5th Sexual Assault Reported At SMU, Task Force Meets

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After several reported sexual assaults on and near SMU’s campus, a task force of students, law enforcement and experts are meeting to discuss university response to such crimes. The meeting time and location were kept secret, according to a spokesperson, in hopes that more could be accomplished in private.

The task force was announced at the beginning of October. The first meeting comes a day after students were alerted about the latest sexual assault report. A female student says a male acquaintance attacked her in the early morning hours of Friday, October 5, at an apartment complex near campus. The accused is also a SMU student.

Five sexual assaults have been reported so far this year, and it’s alarming to students like Mari Hailu. She lives on the same street where one of those rapes was reported to have taken place.

“It’s concerning for me because I walk to school, and I walk back late at night.”

The 20-year-old junior thinks the campus needs to improve basic security.

“There’s a lot of areas that are dark around campus just small changes maybe more emergency phones maybe more patrols around the area.

Ali Williams, a 21-year-old junior, says the best prevention is education. She says she was surprised that sexual assault awareness, especially date rape, was not part of her college orientation.

“When I was a freshman, I don’t remember there being any talk about sexual assault. So, that definitely needs to be brought up and the seriousness needs to be known.”

Other students point out that fraternity members are suspects in some of the recent assaults and believe they are contributing to the problem.

“The first two, they were fraternity guys, so I feel like (the) Greek system, especially the Greek culture has a big part to do with it,” says student Eric Sheffield. “I think it’s really a shame and its definitely built into the culture of the school.”

The task force is expected to meet several times over the next few months and will release a full report in March.

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