New Title IX training required for all UT-Austin employees this year

Brooke Ontiveros

University employees are required to complete a new, instructor-led Title IX basics training course this year as part of the recommendations released in August to improve UT’s sexual misconduct policies.

The training will cover significant changes to Title IX processes implemented from the law firm Husch Blackwell recommendations and federal regulations that went into effect in early August. The training will also refresh faculty on when they are required to report and handle those conversations. 

The deadline to complete the training is May 31, and it will need to be done every two years, said Brelynn Thomas, Title IX deputy and education coordinator and training instructor. 

“It is for employees to understand what their duties are as mandatory reporters and for them to understand what resources are available to them and their students and colleagues,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the training will discuss new rules that mandate termination if a faculty or staff member commits acts of sexual assault or sexual harassment. The rules also mandate termination if faculty or staff fail to report disclosures of sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

Resident assistant Leland Murphy, who must complete the training, said he is glad the new Title IX training is mandatory because approaching situations regarding sexual assault can be sensitive.

“University employees may not know how to approach a lot of these situations in the right ways,” government sophomore Murphy said. “Hopefully, we’ll be more informed on the processes and what our role is, … and victims will hopefully be more supported.”


Thomas said the three R’s — reflect, refer and report — will help employees approach Title IX conversations with care and empathy.

“Usually, when someone’s disclosing something like that to you, they want you to listen. They want you to understand,” Thomas said. “The reflect part comes in … when you confirm that you understand.”

The training will outline all resources faculty can refer to survivors, such as Student Emergency Services, Voices Against Violence and the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, according to a Title IX resources handout. Thomas said faculty will need to file a report after assessing potential resources.

“We’re not saying that the faculty member or the employee can solve their entire issue, but that they can be a resource to get them where they need to be,” Thomas said. “We do remind people like, ‘Hey, your first goal is to support that person in the moment, but don’t forget to write your report afterwards.’”

Undergraduate teaching assistant Jacqueline Porteny said she wouldn’t know where to start if someone reported a Title IX disclosure to her. She thinks the training will help her since she is a mandatory reporter.

“I think this training will hopefully set things a bit more clear and straightforward to individuals who are not fully aware of certain things Title IX entails,” anthropology senior Porteny said.