RESPONDENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Who is a Respondent?
- I just received a letter from the Equal Opportunity Services/Title IX Office (EOS) informing me that someone has filed a complaint against me. What does this mean?
- Am I required to participate in an investigation with the EOS/Title IX Office?
- What types of Supportive Assistance can UTSA and the EOS/Title IX Office offer me as a Respondent?
- Who can I bring with me when I meet with the EOS/Title IX Office?
- What is a Mandatory Reporter, and who is designated as a Mandatory Reporter at UTSA?
- Will I get to see the Complainant's allegations in writing?
- How long does a formal investigation take?
- If I provide information for the investigation, will others be able to view it or obtain copies of the information that I provide?
- If I am a student, will I be referred to the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office (SCCS) if the incident that I am discussing involved the illegal use of alcohol or drugs?
- What happens if I believe I have experienced retaliation after a complaint is filed against me?
A Respondent (also referred to as RP) is the individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of prohibited conduct under the policy.
If you have received a Respondent Notification Letter informing you that a complaint has been filed against you, it means that EOS has received a report that alleges that you engaged in conduct that is prohibited under a UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) policy. You can learn more about what conduct is prohibited by reviewing the EOS website and the policies within the purview of EOS.
The Respondent Notification Letter is an early step in the process. This letter does NOT mean that EOS has determined you engaged in prohibited conduct--it simply means that there has been an allegation against you that EOS will need to investigate. EOS will need to determine what, if anything, has happened, and depending on the substance of the allegations, EOS will either make a determination on whether there has been a policy violation or EOS will submit an investigation report to a hearing officer to make that determination.
No. You may decide at any point whether, or to what extent, you wish to participate.
All Respondents may attend an informational meeting with EOS to learn about the process and ask questions. The meeting is designed to help you make an informed decision regarding whether or how you would like to participate. You will also be asked to participate in an investigative interview with the assigned Investigator of the case, where you may also decide whether, or to what extent, you wish to participate. A Respondent who wishes to participate in the process may provide their response at the interview or may instead prepare a written response to the allegations. It is important to note that EOS has an obligation to investigate the allegation, and will proceed without your perspective even if you choose not to participate in an interview or provide a written response. Investigators, or in the appropriate case, a hearing officer, can only make a determination regarding alleged policy violations based on the information provided by those who choose to participate in the investigative process and any evidence obtained during the course of the investigation.
The EOS/Title IX Office may be able to offer the parties to a matter, including Respondents, supportive measures. Supportive measures are designed to ensure equal access to educational programs and activities and/or eliminate a hostile environment on campus before or during an investigation at UTSA.
Support may look different for each person based on their particular needs and circumstances. It is important for Respondents to be aware of the resources and options available to them, and to request the support and assistance that meets their needs. The University has various offices available to address the mental, physical, emotional, and academic needs of the UTSA community. For a full list of UTSA and Community Resources visit: Title IX Resources | Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX Office | UTSA | University of Texas at San Antonio
To learn more about Supportive Measures visit: Supportive Measures | Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX Office | UTSA | University of Texas at San Antonio.
During the process outlined in HOP 9.01, a complainant, respondent, or witness may be accompanied by an uninvolved person of his or her choice, including an attorney. However, this individual may not actively participate in the meeting or interview. In addition, this individual must not have any personal knowledge (i.e., a witness) regarding the facts surrounding the complaint. To ensure we follow student privacy laws, UTSA may request a FERPA release.
Similarly, during the processes outlined in HOP 9.24, parties may be assisted by an advisor. To do so, the parties will be asked to sign the appropriate releases. A party may choose an advisor who is an attorney, but an attorney is not required.
There are rules for the role advisors play. An advisor may not actively participate in a meeting or interview, and the University reserves the right to remove or dismiss an advisor who violates a restriction on participation in either a meeting or hearing. Also, the University is not required to reschedule an interview or meeting if the advisor cannot attend an interview or meeting. Furthermore, an individual named by either party as a witness or potential witness may not serve in the role of advisor to either party. For specific information about the role of a Title IX Advisor in a Title IX hearing please review HOP 9.24.
If a Respondent needs assistance in locating an advisor or other support person, or would like to discuss this matter with a confidential employee, the Respondent can reach out to EOS for assistance. Student Respondents should contact Student Assistance Services and Faculty or Staff Respondents should contact the University Ombudsperson for assistance.).
A mandatory reporter, also known as a “Responsible Employee,” is a UTSA employee who is required to report certain incidents of prohibited conduct to the university. At UTSA, all employees are considered mandatory reporters and required to report any known information concerning such incidents to the EOS/Title IX Office. There are several offices at UTSA that are exempt from the reporting requirement, are confidential, and are not required to report the details of the matter or identity of the parties. These confidential employees include the UTSA Employees who work in the PEACE Center, Student Assistance Services, University Ombuds, and Wellness 360: Counseling and Health Services.
Yes. The Respondent Notification Letter will contain the detailed allegations under investigation. In addition, both the Complainant and Respondent will have the opportunity to view all relevant information, including any allegations, in a written Preliminary Report at the end of the fact-gathering process in Title IX matters. In HOP 9.01 and HOP 9.24 Appendix A cases, the parties, including the Respondent, will be provided with a report and will have seven business days to comment on the report to the adjudicator.
While there are protections for students, and we strive to keep information private, the Title IX process is not itself confidential. Investigators will, however, protect your privacy as much as possible. If you are a student, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally prevents UTSA from disclosing your Title IX or EOS records without your consent, but all records are subject to a lawful subpoena and, if you are not a student, the records may be subject to open records requests. Additionally, UTSA may share these records with other university personnel who have a legitimate educational interest to know the information.
No. Our foremost interest is to obtain as much relevant information as possible about the concern that is under investigation. The use of drugs or alcohol - whether voluntary or involuntary - is often relevant to our investigation. Even so, students will not be disciplined for candid and good faith disclosure of these facts in our process.
Retaliation is a serious matter. Retaliation against any individual for participating in an investigation of discrimination or sexual harassment is a violation of university policy and may subject the person alleged of retaliation to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the university. All parties to a discrimination or sexual harassment complaint will be informed about retaliation and the procedures to be taken if they believe retaliation has occurred as a result of their participation in the investigative process. You can also view the EOS Retaliation FAQ for more information.