Dec 09, 2022  
2022-2023 Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Catalog

V. Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures (Including Title IX)



The University is committed to providing and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment where students, faculty, staff, and visitors are free from sex discrimination of any kind. The University prohibits discrimination based on sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and other types of Sexual Misconduct. Sexual Misconduct is a broad term encompassing all forms of gender-based harassment or discrimination and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Public Indecency, Interpersonal (Dating, Domestic, or Family) Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and any other misconduct based on sex. Discriminatory behavior is prohibited regardless of the manner in which it is exhibited, whether verbally, in writing, by actions, or electronically conveyed.

A. Introduction

This provides information regarding the University’s response and prevention efforts related to sex discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. In conjunction with Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.10 Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure, TTUHSC El Paso OP 51.02, Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.06 Sexual Misconduct, and TTUHSC El Paso OP 51.03, the policies set forth here apply to all members of the University Community, provide students with their rights and options, and also explain how the University will proceed once it is made aware of allegations of prohibited conduct in keeping with the University’s values and in order to meet the legal obligations of Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE), the Clery Act, Texas Education Code, 34 CFR Part 106, and other applicable law.

The University expects all members of the University Community to comply with the law. Members of the University Community who violate these policies and laws may be subject to disciplinary action or sanctions, up to and including termination of employment, expulsion from the university, or being barred from University premises and events.

B. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

The University does not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on or related to sex (including pregnancy), race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or other protected categories, classes, or characteristics. Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.10 Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure, adopted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso in OP 51.02, applies to all University students and University employees, visitors, applicants for admission to or employment with the University, as well as University affiliates and others conducting business on University campuses.

If a student has a complaint of discrimination or harassment by an employee, whether faculty, staff, or student employee (other than for Sexual Misconduct, which is addressed under Section C below), the provisions relating to the complaint process set forth in Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.10 and TTUHSC El Paso OP 51.02 shall apply. Students with such complaints of discrimination or harassment by an employee should contact the System Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or submit a completed Complaint of Discrimination or Harassment form to OEO, which is available at: https://www.texastech.edu/offices/equal-employment/. OEO’s complete contact information is as follows:

Contact

Phone

Address

Email

Charlotte Bingham
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administration,
Texas Tech University
System Office of Equal Opportunity

806.742.3627

TTU System
Administration Building
1508 Knoxville Avenue
Suite 309

TTUS Office of Equal
Opportunity
Box 41073
Lubbock, TX 79409

eeo@ttu.

If a student has a complaint of discrimination or harassment by a student or a student organization, such complaints are guided by the Student Conduct Procedures set forth in Part II of this Student Handbook. Students with complaints of discrimination or harassment by a student or student organization should contact the TTUHSC El Paso Student Services and Student Engagement and/or utilize the online Incident Report Form available at

https://www.ttuhsc.edu/student-affairs/grievances.aspx. TTUHSC El Paso Student Services and Student Engagement complete contact information is as follows:

Contact

Phone

Address

Email

Robin Dankovich
Assistant Vice President
Student Services and
Student Engagement

915.215.4537

TTUHSC El Paso
MSBII - MSC21014
137 Rick Francis
El Paso TX 79902

robin.dankovich@ttuhsc.edu

In instances of complaints of sex/gender discrimination, the complainants may contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator, whose complete contact information is as follows:

Contact

Phone

Address

Email

Linda Ellis
TTUHSC El Paso Title IX
Coordinator

915.215.5439

PLFSOM Office of Student Affairs Medical Education
Bldg, 2140
5001 El Paso Drive,
MSC 21013
El Paso, TX 79905

linda.s.ellis@ttuhsc.edu

While Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and other forms of Sexual Misconduct may constitute prohibited acts of discrimination under this Section B, such behavior is prohibited under TTU System Regulation 07.06 and TTUHSC El Paso OP 51.03, as discussed in Section C below.

C. Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct in the TTUHSC El Paso community is prohibited pursuant to Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.06 Sexual Misconduct (adopted by TTUHSC El Paso as OP 51.03).

1. Separate Policies for Title IX Sexual Misconduct and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

While all Sexual Misconduct is prohibited, in accordance with applicable federal and state law, the University has adopted two distinct policies and grievance procedures for Title IX Sexual Misconduct and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct. These policies are available at the following links: 

The University Title IX Coordinator will assist those making reports or complaints of Sexual Misconduct with understanding which policy may apply based on the nature, context, and location of the alleged conduct. The Flowchart available here visually depicts the applicability of these two policies and their respective grievance processes. In the event of any conflict between this Student Handbook and System Regulations 07.06.A, 07.06.B, and 07.10, the system regulations will control. 

The University Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s compliance with the Sexual

Misconduct policies, including both Title IX and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct. The University has also designated a Title IX Deputy Coordinator for employees. Contact information for the Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator is as follows:

Contact

Phone

Address

Email & Website

Linda Ellis TTUHSC El Paso Title IX Coordinator

915.215.5439

PLFSOM Office of Student Affairs Medical Education Bldg, 2140 5001 El Paso Drive, MSC 21013 El Paso, TX 79905

linda.s.ellis@ttuhsc.edu

https://elpaso.ttuhsc.edu/gsbs/catalog/title-IX.aspx

Charlotte Bingham TTUHSC Title IX Deputy Coordinator for Employees

806.742.3627

System Administration Building 1508 Knoxville Ave., Suite 309 Box 41073 Lubbock, TX 79409

eeo@ttu.edu

http://www.texastech.edu
/offices/equalemployment/

  1.  Title IX Sexual Misconduct

Title IX Sexual Misconduct is governed by Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.06.A. Generally, only sexual assault; stalking; dating violence; domestic violence; quid pro quo conduct; and conduct that is severe, pervasive, and objectionably offensive will constitute Title IX Sexual Misconduct, and be governed by such policy. The procedure for reporting and filing a formal complaint of Title IX Sexual Misconduct, and the grievance process for addressing such complaints, is set forth in System Regulation 07.06.A. The provisions of the remainder of this Section C may not apply to reports and complaints of Title IX Sexual Misconduct. The University’s Title IX Coordinator will assist students in navigating these policies. 

All other forms of Sexual Misconduct are addressed pursuant to the Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct policy, set forth in this Student Handbook and governed by System Regulation 07.06.B.

  1. Non-title IX Sexual Misconduct

All Sexual Misconduct that does meet the threshold of Title IX Sexual Misconduct will proceed under the Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct policy set forth in this Student Handbook. 

All investigations and procedures under this policy will be conducted in a reasonably prompt timeframe and in an equitable and impartial manner. Investigations conducted hereunder are not criminal investigations. For all complaints, the burden of proof shall be a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will investigate complaints of Sexual Misconduct by or between students. The Texas Tech University System Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will investigate complaints of Sexual Misconduct by or between employees. Student complaints of Sexual Misconduct by an employee will be investigated jointly by the Title IX Coordinator or designee and the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Students with complaints of Sexual Misconduct by an employee should contact the Title IX Coordinator or Office of Equal Opportunity, and/or utilize the online reporting tool available on the University’s website at http://www.ttuhsc.edu/title-ix/default.aspx. Students with complaints of Sexual Misconduct by a student or student organization should contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or utilize the online reporting tool available on the University’s website at http://www.ttuhsc.edu/title-ix/default.aspx.

Individuals wishing to remain anonymous can report Sexual Misconduct in any manner, including by telephone or written communication, with the University Title IX Coordinator or Office of Equal Opportunity. However, electing to remain anonymous may greatly limit the University’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating the TTUHSC El Paso Sexual Misconduct policies.

  1. Employees are Mandatory Reporters

Pursuant to Texas law, all employees, including student employees, who in the course and scope of employment, witness or receive information regarding the occurrence of an incident that the employee reasonably believes constitutes Sexual Misconduct and is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the University at the time of the incident shall promptly report the incident to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. An Employee is required to report an incident regardless of where or when the incident occurred. Failure to report Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, or Stalking is a violation of state Texas that shall result in termination of employment and may result in criminal penalties.

Reports by mandatory reporters must include all information concerning the incident known to the Reporting Party, including the involved parties’ names, regardless of whether the Complainant has expressed a desire for confidentiality; however, the Reporting Party may also state whether the Complainant has expressed a desire for confidentiality.

Disclosures to a healthcare provider, mental health care provider, or other medical provider acting in the course and scope of their employment with the University are not subject to the foregoing mandatory reporting requirements and are considered Confidential Resources. These employees are encouraged to provide students or employees with information and guidance regarding University reporting options and available resources but absent consent from the Complainant, disclosures to a healthcare provider, mental health care provider, or other medical provider acting in the course and scope of their employment with the University shall only state the type of incident reported and may not include any information that would violate an expectation of privacy.

  1. Making a Report

Any individual may inquire or make a report or complaint of Sexual Misconduct of any kind. Any person may submit a report in person, by mail, by phone, by email, or by online form, using the contact information set forth in Section 1 above, or by any other means that results in the University’s Title IX Coordinator or System Office of Equal Opportunity receiving the verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the phone number or email address, or by mail to the office address. Persons other than Employees wishing to remain anonymous may do so by submitting a report in an anonymous manner; however, electing to remain anonymous may limit the ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals accused of violating the University’s Sexual Misconduct policies. 

While not required, students are strongly encouraged to report any incident of Sexual Misconduct to the University, including incidents in which the student was a victim. Students may also report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement, including on- campus and local police. Complainant may choose to notify law enforcement and will be provided the assistance of the Title IX Coordinator if the individual wishes. Parties may also choose not to notify law enforcement of incidents of Sexual Misconduct. A student who experiences sexual or dating violence is encouraged to seek medical care for treatment and preservation of evidence, if applicable, as soon as possible after the incident. Preserving DNA evidence can be key to a sexual violence case. Students can undergo a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) performed by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) to preserve physical evidence with or without police involvement. If possible, this should be done immediately. If an immediate medical exam is not possible, a SANE may still collect evidence up to 4 days following a sexual assault. With the examinee’s consent, the physical evidence collected during this medical exam can be used in a criminal investigation. 

Anyone who experiences any form of Sexual Misconduct should also preserve other evidence relevant to the incident reported, such as items of clothing, photographs, phone records, text messages, social media activity, computer records, and other documents.

  1. Confidentiality

TTUHSC El Paso is committed to ensuring confidentiality during all stages of a grievance process. The confidentiality of the Complainant, the Respondent, the Reporting Party, any individuals who have sought guidance about this policy or have participated in an investigation or incident will be honored by the University to the extent possible without compromising the University’s commitment and obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct, to protect the University Community, and to the extent allowed by law. Unless waived in writing by the individual, the identity of aforementioned individuals:

  1. Is confidential and not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code; and
  2. May be disclosed only to:
    1. University Employees or individuals under contract with the University to which the report is made who are necessary for an investigation of the report or other related hearings;
    2. a law enforcement officer as necessary to conduct a criminal investigation of the report;
    3. a health care provider in an emergency, as determined necessary by the University;
    4. the Respondent, to the extent required by other law or regulation; and
    5. potential witnesses to the incident as necessary to conduct an investigation of the report and to the extent required by other law or regulation.

In some exceptional circumstances, where the incident in question presents a continuing threat to the University Community, the University may be required to investigate irrespective of the Complainant’s desire to pursue allegations of Sexual Misconduct, and may be required to issue a “timely warning” to the campus community as required by the Clery Act. Timely warnings do not include personally identifiable information of involved parties. 

However, because the University also has an obligation to maintain an environment free of sex discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, all University employees have mandatory reporting and response obligations and may not be able to honor a Complainant’s request for confidentiality. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate requests for confidentiality. The willful and unnecessary disclosure of confidential information by anyone, including the Complainant or Respondent, may affect the integrity of the investigation. 

Students may make confidential reports to TTUHSC El Paso Student Counseling Services. Complainants may also make confidential reports to licensed clinical and/or mental health professionals acting in their professional role of providing those services, including medical providers employed by the University. Information may be shared by the clinical and/or medical provider only with the Complainant’s or Respondent’s consent.

Absent consent from the Complainant, disclosures to a healthcare provider, mental health care provider, or other medical provider acting in the course and scope of their employment with the University shall only state the type of incident reported and may not include any information that would violate an expectation of privacy. These Employees are encouraged to provide Complainants with information and guidance regarding University reporting options and available resources. 

The following Confidential Resources are available to TTUHSC El Paso students:

Resources Phone
TTUHSC EP Student Counseling Services https://elpaso.ttuhsc.edu/studentservices/SCS.aspx
Texas Tech Physicians Psychiatry (Student Assistance and Employee Assistance Program) 915-215-6170 and 915-215-5850
Emergence Health Hotline (24 Hour Crisis Helpline) 915-779-1800

Note: Access local advocacy groups and services through any of the above resources.

  1. Interim and Supportive Measures

The University may take immediate action to eliminate hostile environments and address any effects on the Complainant and community prior to the initiation of any Investigation and/or formal Grievance Process. These measures will be taken to minimize the burden on the Complainant while respecting due process rights of the Respondent. Supportive Measures for involved students may include, but are not limited to, counseling services, medical assistance, modifications to on-campus housing, modifications to parking permissions, academic support referrals, modifications to academic or work situations, instituting a No Contact Order between the parties in a complaint, and reporting criminal behavior to the Texas Tech Police Department or local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the University may pursue Emergency Removal, altering the University status of the Respondent. Supportive Measures may be implemented and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Supportive Measures may be kept in place through the conclusion of any review, investigation, resolution, or appeal process. Supportive Measures can be implemented regardless of whether or not the Complainant pursues a Formal Complaint or criminal action. The Title IX Coordinator is available to help students understand the Grievance Process and identify resources. Remedies may be implemented after a determination regarding responsibility in the Grievance Process to restore and preserve equal educational opportunities to the Complainant.

  1. Supportive Measures: Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, nonpunitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to a Complainant or Respondent. The range of Supportive Measures available includes, but is not limited to: separation or modification of Complainant and Respondent’s academic or working situations; mutual restrictions on contact; one-way restrictions on contact, where justified by the specific facts and circumstances; permissive withdrawal from or retake of a class without penalty; counseling; extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments; campus escort services; leaves of absence; increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus; or any other similar measures tailored to the individualized needs of the parties. Consistent with Texas law, a Complainant or Respondent who is the subject of an alleged incident of Title IX Sexual Misconduct will be allowed to drop a course in which they are both enrolled without any academic penalty. Supportive Measures may be kept in place through or beyond the conclusion of any review, investigation, or appeal process and may be implemented regardless of whether Complainant files a complaint of Sexual Misconduct.
  2. No Contact Order: When initial inquiry indicates persistent and potentially escalating conflict between members of the University Community, a No Contact Order may be issued as a remedial, non-punitive deterrent to further conflict or situational complication. A No Contact Order will be issued by the Title IX Coordinator via the student’s official TTUHSC El Paso email. The notice serves as an official directive that the student(s) have no contact with the other listed parties. Contact cannot occur in person, by telephone, email, text message or other electronic means of communication, or through a third party (other than an attorney). Should contact need to occur, the student should coordinate with the Title IX Coordinator. This notice may also come with other information related to changes in class schedule or other restrictions to facilitate the No Contact Order. Failure to comply with the No Contact Order may result in disciplinary action, including possible suspension or expulsion. Violations of No Contact Orders may also result in Emergency Removal pending the completion of a Grievance Process. The term of a No Contact Order is one year from the date of issuance, or the graduation of one or both parties, whichever comes first.
  3. Emergency Removal: The University may conduct an individualized safety and risk analysis to determine if an individual poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of Sexual Misconduct that justifies removal. Where the University finds that a Respondent poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or individual, the University may remove the Respondent prior to the conclusion of the Grievance Process to protect the safety of the University Community where an immediate threat exists. The University shall provide the Respondent with notice and an immediate opportunity to challenge the decision in writing to the Title IX Coordinator immediately following the removal.

Through an Emergency Removal, a student may be denied access to the University’s campus, facilities, and events. This restriction may include classes and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or designee and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate Dean(s), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the Respondent.

Emergency Removal is not a sanction. It is taken in an effort to protect the safety and well-being of the Complainant, Respondent, and/or other members of the University Community. Emergency Removal is preliminary in nature; it is in effect only until the Grievance Process has been completed. However, violations of Emergency Removal may result in additional allegations of this Student Handbook. A student who receives an Emergency Removal may request a meeting with an Appeals Officer or designee to challenge an Emergency Removal. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the University may still proceed with an Investigation and adjudication.

  1. Non-Student Supportive Measures: TTUHSC El Paso, in conjunction with the Texas Tech Police Department, may issue a Criminal Trespass to any individual(s) or guest of the University whose presence could significantly disrupt the normal operations of the University, or who is alleged to have violated University policies and/or is deemed to pose a threat to the physical and/or emotional well-being of a student or other members of the University Community.
  1. Student Rights and Responsibilities

Prior to the formal investigative process, a student will be provided a Student Rights and Responsibilities document. This document will be reviewed and signed by the student prior to an interview. The Student Rights and Responsibilities document informs the student of their rights to be exercised before and during the Grievance Process. 

Subject to applicable law, information gathered by the University during the course of the Investigation and Grievance Process may only be shared with faculty, staff, students, and/or advisors who are directly involved in the incident or necessary to the Grievance Process. Information gathered may also be disclosed in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.

Involved parties have the right to, and are encouraged to, be accompanied by an advisor of the individual’s choosing during all meetings, proceedings, and/or disciplinary hearings at which the individual is present. In Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Hearings, the role of the advisor will be limited to advising only and will not be allowed to actively participate in the Hearing. CARE Coordinators may also attend any meeting or Hearing in addition to the student’s advisor.

  1. Amnesty
    1. Subject to the exceptions noted below, the University will not take any disciplinary action against a student enrolled at the University who in good faith reports to the University being the victim of, or a witness to, an incident of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Interpersonal  Violence, or Stalking for a violation by the student of this Student Handbook, occurring at or near the time of the incident, regardless of the location at which the incident occurred or the outcome of the University’s disciplinary process regarding the incident, if any.
    2. The University reserves the right to investigate to determine whether a report of an incident of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Interpersonal Violence, or Stalking was made in good faith. After such investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will make a determination as to whether a student is entitled to amnesty. Once a determination is made regarding amnesty for a student, such determination is final and may not be revoked.
    3. Notwithstanding the forgoing, amnesty does not apply to a student who reports the student’s own commission or assistance in the commission of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Interpersonal Violence, or Stalking.
    4. Although students eligible for amnesty may avoid disciplinary action under these amnesty provisions, amnesty does not preclude the University from encouraging students to participate in directives such as counseling or educational opportunities relating to the conduct students were engaged in.
    5. Abuse of these amnesty provisions by a student may result in a violation of this Student Handbook. The amnesty provisions do not impact criminal proceedings or charges, mandatory reporting to state licensing boards, legal actions, or actions required to comply with professional ethic requirements.
  2. Interference with an Investigation

Any person who knowingly and intentionally interferes with a Grievance Process conducted under this Student Handbook is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or separation from the University. Interference with a Grievance Process may include, but is not limited to:

  • Attempting to coerce, compel, influence, or prevent an individual from providing testimony or relevant information;
  • Divulging confidential information;
  • Removing, destroying, or altering documentation relevant to the investigation;
  • Providing false or misleading information to the investigator, or encouraging others to do so; or
  • Making a report under this policy that, after investigation is found not to have been made in good faith.
  1. Retaliation and False Information

Retaliation against an individual who reports a potential violation in good faith under this policy, assists someone with a report of a violation, or participates or refuses to participate in any manner in an investigation or in the resolution of a complaint made under this policy is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to threats, intimidation, coercion, discrimination, reprisals, or adverse actions related to an individual’s employment or education. The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that an individual who, in good faith, reports, complains about, or participates or refuses to participate in in an investigation pursuant to this policy will not be subjected to retaliation. Individuals who believe they are experiencing retaliation are strongly encouraged to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator using the same procedure outlined in this section.

Individuals who are found to have retaliated under this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, expulsion from the University, or being barred from University premises and events.

An individual found to have knowingly and in bad faith provided false or malicious information may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or separation from the University. A determination that a Respondent is not responsible for allegations of Sexual Misconduct does not imply information provided was false. Similarly, a determination that a Respondent is responsible for a policy violation does not imply that a Respondent’s statements disclaiming responsibility were false.

D. Grievance Process for Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

This Section D sets forth the Grievance Process for Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct. The process for Title IX Sexual Misconduct is set forth in System Regulation 07.06.A. The University Title IX Coordinator will assist parties in determining which process applies to the particular alleged conduct.

  1. Intake and Initial Inquiry

Upon receipt of a report of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will review the allegations. As reported allegations of Sexual Misconduct have varying degrees of complexity and severity, the investigation and resolution procedures described below may vary. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will inquire, gather, and review information and will evaluate the accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency of the information received. If a formal complaint is not filed, the Title IX Coordinator may nonetheless conduct an investigation if the University learns of alleged Sexual Misconduct through other means depending on the source and nature of the information provided, the seriousness of the alleged incident, the specificity of the information, the objectivity and credibility of the source of the report, whether any individuals can be identified who were subjected to the alleged Sexual Misconduct, and whether those individuals want to pursue the matter.

The Title IX Coordinator may conduct an initial meeting with the Reporting Party and/or Complainant to gather additional information regarding the allegation; inform him/her of on and off-campus resources, procedural options, and the University’s policy regarding retaliation; and to determine safety, security, or other interim measures. Additional meetings may be necessary depending on the complexity of the reported allegations.

Incidents will not be investigated unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy has been violated. Reasonable cause includes some credible information to support a policy violation. If it is determined that an investigation will be conducted, the Respondent will be given notice of the complaint and an opportunity to respond. If it is determined that an investigation will not be conducted, the Title IX Coordinator may contact the Respondent to discuss the reported concern.

When a Complainant is reluctant, and/or refuses to participate in the investigation process, the Title IX Coordinator may investigate the allegations to the fullest extent possible given the information made available. The University will make every attempt to follow the wishes of the Complainant while protecting the University Community.

  1. Filing a Formal Complaint

A Formal Complaint is a document signed by a Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Misconduct against a Respondent requesting that the University investigate the allegation(s) of Sexual Misconduct. While incidents may be reported by any third party, only the Complainant or Title IX Coordinator may initiate the Grievance Process through the Formal Complaint. A Formal Complaint is also required for any individuals wishing to pursue an Informal Resolution.

When a Formal Complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator provides written notice to the Respondent with sufficient time for the Respondent to prepare a response before an initial interview. The Notice of Formal Complaint includes information about the Grievance Process, the Informal Resolution Process, the allegations and any details known at the time, such as the name of the Complainant, the location, date and time of the alleged incident(s), and the specific section(s) of the policy that the Respondent is alleged to have violated. The Complainant also receives a copy of the Notice of Formal Complaint.

  1. Review of Formal Complaints

When a Formal Complaint is received, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate jurisdiction and mandatory and discretionary dismissal described below, assess appropriate Supportive Measures for both parties, evaluate the need for Emergency Removal, and initiate the Grievance Process.

Mandatory and Permissive Dismissal. The Title IX Coordinator shall dismiss a Formal Complaint of Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct in the following situations: (1) the allegation describes conduct that would not constitute Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct as defined, even if proven; or (2) the Respondent is not a member of the University Community. The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint in the following situations: (1) the Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they wish to withdraw the Formal Complaint or some allegations in the Formal Complaint; (2) the Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the University; or (3) circumstances exist that prevent the University from gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or the allegations.

Application of Other Policies upon Dismissal. If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses a Formal Complaint or any of the allegations in the Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly send written notice of the dismissal and the reason(s) for the dismissal simultaneously to the Complainant and Respondent. Dismissal of a Formal Complaint does not preclude action under other policies, such as Title IX Sexual Misconduct.

Appeal of Dismissal Decision. Any party can appeal the dismissal decision following the criteria and procedures listed below under Appeal Procedures.

Right to Consolidate Complaints. The University may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of Sexual Misconduct: (1) against more than one Respondent, (2) by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or (3) by one party against the other party, where the allegations of Sexual Misconduct arise out of the same facts or circumstances.

  1. Investigation Process

If the Title IX Coordinator or designee conducts an investigation of the reported allegation, the investigation may consist of the review of the complaint, any relevant documentation, and interviews with relevant individuals. Each party will be given the opportunity to share information regarding the allegation, as well as any response to such, and identify witnesses and other relevant evidence. The extent of the investigation and its procedures will be determined by the Title IX Coordinator. During the investigative process, it is expected that the Complainant and the Respondent will cooperate with the University in providing all information or evidence that they believe should be considered. Additionally, other administrators may be consulted to assist with the investigation.

Prior to an investigative interview, the Complainants and Respondents will be provided a student rights and responsibilities document to review and sign. The student rights and responsibilities document informs the student of their rights to be exercised before and during the course of the investigation and student conduct process. Information gathered during the course of the investigation and student conduct process may only be shared with faculty, staff, students, and/or advisors who are directly involved in the incident or necessary to the student conduct process. Information gathered may also be disclosed in compliance with a judicial order, lawfully issued subpoena, or otherwise required by law.

During the Investigation, the burden of proof and burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility is on the University and not on the parties. Complainants and Respondents are encouraged to present witnesses and evidence, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence that they believe should be considered. The University will make all reasonable efforts to obtain relevant information such as surveillance video footage, University card swipe access and other information that may be available to the Institution. The University cannot obtain information that is protected by a legally recognized privilege without the party’s voluntary written consent. The University shall not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, therapist/mental health professional, or other professional/paraprofessional providing treatment to the party, unless the party gives voluntary written consent.

After the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a written investigation report. Complainants and Respondents will have access to the completed investigation report and/or investigative materials relevant to the allegation(s) after the formal investigative process has concluded. In order to protect confidentiality, Complainants and Respondents are not given copies or investigation reports and/or investigative materials, but will have an opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the Investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint.

Withdraw During a Formal Complaint. In accordance with state law, if a student withdraws or graduates from the University pending a Formal Complaint alleging the student violated the Student Code of Conduct by committing sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, the institution:

  1. May not end the disciplinary process or issue a transcript to the student until the institution makes a final determination of responsibility; and
  2. Shall expedite the institution’s disciplinary process as necessary to accommodate both the Respondent’s and Complainant’s interest in a speedy resolution.
  3. On request from another institution, the University shall provide to the requesting institution information relating to a determination that a student enrolled violated the institution’s Student Code of Conduct by committing sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.

Should students not participate in the Investigative Process, the Grievance Process may continue without their participation. The Investigator may assign allegation(s) to the Respondent based on the information that the Investigator collected without the student’s participation, if appropriate.

  1. Resolution Process

Options for resolving Formal Complaints under the Grievance Process include:

  1. Informal Resolution. Prior to the formal Hearing, either the Complainant or the Respondent may make a request, either orally or in writing, for informal resolution to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will assess the severity of the alleged harassment and the potential risk of a hostile environment for others in the University Community to determine whether informal resolution may be appropriate. Mediation will not be used to resolve complaints of Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence.

Upon determining that informal resolution is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will consult further with the person initiating the request, inform the other party, and gather additional relevant information from the parties and others as useful to assist in the informal resolution process. The Title IX Coordinator may also put in place any appropriate interim measures to protect the educational and work environment of the parties and the University Community.

The University will not compel the Complainant or Respondent to engage in mediation, to directly confront the other party, or to participate in any particular form of informal resolution. Participation in informal resolution in voluntary, and the Complainant and Respondent have the option to discontinue the informal process at any time and request a formal investigation. If at any point during the informal resolution process, the Complainant, the Respondent, or the University wishes to cease the informal resolution process and to proceed through the formal resolution process, the informal resolution process will stop and the formal resolution process outlined in this of the Student Handbook below will proceed.

  1. Administrative Resolution. At any point in the student conduct process, if the Respondent accepts responsibility for the alleged violations of policy, the Parties may choose to resolve the issue through the Administrative Resolution process outlined below. The Administrative Resolution process is voluntary.

The Title IX Coordinator will, in consultation with the appropriate University dean, or if the allegation involves a student organization, the appropriate University staff member advisor of the organization, review the complaint and information gathered about the reported Sexual Misconduct, and if applicable, propose findings and specify appropriate sanctions. The Title IX Coordinator will send written notice to both the Complainant and the Respondent of the proposed findings and sanctions. The Parties will have five (5) business days to review the Administrative Resolution and decide whether they would like to accept or decline the proposed findings and recommended sanctions. Agreement with the terms of the Administrative Resolution is established by one of the two following ways:

  1. A signature, or an electronic signature, by a Party or the Parties attesting to agreement with the findings and sanctions; or
  2. No written objection by the Complainant or the Respondent to the findings and sanctions within five (5) business days of the date the proposed findings and recommended sanctions were sent to the Parties.

If both the Complainant and the Respondent agree with the proposed findings and recommended sanctions, the matter is considered concluded. Additionally, if accepted, the Parties waive their right to a hearing, the process ends, the finding is final, and there is no appeal. The complaint will only be reopened if new material, previously unavailable is presented.

If either Party disagrees with or does not accept the proposed findings and/or recommended sanctions, then the complaint will proceed, and a hearing will take place.

  1. Hearing. See Section E below for Hearing Procedures.
  1. Sanctions

A Hearing Officer or a Hearing Panel may impose sanctions as a result of an Informal Resolution, or formal hearing, when a student is found responsible. Implementation of the disciplinary Sanction(s) will begin when the time period to file an appeal has expired or when the appeal decision has been sent to the parties.

Both the Complainant and Respondent will be simultaneously notified of the Appeal Officer’s decision and Sanctions as appropriate. When sanctions are final, appropriate University Administrators may be notified of the student’s sanctions. Findings and Sanctions agreed upon through the Informal Resolution are final and cannot be appealed.

All records related to the disciplinary process will remain on file with the Title IX Coordinator for a minimum of seven (7) years from the date the case is completed through an Informal Resolution, formal hearing and/or the Appeal Procedures. All records related to the Grievance Process resulting in suspension and/or expulsion will remain on file indefinitely.

If a student is found responsible for violating the University Sexual Misconduct policies, sanctions may be imposed and can include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Disciplinary Reprimand. The Disciplinary Reprimand is an official written notification using the notice procedures outlined in this section to the student that the action in question was Misconduct.
  2. Disciplinary Probation. Disciplinary Probation is a period of time during which a student’s conduct will be observed and reviewed. The student must demonstrate the ability to comply with University policies, rules, and/or standards and any other requirement stipulated for the probationary period.
  3. Time-Limited Disciplinary Suspension. Time-Limited Disciplinary Suspension is a specific period of time in which a student is not allowed to participate in class, University related activities, or be present on campus property. The status of Disciplinary Suspension will be shown on the student’s academic record, including the transcript. Disciplinary Suspension is noted on the student’s transcript by the phrase “Disciplinary Suspension” and will include the period of time in which the student is/was suspended from the University. In most instances, the notation of Disciplinary Suspension will remain on the transcript permanently. A student has the ability to petition to remove a Disciplinary Suspension notation in the following instances: 1) the student is eligible to reenroll in the institution or 2) the Title IX Coordinator or designee determines that good cause exists to remove the notation. A Disciplinary Suspension of a student will indicate the date on which the suspension period begins and the earliest date the application for student readmission will be considered. The Title IX Coordinator or designee may deny a student’s readmission, if the student’s Misconduct during the suspension would have warranted additional disciplinary action. If the student has failed to satisfy any Sanction that was imposed prior to application for readmission, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may recommend denial of readmission of a student. On denial of a student’s readmission, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will set a date when another application for readmission may again be made. An administrative hold will be placed on the student’s record to prevent registration during the Disciplinary Suspension.
  4. Disciplinary Expulsion: Disciplinary Expulsion occurs when the student is permanently withdrawn and separated from the university. This status of Disciplinary Expulsion will be shown permanently on the student’s academic record, including the transcript. Disciplinary Expulsion is noted on the student’s transcript by the phrase, “Expulsion” and the date in which the student’s expulsion became effective. In most instances, the notation of Disciplinary Expulsion will remain on the transcript permanently. A student has the ability to petition to remove a Disciplinary Expulsion notation in the following instances: 1) the student is eligible to reenroll in the institution or 2) the Title IX Coordinator or designee determines that good cause exists to remove the notation. An administrative hold will be placed on the student’s record to prevent future registration.
  1. Appeal Procedure

Either the Complainant or Respondent may appeal the decision, or the sanction(s), condition(s) and restriction(s) imposed by the Hearing Officers by submitting a written appeal to the VPAA or their designee within three (3) business days of receiving the written decision. The appeal must clearly set forth the grounds for the appeal, together with the evidence upon which the appeal is based. A disagreement with the decision alone shall not constitute grounds for appeal. The only proper grounds for appeal and the only issues that may be considered on appeal are as follows:

  1. A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Hearing Panel Members had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; or
  4. The sanctions imposed substantially vary from the range of sanctions normally imposed for similar infractions.

The appeal process is initiated upon a party’s filing of a written appeal within three (3) University business days after University’s delivery of the written decision regarding responsibility. The written appeal must be filed with the University’s Title IX Coordinator or System Office of Equal Opportunity, as directed in the written determination regarding responsibility, and the party’s written appeal must set forth the grounds for the appeal and any supporting information.

Upon the filing of a written appeal, University will give written notice of the filed appeal to the non-appealing party. The non-appealing party will have three (3) University business days after University’s delivery of the written notice to respond to the appeal.

The Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) or their designee will review the appeal to determine if the appeal is timely and properly sets forth the appropriate grounds for appeal. If any of these requirements are not met, the appeal will be dismissed, and the original decision of the Hearing Officers will be final. If the grounds for an appeal are determined proper by the VPAA or their designee, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the request for appeal to the other party and provide opportunity for response. Any responses must be provided to the VPAA or their designee within five (5) business days after receiving a copy of the request for appeal.

If the VPAA or their designee determines that a procedural [or substantive] error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing, they may order a new hearing. If a new hearing is ordered, all hearing procedures in will be followed. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant and Respondent of the outcome within five (5) business days of the decision of the Hearing Officers. The decision of the Hearing Officers is final and may not be appealed.

If the VPAA or their designee determines that new evidence should be considered, they may return the complaint to the original Hearing Officers to reconsider the new evidence or may order a new hearing. If new evidence is considered, the Hearing Officers may increase, decrease, or otherwise modify the findings, sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the student of the outcome within five (5) business days of the decision of the Hearing Officers. The decision is final and may not be appealed. If a new hearing is ordered, all hearing procedures will be followed. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant and Respondent of the outcome within five (5) business days of their decision. The decision of the Hearing Officers is final and may not be appealed.

If the VPAA or their designee determines that the sanctions imposed substantially vary from the range of sanctions normally imposed for similar infractions, they may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions instead of returning the case to the original Hearing Officers or ordering a new hearing. If the VPAA or their designee makes a decision regarding the sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions without returning the case to the original Hearing Officers, they will notify the student in writing of the outcome within five (5) business days of their decision. The decision of the VPAA or their designee is final and cannot be appealed. If the VPAA or their designee returns the case to the original Hearing Officers, the Hearing Officers may increase, decrease, or otherwise modify the findings, sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the student of the outcome within five (5) business days of their decision. The decision is final and may not be appealed. If a new hearing is ordered, all hearing procedures in Part IV, Section C(3)(e), will be followed. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant and Respondent of the outcome within five (5) business days of their decision. The decision of the Hearing Officers is final and may not be appealed.

In those cases, in which the error cannot be cured by the original Hearing Officers (i.e., some cases of bias), the VPAA or their designee may order a new hearing with a new panel of Hearing Officers.

After the findings(s) and sanctions become final and all appeals, if any, are exhausted, the Complainant shall be advised that if the complained activity persists, they should contact the Title IX Coordinator. Likewise, in the event the Complainant believes retaliation for filing a complaint has taken place, they should contact the Title IX Coordinator.

The Title IX Coordinator will follow up with the Complainant within sixty (60) calendar days after conclusion of the matter to ensure that the complained of behavior has ceased.

E. Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedure

This Section E sets forth the Hearing Procedure for Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct. The Hearing Procedure for Title IX Sexual Misconduct is set forth in System Regulation 07.06.A and its Attachment 2.

  1. Prehearing/Formal Allegations Assigned

Once the investigation is complete, if the complaint is not otherwise resolved, the Complainant and the Respondent will be given notice of a pre-hearing meeting. Should the Complainant or the Respondent not participate in the pre-hearing meeting, the conduct process may continue without their participation through resolution. During this meeting, the Complainant and the Respondent will be given the opportunity to review the investigation report, relevant evidence, and other documents to be used in the hearing. Other documents may include Complainant’s allegations, list of potential Hearing Officers, and hearing script. Following the pre-hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent will be notified of a date, time, and location of the hearing.

While the Complainant and the Respondent may identify errors in their own statements during the pre-hearing, they are not able to add additional information to the investigation report unless that information, in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, was unavailable during the investigative process and is pertinent to the complaint. If a Complainant or Respondent discovers new, previously unavailable information during the time after the pre-hearing but before the hearing, the party should inform the Title IX Coordinator immediately. If the new information is pertinent to the consideration of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the new information should be included in the investigation report or presented verbally during the hearing. If there is new evidence introduced, the Complainant and the Respondent will be given the opportunity to provide a response to any such evidence that will be presented in the hearing.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will schedule the hearing no sooner than five (5) business days from the date of the last pre-hearing meeting. The five-day period can be waived by the Title IX Coordinator with agreement by the involved Parties.

  1. Hearing

After notice has been given to the Complainant and the Respondent, the University may proceed to conduct a hearing and render a finding of Responsible or Not Responsible for the Respondent’s alleged misconduct and, in the event of a responsible finding, decide appropriate sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions. The Provost or their designee shall appoint a panel of three (3) Hearing Officers to conduct the hearing. All persons serving as Hearing Officers shall be oriented and trained to adjudicate a Sexual Misconduct case in accordance with this Student Handbook. If there is a conflict of interest, or appearance thereof, with one of the selected Hearing Officers, that person will recuse themselves and the Provost or their designee shall appoint another person to the panel. Additionally, both the Complainant and the Respondent may raise issues of conflicts of interest with regard to the potential Hearing Officer panel to the Provost or their designee within three (3) business days after notice has been given to the Parties of the panel members. The Provost or their designee will weigh these issues and resolve them accordingly. No party has a right to disqualify a Hearing Officer panel member absent a demonstrated bias.

The hearing may be held and a decision or recommendation made, regardless of whether the Complainant or the Respondent fail to respond or fail to attend the hearing. Should the Complainant or the Respondent fail to respond or fail to attend the hearing, the Hearing Officers may consider the available information and render a decision.

Hearings are closed to the public. Both the Complainant and Respondent have the right to be present at the hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during the deliberation of the Hearing Officers. Arrangements can be made so that Complainant and Respondent do not have to be in the hearing room at the same time. To request changes in the scheduled hearing time, the parties should contact the Title IX Coordinator not less than five (5) business days prior to the scheduled hearing.

During the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator or designee presents the allegations, investigation report, evidence, witnesses, and questions for deliberation in the hearing. The Hearing Officers may question the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Investigator, Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses. The Complainant and Respondent do not have the right to question each other nor witnesses directly but may do so through the Title IX Coordinator or designee. The Complainant and Respondent have the right to add or make additional comments about the facts of the complaint. Should new evidence be presented without prior discussion with the Title IX Coordinator, the hearing may be halted to consider the inclusion of this information. Impact statements will also be halted if they are shared prior to the sanctioning phase of the hearing. In the event the Hearing Officers remove a student due to misconduct in the hearing process, the alleged misconduct in the hearing process will be forwarded to the appropriate student conduct administrator, who will follow the conduct process in Part II of this Student Handbook.

Following the hearing, the Hearing Officers will deliberate and will render a finding of responsible or not responsible for the Respondent’s alleged misconduct as well as decide any sanctions, conditions and/or restrictions if applicable. Any findings of the investigation will be based upon a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not. The Hearing Officers will inform the Complainant and the Respondent in writing within five (5) business days of their decision(s).

Either the Complainant or Respondent may utilize the Appeal Procedures.

F. Pregnancy

Discrimination based on pregnancy is a form of discrimination based on sex. Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all educational opportunities as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to participate in education programs or activities.

If a pregnant or parenting student feels that they require flexibility or an accommodation in order to be successful at TTUHSC El Paso, it is the student’s obligation to make the request initially through their appropriate school’s student affairs personnel. Students requesting a pregnancy or parenting related accommodation should do so as soon as they become aware that an accommodation may be needed. If the student and school are unable to come to a mutually agreeable decision in relation to reasonable flexibility and adjustments, the student should contact the TTUHSC El Paso Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will consult with the student and school administrator(s) to begin the interactive process and ultimately, reasonable flexibility and adjustments will be determined.

If a student disagrees with the determination and/or proposed accommodation after engaging in the interactive process, the student may file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.

In certain situations, if there is a medical condition due to pregnancy, it may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), entitling the student to a reasonable accommodation. Accommodation requests due to pregnancy- related complications should be directed to the Academic Success and Accessibility Office.