Texas Tech University

At some Texas universities, students accused of rape can transfer without a record

Matthew Watkins

July 18, 2017

KCEN-TV - When Sierra Smith told Baylor University she'd been sexually assaulted by a classmate during a 2016 spring break trip to South Padre Island, she hoped administrators would move to protect her and other students.

For the UT System's Mercer, it comes as no surprise that a student would try to transfer amid a disciplinary case.

"If you are someone who is charged and you don't feel like you have violated the rules, the processes can take some time," she said. "You might say, 'The semester is not over yet, but I am out of here.'"

Mercer, who wrote her Ph.D dissertation on the subject, has spent years warning universities about that possibility. The solution is simple, she says: Include a notation of a disciplinary case on the student's transcript, so any future school will know to ask questions before admitting the student. She helped the UT System devise such a policy in recent years. Texas Tech University takes a similar approach.

Many other schools have been reluctant. A 2015 national survey of university registrars found that about 40 percent didn't support including disciplinary notations on transcripts.

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