Hey, Curious Campus: What happens to resident assistants accused of sexual misconduct during the Title IX investigation process?

Jasmine J. Thekkekara

Every fall, roughly 600 students apply to become a resident assistant. Only about 60 of these applicants are chosen every spring, according to University Housing and Dining.

The thorough process of becoming a resident assistant includes meeting the basic academic and GPA prerequisites, writing multiple essays and going through a multi-step interview process. Once accepted, RAs enjoy free or reduced housing, a free meal plan and a monthly stipend of $134.

After the competitive application process, each of the new RAs live in close quarters with dozens of other students — most of whom are underclassmen.

So, when one of our readers asked us, “What happens to resident assistants accused of sexual misconduct during the Title IX investigation process?” We looked into it as part of Curious Campus, our series where we answer reader-submitted questions.

According to the Office of the Dean of Students, the investigative process for RAs is no different than the investigative process for all students. The resolution process typically involves filing a report, reviewing the report and interviewing those involved. “No contact directives” are issued in both processes, prohibiting communication between involved parties.

Title IX coordinator Krista Anderson said an RA accused of a Title IX violation may be reassigned for the safety and well-being of the people involved. Anderson said this interim measure allows the RA to continue to fulfill their duties.

“Typically this threshold is pretty high, but if there is a significant safety concern or threat of violence, then an interim suspension could also be one of those interim measures,” said Anderson, associate vice president of the Title IX Office. 

Anderson said if an RA is suspended, they would temporarily be removed from the residence hall and prohibited from being on campus property during that time.

 



However, to prevent Title IX violations from occurring, Aaron Voyles, director of residence hall operations, said UHD works with the Title IX office, UT Police Department, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and other organizations to provide comprehensive training. 

“We go through those different roundtables, and then staff also practice in simulated emergency situations,” Voyles said. “That includes multiple different potential Title IX incidents as well.”

Senior resident assistant Tara Mehta said she attended the required RA training last August and learned to understand her role as a resident assistant and how to report Title IX incidents when they occur.

“(The training) is almost as thorough as the application itself,” accounting junior Mehta said. “Even if you’ve been an RA before, you have to go to the same training again.”