Senate Bill 212
Senate Bill 212 (SB 212) passed during the 2019 legislative session. It is a Texas State Law that requires all employees (both faculty and staff) at a public or private post-secondary institution to promptly report any knowledge of any incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking "committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident".
The SB 212 penalties took effect on January 1, 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I report?
The report to the Title IX Administrator must include “all information concerning the incident known to the reporting person that is relevant to the investigation.”
What does the law mean when it says that reports are to be made “promptly”?
The word “promptly” is not defined in SB 212, but we recommend reporting within 1-2 business days.
I am not sure if the information shared with me is considered to be stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault or dating violence. What should I do?
Don't try to discern in which category the incident may be classified. Report any information that was shared with you and the Title IX Office will determine whether the information qualifies.
What if the person who shared information with me requests confidentiality?
You should inform this person that, at this stage of the process, you are required to report all known information to the Title IX Office. Here is an example of a helpful response to students with confidentiality concerns:
"Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I do want to let you know that I am required to report this incident to the University to ensure that you know about the options, resources, and remedies available to you. After I submit the report, the Title IX Case Manager will send you an email to discuss the ways the University can assist you, but you are not obligated to respond. In almost every situation, you are in control of whether or not to move forward with an investigation, and any action taken in response to the situation will be up to you. Our main goal is to provide you with immediate support and protect all students and employees from a hostile or discriminatory environment."
Where do faculty and staff report sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking incidents committed by or against a student or employee under SB 212?
Such reports must be filed with the institution's Title IX Administrator or Deputy Title IX Administrators. You can submit this report online.
Does SB 212 require a student to report incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking committed by or against a student or employee"?
No. The law only requires employees to report and it specifically excludes a student enrolled at the institution. However, our current guidelines about who is a Mandatory Reporter (also called Responsible Employee) include some students, such as student employees
I was a “mandatory reporter” before SB 212 became law. Have my reporting obligations changed?
No. If you were previously required to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking because of your position at Texas Tech, your reporting obligations are the same.
What are the penalties of non-compliance of SB 212?
SB 212 has strong penalties for not complying with the law. Employees failing to report can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and terminated. If the person intentionally tries to cover up the incident, they could also face a Class A misdemeanor charge.
Furthermore, the university itself could also face a disciplinary action as a failure to comply with the bill's requirements and could incur as much as a $2 million penalty.
There are two processes used to determine penalties: the criminal process and an administrative process. In both cases, the penalties under SB 212 apply began January 1, 2020.
I am a faculty member. Am I required to report something that gets disclosed in one of my classes?
Yes. SB 212 has only two exceptions for requiring reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking. If you are the victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, you are not required to report or if the disclosure is made at a “public awareness event” sponsored by the University or a university-affiliated student organization.