Live Responsibly

September 10, 2009

PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE EDUCATION AND PREVENTION

2008-2009 Report

Co-Chairs:

Dr. Paul Ludden, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Lori S. White, Vice President for Student Affairs

Members:

Students: Joe Carreon, Linwood Fields, Robert Hayden, Daniel Liu, Benjamin Manthey, Nicola Muchnikoff, Royce Wilson, Danielle Wong

Faculty/Staff: Scott Douglas, Joan Jackson, Rita Kirk, Megan Knapp, Mary Logan, Rebekah Miles, Gary Moskowitz, Frank Santoni, Rick Shafer, Dennis Simon, Anthony Tillman, Tom Tunks, Lisa Webb

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 2007-2008 President’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention (Task Force) focused on six categories of recommendations for implementation in the 2008-2009 academic year: Health, Enforcement, Academic, Social Life, Communication and Parent Partnerships. Additionally, the Task Force recommended that the President create an ongoing Commission on Substance Abuse Education and Prevention to continue the work of the Task Force.

The Commission, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, met to monitor and assess the implementation of the task for recommendations and to identify issues for further review.

This report provides an analysis of the implementation of the task force recommendations with a particular emphasis on those task force recommendations that were most successfully implemented and those recommendations that need additional attention or need to be re-evaluated. This report also outlines an agenda for the work of the Commission for the 2009-2010 academic year.

We recommend, in addition to continuing the oversight of implementing the task force recommendations, that we have an intentional focus on the sophomore and transfer year experience and be prepared to offer a comprehensive summary of the challenges faced by these two student populations.

Task Force Recommendations most successfully implemented in 2008-2009:

  • Adoption of the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Program: 34 students applied for and received amnesty.
     
  • Creation of the Caring Community Connections (The CCC) program. The CCC is an online extension of the Dean of Student Life Office that enables faculty and staff to submit concerns about a student to the Dean through an online database. The Dean received 185 CCC submissions in the 2008-09 academic year.
     
  • Extended hours (weekends until 2 am) in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center (HTSC) and the development of a late night programming fund. These initiatives provided a late-night venue for informal student gatherings and late-night, alcohol free, programming. During the 2008-09 academic year HTSC hosted 206 events with an estimated 8,914 attendees. Additionally, the opening of the newly created M Lounge in HTSC provides an additional venue for student gatherings and programming space.
     
  • Enhanced Campus Lighting: All practical recommendations were implemented and lights have been added. Specifically, Halff Associates was contracted to complete a redesign of the lighting on Bishop Blvd.
     
  • More Friday Classes: Schools and colleges are looking at potential realignment of courses. This will go hand-in-hand with the implementation of space management software for the campus. The Cox School has increased the number of sections of ACCT 2311 and 2312 offered on a WF schedule. Four of ten sections of 2301 were offered on WF in fall 2008 (up from no offerings on Friday) and one of four sections of 2302 was offered on WF.

Task Force Recommendations needing further evaluation:

  • Memorial Health Center Extended Hours: The Center’s extended hours from 7 pm to 7 am were rarely utilized; only 18 students in total visited during these hours. The Center also piloted later hours on Thursdays from 5pm-7pm with 106 patients seen, and Saturdays from 10 am –2 pm with 163 patients seen throughout the year.
     
  • Social Event Registration Process: Although 36 student organizations successfully registered their social events, students have asked for greater clarity regarding which types of social events need to be registered and for a streamlined registration process.
     
  • Communication with Faculty: The Provost’s office will continue to communicate with faculty about the importance of taking class attendance, giving final exams during the exam period and sharing students’ mid-term grades with academic advisors.
     
  • Communication with Students: Many students remain unaware of the Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan Polices and other new initiatives. SMU’s Office of Public Affairs is working with Student Affairs to develop a campaign to increase student awareness.
     
  • Centralized Master Student Events Calendar: the Student Development and Programs Office initiated an online student events calendar. Additional efforts will be made to publicize it to students.

Overall, the Commission is impressed with the campus community’s hard work to implement the Task Force’s 30+ recommendations. What follows are the goals, results and next steps:


HEALTH

Goals:

Extend the hours and services offered by the Memorial Health Center; explore alternatives to Alcoholedu (an online alcohol education program) and improve support services for recovering students.

Results:

Memorial Health Center Hours and Services

The Center established deep night hours from 7 pm to 7 am Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and had Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) on site. The Center extended its regular hours on Thursdays from 5pm-7pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm. The Center also established a contract with Nurse Response, a 24-hour medical call line. There were very few visits (18) to the Center during the deep night hours and very little demand for emergency medical services. As a result, mid-way through the academic year, the Center cancelled the on-site MICU and continued to remain open during the deep night hours staffed by one paramedic.

24-hour Nurse Response Line

The line did not start until November, midway through fall semester, and received the majority of calls during the flu outbreak in the first part of the spring semester. The availability of the 24- hour call line was not widely known by many students and parents. Feedback from those who used the call line was that the responses to general medical questions were “pretty basic.”

The Center for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention (CADAP)

The CADAP staff appointed a committee to research online alcohol education courses. The committee reviewed 12 different courses, researched four and has selected College ALC. College ALC is to be implemented summer 2010 for the 2010-2011 school year.  The staff will review the course one year after implementation to compare it to Alcoholedu to determine which course will be used from 2011 forward.

Student Survey

CADAP staff sent an online survey to all students in December 2008. The survey had 143 respondents who self-identified as students in recovery and/or students who struggle with substance use. Recovering students requested:

  • 12-Step Support Groups
  • Creation of a specific recovery program at SMU
  • On-campus recovery housing
  • Ways for recovering students to connect with each other.

Follow-up:

  • New student-led AA meeting on campus, Joy of Living, meets at Highland Park United Methodist Church. 
  • CADAP staff met with other schools that have recovery programs and private providers of recovery housing and are exploring membership requirements for the Association of Recovery Schools. 
  • A new Recovery Support Services Advisory Committee was formed. The recovering student members are working to support the new AA meeting, and to develop a Facebook support group. 

Next Steps:

2009-2010 Recommendations: (NOTE: C indicates a new recommendation)

CH-1: Adjust Health Center Deep Night Hours from 9 pm to 5 am Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for the 2009-2010 academic year staffed by a paramedic instead of having an onsite MICU. (Students can call 911 for an emergency response at any time). Continue the Center’s extended regular hours, Thursdays from 5pm – 7pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2pm.

CH-2: Renew the 24-hour nurse response line for the 2009-2010 academic year. Work with the Office of Public Affairs to increase student and parent awareness and continue to monitor student and parent use of the line and the quality of responses.

CH-3: Implement newly selected alcohol education course, College ALC, and provide feedback to the commission regarding the pilot phase.

CH-4: Continue outreach to students in recovery. Work with Residence Life and Student Housing regarding options for students in recovery.


ENFORCEMENT

Goals:

Remove barriers for students needing intervention and create partnerships among stakeholders including faculty, staff, police and local bar owners toward substance abuse prevention.

Results:

Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Program (Call for Help)

Student response has been overwhelmingly positive to this program, which was established by the Dean of Student Life. In the first year, 34 students were granted Medical Amnesty and several students used Call for Help to help a friend or peer in need of medical attention.

Earlier Intervention

Students seeking Medical Amnesty must agree to be evaluated by the Center for Alcohol and Drug Prevention, which provides an opportunity for earlier intervention. However, many students remain unaware of the Call for Help Program or knowledgeable about the process for applying for Medical Amnesty. Greater publicity is needed about the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Programs. The Dean reports an increase in the number of students seeking out her office for help.

Under-Age Drinking Discouraged

Campus officials and representatives of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) met with local bar owners to address issues of under-age drinking and marketing activities that promote excessive behavior. They established a College Relations sub-committee within the local ALOUD (Alliance On Underage Drinking) chapter and formed a partnership with a local bar to establish beta-test on effectiveness of ID scanner usage.

Fake ID Scanners

Initial discussions have resulted in the installation of a fake ID scanner at one local establishment.  In addition, three other bars/restaurants have been in discussions with two fake ID scanner manufacturers. 

Awareness Campaign

Campus officials are continuing to work with the Office of Public Affairs and plan to use summer 2009 to design awareness campaigns for both faculty and students. The College Relations sub-committee received a grant from ALOUD to create a social norms campaign. 

Strengthen Partnership with University Park Police

University Park (UP) currently has a job candidate to serve as an officer (shared with SMU) on the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. HIDTA consists of area police departments and federal agencies working together to collect the latest information on drug use, trafficking and trends affecting this region. The previous shared officer provided SMU police with useful information, including shared background on names of suspected drug users and dealers.

Caring Community Connections (CCC) Program

The office of the Dean of Student Life developed an online process for gathering and acting upon reports of students showing signs of distress and about whom members of the campus community are concerned. (The database was modeled after one at the University of Southern California.)

The Dean meets with all students identified by CCC. Since Fall 2008, her office has received 185 student referrals. The participation by faculty, in particular, in utilizing the CCC has been exemplary. Responding to the students who may be in crisis has now become approximately 80% of the Dean’s and her administrative assistant’s daily workload.

Student Concerns Committee (SCC)

The SCC reviews CCC submissions and takes appropriate action. Members include faculty and staff representing the Provost, International Education, Conduct, University Police, Retention, Counseling & Psychological Services, Residence Life, Legal Affairs, Risk Management and the Chaplain’s Office. The committee is chaired by the Dean of Student Life.

Next Steps:

2009-2010 Recommendations: (NOTE: C indicates a new recommendation)

CE-1: The Dean of Student Life should work with the Office of Public Affairs to better publicize the Call for Help Program.

CE-2: The Dean of Student Life and the Center for Drug and Alcohol Awareness should discuss additional strategies for responding to those students who through the Call for Help Program are identified as having more serious substance abuse issues. (Example: Colorado State University has a tiered program for students who violate substance policies to provide more comprehensive evaluation and treatment as needed.)

CE-3: Evaluate the staffing of the Dean of Student Life Office and the Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) staff to ensure students in crisis are responded to quickly and receive appropriate follow-up.

CE-4: Move forward with the hiring of the shared HIDTA officer.


ACADEMIC

Goals:

There were a number of recommendations in the academic areas related to course scheduling, number of hours spent on coursework outside of class and asking faculty to take attendance in class. Anecdotally, some students are reporting that they feel that in 2008-2009, their classes were more rigorous as a result of the implementation of these recommendations.

Results:

The recommendations related to obtaining mid-term grades for students; limiting the number of courses that can be dropped; and ensuring that students take their final exams during the final exam period are still being assessed.


SOCIAL LIFE

Goals:

The Task Force recommendations are designed to support and improve the social environment of SMU in several areas including: extended hours at the student center and fitness center, more late night programs; more student gathering spaces; a new resident campus ministry program; enhanced campus lighting; improved student activities, including fraternity and sorority life, registration of student events and a master calendar of student events.

Results:

The Office of Student Development and Programs (OSDP) began utilizing a centralized, web- based calendar of social events. The staff created a screen saver file with many campus events. This file was distributed to new students during summer orientation and is available to returning students on-line. Meadows School of the Arts and the Athletics department also are using the web-based calendar.

The Hughes-Trigg Student Center (HTSC) extended its operating hours for late night on-campus informal and formal gatherings. Thursday, Friday and Saturday night hours were extended until 2:00am. There is measurable evidence, based on foot traffic and number of programs in HTSC after 9:00 pm that students are participating in late night programming as a result of HTSC increasing its hours.

Initially the HTSC director worked with Aramark to extend the hours of Java City and Pizza Hut Based on follow-up data, it was decided not to continue offering late night hours for Pizza Hut, saving the University and Aramark money.

Funding for Late Night Programs

Student organizations were encouraged to sponsor more late-night, on-campus events on weekends. The Task Force budget provided funding for late-night programming through a newly developed committee called the Evening Program and Initiatives Contributions (EPIC).

During 2008-2009, 22 out of 39 applications were funded for a total of $50,000.  Seventeen applications were turned down because the EPIC funds had run out.  (Groups could apply for funds up to a $5,000 limit.)

EPIC funded programs included: The Red Carpet Affair, Asian Heritage Museum Tour, Jonah Werner Concert, Big Game Watch party, and Spring Dance Spectacular. EPIC was so successful that it actually allocated all of its funding ($50,000) by mid-spring semester. Multicultural student organizations in particular have sponsored a large number of the late-night programs funded by EPIC.

New “M” Lounge

The HTSC also opened the new “M” Lounge in the former Park N Pony office to provide students with another informal gathering and program space. The “M” Lounge, featuring video games and a stage, was developed through a partnership between the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, the SMU Guildhall and GameStop.

Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports

The Center extended its operating hours from 10:00 pm until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. However, the extended hours were not well utilized by students. During 2008-2009, visits averaged 16 students per night—some nights no students participated. A number of staff-sponsored late-night programs drew higher student participation.

Resident Community Chaplain (RCC) Program

In Fall 2008, the Chaplain's office collaborated with Residence Life and Student Housing and Perkins School of Theology to establish a new Resident Community Chaplain (RCC) program.

RCC's are graduate students at Perkins and are supervised by the chaplain staff. They serve the resident community (staff and students) as pastoral resources. They work closely with hall directors and spend eight to ten hours a week visiting their assigned communities, developing relationships with staff and students and responding as needed. If requested, RCC’s can provide programs that address spiritual issues.

Background: Of the 38 campus ministry organizations, 22 held weekly meetings in 2008-09 and 1,200 students attended a religious life community event every week. Monetary support of religious life communities (programming and staff) sponsored by external, SMU affiliated, religious organizations (such as Catholic Campus Ministry, Canterbury Episcopal, and Wesley Foundation) equaled $1.6 million dollars for salaries and programming. Religious life organizations supported their programming through funding from their sponsoring faith-based communities.  Each organization has a funding source outside SMU with the exception of student-led organizations that depend on Senate or other programming funding.  Not included are the three centers located near campus that represent properties owned and operated by church-related entities for service and ministry to SMU students, faculty and staff. 

Campus Safety: Lighting and Ride Services:

Increase lighting on campus to make nightlife more inviting, especially to female students. All practical recommendations concerning campus lighting were implemented this past academic year and the Giddy Up free campus ride service was extended to seven nights a week from 9pm to 3am.

Social Events Registration

The Student Programs and Development Office developed a registration process for student organization social events modeled after Vanderbilt, USC, TCU and other schools.

Students want clarification on Social Event Registration (SER) policies and for the process to be more streamlined. The SER committee made some adjustments to the process midway through the year and developed a mission statement.

The Vice President for Student Affairs created a new Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life position and also invited the Fraternity & Sorority Assessment Coalition to visit SMU. The Coalition, composed of Greek life experts from schools similar to SMU, delivered their report to the Vice President for Student Affairs and President Turner in Spring 2009. A group under the direction of the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life has been formed to review and respond to all of the recommendations in Fall 2009.

Next Steps:

2009-2010 Recommendations: (NOTE: C indicates a new recommendation)

CS-1: Continue expanded HTSC hours and the EPIC Late Night Programming Fund. Increase EPIC Fund from $50,000 to $65,000 through a reallocation with the Task Force budget.

CS-2: Explore re-locating other HTSC tenants to make room for more student “hanging out” space.

CS-3: Increase the number of student groups taking advantage of EPIC funds, based on an increase from seven applications in Fall 2008 to 32 in Spring 2009.

CS-4: Maintain funding for late-night staffing of HTSC.

CS-5: Discontinue the Dedman Center expanded recreation hours but continue with successful late-night programming (example: “Midnight Cosmic Climb”) sponsored by the Dedman Center staff.

CS-6: Increase funding allocated to the Chaplain’s Office to expand the Resident Community Chaplain’s Program. Include campus ministries and faith-based organizations in expanded campus activities.

CS-7: Improve the Social Event Registration process to clarify the types of social events that need to be registered and streamline the registration process.

CS-8: Permanently fund the Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life position.


COMMUNICATION

Goals:

Clearly communicate the University’s substance abuse education and prevention programs and enforcement policies.

Results:

Media Relations

All interviews with external media on this subject include comprehensive information on SMU’s preventive and educational efforts provided by Public Affairs and emphasized by those being interviewed.

Official SMU Information

Relevant information from President Turner and Student Affairs officials is included in appropriate communications with students, parents and others.

Live Responsibly Website

The site, located on the SMU home page, as well as SMU Forum and SMU Parents, are updated as new information becomes available.

Official Handbook

Public Affairs is gathering and assessing all materials with information on substance abuse education regulations and resources to create one coherent handbook for the entire campus community.

Student Communications

The Office of Public Affairs will work with the Student Affairs staff to develop a compelling marketing campaign to increase student awareness of programs and resources.

Next Steps:

2009-2010 Recommendations: (NOTE: C indicates a new recommendation)

CC-1: Provide funding through the Task Force budget to develop a student-targeted Task Force marketing plan.

CC-2: Updated student recruitment materials to include a statement that SMU encourages and expects responsible behavior and offers information and programs to help students comply with expectations.


PARENT PARTNERSHIPS

Goals:

Promote dialog about substance abuse prevention between students and parents and students primarily through new student orientation.

Results:

Substance abuse prevention programs

A number of substance abuse prevention related programs were offered to students and parents during the 2008 Academic Advising, Registration and Orientation (AARO) Program, including a new program featuring vignettes on the topic of substance abuse presented by the AARO leaders followed by a discussion between students and parents.

Parent Survey

An AARO survey of parent participants indicated that 71.4% of parents either strongly agreed or agreed that this discussion was helpful in clarifying their expectations of their students regarding drug and alcohol use.

FERPA Education

To help facilitate communication between parents/families and their students regarding grades; university bills; and other student educational record information, SMU developed an online FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) waiver site. To date, 82.6% of First-Year students granted permission for someone else (usually a parent or other family member) to have access to their educational records.

Next Steps:

2009-2010 Recommendations: (NOTE: C indicates a new recommendation)

CP-1: Continue outreach efforts to new students during orientation and partner with parents and families on the issue of substance abuse prevention.

CP-2: Include a parent representative on the President’s Commission on substance Abuse Prevention.


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

We believe that the impact of the Caring Community Connections and the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Programs in particular have enabled us to earlier identify students about whom we are concerned and have helped create a “calling for help” proactive culture among SMU students. However, admissions of drug use by former SMU students who were called to testify at the James McDaniel trial regarding the death of Megan Bosch and of SMU students related to the death of Jake Stiles, remind us that we need to continue to do to changing the culture of SMU related to drug and alcohol abuse. We need to continue sending strong messages to prospective and current students that we do not condone the use or distribution of illegal drugs, while at the same time providing support to those students who have a substance problem for which they are seeking help to stay clean.

The 2009-10 Academic Year Goals:

  • Continue to monitor the Task Force recommendations.
     
  • Focus on the sophomore and transfer year experience and be prepared to offer a comprehensive summary of the challenges faced by these two student populations, particularly in regard to substance abuse and related issues.
     
  • Offer recommendations as to how to respond to these challenges.

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SMU News & Communications, 214-768-7650, smunews@smu.edu