HomeNewsTitle IX staff members offer support to students affected by sexual misconduct

Title IX staff members offer support to students affected by sexual misconduct

Tyler Junior College’s Title IX office is a student resource where staff members deal with issues concerning sexual assault and harassment, rape, stalking, and dating violence. 

“It’s really to ensure just that there’s a safe environment for everyone to come. They have one purpose, to come receive their higher education and to be in a safe environment,” said Jacqueline Lozano from TJC’s Employee and Organizational Development Office. Lozano is approaching her one-year mark as TJC’s Title IX coordinator, and educating students on Title IX and how to stay safe is what she and Tiffany Perez, also with the Title IX office, plan to do with their roles. 

In compliance with the Clery Act, TJC publishes annual Campus and Fire Safety Reports at TJC’s website. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, requires college campuses to document and report all crimes associated with the particular college campus. As of the 2022 report, in 2021 TJC had two reported accounts of dating violence, one account of domestic violence, one account of fondling, and three accounts of rape on TJC’s main campus. The next Clery Report will be available sometime by Oct. 1.

“We want to make sure that [students] feel safe at all times. So, you know, that the Title IX team is here for support and assistance in the complaint process or even to just answer general questions, even when they’re not sure,” Lozano said.  

Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Title IX is not just a campus resource but a student resource, if a student is experiencing issues outside of TJC’s campus, say sexual assault or another offense is occurring at a student’s home or at an off-campus function, the Title IX team is there to help them.

“We can talk it out with them and let them know, OK, you know, we need to get the local police authorities involved, who do they need to reach out to if it’s not specifically Title IX for the school, general counseling services, putting them in touch with counseling,” Lozano said.

If a student comes in with an incident that happened off campus the Title IX office is able to work through campus police to get a report to the respected local authorities. 

“It’s our student. It’s our current student, and we definitely want to provide them with resources and take down the information,” Lozano said. 

There are a few different ways a student could report an offense. For example, students can file a report online at https://www.tjc.edu/info/20017/consumer_information/14/title_ix. Lozano and Perez said they prefer a more direct approach, either in person or over the phone. “That way we know what type of questions to ask and we can do all of the intake,” Lozano said. 

There is an option to file an anonymous complaint, but “anonymous complaints are just much more difficult to investigate due to missing information,” Lozano said. Formal complaints, however, are investigated and can be made by the complainant or on the complainant’s behalf. The Title IX team is currently working on a way to make reports faster and easier, until then they urge students to reach out by calling (903) 510-3155 or emailing Jacqueline.Lozano@tjc.edu

Lorenzo said that incident reports can be submitted any time day or night or on weekends. “I make myself available as needed,” Lozano said. 

Once a report is made it goes straight to the Title IX office, and all information is kept highly confidential as it goes through the process, Lozano said. 

“Basically, it’ll be reviewed by our office. We’ll reach out to the person, bring them in, and then we sort of start fact-finding, doing intake. But also with that, depending on the situation, let them know these are the resources that are available to you while we get through this process, even if they end up not wanting to file a formal complaint,” Lozano said. 

Graphic from the 2022 Annual Campus and Fire Safety Report
The above data shows reported crimes and offenses on TJC’s main campus 2019-21. To review the full report, visit Clery Reports on the TJC website.

Once the report is made into a formal complaint, the investigation starts. The alleged offender, or what is called the respondent, is given a chance to respond to the allegations and provide a witness list. 

 While the investigation is underway, Title IX tries to help the complainant in any way they can. “Try to make sure that the victim has the resources they need to get the help they need to whatever, whether it’s classes or counseling or escort services,” Lozano said. “We can do no contact orders, maybe they feel like they’re being harassed for instance, and this person just keeps popping up everywhere they’re at on campus, we can make sure that we put a no-contact order and have the police serve that to the student.” 

According to a summary of Title IX provisions on the  Department of Education’s website, schools must respond to sexual harassment incidents in a way that supports the alleged victim and treats both parties fairly.

Lozano and Perez would like to let students know that they are here and willing to answer questions and provide what help they can to students. They also want to remind students to be aware of their surroundings, situations and others around them. 

“If you see something, you know, don’t just assume that other people are going to handle it, especially when there’s larger crowds involved,” Lozano said. “Most people tend to brush it off and be like, ‘Oh, somebody else will take care of it.’ But let’s all do our part and at least say something, speak up.”

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