In addition to being responsible for student code of conduct and incident reporting, beginning this fall, the Office of Civility and Community Standards (OCCS) also will be home to the university’s sexual violence/Title IX processes and Title VI processes.
The changes will help centralize university practices and procedures to ensure that both student and employee needs are addressed. While investigations previously were conducted through Human Resources, OCCS coordinates any Title IX investigation and manages the adjudication process.
Symone Osieko, the new director of Civility and Community Standards, says the changes make sense in the broader context of serving the university. Osieko, who joined the team in August, also serves as TWU’s Title IX coordinator and is familiar with the new reporting requirements for Title IX.
“Title IX in general has always been one of those areas that keep campuses on their toes at all times and for various reasons,” said Osieko. “It will take the campus as a whole to ensure that in everything we do, we are being fair and equitable and are respectful of individual boundaries.”
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, all employees of Texas universities who witness or receive information about an incident of sexual misconduct must report the incident to a Title IX coordinator. Student employees are encouraged, but are not required, to report under Senate Bill 212.
An employee who does not report an incident of sexual misconduct or who makes a false report can be charged with a criminal offense (Class B or Class A misdemeanor). If an employee fails to make a required report or makes a false report, the law requires that the employee be terminated.
OCCS processes reports and concerns for the following:
- Academic Integrity violations
- Acts of intolerance
- Code of Conduct violations
- Pregnancy accommodations
- Students in distress
- Sexual Misconduct/Title IX
Osieko previously served as associate director in the dean of students office at the University of North Texas. Her responsibilities included investigations, training and policy/process development for student conduct and Title IX. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University and currently is pursuing her doctoral degree at TWU.
By Amy Evans
Student Life Office