The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Law professor accused of assault

Cyclists says she ran him down; professor claims incident was accident

SMU law professor, Jane Dolkart, was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated assault after she struck a cyclist with her car near White Rock Lake.

According to the police report, Dolkart struck Tommy Thomas with her Volkswagen Passat as he was bicycling near White Rock Lake.

Thomas, a Dallas business lawyer, came away with scrapes and bruises. He wonders what would cause the professor to run him down in what police say was a road rage incident.

According to police reports, Thomas was cycling with a friend about 10 a.m. on West Lawther Road when a woman in a Volkswagen Passat came up behind them and started honking and screaming.

Police say Dolkart followed the cyclists around a U-turn and then rammed her car into Thomas’ bike.

Dolkart, 56, referred questions to her attorney, who said the incident as an accident and was hardly a criminal offense.

Thomas said he was dragged underneath the car and suffered road rash and bruising on his arms and shoulders.

Dolkart’s attorney, James Vasilas, said his client was on her way to go biking at White Rock Lake when she came across two cyclists moving slowly in the middle of the road just south of Mockingbird Lane.

Vasilas said Dolkart tapped her horn once to get them to move over so she could pass. He said she was not honking and screamingHe said that when Dolkart made a U-turn to go into the parking lot, Thomas slammed on his brakes and was hit.

Dolkart was taken to the Dallas County jail and posted a bond for the $2,500 bail on Sunday night. The Dallas Police Department is investigating and will refer the case to a grand jury to determine whether she will be indicted on assault charges.

Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Dolkart has been an associate law professor at SMU for 14 years. Before coming to SMU she served as assistant general counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She had also taught at Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C.

Dolkart specializes in civil rights and labor law related to sexuality and gender. She has worked extensively on benefits for same-sex partners, sexual harassment in the workplace and gender discrimination.

SMU officials released a written statement Monday saying the university takes all allegations of misconduct involving a member of the school’s community seriously, but they did not comment further because the matter is under investigation.

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