SMU urges anyone who has experienced sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking to alert police as soon as possible. SMU campus authorities can provide assistance in notifying law enforcement authorities, at the victim’s request.
Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking are crimes punishable under Texas law by imprisonment. These acts also are violations of the federal law Title IX and of SMU's Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.
To contact police
On campus: SMU Police can be reached by calling 911 from a campus phone or 214-768-3333 from a cell phone; or by picking up a blue-light phone on campus at any time of day or night.
Off-campus: Students should call 911 to reach police in that jurisdiction or call 214-768-3333 to reach SMU Police, who can connect callers with police in the appropriate jurisdiction.
Crime victims have the right to choose to talk to police when they feel ready to do so, and also can choose to decline involvement with the police. SMU urges victims to notify police as soon as possible. Reporting an incident to police does not automatically lead to criminal charges being filed or criminal prosecution. However, when a victim immediately reports an incident, police are better able to collect evidence that may be helpful in building a criminal case, even if the victim decides to wait until a later date to pursue criminal charges. In addition, a student will have input about his or her case after talking with police.
SMU is committed to responding to reports in a timely and respectful manner. When a victim makes a report to SMU Police, the police will request information about the circumstances of the incident and the alleged perpetrator in order to aid the investigation and build a criminal case.
In their operations and criminal investigations, SMU Police follow state and federal rules of procedure and evidence. The investigation conducted by SMU Police can include gathering evidence and witness statements, and obtaining search warrants and arrest warrants from a judge.
A crime alert is issued by campus email if SMU determines there is imminent danger, or the likelihood of a continuing danger, against which the campus community needs to be warned, or if an alert would aid in the prevention of similar crimes in the future. Crime alerts also are posted online at smu.edu/Aware and smu.edu/police.
SMU Police notify the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office or other appropriate external law enforcement agency when a case of sexual assault has been reported and is under investigation.
Pursuing criminal charges
When a victim decides to pursue criminal charges, a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office determines whether sufficient evidence exists to press charges, after SMU Police have presented the findings of their investigation. The District Attorney then presents the case to a grand jury to obtain an indictment and proceed with a trial.
SMU Police are available to counsel and accompany students through the criminal process.
In addition, when a case of sexual harassment is reported to SMU Police, the police notify the SMU Title IX Coordinator, as required by state and federal law. The SMU Title IX Coordinator will provide information about the victim’s option to pursue an SMU grievance process under University policy, in addition to the criminal process.
In addition to violating SMU policy and federal law, sexual assault is a crime punishable under Texas law by imprisonment from two to 20 years plus a fine up to $10,000. A person convicted of sexual assault must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his or her life – www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm#22.011.