June 28, 2013

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has accepted the recommendations of a task force he appointed to ensure that the University follows the best practices in dealing with the national issue of sexual misconduct, which has gained increased visibility in higher education, the military and other institutions.

“Colleges and universities are required by the federal government to investigate allegations and hold violators accountable through an internal grievance procedure,” Turner says. “Even without such requirements, SMU is committed to fostering a healthy learning environment based on mutual respect, responsible behavior and fair treatment of all students.”

“We learned that SMU has in place policies and procedures that align with national benchmarks,” says Task Force chair Kelly Compton ’79, 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.”

The 20-member task force included external experts, among them 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.

Calling on parents to be “our partners in encouraging personal responsibility and accountability,” the task force said parents should be “allies in SMU’s effort to develop comprehensive student training and educational programs….”

The Office of Student Affairs will oversee implementation of the recommendations in cooperation with several departments, ranging from SMU Police and Counseling and Psychiatric Services, to the Office of the Chaplain and Women’s Center for Pride and Gender Initiatives.

Several Task Force recommendations were implemented during the past year, such as expanding information on SMU’s website. The full report and news release summary are available at www.smu.edu/liveresponsibly.