AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new Title IX report from the University of Texas at Austin shows a decrease in the number of reports received in the 2021-22 year, but the school’s Title IX office says this is likely due to how people are reporting incidents.

UT Austin’s Title IX office received 1,193 reports in the 2021-22 academic year. This is a 16% decrease from the 2020-21 reporting period. 

The state-required, annual report does not specify the types of reports made such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking incidents. All reports involve either an enrolled UT student or a UT employee.

Of the total reports, 483 were actionable, the report said. 414 complainants sought support and resources, and 69 complainants pursued a formal grievance process with 23 completed processes.

The university’s Title IX Coordinator Adriana Alicea-Rodriguez said the lower number is likely due to a decrease in confidential reports and an increase in reports directly to the Title IX office.

This means there may be fewer duplicated reports, such as a complaint being reported to multiple confidential employees. Rodriguez said confidential reports do not include identifying information, so the office could not see if the complaint was reported elsewhere already.

A majority of reports (60%) were submitted to confidential employees. These are university-designated people who students can speak to about incidents without concern that they will be reported to the Title IX office for investigation.

“We could have had one matter that went to the Title IX office as well as four confidential resources on campus that we may have reported in the past five different times because we don’t have a way to confirm whether confidential reports are duplicate reports or not,” Rodriguez explained.

This is the second annual report under Title IX policy changes. In 2020, the UT System Board of Regents overhauled its sexual harassment policy to meet new Title IX regulations. Changes included how hearings are conducted and requiring investigators to give a reasonable timeframe for completed complaint investigations. 

The 2020-21 report was the first reporting period with these changes. This report showed an about 35% complaint increase from the 2019-20 academic year. 

“I think in 2021, we had settled into all of those recommendations being in place, and our campus community members knowing,” Rodriguez said. “So we started to receive more reports for individuals that wanted to report the matter to the Title IX office, but we’re not necessarily seeking to pursue a grievance process.”

People affiliated with UT can submit reports online, by calling 512-232-3992, by emailing titleix@austin.utexas.edu or in person at the Title IX office in the student services building.

Rodriguez said the office has a dedicated department with resources to help complainants who are not ready to pursue an investigation or adjudication process. She said the office saw an increase in people seeking this type of support.

The office has three improvement goals in its strategic plan, which include:

  • To equip and motivate the campus community to establish appropriate norms that reduce the incidences of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence
  • To facilitate a trauma-informed response process for reports submitted to the Title IX office
  • To increase direct reporting by complainants to the Title IX office