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UT Releases State-Mandated Title IX Report

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

Although the Department of Education is responsible for issuing Title IX guidance nationally, state legislatures can have an indirect impact on Title IX. A recent news story about the University of Texas demonstrates this danger. Let's take a look at the story, and then we'll dive deeper into the implications for sexual misconduct defense. But first, some background.

In 2019, the Texas legislature amended a significant chunk of Chapter 51 of the Education Code via Senate Bill 212. As a result, both public and private universities must publicly publish a report that provides details and statistics about the number of sexual harassment or assault incidents that have been reported to the school.

University of Texas Report

The University of Texas report was delivered in early October to the UT System Board of Regents and published online at the end of October. This report includes all the reports for the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as any status updates for the 2019-2020 year. What is not included, however, are any reports that did not meet the reporting criteria, such as duplicate reports.

University of Texas's report shows that (for the 2020-2021 school year) of the 1,415 reports filed, only 971 of those were confidential (68.6%), and only 86 (6.1%) qualified for investigation. In this instance, confidential indicates that the report was made to a confidential employee.

The University chose not to pursue disciplinary hearings for 325 of the reports (25.3%). And of the 86 complaints that qualified for investigation, 38% were dismissed, 20 (or 1.4%) had completed investigations, and the rest were in process. Only 8 of the completed investigations met the “preponderance of evidence” standard required for Title IX hearings.

Mandate Increases Pressure to Report

According to the Statesman, Adriana Alicea-Rodriguez, UT's Title IX coordinator, “said the reports don't necessarily represent all of the instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking at the university…. However,… reporting is increasing due to SB 212, which allows UT to provide support.”

Although the Texas bill may be designed to increase transparency, in actuality, the result is that it's also increasing reported incidents. But of those incidents, only a small percentage are actually pursued under official investigation. Why are there so many more reports? And why are so many of those reports unfounded or settled outside the investigative process?

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Defense

Although the Title IX guidance has changed recently, many schools still pursue behavior that was covered under the old guidance. The new guidance was designed to protect those accused of sexual misconduct and increase the proof required for a determination. Receiving notification that an accusation has occurred can be frightening. It's important that if you receive notice, you contact an attorney-advisor immediately for assistance.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have assisted hundreds of students across the United States in Title IX proceedings over the course of many years. Let Attorney Lento and his fight by your side for your due process rights. Call today at 888.535.3686 or reach out to us online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

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