SMU disputes school paper's claim it 'sweeps rapes under the rug'

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 6:46 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK - SMU is disputing allegations from its student-run newspaper that claim the university is "sweeping rape under the rug."

The allegations came in an article in The Daily Campus written April 29, about sexual assaults involving students.

It claims that 100 students have been sexually assaulted in the last 25 years, but the paper said only one case - involving student Monika Korra, who was raped in 2009 - was successfully prosecuted.

It blamed university officials for using more confidential administrative hearings to handle sexual assault cases, rather than having them heard in public courts.

"If you choose to go through these panels, is justice brought?" said SMU senior Brooks Igo. "That's the question."

Igo researched and wrote the story, along with fellow students Natalie Posgate and Patricia Boh.

The trio stand by their story, saying it interviewed campus police, counselors and officials from the Dallas County district attorney's office for their story.

SMU officials do not dispute the numbers, but claim it doesn't try to hide these serious crimes.

The university posts all crimes on it's web site and sends out alerts to students when a sexual assault or other serious crime is reported on- or off-campus.

"I'm disappointed with the headline, we take any allegation of sexual assault seriously," said SMU Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Lori White.

White said the newspaper's headline is misleading, and a majority of the victims of sex crimes choose not to move forward with their cases for other reasons.

"Part of the challenge is getting the women to come forward," White said. "They're afraid of what might happen to them."

The newspaper printed a response by the university on it's web site. The response calls the report "misleading."

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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