The following information is provided to increase awareness and knowledge of the EOS/Title IX process for witnesses and to address some common questions regarding witness participation in EOS/Title IX investigations.
In the investigation process, person(s) bringing forward allegations, or in certain cases, persons against whom sexual misconduct allegedly occurred, are referred to as “Complainants,” and those who are alleged to have committed sexual misconduct are referred to as “Respondents.” Sometimes Complainants and Respondents are referred to individually as “a party” or jointly as “the parties.” Individuals who have direct or relevant experience with or knowledge of events, issues, or circumstances related to the investigation, or who Complainants or Respondents want the investigator to speak with, are referred to as witnesses.
WITNESS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- I received an email, call, or text from an investigator requesting an interview. Do I have to meet with them?
- What will meeting with an investigator be like?
- Do I need to bring anything with me for the interview?
- This process makes me nervous or anxious. Is there anyone I can talk with before my interview?
- What if I’m a student and I was engaged in behavior that may violate UTSA’s Student Code of Conduct? Will my friends or I get in trouble if I participate as a witness?
- Can I ask the investigator questions about the complaint or what others have shared?
- Will I be interviewed more than once?
- If I provide information to the investigator, can I remain anonymous?
- What will investigators do with the information I share?
- Can I talk about the complaint and investigation with others?
- I feel like I’m being treated differently now that I’ve participated in the complaint resolution process, and it seems like retaliation. What can I do?
- I received an email, call, or text asking me to participate in a hearing. What does this mean and what should I expect?
- Who should I contact if I need an ADA accommodation during an investigation and/or hearing process?
- Always have two investigators in every meeting and will take notes as you speak with them. EOS does not record any interviews and recording by the parties or witnesses is prohibited by our policies.
- Ask you about what occurred and allow you the opportunity to share information related to the matter.
- If necessary, ask follow-up questions to better understand the information you have shared.
- If necessary, ask for information or documentation that you might have, such as texts, screenshots, emails, photos, etc., that could help EOS better understand the situation and that could otherwise be used in connection with the investigation.
- Conclude the meeting by asking if there is anything else you would like to share, such as information the investigator didn’t ask about but that you feel is important regarding the matter.
- Provide you their contact information for questions you may have or for you to provide more information regarding the matter.
No, unless there is specific information or material such as screenshots, text messages, photos, or other digital or physical documentation that you want to share with the investigator. Alternatively, you can email or otherwise deliver any documentation to the investigator after the meeting.
UTSA provides various resources on campus that can be found at this link:
In an effort to encourage reporting of Sexual Misconduct, the University may grant immunity from student and/or employee disciplinary action to a person who acts in good faith in reporting an incident, filing a Formal Complaint, or participating in a Grievance Process and Alternative Grievance Process (e.g., investigation, hearing, appeal). This immunity does not extend to the person’s own violations of this Policy. (see HOP 9.24 IX A 6).
For example, if you and your friends are under 21 and were drinking alcohol at an on-campus party where domestic violence or sexual assault occurred, and you report this sexual misconduct in good faith, remained at the scene and participated in the process as a witness, you may not be disciplined for the consumption of alcohol OR UTSA will generally grant immunity for violations of the Student Code of Conduct related to the alcohol consumption.
While the investigator may ask a witness questions about what a witness may know or have observed, the investigator will only share with a witness information about the investigation, including the specifics related to an allegation, if the investigator determines it is necessary to do so to explain the questions being asked or to seek clarification or other perspectives of information already gathered. In order to protect the privacy of all those involved, as well as the integrity of the investigation, the investigator will not otherwise share with a witness any information related to the investigation.
In some cases, the investigator may ask to interview a witness more than once if additional information becomes available since the initial interview and/or to follow up with a witness to clarify information or previous statements.
We seek to protect the privacy of individuals who participate in the investigation process, including witnesses as much as possible. This means that information about witnesses, including their identity and what information they share with the investigator, is shared only with those individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a complaint who have a legal right or other need to know.
- Both parties must have notice of the complaint and allegations the investigation is seeking to resolve; and both parties must be offered a meaningful opportunity to respond to the information gathered during the investigation.
- As a result, generally speaking, both the Complainant and Respondent will be provided the information a witness shares with the investigator, including the identity of the witness and what information they shared. Additionally, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, there may be occasions when the investigator may need to share information provided by one witness with other witnesses in order to facilitate the fact-gathering portion of the investigation. A party cannot prevent the disclosure of information to which the other party has a right.
Ultimately, we cannot and do not guarantee confidentiality or anonymity to anyone participating in the investigation process, including Complainants, Respondents, or witnesses. However, as may be required by law, we will not release personally identifiable information or other protected information publicly. Further, as explained above, UTSA prohibits retaliation against any person who participates in the Title IX/EOS process.
Investigators will use your information along with all other evidence collected to compile a report when their investigation is complete. This report will be provided to the parties for their review and comments, and used in the resolution of the complaint by the decision-maker or hearing officer. In order to preserve the privacy of Complainants and Respondents, as much as possible, we don’t share the report, the outcome of the investigation, any sanction, or any other University action that may result from the investigative process with witnesses. Although we will not share this information, the parties may share the information with witnesses, etc.
In order to protect the privacy of all who are involved, including Complainants, Respondents, and witnesses, and to protect the integrity of the investigation, witnesses are asked to keep information learned during the investigation as private as possible and should avoid sharing such information with others.
Our policies prohibit retaliation against persons who are involved with the complaint resolution process in any way, including Complainants, Respondents, and witnesses. If you believe you or someone else is experiencing retaliation, we strongly encourage you contact us or make a report immediately so the matter can be addressed appropriately.
Witnesses may be asked by one of the parties or by an office at UTSA to attend and participate in a formal hearing. You are under no obligation to attend or participate, but you doing so is an important component of the Hearing Officer’s decision-making, as the presence and participation of witnesses at a hearing is important to the outcome of the complaint. UTSA encourages every person with relevant knowledge to participate in sexual misconduct hearings if asked. If members of our community do not participate, it becomes more difficult for UTSA to eliminate sexual misconduct on campus.
If you have a disability or need assistance in communicating with investigators or hearing panelists, please contact us at EOS.Office@utsa.edu as soon as possible to allow us to connect you to the right office to assist with planning for appropriate accommodations.