Resources, Rights, and Options for Respondents
The Texas A&M University Office of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations has compiled information for individuals accused of 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 respondents.
Title IX Resources, Rights and Options for Respondents
Civil Rights Resources, Rights and Options for Respondents
What is a Respondent?
An individual who is alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment, sex-based misconduct, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, discrimination based on sex, stalking, domestic or dating abuse or violence (“Prohibited Conduct”), whether it occurred on or off-campus. A respondent has certain resources, rights, and options available.
Rights of a Respondent
A respondent has the following rights:
- You have the right to a presumption of not-responsible for alleged Prohibited Conduct unless the Hearing Officer/Designated Administrator determines that it is more likely than not that you are responsible for violating a Texas A&M System Regulation or a Texas A&M University rule.
- You have the right to choose an Advisor to be present with you at any meeting, including an interview with an Investigator(s) or a live hearing. Your Advisor may be any person, including legal counsel. Except at a formal hearing, the Advisor’s participation will be limited to providing support and guidance to you. At a formal hearing, the Advisor will conduct cross-examination. If you do not have an advisor, the university will appoint one to assist you at a formal hearing.
- You have the right to be assigned a Case Manager. The Case Manager is a University staff member assigned to you to explain your rights, resources, and options for resolving the complaint, to answer any questions you might have, and to provide supportive measures. You will be assigned a different Case Manager than the Complainant (the individual alleging Prohibited Conduct).
- If a Title IX complaint is dismissed prior to a formal or informal resolution, you have the right to a prompt notification of the reason for the dismissal, even if the Complaint is going to be reclassified and investigated under the same process as a complaint of Sex-Based Misconduct . You have the right to appeal the decision to dismiss the Complaint.
- You have the right to have an impartial Investigator, Hearing Officer/Designated Administrator, and Appellate Authority (the person(s) who will hear an appeal) in your case. Your case and/or the appeal of your case will be decided by a person(s) who did not participate in the investigation of the allegations.
- You have the right to be notified of (1) the receipt of a formal complaint stating the allegation of Prohibited Conduct; (2) the identity of the appointed Investigator(s); (3) the identity of the appointed Hearing Officer/Designated Administrator/Appellate Authority; (4) the option to request supportive measures, if any; and, (5) the availability of any informal resolution processes. You have the right to the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the Prohibited Conduct alleged to have occurred, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. You have the right to a thorough and fair investigation of the allegations.
- During the investigation, both you and the Complainant have the right to receive equitable treatment in all facets of the complaint investigation and resolution process including, but not limited to, the right to submit evidence, the right to suggest witnesses to be interviewed. You have the right to discuss the allegations under investigation with anyone you choose.
- You have the right to have irrelevant prior sexual history excluded as evidence during a hearing.
- You have the right to review the draft investigation report, including all inculpatory and exculpatory evidence gathered during the investigation. You may submit a response to the report before the report is finalized and submitted to the Hearing Officer/Designated Administrator.
- You have the right to informed of the outcome of the investigation at the same time as the Complainant, and in cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex-based misconduct, sex-based discrimination, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence, you will be notified of the sanction imposed (if any).
- You have the right to appeal the decision of the Designated Administrator based on new evidence; procedural irregularity; bias or conflict of interest on the part of the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Designated Administrator; or, appropriateness/severity of the sanctions. You have the right to be notified if the case is appealed by either party and the outcome of the appeal.
- If you believe that the other party has subjected you to prohibited conduct, you have the right to file a university complaint against the other party. You also have the right to file a criminal complaint against the other party with the appropriate law enforcement agency, if appropriate.
If you have questions, please contact your Case Manager or the Department of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations at 979-458-8407.
Most university employees are mandatory reporters, which means that if an employee experiences, observes, or becomes aware of an alleged or suspected incident of discrimination or harassment in the course and scope of their employment, the employee must report all known information to the University. Counselors and Medical providers report de-identified statistics only. See Texas A&M University System Regulation 08.01.01, Section 2.1 for more information about mandatory reporting.
The University is committed to protecting the privacy of reporting parties, complainants, and respondents to the extend allowable under law. 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’ educational records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information about FERPA, go to registrar.tamu.edu.
Supportive Measures and Accommodations
Accused individuals have an equitable right to request assistance with changes to academic, living, transportation, and work situations. Contact your Case Manager to request these changes. Supportive measures will be provided free of charge and may not unreasonably burden either party.
Counseling, health, mental health, advocacy, and other services are available for respondents both on-campus and in the community. In most cases, psychologists/counselors in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, for students, caps.tamu.edu) or Work/Life Solutions Program (for employees, employees.tamu.edu/eap) 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. Confidential resources are italicized; however, in accordance with the Clery Act, confidential resources will report de-identified statistics only.
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
Reporting Prohibited Conduct
Individuals wishing to submit an anonymous report may use the reporting form found on the Title IX Website. The University’s ability to investigate and respond to an anonymous report may be limited.
Individuals reporting an incident have the option of notifying or not notifying law enforcement authorities, including university and local police. An individual may decline to notify law enforcement. An anonymous “Jane/John Doe” report can be filed with the police by the alleged victim 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 law enforcement agency that is located where the incident occurred.
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.
Individuals may make inquiries or file a complaint by contacting the Title IX Officer, Jennifer Smith, at email@example.com 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.
🏢 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 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 any acts of retaliation from other individuals associated with the incident. This action may come at any time during or following an investigation of a complaint. Individuals are reminded to contact law enforcement immediately if there is a threat to physical health or safety.
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.