New Texas Legislation

TEXAS LEGISLATURE PASSES COMPREHENSIVE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT LEGISLATION

The University of Texas at Arlington is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment that is free from discrimination on the basis of sex and free from sexual misconduct in accordance with Title IX, Title VII, and the Campus SaVE Act. UTA strives to ensure that all employees are informed and aware of their responsibilities as required by state regulations.

Two new Texas State laws, SB 212 and HB 1735, became effective January 1, 2020, and have a significant effect on UTA’s employees and UTA’s Title IX obligations. Title IX and other federal laws, including Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and the Clery Act remain in full force and effect for federal enforcement of sex discrimination impacting any person’s access to a federally funded education program, benefit, or activity.

Key Points

  • Starting January 1, 2020, all employees (including student employees) who, in the course and scope of employment, witnesses or receives information regarding an incident that the employee reasonably believes could constitute a “Title IX incident” that involves a current student or employee, is required to report promptly to the Title IX Coordinator or a deputy coordinator all relevant information that is known about the incident regardless of when or where the incident occurred.
  • Retaliation against persons who report, cooperate or participate in an investigation or disciplinary process is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.
  • Exceptions to the mandatory reporting requirement:
    • Employees who have been designated by the university as confidential employees and acting in the course and scope of their duties at the time of the disclosure is made. Information disclosed to a confidential employee may only be shared with the alleged victim’s written consent. Under new state law, confidential employees are required to report the type of incident only.
    • Alleged victims are not mandatory reporters of/for their own incident.
    • Employees are not required to report an incident that is disclosed at a public awareness event that is sponsored by the institution or sponsored by a student organization.
  • Consequences for failure to report or filing a false report:
    • While mandatory reporting requirements for all employees were previously in effect under federal law and UTA policy, new state law provides that, an employee who fails to report or falsely reports an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking may be subject to a criminal offense (misdemeanor).
    • The University must terminate any employee who it determines in accordance with the institution’s disciplinary procedure to have not made a required report.

For more information or training requests on Title IX and/or new state legislation, contact Title IX Coordinator, Michelle Willbanks at titleix@uta.edu or fill out a training request form.