Live Responsibly

September 10, 2007

TASK FORCE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
BEGINS DELIBERATIONS, SEEKS INPUT

SMU’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention began deliberations during the summer by collecting comparative data, reviewing reports and setting up subgroups to collect additional information and ideas.

During its summer meetings, the Task Force heard detailed reports on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three students during the 2006-07 academic year. The group reviewed SMU’s prevention and education programs to understand the scope of information and programming currently being provided. The Task Force also reviewed reports from other institutions, such as the “Campus Culture Initiative” study conducted by Duke University, which examines factors shaping the social environment of the campus.

Subgroups of the Task Force are collecting comparative data on programs and enforcement at universities such as Vanderbilt, Emory, Tulane and Duke, institutions with demographics similar to those of SMU. Another subgroup will examine the impact of academic policies, such as class scheduling and attendance, on the campus environment.

The Task Force will begin scheduling discussions with individuals such as students and parents to gather their ideas about improving substance abuse prevention and education. The data collection subgroup will conduct focus group research involving students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni to explore their perceptions and ideas.

The Task Force recently heard a report from Temerlin Advertising Institute students who gathered information as part of a summer class. Among their findings, for example, is that by the time students reach college, they are already “numb” to information and warnings about substance abuse, and new ways must be found to make an impact.

The Task Force also wants to hear insights and suggestions from others, and will set up a vehicle for comments through the Task Force link on SMU’s homepage. Task Force updates will be posted regularly on this site. Or, those wishing to share ideas should feel free to e-mail or call Task Force co-chairs Tom Tunks, associate provost, and Dee Siscoe, dean of student life.

# # #

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