Response to the Report
The President’s Task Force
on Substance Abuse Prevention
By President R. Gerald
April 29, 2008
SMU’s Task Force on Substance Abuse
Prevention has met its charge to review existing programs
and services and propose needed modifications; to examine
University policies that have an impact on student activity
outside of class; and to consider external forces affecting
student choices and behavior.
Following my review of the more than 30
recommendations made by the Task Force, I assigned further
study to the appropriate University vice presidents
responsible for the “programmatic” areas addressed in the
recommendations: Health and Medical Services, Enforcement,
Academic Life, Social and Cultural factors, Communication,
and Parent Partnerships. By April 15, each vice president
submitted his or her recommended actions, methods of
implementation, and projected costs. Based on this
additional input, I decided which recommendations could be
accepted, which would be accepted with modifications, which
would require further study and consideration, and which
would not be accepted at this time.
Before outlining my decision on each
Task Force recommendation, it is important to make note of
the larger context affecting SMU’s efforts at prevention and
education and the many programs and policies already in
The national issue of substance abuse
on college and university campuses, and even in the lower
schools, is highly complex, often involving factors beyond
the influence of an individual institution or the
traditional college or university environment. For this
reason, university programs and policies must operate on
many levels in an effort to guide students and create an
environment that promotes good decisions.
At one level is the responsibility to
educate students about the risks and consequences of alcohol
and substance abuse. This is the basis for the many
educational activities, print and online materials, and
campus discussions aimed at helping students make better
decisions based on accurate information. At another level is
the need to hold students accountable for irresponsible
and/or illegal behavior through enforcement and sanctions as
will be seen in the recommendations and decisions outlined
in this report.
Obviously, the most important goal is
to prevent, if at all possible, loss of life among students
who fail to be guided by education, regulations, or
sanctions. If intervention can prevent the loss of a
student’s life, the University, in cooperation with parents,
can have a second chance at education and prevention of
future abuse. In an effort to encourage intervention by
peers, recommendations aimed to encourage students to seek
immediate medical help for themselves or their peers, and
improvements in campus resources for emergency assistance
have been affirmed.
Underlying all possible scenarios is,
of course, the campus culture and environment within which
students make decisions. Thus, you will see many actions
outlined to strengthen a culture of academic achievement,
personal well being, and social responsibility, attributes
that are consistent with the Methodist tradition in higher
education. The foundation for this culture consists of
strong academic expectations, a clear understanding of the
consequences of failing to meet those expectations, a
rigorous schedule of classes and requirements influencing
the amount of time students must devote to academic or
creative work outside of class, lab, or studio settings. At
the same time, other actions will be taken to strengthen the
campus itself as a vibrant and viable setting for
responsible social activities and the building of community.
These decisions are intended to
maximize academic achievement and minimize the time and
opportunities available for social endeavors that do not
contribute to one’s personal development and well being.
An integral part of our efforts will be
an enhanced relationship between the University and parents
intended to increase the parents’ awareness of the issues
and consequences associated with alcohol and drug abuse,
knowledge of education programs, and treatment resources
available to students. Working together, the University and
parents can provide a strengthened support system
encouraging students to make wise decisions and responsible
I wish to thank all those who have
contributed to our efforts to date and those who will play a
further role in making our students’ collegiate experience
the best that it can be for the high purpose of preparing
them to lead full and rewarding lives.
General Recommendation of Task Force
Recommendation: The Task Force
recommends the establishment of an ongoing President's
Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention.
This Commission will be put in place
for the 2008-2009 academic year. It will monitor the
implementation of the adopted resolutions as well as provide
an ongoing review of the effectiveness of University
policies and practices with respect to the prevention of
substance abuse. It will report directly to me. Over the
summer, the offices and organizations noted in the Task
Force Report will be requested to submit nominees for the
committee. Other members will be added as needed.
Health and Medical Services Recommendations
H1) Recommendation: Expand
on-campus health services to include extended hours for the
Memorial Health Center, making available after hours
nursing/medical staff, and arranging for after hours on-call
physicians. We also strongly recommend initiating a medical
hotline to answer SMU student's immediate medical questions
and facilitate emergency medical care.
Accepted with limitations.
The Memorial Health Center will work
toward expanding hours of nursing/medical services available
on campus for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings,
staying open until 3:00 a.m. each of these three nights.
Given projections about the need for Medical Health Center
services after normal hours, an expansion on the days of
highest expected usage would seem advisable. If additional
expansion is suggested after the first year of
implementation, additional evenings will be considered.
A nurse will be available at the Health
Center with on-call physicians. The nurse will be able to
assess and triage acute medical problems to local hospitals.
For non-urgent conditions, the nurse would make appointments
for students to return to be seen by a physician the next
day. As noted, adding late service for three nights, rather
than all seven, will provide an opportunity during the first
year of operation to evaluate the number of students
utilizing the expanded hours and the cost effectiveness of
the availability of the medical care with the addition of
required security at the Health Center. Such after-hour
services at university health centers on other campuses are
limited strictly to medical care and do not provide
counseling, alcohol, or drug interventions during those
times. The latter would be transferred to a hospital with
staff, equipment, and necessary laboratory tests needed to
care properly for students.
In addition, the Health Center will
evaluate providers of a 24/7 medical and counseling call
line. Several universities have such call lines outsourced
to private companies. Health Center staff will investigate
options and select the best service for SMU.
H2) Recommendation: that SMU
continue to educate SMU students through programs like TIPS
and "Because I Care," but also to replace AlcoholEdu (once
that contract expires) with another education program.
Students should be involved in the evaluation and selection
of a replacement for AlcoholEdu, and SMU should monitor best
practices to find the most effective educational vehicles in
the area of alcohol and drug abuse prevention.
SMU's contract with Outside the
Classroom, the provider of AlcoholEdu, expires in summer
2010. We will use the remaining time on this contract to
research and identify an alternative that is more accepted
In fall 2008, the Center for Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Prevention and the Dean of Student Life will
form a committee of students, faculty and staff to review
educational programs that address alcohol and drug-related
issues. Programs to review may include myStudentBody.com,
Alcohol Wise, Under the Influence, and Alcohol
Factors to be considered by the
committee for program selection will include the experiences
of other campuses, evidence-based outcomes, student
feedback, cost, and user-friendliness. SMU will continue to
monitor best practices to determine the most effective
educational vehicles in the area of alcohol and drug abuse
Additionally, SMU will continue to
train staff on use of the TIPS (Training for Intervention
Procedures) and "Because I Care" programs. Currently we
have 15 staff members that have been trained/certified to
teach these interactive programs with students. Student
groups such as Resident Assistants, Greek leadership,
student organization members, orientation student leaders
(AARO & Mustang Corral), etc., will receive this hands-on
training at the beginning of each year and/or when they
assume office. We will also provide opportunities for other
interested members of the campus community (faculty, campus
ministers, and others) to receive TIPS.
H3) Recommendation: that SMU work
with existing groups of recovering students and the
community to develop and improve support services for
recovering students. This might include the development of
specific recovery housing and programs and the expansion of
12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
More study required.
To make specific recommendations about
expanding services for recovering students at SMU, more
research is needed into the number of such students and the
effectiveness of services that already may be available
close to campus, including their cost effectiveness. As a
result, the Vice President for Student Affairs will work
with the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention to
form an advisory group to survey the student body about
recovery issues, to identify needs, and to make
recommendations about the possible expansion of recovery
support services on the SMU campus. These recommendations
will be made by December 31, 2008.
The University has the responsibility
to provide an environment in which the laws and policies of
State, City, and University are upheld, and in which
students share the responsibility to support these efforts.
As will be seen below, changes in policies that are viewed
as most objectionable by students will be made. However,
the University community must always be mindful that one of
our major collective responsibilities is to make every
reasonable effort to provide a safe environment for our
campus community. As a result, the major goal of the
University is to create within this context an environment
in which individuals take responsibility for their behavior
and encourage responsible and appropriate behavior among
their friends and acquaintances.
E1) Recommendation: that we
eliminate the Passive Participation Policy from the
Residence Life and Student Housing Community Standards.
The purpose of the Passive
Participation Policy was to encourage students to remove
themselves from situations where policy violations, or
violations of law, were occurring. It was also its
intention to teach students to hold others accountable for
inappropriate behavior. Students and parents have
complained that the policy leads to the citation of students
who may only be present and not otherwise involved in
impermissible activities and discourages responsible
behavior such as utilizing designated drivers.
With the elimination of this policy, it
remains important that Residence Life staff be trained and
encouraged to have conversations with students who are
"passive participators" to encourage these students to
exercise good judgment.
The Passive Participation Policy will
be eliminated beginning with the fall 2008 semester.
E2) Recommendation: that SMU charge
the Judicial Affairs Office with ongoing review of judicial
The Vice President for Student Affairs
will oversee a review of judicial procedures to be sure that
they are clearly stated and consistently implemented. Issues
surrounding parental notification and assigning community
service in lieu of fines also will be evaluated. This
review is underway and will be completed by the end of the
spring 2009 semester for implementation in the 2009-2010
E3) Recommendation: that SMU
implement a Good Samaritan Policy.
Accepted with limitations.
The purpose of this policy is to
encourage students to report violations of SMU’s alcohol and
substance abuse policies when the health of a fellow student
or students is at risk.
A student who may or may not have
violated the substance abuse policy would call for
assistance for a fellow student whose intoxication or drug
use level may be endangering his/her own life. Under this
recommendation, the student, who has called for assistance
and who is in violation of the substance abuse policy (Good
Samaritan), would not face an SMU conduct sanction, but may
be required to participate in education programs regarding
alcohol and/or drugs. However, any police agency will have
the ability to cite/arrest individuals for violation of laws
regarding public intoxication or use of illegal drugs.
E4) Recommendation: that SMU
implement a Medical Amnesty Program.
Accepted with limitations.
The purpose of this policy is to
encourage students to report violations of the alcohol/drug
policy when their own health is at risk. Under this
recommendation, a student proactively seeking health care
for an alcohol or drug violation would not be subjected to
the judicial process.
At universities that have accepted
similar recommendations, the student must still meet certain
conditions in order to avoid the judicial process. If these
conditions are not met, then the student would be subject to
disciplinary procedures. However, police will have the
ability to cite/arrest individuals for violation of laws
regarding public intoxication or use of illegal drugs.
The Vice President for Student Affairs
and the Vice President for Legal Affairs will be asked to
develop a policy that would encourage students to call for
medical assistance for themselves. If the student asking
for assistance follows the procedure of the policy, he or
she would not be subject to judicial action, although he or
she would be required to attend educational sessions. The
policies at other universities will be reviewed for examples
of best practices in this area.
E5) Recommendation: that a group be
formed to meet with and work with local restaurant and bar
owners. The group would consist of representatives from the
Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, the Dean of
Student Life Office, SMU PD, TABC (Texas Alcohol Beverage
Commission), Risk Management, Greek Life, Legal Affairs,
etc. The group would work closely to outline problems and
issues and then work collaboratively with area businesses to
address those issues in order to prevent underage drinking,
marketing and the promotion of drinking games, and other
This approach has been used by other
universities in an attempt to convince local bar owners to
eliminate the more irresponsible promotional programs that
some use to promote the sale of alcoholic beverages. This
group will be formed by the beginning of the fall 2008
semester by the Vice President for Student Affairs with
participation by a broad range of members of the University
E6) Recommendation: that SMU Police
strengthen drug enforcement efforts by partnering with
University Park Police Department and placing an officer on
the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)
Discussions are underway between SMU
and University Park Police Departments to each share, at .50
F.T.E. each, a University Park officer who is trained by
H.I.D.T.A. The shared resource would provide SMU with the
- Train SMU officers in the latest
information regarding drug trends, including drug
identification, use, trafficking, enforcement, and
- Meet with student groups and other
campus constituencies to educate them on drug abuse and
drug rehabilitation services.
- Link the SMU Police Department with
current, relevant intelligence on drugs affecting the SMU
- Establish better, more effective
relationships/cooperation between SMU/University Park
officers and other drug enforcement agencies/personnel.
North Texas High Intensity Drug
Trafficking Area Task Force is composed of more than 200
members, including Dallas Police Department; Arlington
Police Department; Dallas County Sheriff; Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms; Drug Enforcement Agency; Federal Bureau of
Investigation; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Internal
Revenue Service; and U. S. Secret Service. Their mission is
to reduce the availability of illicit drugs and drug-related
violence by information gathering and sharing aimed at
dismantling and destroying drug trafficking organizations
operating in the North Texas region. It is anticipated that
this would be a two-year commitment, after which
continuation in the program will be reevaluated.
E7) Recommendation: that SMU support
a central resource for gathering and acting upon reports of
students exhibiting signs of distress.
Several University programs were in
place before the shootings at Virginia Tech last year.
However, these programs have been reviewed and new programs
- Dean of Student Life Office -
Coordinates student concerns received from faculty, staff,
and/or students. Conducts intake assessments and
facilitates mandated mental health evaluations. See the
brochure that is available on this procedure:
Recognizing Students in
- CREW - Weekly meeting of professional
staff (Residence Life and Student Housing, SMU Police
Department, Judicial Affairs, Parent Programs, Greek
Affairs, Student Senate, Counseling Center, Drug and
Alcohol Center, etc.) that review incidents or behavior of
- Students of Concern Committee – Meets
on a regular basis to share information and develop
strategies for working with and counseling specific
students who are experiencing academic, social, and/or
residence life conflicts affecting their "every day"
experience as a student at SMU and that of other students.
The Committee is comprised of at least one (1) member from
each of the following groups: Faculty, Risk Management,
Counseling and Psychiatric Services, Provost Office,
International Students, SMU PD, Judicial Affairs, Residence
Life, and Student Affairs.
- Troubled Students Committee – Formed
by the Vice President for Student Affairs in fall, 2007,
and meets on an as-needed basis to review and assess
overall risks associated with specific students who have
exhibited concerning and/or threatening behavior. This
Committee is comprised of the Vice President for Student
Affairs, the Dean of Student Life, the Provost, the Vice
President for Business and Finance, the Associate Vice
President for Business and Finance, an attorney from the
Office of legal Affairs, the Chief of the SMU Police
Department, other relevant staff and/or faculty.
In addition to the foregoing, a
Students of Concern Database will be created: This database
has recently been developed and will allow various
individuals and offices (Dean of Students; Vice President
for Student Affairs; Residence Life and Student Housing) to
record reports of various interactions with students and
parents, faculty and others to "connect the dots" regarding
students about whom there is concern. This database will
also allow us to better gather data about the types of
student cases that are receiving attention. The office that
will receive all of this information from faculty, staff,
and administrators for a centralized review will be the Dean
of Student Life.
The recommendations within this section
are oriented toward helping the entire campus community
strengthen "the academic and cultural life of the University
while diminishing the troubling dimensions of social life at
SMU." These recommendations for academic policies are
intended to enhance and encourage academic achievement and
on time graduation.
A1) Recommendation: that every
undergraduate class have a stated attendance policy and that
attendance be taken.
The Office of the Provost, the Council
of Deans, and members of the Faculty Senate agree with the
recommendation and its rationale. The recommendation,
properly, does not identify a particular way in which the
faculty member should take attendance, nor does it require
these records to be turned into a particular office.
However, it does call on faculty to announce and utilize an
attendance policy, which will be communicated to faculty by
their Deans and Department Chairs.
The University Catalog already contains
a policy in this respect:
"Regular class attendance is required.
The instructor of each class announces at the beginning of
the course semester policies regarding the effect of class
attendance on the student's standing in the course. These
policies may include dropping a student from a course for
nonattendance after a certain number of absences."
Undergraduate Catalog 2007-2008, p. 40.
A2) Recommendation: that every
college and school hold a significant number of classes on
Friday mornings. Specifically, the Task Force recommends
that as many sections as possible of ACCT 2311 and 2312 be
offered on a WF or MWF schedule.
The Office of the Provost agrees with
this recommendation and its rationale. The Deans are in
agreement, and the Dean of the Cox School of Business did
not object to this specific suggestion regarding these
required courses for business majors. This
recommendation also drew little opposition from members of
the Faculty, although the Student Senate did object.
Unrelated to this recommendation, the
number of Friday undergraduate classes has grown, with
approximately 500 being offered on Friday this spring
semester. This increase in Friday classes is being
necessitated, in part, by a need for more efficient
classroom utilization. Implementation of this recommendation
will have the additional benefit of continuing efforts to
improve the efficiency of space utilization on campus.
Therefore, the Provost and Deans will work with departments
to implement this recommendation where appropriate.
A3) Recommendation: that the
current practice of asking for mid-term grade reports be
extended to cover students' first two years and that early
reports be requested for first-year students. Greater
faculty participation in reporting must be encouraged.
Early grade reports for
less-experienced students are a reminder of academic
expectations and can expose problems that warrant attention
or intervention. The Provost will convene meetings with the
Council of Deans and the academic Associate Deans of the
Schools to implement this recommendation.
A4) Recommendation: that the drop
policy continue to allow students to drop a class at any
time through week 10 of each semester, but that we limit the
number of career drops allowed for each student. Exceptions
for special circumstances can be accommodated, for instance,
when a student must withdraw from several classes to change
The Office of the Provost will
coordinate with the faculty, the Registrar's office, the
Records officers of the various schools, and student
leadership to work out the details of this recommendation
for implementation. Among the components to be determined
are: (1) whether 10 weeks or 12 weeks is the appropriate
deadline, and (2) the maximum number of drops to be allowed
for each student. These decisions will be made during the
2008-2009 academic year.
A5) Recommendation: That final
comprehensive assessments be given during the designated
exam period for every lower-division course.
The Office of the Provost and Deans
will work with academic departments to implement this
recommendation in classes where a comprehensive assessment
A6) Recommendation: that course
curricula be revised as necessary to ensure that most
students will spend at least 2 hours in outside work for
each hour spent in the classroom.
The Office of the Provost agrees with
this recommendation and its rationale. The Deans and
Faculty also are in agreement. The Provost's office will
work with Deans, academic Associate Deans, and Department
Chairs in helping implement this recommendation.
As a reported by the Task Force, this
group of recommendations resulted from the findings of 13
focus groups and many other constituencies of the University
community. The recommendations aim to change the social
culture at SMU by bridging the gap between social and
academic life, encouraging a five-day week of academic
activity, making the campus itself a center of responsible
activity, and discouraging off-campus social activities that
are in unsafe places encouraging excessive behavior.
S1) Recommendation: that SMU make a
concerted and coordinated effort to make the campus a hub of
activity to bring the social life of students back to
campus. The objective of these recommendations is to make
the campus conducive to gathering with friends in a safe
environment. This broad recommendation is a product of
widespread agreement among members of the Task Force and
includes the following specific recommendations:
Continue activities at the Hughes-Trigg Student
Center until 2:00 a.m., at
least on weekends. Make Hughes-Trigg and others areas
genuine gathering places for students, faculty, and staff.
Hughes-Trigg, or some other venue, should be a true student
union, not primarily a place for administrative offices and
absence of both space and resources to expand significantly
the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, administrative office space
within the Center will need to be relocated in order to gain
programming space. The Vice President for Student Affairs
will work with the leadership of Hughes-Trigg to begin
identifying space that could be made available for student
space has been identified, funds will be annually allocated
to support programming within the Hughes-Trigg Student
Center. All registered student organizations will be
eligible for support of campus-wide activities within
Hughes-Trigg. The Hughes-Trigg staff will work with
students and student organizations to determine the best use
of these programming funds toward increasing student
activity in Hughes-Trigg and/or other campus venues for late
operational hours of expansion at Hughes Trigg will be until
12:00 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday and until 2:00 a.m.
on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. More hours will be
added, if the demand dictates. Working with Campus Planning
and Plant Operations, the Office of Student Affairs will
have a goal to implement these changes by December 2008.
President for Student Affairs will work with the staff of
the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports toward expanding hours
for its operations based upon student demand and subsequent
traffic. This expansion will be undertaken for the fall
Include the campus ministries and faith-based
organizations in the expansion of activity on campus.
for the expanded hours within Hughes-Trigg could be assisted
by the various organized campus ministries and by efforts to
include these ministries in other on-campus activities, such
as the Boulevard on game days. The Office of the University
Chaplain will work with the Dean of Student Life to support
Re-establish, within or close to Hughes-Trigg, a
game/recreation room that would be available to students
until late at night.
in S1) (a) above, space for recreational or casual use will
be identified within the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The
greatest utilization may come from identifying a place to
relax, watch television, or simply talk. Past game rooms in
Hughes-Trigg have not been successful, and a pool table/ping
pong area is available in the Dedman Center. Therefore, the
design of any proposed game or recreation room will need to
be carefully evaluated to achieve the goal of high
utilization by students.
Emphasize use of other campus venues - Meadows, Dedman
Center, Ford Stadium, the Boulevard - for late-night events
on the weekends. There are numerous possibilities - flag
football games sponsored by student organizations "under the
lights" at Ford Stadium, basketball games, climbing
competitions, and all-night Dance Marathons at Dedman
Center; midnight movies on the Quad, and musical and
improvisational events at Meadows.
decision, see (e) below.
Encourage all student organizations to sponsor more
late-night, on-campus events on weekends.
(both d and e).
President for Student Affairs, through the Office of Student
Life, will assess the number and characteristics of campus
events currently being conducted and to publish a
comprehensive calendar of such events for the University
community. The creation of a Web-based calendar that is
updated regularly is critical to informing students and then
getting them involved on campus. However, it has been
difficult to get the leadership of organizations trained to
submit information to such a calendar. Nevertheless, the
Office of Student Life will employ a student worker to
maintain such a Web calendar as a first step in the process
of implementing this recommendation.
President for Student Affairs will create a task force to
recommend ways to encourage student organizations to hold
events on campus in the evenings and weekends. In addition,
the process for reserving outdoor and indoor spaces will be
reviewed in order to make the process as user friendly as
Establish a pub on campus. This pub would serve a variety
of snacks, meals, and, in conformity with applicable laws, a
beverage menu that includes beer and wine for those of
drinking age. Rice University provides a model for the
operation of such a pub.
goal to increase activity on campus is important to the
future success of many University initiatives as noted
throughout this document. Therefore, although the stated
motivation for creating a pub has several positive
components to it, the advantages do not overcome the
disadvantages attendant to creating one at this time. Among
these are the following:
(1) Campuses of our relative size on which pubs have
been successful usually have a much higher residency of
students 21 years of age and older. With only a first-year
residency requirement, the majority of students living on
campus are not 21, the legal drinking age, particularly
during the fall semester. Although the sophomore residency
requirement will not dramatically increase the number of
age-21-and-over students, it will hopefully encourage more
upper-division students to choose to live on campus.
Therefore, at some point in the future, the possibility of
having a successful pub operation may increase.
(2) One of the major concerns regarding alcohol and
drug abuse is the issue of driving while one is under the
influence of these substances. Because most of our upper-
division students live off campus, a pub would put the
University in the difficult position of serving alcohol to
upper-division students who would then get in their cars and
drive to their apartments off campus.
Given the points above, it is unlikely that conditions exist
at SMU to create a successful pub at this time. Therefore,
this recommendation, although well presented, is not
Permit organizations to sponsor parties and to serve beer on
campus to those of drinking age. Such on-campus parties
would require the approval of the Vice President for Student
Affairs/Dean of Student Life. Parties would be limited to
Friday and Saturday Nights, based upon the University of
Southern California model. Sponsoring organizations would
be responsible for hiring bartenders and the requisite
number of police officers. Sponsoring organizations would
be held responsible for compliance with policy, and
violations would result in sanctions, including suspension
of this privilege, against the offending organization.
number of the national boards of Greek organizations do not
permit open parties in their houses where alcohol is
present. The University should encourage the remaining
national organizations to adopt similar policies, a trend
likely to follow since the Fraternal Insurance Purchasing
Group prohibits such open parties.
process needs to be developed for Greek and other
organizations to have parties on campus. One
component of this process would be to establish a Social
Event Registration Process whereby all social organizations
will register their on- and off-campus events. Social
Event Registration will allow student organizations to be
updated about their liability risk, University policies, and
the guidelines of their national organizations.
President for Student Affairs, through the Office of Student
Life, will create a task force to develop the procedures for
the Social Event Registration Process. Among the issues to
be evaluated are the nature of activities to be approved for
Monday through Thursday evenings, identifying the events and
days for which buses may be utilized, and a review of
activities currently occurring that create high risk for the
organizations, their members, and the University. These
procedures should be developed over the summer and approved
for the fall 2008 semester.
Increase lighting on campus. For campus night life
to be inviting the campus must feel like a safe place to be
after dark, especially to female students,
In order to
evaluate which areas of campus need enhanced lighting, the
Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice President for
Business and Finance will reinstate the annual “lighting
walk” across campus during the fall semester. The Police
Department, CPPO, and student leaders will be organized to
review campus lighting, illumination standards, and safety
precautions. CPPO and the Police Department will host the
event early each fall semester. It will be an opportunity
to educate the participants about the illumination standards
and for them to express concerns about particular areas of
S2) Recommendation: that all events
associated with recruitment into Greek organizations ("rush"
as well as the "pledge period") be alcohol-free, including
University-sponsored activities and those sponsored by the
organizations themselves, such as off-campus weekend
events. Where violations of this standard occur, sanctions
should be placed on the offending organization.
A best practice, as outlined by the
Fraternal Insurance Purchasing Group, is that "All
recruitment or rush activities associated with any chapter
will be non-alcohol. No recruitment or rush activities
associated with any chapter may be held at or in conjunction
with an alcohol distributor or tavern as defined in this
policy.” Therefore, requests for off-campus weekend events
as a part of the recruitment process would have to be
evaluated under this requirement.
S3) Recommendation: that the
officers of the Intra-Fraternity and Panhellenic Councils,
as well as the leaders of the individual Greek
organizations, discourage all organized parties, including
the use of buses, on school nights. All off-campus parties
must be registered with the Dean of Student Life.
The offices of Student Life and Student
Affairs will develop the Social Event Registration Process
(mentioned in S1)(g)). As a part of their review of
proposed organized parties and activities, the date of the
event will be closely reviewed. As recommended, all
organized parties, including the use of buses, should be
discouraged for school nights. The Office of Student Life
will work with Greek organizations and other student
organizations to develop procedures for on-campus events
Sunday through Thursday evenings. But, the spirit of the
recommendation is that all off-campus parties should be
registered with the Dean of Student Life and go through the
Social Event Registration Process.
S4) Recommendation: that SMU
appoint a panel to examine recruitment into Greek
organizations and to make recommendations to the University
administration. During Task Force deliberations, there was
considerable discussion about the timing of recruitment.
Some members spoke to the benefits that may be associated
with moving recruitment to Fall Break with initiation
occurring before school starts for the spring semester;
others emphasized the beneficial impact of moving
recruitment to the beginning of the sophomore year; still
others emphasized the recent work of the University Ad Hoc
Committee that recommended keeping t the the spring semester. Resolving these issues
was seen as beyond the scope of the Task Force. Thus, the
Task Force recommends a re-examination of Greek recruitment
in light of (1) the recommendations of this Task Force and
(2) the recommendations of the President's Task Force on the
Honors Community at SMU. This review should include all
aspects of the process: the timing of recruitment during the
academic year, the length of the "pledge Period," the time
commitment imposed on active members of Green organizations,
the rules of contact and both the minimum grade point
average and hours completed that are required to quality for
recruitment and pledging.
It is noted in the recommendation that
the University Ad Hoc Committee in the recent past supported
keeping recruitment at the beginning of the spring
semester. There is simply not an ideal time during the
academic year for recruitment into Greek organizations.
Nevertheless, having the period of time between fall and
spring semesters, when no classes are underway, for this
activity to occur is a major advantage for holding it at
that time. In addition, recruitment at this time allows a
semester for students to get acclimated to the University
before some divide up into specific Greek organizations.
Therefore, I continue to support the conclusion that
recruitment be kept at the beginning at the spring semester
and do not believe that time should be spent re-evaluating
that decision after such a brief period of time.
However, the components of the
recruitment process noted in S4) that may affect a student’s
academic performance do indeed need continued examination.
Among these are: the length of the pledge period; the time
commitment imposed by Greek organizations or their members;
the continuing possibility of hazing; the rules of contact;
and the minimum grade point required for membership. I will
ask the Vice President for Student Affairs to create a task
force to review these issues. The University will continue
to encourage fraternities and sororities to emphasize their
historical roots of service, philanthropy, scholarship,
leadership, and personal responsibility.
S5) Recommendation: that funding be
provided to support informal dinners and other social
occasions for faculty members and students to interact
outside of the classroom.
Accepted with reservations.
The Provost and Vice President for
Student Affairs will create a task force to review the best
ways to implement this recommendation. It is projected that
a small pilot program will need to be developed to determine
the best way for the academic goals of this recommendation
to be met.
C1) Recommendation: that in order
to ensure that relevant laws, campus regulations,
consequences, and resources are clearly explained and
adequately understood, SMU gather and assess all its
materials dealing with alcohol and drug abuse and produce a
simple, coherent, non-contradictory "handbook" for the
The Department of Public Affairs will
work with Student Affairs to assess all materials related to
alcohol and drug abuse and produce a coherent handbook, both
print and on-line versions, for the entire community. This
resource will be very useful in communicating with both
parents and students, as well as faculty and staff.
C2) Recommendation: that SMU
develop a comprehensive communication plan so that every
member of the community hears SMU's messages related to good
decision-making, behavioral expectations, regulations,
available resources for assistance, and consequences.
The Office of Public Affairs will
develop a communications plan to ensure that all members of
the community hear the same messages and are reminded
frequently of substance abuse issues, resources, and
consequences. This would begin with consultation with
students on possible content and venues that would be
effective and credible for them. Activities to consider
including in the plan are the following:
- Review of materials and production of
consolidated handbook noted above.
- A new website with consolidated
information and links to other sites, including a moderated
blog to post questions, concerns, etc.
- A regular item in every Parents
newsletter with reminders and information updates.
- A statement of expectations in major
student recruitment materials and website.
- Meetings with The Daily Campus
and daily news show produced by students to encourage
discussion of issues and resources.
- Development of student-centered
posters, fliers and email postcards.
- An exhibit or other “presence’ in
Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports and Hughes-Trigg Student
Center on issues and resources.
- Presentations to the Student Senate,
Faculty Senate, Staff Association and Parents Council and
C3) Recommendation: that SMU
clarify FERPA regulations as they would apply to
communication between SMU and parents regarding their
students' alcohol or drug problems. Further, we recommend
that students be encouraged to sign waivers permitting
information to be shared with their parents. FERPA
guidelines should be clearly and consistently communicated
throughout the campus.
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act (FERPA) waivers will soon be available for students to
complete via Access, and will include check-offs to give
release permission regarding grades, health, and judicial
information through one form. The new Access form will be
noted in upcoming catalogs and other information sources.
Faculty and staff can check Access to see if a student has
signed a waiver.
- Information on FERPA will include
encouragement by SMU that students sign the waivers and
that parents discuss FERPA and the benefits of giving
permission with their students.
- The new FERPA Website and tutorials
will be provided to all new faculty and staff and be
provided through The Faculty Senate, Center for Teaching
Excellence, Staff Association, Student Senate, all SMU
communication vehicles, and several campus activities.
C4) Recommendation: that SMU avoid
the use of images that seemingly promote alcohol use in its
communications and products (such as merchandise). Examples
would include posters by alcoholic beverage sponsors of
athletic events, "drinking games" reportedly sold in the SMU
Bookstore, and prominent, front-of-store displays of
SMU-branded shot glasses in the Bookstore. Although the
student newspaper enjoys freedom of press and is published
by a corporation separate from the University, an effort
should be made to meet with its leaders to ascertain its
policy or guidelines on accepting advertisements for alcohol
products and bars.
The SMU Bookstore already has changed
its displays of items related to alcohol use, and efforts
will be undertaken to have the student media review its
policies regarding alcohol advertisements. The University
itself has been very consistent in not having alcohol
companies sponsor SMU events.
C5) Recommendation: that President
Turner and the upper administration of SMU remain involved
in substance abuse prevention efforts through communications
and interaction with parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and
The President and all University
Executives, Deans and Directors are expected publicly to
support responsible behavior of our students as they
continue to accentuate the academic quality of the
institution. The annual report of the Commission on
Substance Abuse Prevention will provide the President with
an opportunity to bring these issues to the attention of the
Partnership with Parents Recommendations
Although one of the roles of college
and university life is to help students progress from
adolescence to young adulthood, the guidance, support, and
discipline that parents can continue to provide may be a
significant part of this process. For those students who
are fortunate enough to have parents who can help guide
them, the University needs to enhance the opportunity of a
constructive relationship with parents to promote healthy,
responsible decision- making by our students.
P1) Recommendations: that parents be
encouraged to discuss FERPA and HIPPA rules with their
students and encourage the students to sign waivers allowing
the University to contact parents.
Currently, the University distributes
FERPA release forms to all new students when they check into
AARO. SMU has been on the leading edge of making these
forms and this information available to parents and students
during AARO for the past 10 years. Information about these
forms is discussed with students and with their parents
during several sessions offered at AARO (Parent Welcome,
Parent Panel, Question and Answer session following the
Social Issue Vignettes, and the Enrollment Services
session). Beginning this summer, we will also provide
copies of the form to parents during check-in.
Currently, HIPPA is discussed during
the Health Center session of AARO and also the Parent
Panel. HIPPA forms and FAQ sheets will now be distributed
during the Health Center check-in at AARO.
A new initiative that the New Student
Programs Office will begin for AARO 2008 is recording all
AARO sessions so that they can be available on i-tunes.
These podcasts will make it possible for any student or
parent to refer back to a session, or to visit a session
that they missed during the AARO program.
In addition, more information about
FERPA and HIPPA will be added to the Parent Website, as well
as posting the release forms on the website.
Parents and students will be encouraged
to have the student sign the release form in order for the
University to communicate with the parents.
P2) Recommendation: that SMU work
with parents to identify students who are entering SMU with
established problems with drugs and alcohol to get the
students involved from the start with counseling and with
Continue to evaluate.
It is unlikely that SMU would knowingly
admit students with well-established problems with drugs and
alcohol, and it is unlikely that parents would identify
their students before the enrollment process is completed.
However, as noted in other sections, there are numerous ways
to inform all students of resources available to them, and
new procedures will make it easier for faculty and staff to
identify and refer students with such problems. The Vice
President for Student Affairs and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Prevention Office will continue to evaluate the possibility
of this recommendation.
P3) Recommendation: that an AARO
session be set aside to promote conversations between
parents and their students about the use and abuse of drugs
and alcohol; about the legal, psychological, physical, and
social consequences; and about the laws and University
policies governing these substances.
The AARO staff will work to create
programming for summer 2008 involving both parents and
In the past, AARO staff has divided the
students and their parents for group processing of the
vignettes focused on issues that students might confront
during their time at SMU. However, this summer there will
be a joint parent/student- facilitated session at a meal so
that conversations between students and their parents can
occur. There will be a "worksheet" on each table during
dinner and the vignettes to help parents and students begin
the conversation (topical table format). This added session
will be designed specifically for parent/student
communication on issues of alcohol and drugs, including the
psychological, physical and social consequences, and the
laws and University policies governing these substances.
In addition, information will continue
to be posted on the Parent Website encouraging conversations
between parents and students on this topic.
As the Task Force report stated, no one
policy or program alone can guarantee wise decision-making
on the part of students encountering new freedoms at college
or those entering campus with existing drug and alcohol
issues. University students are, in the final analysis,
responsible for their individual choices. It is our hope,
however, that the many recommendations we will implement
will strengthen a culture of personal responsibility within
a campus community willing to provide resources, programs,
and assistance in order to enhance and support that personal
responsibility. As the new Commission on Substance Abuse
Prevention gets under way, we will continue to monitor,
review and act as needed.
I wish to thank members of the Task
Force; the faculty, staff and students who contributed to
deliberation of these issues; and all those who in the
future will make a positive impact on a student’s decision
to live responsibly and fully benefit from this learning
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