Texas law increases reporting requirements of sexual misconduct at universities

News Connection

University employees who fail to report incidents of sexual misconduct could now face criminal charges

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The State of Texas has increased reporting requirements of sexual assault at universities.

“We hope the attention these new laws are getting will increase reporting so we can put a stop to any kind of issues that are happening on our campus,” said Michelle Boone, Director of Title IX Compliance at Angelo State University.

SB 212 went into effect January 1st. The new law is increasing reporting requirements of sexual assault at Texas universities.

“The law reads that all employees of public and private institutions are obligated to report sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking to the Title IX coordinator,” explained Boone.

University employees who fail to report incidents of sexual misconduct could now face criminal charges.

“The law reads that failure to report shall result in termination and it creates a criminal misdemeanor for employees who fail to do that,” added Boone.

The penalties for violating the law are either a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000, or a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Boone said the requirements have been a part of ASU’s policy for years.

Boone went on to say that those with designated confidentiality such as counselors, medical personnel or clergy are exceptions to the law.

While the law also excludes student employees, ASU policies state even these must report incidents of sexual misconduct.

“We cover all employees. Really, this has been a part of ASU policy for years now,” continued Boone.

Universities that are not compliant with the law must be reported to lawmakers by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, by January 2021. Those universities could be fined up to $2M.

Boone said Texas is the first state to place these requirements and potential fines on universities and that the law is setting an example for institutions across the country.

“This is the State of Texas saying these are important things, it’s important that we get it right in higher education and for our students. Us coming together is setting a great example,” added Boone.

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