The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)
The University announced in a statement that:
“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.
“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.
“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”
SMU provided additional information:
The Department of Education is reviewing three SMU cases that predate the University’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. One case involved a complaint of inappropriate language in a classroom; one involved an alleged sexual assault that was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office; and the third case, which does not involve a sexual assault allegation, is currently the subject of litigation.
A year ago, SMU President R. Gerald Turner adopted the task force’s recommendations for new and revised policies and procedures, including programs promoting education and training. Students, faculty and staff members have implemented many of these recommendations and continue to develop others.
- Read an op-ed about sexual misconduct prevention efforts from Vice President for Student Affairs Lori S. White and SMU Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the May 2 Daily Campus.