The College of Natural Sciences wants all of our students to benefit from supportive, inclusive, and safe classroom experiences. These goals apply to you both as students in our graduate courses, and as Teaching Assistants or Assistant Instructors in our undergraduate courses and labs. This webpage serves as a quick reference guide for graduate students by providing brief summaries of some of the policies and resources that are in place to help achieve these goals. It contains introductions to the following:
You should consider this resource if your stress levels or the behaviors of a roommate, classmate, or coworker concern you – or if a student in your course is behaving uncharacteristically, for example, by no longer attending class, turning in assignments, or responding to emails. BCAL staff members are trained to assess these and similar situations. You may report your concerns by calling 512.232.5050 (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week) or by submitting an online form at utexas-advocate.symplicity.com/care_report/
Depending on the situation, individuals may be referred to resources including but not limited to the Office of the Dean of Students/Student Emergency Services, Counseling and Mental Health Center, and the Employee Assistance Program. Confidentiality will be maintained as much as possible; however, the University may be required to release some information to appropriate parties.
Cases that present an immediate threat to self, others, or property represent urgent situations that should be reported directly to the University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) by calling 911.
You should consider this resource if you are concerned that someone is creating a hostile or offensive classroom or campus environment, for example, by denigrating others because of race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. You may report your concerns inline at diversity.utexas.edu/ccrt/ or by calling 512.471.5017 (8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday–Friday).
Title IX is concerned with incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal (dating/domestic/family) violence, or stalking that involve UT-Austin students, faculty, or staff. The University is committed to maintaining a safe and non-discriminatory environment. So graduate students appointed in academic positions as Teaching Assistants, Assistant Instructors, or Graduate Research Assistants are deemed "responsible employees" under UT policies.
Every responsible employee is required to promptly report Title-IX incidents that they experience or hear about, if these incidents involve UT-Austin students, faculty, or staff. As "responsible employees," graduate students may not offer or maintain confidentiality after learning of such incidents. Responsible employees have the duty to report these privately to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, using the contact information at titleix.utexas.edu/
We ask that you familiarize yourself with the following:
(a) Policy on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking, found online at http://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/appendices/appendix-d/
(b) Prohibition of Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking, found online at http://www.policies.utexas.edu/policies/prohibition-sexual-discrimination-sexual-harassment-sexual-assault-sexual-misconduct
Counseling is a process that can help you identify more effective strategies to cope with difficult situations, to enhance your well-being, and to better achieve your academic and life goals. To investigate whether talking to a trained counselor might benefit you, you can, depending on the situation, either call the CMHC Crisis Line at 512.471.2255, or use a free anonymous online assessment available at www.ulifeline.org/utexas/self_evaluator
If one of your students is experiencing non-academic problems (e.g., illness or death in the family, physical or emotional health of the student, etc.), you may wish to refer that person to a CARE counselor at CMHC, using this form: https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9WSrOApR8tROzgV
If campus emergencies arise, Teaching Assistants and Assistant Instructors should be prepared to take appropriate actions to promote the safety of students in their classes and laboratories. To improve communication during emergencies, sign up for text alerts at utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/csas/text/. You may review emergency terms at emergency.utexas.edu/files/files/emergency_terms%282%29.pdf, get advice at www.utexas.edu/safety/preparedness/terms/remember_5.pdf, and view relevant UTPD safety videos at police.utexas.edu/videos/
The Office of Campus Safety and Security holds a TA/AI training session each semester in which emergency responsibilities are further reviewed. You can view the latest training session here:
Legal Services for Students provides free consultations on some (though not all) legal issues that may affect current UT graduate and undergraduate students. Advice is available for many landlord/tenant and rental issues, criminal charges, traffic tickets, consumer issues, car wrecks, and employment law questions not involving disputes against UT. For more information, see deanofstudents.utexas.edu/lss/
International students often face special legal or procedural challenges related to immigration advising, maintaining visa status, employment issues, immigration compliance and reporting as required by the federal government, health insurance compliance, federal tax filing assistance, and international travel issues. ISSS provides specialized advising services and programs for these students. See world.utexas.edu/isss/students for a guide to these services.
FERPA protects student confidentiality. Briefly, FERPA prohibits the University from disclosing educational records or personally identifiable information from a student’s University records to any third party, including parents, without that student’s prior consent. Some consequences for you are: you may not discuss students’ academic performance with their family members; you should return homework and exams in a manner that preserves student confidentiality; you should communicate student grades individually using student-specific password-protected systems (e.g., Canvas), and you may never post grades publically in any manner that might identify students. You will learn more about FERPA in TA/AI orientation.
If you have a conflict within your program, you should ordinarily start by discussing it with your Graduate Adviser. In some instances, you may find it helpful to get advice from the Office of the Student Ombuds. They can be reached at 512.471.3825.
If you are concerned about potential academic misconduct in a class, you should first contact the instructor of record. The instructor may decide either to confer directly with the student(s) or else to refer the case to the Office of the Dean of Students. More information is available from the Dean of Students Academic Integrity page: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/conduct/academicintegrity.php