Resources, Rights, and Options for Complainants
The Texas A&M University Office of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations has compiled information for individuals alleging sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, domestic violence, or dating violence, which can be downloaded and used as a comprehensive guide to resources, rights and options for complainants.
What is a Complainant?
An individual subjected to alleged sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, discrimination based on sex, stalking, domestic/dating abuse or violence, whether it occurred on or off-campus. A complainant has certain resources, rights, and options available.
Rights of a Complainant
A complainant has the following rights:
- You have the right to report any and all incidents of Prohibited Conduct to the University and have that report treated seriously. You may report Prohibited Conduct to the University, the appropriate law enforcement agency, both, or neither. The Title IX Coordinator is available to assist individuals who wish to report to law enforcement.
- You have the right to choose an advisor to be present with you at any meeting, including an interview with an Investigator. Your advisor may be any person, including legal counsel. The advisor’s participation will be limited to the role of an observer, although the advisor may request a break at any point to give advice or emotional support. The advisor cannot be called as a witness once they have assumed the role of advisor.
- You have the right to be assigned a Case Manager. The Case Manager is a staff member assigned to each party to help explain the rights, resources, and options that are available to them, answer any questions each party might have, and assist with providing supportive measures. You will be assigned a different Case Manager than the Respondent (the individual accused of misconduct).
- You have the right to request investigation and resolution of all credible complaints of Prohibited Conduct. You also have the right to request that the university seek no resolution or an informal resolution.
- You have the right to have an impartial Investigator, Designated Administrator (the individual who will decide whether or not Prohibited Conduct occurred and will assign appropriate sanctions), and Appellate Authority (the person who will hear an appeal) in your case. Your case and/or the appeal of your case will be decided by a person who did not participate in the investigation of the allegations.
- You have the right for the investigation of the complaint to occur within a reasonable time frame, which is usually thirty (30) business days from your receipt of the Notice of Investigation. You will usually be notified of the Designated Administrator’s decision within sixty (60) business days.
- You have the right to be notified of (1) the identity of the Respondent; (2) the date, time (if known), location, and nature of the alleged misconduct; (3) the policy or policies alleged to have been violated; (4) the identity of and contact information for the Investigator(s); (5) the identity of the Designated Administrator; and (6) the identity of the Appellate Authority.
- During the investigation, you and the Respondent have an equal opportunity to be heard, submit information and corroborating evidence, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and submit questions that you believe should be directed by the Investigator to each other or any witness. The proceeding will be fair and impartial, conducted by trained individuals, and be decided by a preponderance of the evidence.
- You have the right to have irrelevant prior sexual history excluded as evidence during an investigation.
- You have the right to review the draft investigation report and submit a response before the report is submitted to the Designated Administrator.
- You have the right to be simultaneously informed of the outcome of the investigation, and in cases of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence, the sanction imposed (if any).
- You have the right to appeal the decision of the Designated Administrator based on new evidence, procedural error, or appropriateness/severity of the sanctions. You have the right to be simultaneously notified of any changes to the decision or sanctions, and when the decision becomes final.
- If you have obtained a protective order, civil no-contact order, restraining order, or similar order against another member of the University community, the order should be provided to the Chief Risk, Ethics, and Compliance Officer. In conjunction with the University Police Department and other University officials, the Chief Risk, Ethics, and Compliance Officer will take all reasonable and legal actions to implement the order.
If you have questions, please contact your Case Manager or the Department of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations at 979-458-8407.
While the university wishes to create an environment in which individuals feel free to discuss concerns and make complaints, the university may be obligated to take action when officials are informed that sex discrimination or sexual harassment (i.e., sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) may be occurring. Information shared with university personnel and officials not listed below as confidential reporting options is considered private but not confidential. Although the confidentiality of the information received, the privacy of the individuals involved, and the wishes of the complainant/survivor regarding action by the university cannot be guaranteed, they will be protected to as great a degree as is legally possible.
The University is committed to protecting the privacy of reporting parties, complainants, and respondents. Given the sensitive nature of reports, information will be maintained in a secure manner and will only be disclosed to school officials who are responsible for handling the university’s response and/or have a legitimate educational interest. All students’ education records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information about FERPA, go to registrar.tamu.edu.
Persons gathering general information, seeking guidance, or filing a complaint may be concerned about the confidentiality of the information they are sharing. Complainants have the option to report confidentially through a university official listed as a confidential reporting option based on the official’s occupation or relationship to the complainant. See Confidential Reporting Options below.
Supportive Measures and Accommodations
Complainants may have various options and assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, and work situations if requested by the complainant and are reasonably available. These requests will be considered regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the incident to the university or law enforcement. Contact your Case Manager to request changes in academic, living, transportation, and work situations. Examples of potential accommodations include assistance in obtaining institutional no contact orders and/or changing living location, parking location, or class schedules to reduce the chance of continued contact with the respondent.
Counseling, health, mental health, advocacy, legal and other services are available for complainants both on-campus and in the community. In most cases, psychologists/counselors in Counseling and Psychological Services (for students) or the Work/Life Solutions Employee Assistance Program (for employees) are not required to, nor may, report an incident that in any way identifies students or employees concerned without their consent. However, if an imminent harm situation is present, the counselor must take action to protect whoever is at risk.
Below is a brief list of available resources:
Counseling and Psychological Services
🏢 Student Services Building, Texas A&M Campus
Medical and Health Services
Support, Advocacy, and Other Resources through Texas A&M University
Women’s Resource Center
🏢 Student Services Building, Texas A&M Campus
Support, Advocacy, and Other Resources in the Community
Bryan Police Department Victim’s Assistance
🏢 301 South Texas Ave., Bryan, TX
College Station Police Department Victim Advocacy and Assistance
🏢 2611 Texas Ave. South, College Station, TX
Reporting Prohibited Conduct
Individuals wishing to submit an anonymous report may use tellsomebody.tamu.edu, an electronic reporting option. The University’s ability to investigate and respond to an anonymous report may be limited.
You have the option to notify or not notify law enforcement authorities, including university and local police. Any individual may decline to notify law enforcement. An anonymous “Jane/John Doe” report can be filed with the police while deciding whether to pursue criminal charges. Law enforcement is able to help individuals understand the process of obtaining orders of protection, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by the courts. Below is a list of local law enforcement agencies. Reports should be filed with the agency where the incident occurred.
Texas A&M University strives to maintain a work and educational environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and related retaliation in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. Students, employees, and unrelated third parties are encouraged to report all unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
An employee who witnesses, is subjected to, or is informed about incidents of sexual harassment (including sexual misconduct or stalking), domestic violence, or dating violence, and/or related retaliation must file a Title IX complaint with the designated official below who handles alleged violations perpetrated by students, faculty, staff, or unrelated third parties.
Individuals may make inquiries or file a Title IX complaint by contacting the University’s Title IX Officer, Jennifer Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-458-8407. Individuals may also visit the Department for Civil Rights and Equity Investigations in the Medical Sciences Library Suite 007, 202 Olsen Boulevard, College Station, TX, 77843.
Department of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations
🏢 Medical Sciences Library
202 Olsen Blvd, Suite 007, College Station, TX 77843
☎ (979) 458-8407
During a criminal investigation, investigators gather evidence in order to determine whether someone broke the law. If a person is found guilty of breaking a law, a judge assigns criminal penalties (like incarceration or sex offender registration).
A Complainant seeking criminal penalties should file a report with the relevant law enforcement agency. Investigations conducted by the Department of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations at Texas A&M University are administrative investigations, not criminal investigations.
During a University investigation, investigators gather evidence in order to make a conclusion about whether a System regulation or University rule or policy has been broken. If a person is found responsible for a rule or policy violation is found, a University administrator issues sanctions such as probation, suspension, or expulsion (for students) or termination of employment (for employees).
Please consult the University’s Title IX Sanctioning Matrix for a fuller explanation of the University’s student sanctions.
The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is a federal agency responsible for enforcing Title IX.
Retain communications and document any contact with the involved individual(s). If possible, individuals should write down dates, times, locations of contact and preserve any text messages, emails, and/or social media site postings related to the incident.
The university will take reasonable action to protect the complainant, the respondent, and those providing witness statements on behalf of either party or supporting either party from retaliation. Additionally, those individuals are encouraged to report to designated officials any acts of retaliation from other parties associated with the incident. This action may come at any time during or following an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. Instances of retaliation will be investigated and may result in further conduct charges. Individuals are reminded that should there be fear of physical safety a report should be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Individuals seeking information about sanctioning of students should consult the Student Sanctioning Matrix. Information about employee sanctions may be found in University Standard Administrative Procedure 08.01.01.M1.01.