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UT News

Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual misconduct violates the values and policies of UT Austin. Every individual who serves our university must feel valued, respected and free to learn and work in a safe environment.

UT Austin takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and investigates them expeditiously. Recently, students have pressed the university to reexamine its approaches.

During the past four months, consultants from the Husch Blackwell firm met with close to 1,500 stakeholders, including UT Austin students, staff and faculty members and led a comprehensive review of the university’s sexual misconduct policies. On March 2, 2020, President Fenves sent a letter to the campus community accepting all of the Husch Blackwell recommendations.  The university will now begin the implementation of these recommendations.

Background:

On Oct. 25, 2019, students at UT Austin began a series of protests around issues related to how the university publicly reports on and sanctions faculty who have been found to have violated the university’s policies on sexual misconduct.

In response, university leaders began meeting with student leaders to discuss their concerns and took or committed to the following steps:

  • Formed a campus working group for Title IX and misconduct issues, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members, and university leaders.
  • Hired an external firm, Husch Blackwell, to undertake a comprehensive review of the university’s Title IX and sexual misconduct policies and procedures.
  • Created a website  to provide further information and regular updates on progress.
  • Committed the misconduct working group to host a student-led forum in the Spring of 2020 with the participation of university leaders.
  • Responded to open records requests with a document that summarizes all cases in which faculty and staff have been found in violation of sexual misconduct policies dating back to November 2017. This complements and is consistent with a previously released record summarizing cases from 2013 through most of 2017. Conduct violations are a matter of public record, and when asked, the university has regularly released this information.

Messages to campus

Public Reports

UT Austin’s Title IX Office produces annual impact reports containing aggregate data related to reports submitted, outcomes of the investigations, and sanctions, as well as resources available on campus

Resources

News

UT vows more transparency, harsher punishments in faculty sexual misconduct cases – Austin American-Statesman – March 2, 2020

UT-Austin announces updates to sexual misconduct policies following student protests – Texas Tribune – March 2, 2020

UT to implement new sex discrimination policies – Houston Chronicle – March 2, 2020

UT pledges to fire employees who commit sexual misdeeds, be more transparent Dallas Morning News – March 2, 2020

UT-Austin to change sexual misconduct policy to terminate, release names of violators – The Daily Texan – March 2, 2020

UT Faculty Group to Develop Guidelines in Wake of Misconduct – Austin American-Statesman – February 11, 2020

17 University of Texas employees have violated sexual misconduct policies since November 2017– Dallas Morning News – Jan. 9, 2020

UT to disclose names of professors with sexual misconduct violations to people who request them– Dallas Morning News – Dec. 5, 2019

Two UT-Austin professors disciplined for sexual misconduct were allowed to resume teaching. Students want to know why. – Texas Tribune – Dec. 5, 2019

UT students want faculty with sexual misconduct histories fired. What’s the university’s response? – Dallas Morning News – Dec. 1, 2019

University to form working group for Title IX, misconduct issues – The Daily Texan – Nov. 19, 2019

Editorial: Professors guilty of sexual misconduct must be removed to ensure student safety, wellbeing – The Daily Texan – Nov. 10, 2019

President Fenves addresses sexual misconduct policy concerns in campuswide email – The Daily Texan – Nov. 7, 2019

UT students protest over professors’ reported sexual misconduct allegations  – KXAN-TV – Oct. 25, 2019

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