Know your options under state law
and federal mandates
Students who report sexual assault have the right to decide to pursue a
criminal process, an SMU grievance process or both processes. Students also may
choose not to pursue criminal charges or file a grievance. The internal
grievance process does not delay the criminal process; the processes proceed
independently of each other.
The criminal process
SMU urges anyone who has experienced sexual assault to
alert police as soon as it is safe to do so, in addition to
obtaining medical care and a sexual assault exam that will preserve
evidence. Sexual assault is a crime punishable under Texas law by imprisonment
from two to 20 years plus a fine of up to $10,000. When a student immediately
reports sexual assault, police are better able to collect evidence that may be
helpful in building a criminal case, even if the student decides to wait until a
later date to file criminal charges and
seek prosecution in a Texas criminal court.
If a student decides to pursue criminal charges, the district attorney’s
office in the appropriate jurisdiction determines whether to present the
case to a grand jury to obtain an indictment and proceed with a trial after police have presented the findings of their investigation.
SMU Police are available to counsel and accompany students through this process;
The internal grievance process
A student who experiences sexual assault may file a complaint under the University’s Title
IX (Sexual Misconduct) policy. The internal grievance process
includes an investigation of the allegations, sanctions and an appeal
Students reporting sexual assault are encouraged to share as much information
as they are comfortable sharing. Limited information provided to University
officials may impede the actions the University is able to take in investigating
Pending the outcome of the grievance process and to protect the safety of the
SMU community, the University may impose temporary interim measures, such as no
contact orders, campus restrictions and temporary suspension.
Students involved in a sexual misconduct case may qualify to receive amnesty
for other violations of the
Student Code of Conduct, such as alcohol violations, as outlined in the
Conduct Review Process. The investigation will focus primarily upon the
allegations of sexual misconduct.
For more information,
contact the Title IX Coordinator, 214-768-3601.
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