Contact: Ellen Sterner at 214-768-7650
or Patti LaSalle at 214-768-7660

September 25, 2003

Statement of Southern Methodist University

Following is a clarification of an incident leading to media reports portraying the matter as an issue of free speech at SMU.

On September 23, University officials received complaints from several students, concerned that a bake sale had been set up outside the Student Center with different prices for baked goods based on race and gender. At the request of the concerned students, a University official visited the site and determined that a volatile situation had been created and that the event should end in the interest of student safety. The sponsoring group, the Young Conservatives of Texas, had received permission to set up a bake sale, but failed to inform University officials of the true purpose of the event.

SMU has a designated debate area on campus for students to set up tables with information on various political issues, available to all student organizations. It is a violation of the University’s nondiscrimination policy to sell goods at different prices based on race, ethnicity, or gender; however, signage expressing political points of view is a matter of free speech consistent with University policy.

SMU has a long tradition of encouraging open debate and considers such dialogue central to its academic mission. An open forum on affirmative action had already been planned for October 8 at SMU, and the Young Conservatives of Texas will have an opportunity to express their point of view, along with other students. They will also have the opportunity to set up a table with signage in the designated campus debate area, but may not engage in discriminatory practices through the sale of goods priced according to race, ethnicity or gender.


Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas with more than 10,000 students and offering degree programs through six schools. More information about SMU is available at