November 7, 2019
Dear UT Community,
In recent months and days, students have called for the university to evaluate and revise its sexual misconduct policies. UT leadership met with student leaders to discuss these issues last week, shared more information with the campus and will meet again with the same group next week. These are important conversations for our entire university community.
As you may know, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 212 this spring, which increases the requirements for universities to report incidents of sexual misconduct. These new reporting requirements, along with the calls for action from our students, provide us with an opportunity to take a comprehensive look at how UT handles and communicates about misconduct allegations.
The university will soon hire a team of outside experts to examine UT’s processes surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct and work to bring further clarity to our procedures. We hope to finalize our agreement with them in the coming weeks. To supplement this review and strengthen our evaluation efforts, the university is also assembling a working group of faculty members, staff members and students — including those who participated in last week’s meeting — to provide internal perspectives and analysis.
Further, the university recently approved the hiring of three additional investigators in the Office for Inclusion and Equity (OIE). This will double the number of full-time investigators in OIE, which investigates complaints against faculty and staff members.
The University of Texas at Austin is committed to protecting the safety of all students and community members. When we receive allegations of misconduct, investigators review all the information they receive, and the university strives for an equitable outcome that respects due process and the safety of our community. We look forward to working together to address these significant issues.
Gregory L. Fenves, President
Maurie McInnis, Executive Vice President & Provost
Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students