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SMU To Revise Sexual Assault Policies

Creative Commons: Jeffrey Beall

Southern Methodist University says it will follow new task force recommendations calling for the school to ramp up education and outreach on sexual assault. The task force released recommendations today following a string of sexual assaults last year.

Among other things, SMU will create an online publication addressing sexual misconduct resources, and develop a bystander intervention program similar to those at Duke and Yale. There, those programs teach students skills to intervene when they believe peers are in high-risk situations.

In addition to education and outreach on campus, SMU will establish regular meetings with the District Attorney’s office and local law enforcement.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins pushed for a review of SMU’s sexual assault policies last year, raising concerns about whether the university was responding quickly enough to reports.

We contacted Watkins for a response and have not yet heard back.

*SMU spokesman Kent Best says there were five sexual assaults reported in 2012 and one on campus in 2013 as of May. 

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.