SMU President R. Gerald Turner announced May 8 that he has accepted the recommendations of the SMU Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures for maintaining and improving programs related to sexual misconduct. The recommendations address areas including sexual misconduct reporting procedures, requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the student conduct process, education programs for students, enhanced training for staff and communications to parents.
- Read the Task Force report and President Turner’s response.
- Learn more about sexual misconduct reporting and resources on SMU’s Health and Safety website.
Turner established the Task Force in September 2012 to re-examine the University’s procedures and policies related to sexual misconduct to determine what changes are needed. Among the 20 members of the Task Force were external experts, including a representative of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the executive director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Initiative, as well as SMU students, faculty and staff members.
“Sexual misconduct is a serious issue at universities and colleges nationwide, which are required by the federal government to investigate allegations and hold violators accountable through an internal grievance procedure,” Turner said. “Even without such requirements, SMU is committed to policies and procedures that uphold community standards and foster a healthy learning environment based on mutual respect, responsible behavior and fair treatment of all students. I am grateful to the Task Force for its careful deliberations and recommendations. SMU is committed to implementing these changes and monitoring our practices.”
The Task Force made 41 recommendations, some of which address policies and procedures in place at SMU that the group felt should be continued but strengthened. Among these are procedures related to student reporting of sexual misconduct and the process for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations under the Student Code of Conduct. New initiatives recommended include new and more extensive education programs for students, as well as student mentoring and bystander intervention programs. Several Task Force recommendations were implemented during the past year, such as expanding information on SMU’s website. The full report is available online.
“Through our research and meetings, we learned that SMU has in place policies and procedures that align with national benchmarks,” said Task Force chair Kelly Compton, SMU trustee and chair of the Board’s committee on Student Affairs. “We also found areas that should be improved or more effectively addressed with new measures, particularly programs promoting education, training and communication. We are united in our commitment to the well-being of students through effective procedures, helpful resources and the support of a caring community.”