Texas Education Code Chapter 51, Subchapter E-2, Sections 51.251-.259
By effectively responding to reports of sexual misconduct, we help remove barriers to our community members' academic and professional progress, and we remain compliant with UH System Policy and federal and state laws.
UH encourages individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct to seek support services. In addition, all employees are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct. To learn more about your reporting obligations under Texas Senate Bill 212 (SB 212), please continue reading below. If you have any other questions about SB 212 or the UHS Sexual Misconduct Policy, please contact the EOS office.
What is Senate Bill 212 (SB 212)?
- In the 86th Texas legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed SB 212 which establishes mandatory requirements for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The bill applies to employees of postsecondary institutions, which includes all UH System campuses, and it outlines the consequences for University employees who fail to report or knowingly make false reports of alleged incidents of sexual misconduct.
- All employees must promptly report to the Title IX Coordinator observations they witness or information they receive while in the course and scope of their employment that they reasonably believe may constitute a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and are committed by or against a member of the University community, a student enrolled or employee employed, at the time of the incident.
- This includes information witnessed, received first- or second-hand, and overheard even if you think the information may be "just a rumor."
What types of sexual misconduct am I required to report?
- Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, sex-based verbal, written, or physical conduct. Forms of Sexual Harassment include Non-consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Exploitation, and Sexual Intimidation, as defined by UH System Policy.
- Dating Violence consists of violence and threats of violence that occur within a romantic or dating relationship.
- Stalking is a course of conduct--meaning two or more actions by a person or through third parties--that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress or to fear for their own or someone else's safety. This refers to stalking that is due to a current or desired sexual or romantic relationship.
- Sexual Assault is sexual intercourse that occurs without consent, including oral sex and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection.
Am I required to report incidents that happen off campus?
- Yes. If the incident was committed by or against a member of the University community at the time of the incident, you are required to report even if the incident occurred off campus.
Am I really required to report rumors?
- Yes, you are required to report rumors because rumors can often turn out to be true. The Title IX office will determine whether a rumor is credible based on an investigation after receiving your report.
How do I report incidents of sexual misconduct?
- To make a report, you may submit your report online using your institution's online reporting form (accessible through the "Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Awareness" link at the bottom of every UH campus webpage), contact your campus Title IX Coordinator, or utilize the Fraud and Non-Compliance Hotline.
- If you submit an online report and do not know some of the required information, please leave it blank, or if possible, use your best guess and explain in your narrative.
When should I report incidents of sexual misconduct?
- SB 212 requires that you "promptly report" incidents of sexual misconduct. Please make every effort to make your report within 24 hours of observing or receiving information that you believe may constitute sexual misconduct. The Title IX office will use the reasonable person standard to determine whether your report was made promptly.
What should I include in my report of sexual misconduct?
- All known details must be reported regardless of when or where the incident occurred, including whether the complainant expressed a desire for confidentiality.
- Please include names of the parties and their University affiliation; the names of other people who may be involved; any relevant facts including date, time, and incident location; and any supportive measures, such as academic accommodations, housing changes, etc. you may have implemented, if known.
What happens if I inadvertently make an error in my report?
- You will not be penalized for mistaken information if you provided the details in good faith based on the specifics available to you at the time you reported.
What should I expect to happen after I make a report?
- Unless the Title IX Coordinator has additional questions, you probably will not receive a response to your report. If you want to confirm that the Title IX office received your report or would like to discuss the matter further, please feel free to contact your campus Title IX Coordinator.
What if I'm not sure whether the disclosure I received constitutes sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, or sexual assault?
- Please report even if you are not sure the incident falls into one of the required categories. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the information you provided constitutes sexual misconduct under the UHS Sexual Misconduct Policy and state law.
What if the person who disclosed sexual misconduct to me requested confidentiality?
- If the person who made a disclosure of sexual misconduct to you requested confidentiality, it is a best practice to let them know that you are required to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator by the UHS Sexual Misconduct Policy and state law.
What are the consequences for not reporting and/or knowingly making a false report?
- If after an investigation, the University determines that an employee knowingly failed to make a report, made a false report, or intended to conceal the incident, state law requires the University to terminate the employee, regardless of tenure status.
- An employee who is required to make a report and knowingly fails to make the report, or with the intent to harm or deceive knowingly makes a report that is false, may also be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.
- If it is shown at the trial of the offense that the employee intended to conceal the incident, the offense may be escalated to a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $4,000.
If I believe someone has already reported the incident, do I still need to report it as well?
- Yes, please report to the Title IX Coordinator even if you think someone else has already reported the incident.
Am I required to report something disclosed to me in one of my classes, via a class assignment, in an email email about other University services, etc.?
- Yes, employees are required to report incidents they learn of in class assignments, via e-mail or other electronic means, etc. even if the information available is limited.
Are there any exempted employees from these requirements?
- Yes, there are limited reporting exceptions. Employees who hear information at a public awareness or "speak out" event, employees who are the victims of the incident(s) of sexual misconduct, student employees (some may still be mandatory reporters under the UHS Sexual Misconduct Policy), and employees designated by the University as confidential resources are not required to report.
Which employees are designated by the UH System as confidential resources?
- Mental health counselors, healthcare professionals, clergy, and Sexual Misconduct Support Services professionals are considered confidential resources.
What are my rights if someone accuses me of failing to report or knowingly making a false report?
- If you are accused of failing to make a report or knowingly making a false report, a review will be conducted and if disciplinary action is taken, you will be provided the same rights your campus provides for any disciplined employee.
Are there any additional reporting requirements?
- If you are a Campus Security Authority, you must also submit a Clery Incident Report form to your campus Clery Compliance Officer.
Am I required to report incidents that occurred when a student was in high school or earlier?
- SB 212 is not triggered by failing to report something that occurred before a student was a member of the University community; however, please report historical incidents you learn of so that the Title IX office can provide resources. Often, when someone makes a disclosure about something that happened in the past, it is because they are still being impacted by the incident.
What if I overhear two students talking about an alleged incident in the restroom? Do I really have to report that, too?
- Yes, you are required to report incidents you learn of even if you receive the information by overhearing a conversation.
A student told me about an incident a month ago. Do I need to report that now?
- SB 212 was effective September 1, 2019 and the penalties went into effect on January 1, 2020. Please report any incident of sexual misconduct you hear(d) about even if you received the report a month ago.
A student told me about an incident that occurred during a semester that they took off from school. Do I need to report that?
- SB 212 is not triggered when a student was not enrolled at the University; however, please report so that the Title IX office can provide resources. Often, when someone makes a disclosure about something that happened in the past, it is because they are still being impacted by the incident.
A student told me something happened to their friend, but I don't even know their friend's name or if they are affiliated with UH. Do I need to report that?
- Yes, even if you do not know a party's name or University affiliation, please make a report so that the Title IX office can determine whether to pursue the matter.
Does this law apply to students and employees? A coworker told me that their spouse pushed them, and the spouse is not affiliated with UH.
- Yes, the law applies to both students and employees. If your colleague discloses an incident of sexual misconduct to you, you are required to report the incident even if (a) they ask you not to, (b) the incident did not occur on campus, and/or (c) the other party is not affiliated with the University.
What if I witness a violent incident or believe someone is in imminent danger?
- Call your campus police department or 911 immediately and then contact your Title IX Coordinator.
As of January 1, 2020, Texas universities are required to annually post online SB 212 reporting data. The data may not identify any person and must include:
- the number of reports received under Texas Education Code Section 51.252;
- the number of investigations conducted as a result of those reports;
- the disposition, if any, of any disciplinary processes arising from those reports;
- the number of those reports for which the institution determined not to initiate a disciplinary process, if any; and
- any disciplinary actions taken under Texas Education Code Section 51.255.
Please see below for SB 212 reporting data for the University of Houston from January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, as well as explanatory notes:
|Reporting Metrics - Texas Education Code, Section 51.252||# of Reports|
|Number of reports received under Section 51.252||230|
|Number of confidential reports under Section 51.252||46|
|Number of formal investigations conducted under Section 51.252 *||3|
|Disposition of any disciplinary processes for reports under Section 51.252:|
|a. Concluded, No Finding of Policy Violation||--|
|b. Concluded, with Employee Disciplinary Sanction||--|
|c. Concluded, with Student Disciplinary Sanction||(2)**|
|d. Pending formal investigation||3|
|Number of reports under Section 51.252 for which the institution determined not to initiate a disciplinary process:||227|
|a. Unidentified or unaffiliated respondent||119|
|b. Confidential report (unidentified complainant)||46|
|c. Insufficient information to investigate||18|
|d. Complainant requested no investigation||15|
|e. Other administrative closure or informal resolution||19|
|f. Preliminary investigation pending||10|
**Any number listed in parentheses "()" indicates the matter(s) were originally included in a prior annual report, but concluded in the current year.
|Reporting Metrics - Texas Education Code, Section 51.255||# of Reports|
|Number of reports received that include allegations of an employee’s failure to report or who submits a false report to the institution under Section 51.255(a)||1|
|Any disciplinary action taken, regarding failure to report or false reports to the institution under Section 51.255(c):|
|a. Employee termination||--|
|b. Institutional intent to termination, in lieu of employee resignation||--|
Notes on the tables above:
*Investigations: The Title IX Coordinator conducts a preliminary investigation into all reports received under Texas Education Code Section 51.252. A "formal investigation" indicates a formal complaint was filed, followed by a full investigation and disciplinary process, if applicable. A formal investigation is initiated when the complainant or University files a formal complaint against the respondent.
Confidential reports: “Number of confidential reports” is a sub-set of the total number of reports. Confidential reports are provided in a non-identified format by a confidential employee or office (for example, a university health or counseling facility).
Dispositions: “Disposition” means “final result under the institution’s disciplinary process” as defined in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s rules for the Texas Education Code Section 51.259. Therefore, pending disciplinary processes will not be listed until the result is final.
No Finding of Violation: “No Finding of a Policy Violation” refers to instances where there is no finding of responsibility after a formal investigation and an appeal process.
Determination Not to Initiate Discipline Process: The reasons to not initiate a discipline process can include but are not limited to: administrative closure; insufficient information to investigate further; confidential employee reporting (no identifiable information for complainant); the respondent’s identity was unknown or not reported; the respondent was not university-affiliated; the complainant requested the university not investigate the report further; an informal resolution was completed; an investigation is ongoing; or the formal investigation was completed with no finding of a policy violation.