Sexual assault is a violation of SMU policy and a crime

SMU prohibits sexual harassment in any form and vigorously enforces University policies while supporting state and federal laws. However, studies have shown that sexual assault is an underreported crime nationwide and that sexual assaults reported on college campuses often involve students who know one another. SMU is committed to providing a supportive environment for students to report sexual assault and obtain help.

All campus community members should be aware that sexual assault can happen to anyone and that sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.

SMU defines sexual assault as an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

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.

For the definition of sexual assault under Texas’ Penal Code, see

  • Students reporting a sexual assault can choose to pursue criminal charges, an internal grievance process under SMU’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy or both of these processes. See "Options for Reporting" for more information.

What it means to give consent

Consent means voluntary, clear, continuous, mutually understandable permission, given by words or actions, regarding one’s willingness to engage in sexual activity.

A sexual interaction is considered consensual when individuals willingly and knowingly engage in the interaction. Someone who is incapacitated (by alcohol, drug use, unconsciousness, disability, or other forms of helplessness) cannot consent. Consent cannot be procured by the use of physical force, compulsion, threats, intimidating behavior or coercion. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.

Previous relationships or previous consent for sexual activity is not consent to sexual activity on a different occasion. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another person. Silence or absence of resistance is not consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Previous consent does not mean ongoing consent. For example, consent to certain acts does not mean consent to the same acts later in the same evening.