A message from President Turner regarding sexual misconduct


October 6, 2020


Dear SMU Community,
Studies show that sexual misconduct continues to be underreported across the country. SMU is committed to maintaining a supportive environment for affected members of our campus community to come forward immediately to obtain help and report incidents. Our University continues to work on multiple fronts to eliminate sexual misconduct, provide care and support to those who experience it, and hold violators accountable while treating all parties in a fair manner. Each semester we share important information about sexual misconduct resources, policies and procedures that support the safety and well-being of all members of the SMU community.

All forms of sexual misconduct – including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking – are violations of University policy and the federal law Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Also, sexual assault and relationship violence are crimes under Texas law punishable by imprisonment. SMU will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form, and will vigorously enforce our University policies and support state and federal laws.  

I urge all SMU community members to review the SMU Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy that was updated on August 14, 2020, to comply with the new Department of Education Title IX regulations. The policy is also available on the Office of Institutional Access and Equity website, smu.edu/iae. SMU Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas may be reached at 214-768-3601, by email at accessequity@smu.edu, or at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, for questions or to report sexual misconduct.

Help is Available
Anyone in our community who experiences sexual misconduct is urged to seek help as soon as possible. SMU resources include SMU Police, the SMU Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, the Office of the Dean of Students, confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services and confidential pastoral support at the SMU Chaplain’s Office. They will provide support and information about campus and community resources, including options to pursue criminal charges and SMU’s internal grievance process. More information about
 resources for students and faculty and staff, including the Employee Assistance Program, is available online. 

Mandatory Reporting
If faculty or staff members receive reports of sexual misconduct from students, other employees or campus visitors, please remember that you are a mandatory reporter and must notify the SMU Title IX Coordinator.
Under Texas law, failure to make a report may also result in criminal penalties and termination of employment. This requirement applies to all employees, including confidential counselors in Counseling Services and confidential pastoral support in the Chaplain’s Office, although these employees are only required to report the type of incident and may not include any information that would violate a student’s expectation of privacy. Please consult Section 6 of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy for more information.

By being aware of SMU resources and policies, each of us can contribute to our community’s ongoing efforts to prevent sexual misconduct. Please visit smu.edu/sexualmisconduct for more information.



R. Gerald Turner

R. Gerald Turner