Live Responsibly

April 29, 2008

SMU PRESIDENT ACTS ON RECOMMENDATIONS
OF TASK FORCE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has accepted 36 of 38 recommendations made by the Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention.

Recommendations Accepted:

General

  • Establish permanent Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention.

Health and Medical Services

  • Expand campus health center hours to 3:00 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, staffed by nurse with on-call physicians; evaluate providers of 24/7 call-line.
     
  • Continue education tools but seek new vendor for a program on alcohol abuse.
     
  • More study required to determine need for improved support services for recovering students.

Enforcement

  • Eliminate Passive Participation Policy from residence hall guidelines.
     
  • Review judicial procedures; consider community service in lieu of fines.
     
  • Establish Good Samaritan Policy and Medical Amnesty Program (accepted with limitations); any police agency will have the ability to cite/arrest individuals for public intoxication or use of illegal drugs.
     
  • Form SMU group, including Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission members, to meet with local bar owners on underage drinking and promotions.
     
  • Strengthen partnership between SMU Police and University Park Police; both will share an officer assigned to the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
     
  • Establish a central source for gathering and acting on reports of students in distress.

Academic Recommendations

  • Call on faculty to announce and utilize class attendance policy.
     
  • Increase the number of Friday classes.
     
  • Provide mid-term grade reports during students’ first two years, early reports for first-year students.
     
  • Limit the number of course drops during a student’s academic career.
     
  • Give final comprehensive assessments during exam period for every lower-division course.
     
  • Revise course curricula to increase students’ time spent on academics outside class.

Social Recommendations

  • Increase campus activity by extending Student Center hours to midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and 2:00 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday; expand programming.
     
  • Include campus ministries and faith-based organizations in expanded activities.
     
  • Establish and maintain a Web-based calendar of all campus events.
     
  • Emphasize the use of venues such as Meadows, Dedman Center, Ford Stadium, and Boulevard for late-night events on weekends.
     
  • Encourage student groups to sponsor more late-night campus events on weekends.
     
  • Make all Greek recruitment events alcohol-free, including off-campus weekend events.
     
  • Discourage all organized parties, including the use of buses, on school nights. All organized parties will be registered with the Dean of Student Life Office.
     
  • Establish a game/recreation room in or near the Student Center (accepted with modifications; facility could be for relaxing, TV watching, visiting).
     
  • Increase campus lighting (accepted with limitations: student leaders and campus officials will walk the campus to identify problem areas).
     
  • Reconsider the timing of Greek recruitment activities (partially accepted: timing will remain the same, between fall and spring semester, but other components of rush will be re-examined, such as length of pledge period, rules of contact, possibility of hazing; grade averages required for membership).
     
  • Consider funding informal dinners for faculty and staff interaction (accepted with reservations: method of implementation to be reviewed by a campus task force).

Two social life recommendations are not accepted, as follows:

  • SMU will not permit organizations to sponsor parties and to serve beer on campus to those of drinking age, and SMU will create a Social Event Registration Process for all social organizations to register their events.
     
  • SMU also will not establish a pub on campus because most students living on campus are first-year, underage students; upper-division students using the pub would then have to drive home to off-campus apartments.

Communication Recommendations

  • Consolidate substance abuse regulations and resources into one handbook.
     
  • Develop ongoing communications plan.
     
  • Clarify Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for sharing of information.
     
  • Avoid use of images in communications and products that seemingly promote drinking.
     
  • Commit the SMU administration to continued involvement in substance abuse prevention communications.

Parent Partnership Recommendations

  • Encourage students and parents to discuss FERPA and HIPPA and waivers.
     
  • Set aside time during orientation for parents and students to discuss substance abuse.
     
  • Continue to evaluate: recommendation to work with parents to identify students entering SMU with substance abuse problems.

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