Sept. 4, 2019
Dear UNT faculty and staff,
New state legislation has been passed related to sexual misconduct that will impact every UNT employee.
Senate Bill 212 requires employees of public and private higher education institutions to report sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking against a student or employee to the institution’s Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Employees have always been required by UNT Policy to report instances of sexual misconduct, but this policy requirement is now a state law. Most importantly, the law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, requires the university to terminate any employee (including tenured faculty members) who is found to have failed to satisfy the mandatory reporting requirement.
Additionally, failure to report sexual misconduct will be a misdemeanor criminal offense beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.
Sexual misconduct is a violation of university policy and is inconsistent with the caring, creative community we value here at UNT. The entire UNT community should understand the law, as it is currently interpreted.
The law requires an employee to make a report anytime an “employee of a postsecondary educational institution…witnesses or receives information” regarding an incident that “the employee reasonably believes constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking” either committed by or against “a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident.”
The requirement applies not only when both the reported victim and perpetrator are affiliated with UNT, but also if a UNT community member is victimized by or victimizes an individual with no affiliation to UNT. The employee reporting obligation only exists, though, when the employee witnesses or receives information regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking “in the course and scope of [the employee’s] employment.” There is nothing in the law suggesting that an employee is relieved of their individual obligation to report because they know another employee has already reported the same misconduct.
The mandated report to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator must include “all information concerning the incident known to the reporting person that is relevant to the investigation.” If you are a designated “confidential employee” (for example, a medical or mental health professional, an attorney, etc.) and obtain knowledge of alleged sexual misconduct in the course and scope of those duties, you are not immune from the reporting requirement. Confidential employees must provide “only the type of incident reported,” which cannot “include any information that would violate a student's expectation of privacy.”
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is currently working to clarify some of the parts of this law that may be ambiguous. Until then, all employees are expected to continue reporting any incidents of sexual misconduct.
All types of misconduct can be reported at report.unt.edu or via email at TitleIX@unt.edu. Contact information for Title IX Coordinators can be found online, along with additional information on sexual misconduct. They can be contacted to file a report or to answer questions regarding reporting requirements.