaint Procedure (08.01.01 W1.01).

back to top

 

5.  What is a sexually hostile and intimidating work environment?

Whereas this type of harassment can be perpetrated only by a person with institutional authority, a sexually hostile and intimidating environment may be created by the actions of instructors, supervisors, subordinates, or peers.

Behaviors that may contribute to a hostile environment include, but are not limited to:

  • verbal, non-verbal, and physical sexual behaviors
  • coerced sex
  • sexual jokes and innuendoes
  • remarks about a person's body
  • turning discussions inappropriately to sexual topics
  • whistling or cat calls
  • looking a person up and down or staring in a sexually suggestive manner
  • invading someone's personal space or blocking her/his path
  • sexually explicit visuals such as pin-ups
  • suggestions of sexual intimacy
  • repeated requests for dates
  • unwanted letters, electronic mail or other computer communications
  • unwanted gifts
  • touching, hugging, massaging, and other gestures or sounds that a reasonable person of the same sex as the recipient would find offensive

It is important to be aware that in many instances, the intentions of the accused may be regarded as irrelevant in determining whether her/his behaviors constitute sexual harassment; it is the effect of the behavior on the recipient that may define a hostile environment.

back to top

 

6. What should I do if I think I’ve been sexually harassed or victimized?

If you are a WTAMU student or a non-faculty employee:Talk to your supervisor, the Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator (651-2116), the University Police Department (651-5000), a professor you trust, a person at the University, a friend, or a counselor at Student Counseling Services Center (651-2340), or Campus Ombudsman (Students, 651-2051).

If you are a faculty employee:Talk to your department head, dean, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator (651-2116), the University Police Department (651-5000), or the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (651-2044). 

back to top

7. Are women the only victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence?

No, both females and males can be victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. 

back to top

 

8. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?

Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX and WTAMU policy.

back to top

 

9. If I think I’ve been victimized and I don’t feel safe, what can I do?

Find a safe place away from the assailant and call 911.

The Title IX Coordinator also can coordinate other assistance including no contact orders, escort services, relocation of the individuals involved, and reassignment of schedules if the victim and the accused have similar schedules.

back to top

 

10. The definition of sexual assault says it can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent. What does “when a person cannot give consent" mean?

In certain situations, a person does not have the capacity to agree to participate in consensual sex. Examples include individuals who are under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc. Anyone engaging in sexual contact with someone who is unable to give consent may be committing sexual assault.

back to top

 

11. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can the University investigate?

Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to West Texas A&M (if it occurs at a WTAMU event, if it involves a WTAMU student, staff member or faculty member, etc.) then WTAMU can investigate and provide resolution.

back to top

 

12. If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking, will I get in trouble?

West Texas A&M’s priority is to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence. While the specifics of the situation will be considered, WTAMU’s primary focus will be to address the sexual harassment or violence. West Texas A&M does not want the involvement of alcohol or drugs to prevent the reporting of such serious misconduct. Also, the use of alcohol or drugs will not excuse sexual violence or harassment.

back to top

 

13. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?

If the behavior is brought to your attention, apologize; ask for a description of what was offensive and who found it offensive.  Consider the following actions:

  • If you realize that you have been inappropriate, apologize as soon as possible.
  • Change your behavior.
  • Recognize that other steps may need to be taken.
  • Be careful of inappropriate advice that would lead you to minimize or ignore this issue.
  • Seek the advice of appropriate University resources.
  • Attend sexual harassment training.
  • Know the policy on sexual harassment. back to top

14. What is the best way to prevent sexual harassment?

Know your rights. Members of our university community have the right to work and learn in an environment that is free from verbal or physical sexual conduct which might either interfere with an individual's performance, or create a work or educational climate that is hostile, intimidating, or offensive, whether that conduct originates with an instructor, a supervisor, or a peer.

back to top

 

15. What are some examples of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is conduct that is unwelcome or uninvited. Examples include (not exhaustive):

  • verbal, non-verbal, and physical sexual behaviors;
  • coerced sex; sexual jokes and innuendoes;
  • remarks about a person's body;
  • turning discussions inappropriately to sexual topics;
  • whistling or cat calls; looking a person up and down or staring in a sexually suggestive manner;
  • invading someone's personal space or blocking her/his path;
  • sexually explicit visuals such as pin-ups;
  • suggestions of sexual intimacy;
  • repeated requests for dates; unwanted letters, electronic mail or other computer communications;
  • unwanted gifts;
  • touching, hugging, massaging, and other gestures or sounds that a reasonable person of the same sex as the recipient would find offensive. back to top

Reporting

1. To whom should I report that I’ve been sexually harassed/assaulted?

Sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator and/or to the West Texas A&M UPD.

back to top

 

2. I’ve already gone to the police, so why do I need to go to the Title IX Coordinator?

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are potential crimes but they also are violations of Title IX, West Texas A&M University and A&M System policy. Sometimes, specific conduct may not constitute a crime, but it still constitutes a violation of Title IX, West Texas A&M University and A&M System policy. West Texas A&M is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, regardless of whether such activity constitutes a crime.

back to top

 

3. If I reported being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to the Title IX Coordinator, do I still need to go to the police?

If you believe you have been sexually assaulted or a victim of any other crime, then you should contact West Texas A&M UPD.

back to top

 

4. Will my complaint remain confidential?

Any person needing assistance about sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other Title IX/Civil Rights concerns may call or make an appointment with the Title IX Coordinator. You will not be required to give your name or anyone else's name to receive information and advice on your options and referrals.  Resources are available for advice and information regarding reports of sexual harassment or sexual assault that are totally confidential.  An example of a confidential resource includes counselors in the Student Counseling Service Center.  Individuals who consult confidential resources must be advised that their discussions in these settings will not be considered reports of sexual harassment and will not, without additional action by the individual, result in any action by the University to resolve their concerns.

Procedures provide for protecting the privacy of individuals involved in a report of sexual harassment to the extent allowed by law and University policy. A report of sexual harassment may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the University community. While such information is considered confidential, University policy regarding access to public records and disclosure of personal information may require disclosure of certain information regarding a report of sexual harassment. In such cases, every effort will be made to redact the records in order to protect the privacy of individuals.

Individuals wishing to make reports of sexual harassment must understand that certain University employees, such as the Title IX Coordinator, managers, supervisors, and other designated employees responsible for reporting or responding to reports of sexual harassment, have an obligation to respond to reports of sexual harassment, even if the individual making the report requests that no action be taken. The expressed wishes of individuals regarding the confidentiality of reports of sexual harassment will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such wishes will be considered in the context of the University's legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although requests for confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.

back to top

 

5. What if I want to remain anonymous?

Your confidentiality will be protected to the maximum extent possible, but anonymity may hinder an investigation into your complaint.

back to top

 

6. Do I have to identify the alleged perpetrator?

Yes, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, the alleged perpetrator must be identified.

back to top

 

7. I’m concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?

Yes. If you have concerns for your safety, WTAMU can provide escort services and take other steps to assist you. In addition, WTAMU has a strong retaliation policy that is aggressively enforced if a complainant or a witness is retaliated against for participating in a Title IX investigation.

back to top

 

8. My friend told me he or she was assaulted. What can I do to help?

Be supportive – listen to what she or he has to say then encourage your friend to report the incident to the police or to the Title IX Coordinator. You should also consider reporting the incident yourself. You may also suggest that they contact West Texas A&M University’s Counseling Services.

back to top

 

9. Do I have to report to WTAMU? Is there someone outside WTAMU I can report to?

You also can report to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. However, WTAMU is committed to addressing and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence, and WTAMU is best able to do that when it is made aware of possible violations.

back to top

 

10. Where can I find WTAMU’s Title IX and Civil Rights Complaints Procedures?

 The Human Resources section of WTAMU’s website includes information pertaining to Title IX and the Civil Rights Complaint Procedure (08.01.01 W1.01).  If you can't find the information you're looking for on the website, please contact Harvey Hudspeth, Director of Human Resources/Title IX Officer, at 651-2116, or hhudspeth@wtamu.edu.

back to top

 

Title IX Coordinator

1. What is a Title IX Coordinator?

The Title IX Coordinator is the university official responsible for ensuring WTAMU complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating all complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at WTAMU.

back to top

 

2. Who is the Title IX Coordinator?

Title IX Coordinator:
Harvey Hudspeth
Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 806-651-2116
Email: hhudspeth@wtamu.edu
Office Location: Old Main Room 116, WT Box 60999, Canyon, Texas 79016

back to top

 

3. Isn’t Title IX just about Athletics?

No, not entirely. Title IX addresses discrimination based on sex/gender. Title IX considers sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and it requires that all incidents of sexual harassment be viewed as discrimination and be investigated. 

back to top