UPDATED June 20, 2007

Learn more about drug and alcohol abuse prevention resources at SMU.

SMU appoints task force on substance abuse prevention

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has appointed a Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention to examine the University’s programs focused on education, prevention, enforcement and assistance related to drug and alcohol abuse.

Composed of faculty members, staff, students, and a trustee, the Task Force is chaired by Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Dee Siscoe and Associate Provost Tom Tunks. It will report recommendations to President Turner by December 2007.

The Task Force represents an effort “to keep our programs up to date with best practices and procedures,” Turner said. Although the University has for several years offered comprehensive programs of drug and alcohol education, “we are re-examining everything out of deep concern for the recent tragic deaths of three students in the past year,” he said. “Although putting one’s welfare at risk is ultimately a decision by the individual, and students expect to be treated as adults, we as a University are committed to doing all that we can to encourage good decision-making, to help students if they err and to adjudicate those who continue to transgress.”

In addition to reviewing existing programs for possible updates or enhancements, the Task Force will look at University policies and practices that could have an impact on student behavior outside of class, such as academic scheduling, attendance policies, and regulations governing campus and Greek housing. The Task Force also will consider the broader context of external forces that can influence student behavior, such as habits developed pre-college, social norms, the surrounding environs and national trends in substance abuse.

Along with the co-chairs, the Task Force includes Professors Patricia Alvey, Dennis Foster, Gary Moskowitz, Dennis Simon, Laura Steinberg; and administrators Doug Hallenbeck, Residence Life and Student Housing; John Sanger, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention; Tony Tillman, Enrollment Services (Retention); John Kalb, Institutional Research; Patti LaSalle, Public Affairs; and SMU Chief of Police Rick Shafer. Also serving is Jeanne Tower Cox, SMU alumna, parent and chair of the Student Affairs Committee of the SMU Board of Trustees. Student members are Josh Camp, Interfraternity Council president; Abbie Steffler, Panhellenic Association president; Katherine Tullos, student body president; Sherri Taylor, Mustang Corral student director; and Daniel Liu, member of the Student Affairs Committee of the SMU Board of Trustees.

“Substance abuse is a complex and serious problem nationwide that requires a focused commitment and continual vigilance,” Turner said. “The considerable benefits of an SMU education and the entire collegiate experience should be enjoyed without the destructive influence of illegal and dangerous lifestyle habits. Prevention requires a partnership involving the institution, parents and students themselves, as well as external law enforcement agencies and community leadership. All of us must do more, and more often, to make an impact.”

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