In late September 2012, an SMU freshman, just a month into his life on campus, went to university police to report that he'd been sexually assaulted at a frat party. He hoped the school could help -- help protect him from his alleged assailant, help save him from further embarrassment on campus.
Instead, the student says, school officials did basically the opposite. They sent a campus-wide alert, over his objections, that made it clear he'd gone to police. While the police investigated, a high-ranking school official discouraged him from pursuing charges. They did nothing meaningful to protect him from retaliation, the student says, and when he was bullied out of his original dorm they moved him to a floor where the resident assistant was a frat brother of his alleged attacker.
The student makes these allegations in a lawsuit he filed against the school in September. Since then, SMU's lawyers have been busy disputing them, vowing that the school acted properly. But the U.S. Department of Education, after a sprawling investigation into the school's response to this and other incidents of sexual harassment and assault on campus, has found that SMU failed the student in the aftermath of his alleged assault, creating a hostile environment that eventually forced the student to drop out of school.More »