UTPD rolls out new reporting guide for sexual assault

Meghan Nguyen

The University of Texas Police Department published a sexual assault reporting guide Monday afternoon, outlining procedures to follow and authorities to contact in the case of a sexual assault. The Title IX office also released a University-wide notice encouraging students to report violations of sexual misconduct.

The reporting guide provides contact information for UTPD in the case that students want to contact police.  If a student chooses to contact UTPD, UTPD can facilitate medical assistance, connect the student to an advocate or a counselor and discuss options moving forward, such as a criminal investigation or a Title IX investigation. Contacting UTPD is private and does not require students to pursue criminal charges, according to the guide.

If students do not wish to immediately involve police, UTPD urges them to seek medical attention by undergoing a free sexual assault forensic exam through SAFE Alliance, University Health Services or a local emergency room.

The prevalence of sexual assault at UT was brought to attention after the 2017 Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments Survey documented findings of sexual assault based on a survey of 7,684 UT undergraduate students. The survey found that 15 percent of women on the campus reported being raped.

UTPD Chief David Carter, along with Sergeant Samantha Stanford and Detective Eliana Decker, both of whom specialize in sex assault investigations, joined the Inter-agency Sexual Assault Team, or ISAT, this past June. ISAT aims to bring together area police officers and other professionals who are committed to enhancing the sexual assault criminal investigative process.

"We've got to have a system that works for our survivors, our victims of sexual assault, that they have the opportunity to basically receive justice," Carter told KXAN.

The Title IX notice urged students to promptly report sexual misconduct to Title IX or to responsible employees such as academic advisors, faculty or residence hall advisers. Responsible employees are required to quickly report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Office and do not serve as confidential reporting resources.

The notice also offered private, nonmandatory reporting options such as University Ombuds or Interpersonal Violence Peer Support. In addition, students can make Title IX reports anonymously or without naming the respondent.

Title IX has its own comprehensive guide about reporting sexual assault that was published this past June. The guide outlines investigation and resolution processes, offers resources for students reporting sexual assault and provides options if the complainant is an employee.

This story will be updated with more information.