Depending on the nature and severity of a conflict, the decision of whether and how to raise a complaint can be one of the most difficult steps to resolution. In certain cases, reporting is mandated by law or University policy. This section can serve as a guide to help victims and witnesses identify when reporting is mandatory, and for situations that do not require mandatory reporting, to decide who to approach to resolve conflict and seek advice. When conflict occurs, those involved can decide to file either an internal report to the UTIG DEAI Committee or an external report to University services as defined below and summarized in Figure 2.
External report – Conflicts involving violations of Title IX or University nondiscrimination or ethics policies (see formal reactions) require mandatory reporting to the University. Victims and witnesses may submit external reports directly to services including, but not limited to, the University of Texas Title IX Office, UTIG Director, UTIG Human Resources, or University Compliance and Ethics Hotline where they will be investigated. External reports are not confidential by nature and may require participation of witnesses. Formal reactions will occur if wrongdoing is found. If it is determined that no violation occurred or the investigation is inconclusive, the conflict may be left unresolved. In this case, victims and witnesses may seek conflict mediation with the UTIG DEAI Committee or University services.
Internal report – An internal report is appropriate when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively and an external report is not mandated. Internal reports can be submitted confidentially (provided they do not fall under mandatory reporting requirements – see above) to any current member of the UTIG DEAI Committee (via an online form or email to firstname.lastname@example.org), with written statements preferred, although any mechanism is accepted. Unless wishing to remain anonymous, please include your name and position (e.g., student, postdoc, researcher, administrator, technical staff), the date and location of the incident, and a detailed description of the incident or concern. Include names of other persons or witnesses involved and supporting documentation, if possible. A description of the desired resolution would also be of assistance. The committee members commit to keep all reports confidential, and will only disclose outside of the committee with the expressed permission of the reporter or as required by law or University policy (see formal reactions). The committee’s records retention guidelines can be made available to complainants upon request.
The DEAI Committee will evaluate all internal reports for mandatory reporting requirements and recommend a course of action for reports that may require informal reactions (e.g., mediation). To avoid conflicts of interest, any DEAI Committee member mentioned in a report will be automatically recused from the internal review process. Internal reports subject to mandatory reporting will be raised to the UTIG Director as external reports.
If you are unsure whether the incident is a violation of the code of conduct, or whether the code applies to the space where the incident happened, you are encouraged to make a report. It is far better to receive reports that ultimately do not require action than to have a violation go unreported. The committee does not look negatively on a reporter if we find the incident reported in good faith is not a violation. Additionally, knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside covered spaces, can also help to improve the code of conduct.
Confidential External Support – Sometimes a person may be reluctant to report a violation due to discomfort, violence, or fear of retribution. For any conflict, victims and witnesses can seek confidential external support through UT services including but not limited to the University Ombuds Office, UT Health, and counseling services (see Figures 3 and 4). Using these resources will not result in a formal or informal reaction, but can help parties decide how to proceed. The Title IX Office provides a full list of campus, community, and reporting resources; see also Figures 3 and 4.