Live Responsibly

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 and the criminal process, which are independent of each other, can be pursued at the same time.

The criminal process

SMU urges anyone who has experienced sexual assault to alert police as soon as possible, 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; call 214-768-3333.

The internal grievance process

A student who reports sexual assault may file a complaint under the University’s Title IX Harassment Policy with the SMU Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Access and Equity. The internal grievance process includes an investigation of the allegations, sanctions and an appeal process.

Students reporting sexual assault are encouraged to share as much information as they are comfortable sharing. 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 about this process or to file a grievance, contact the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Access and Equity at 214-768-3601 or email

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