SMU continues to monitor Ebola information

public safety

SMU continues to monitor Ebola information

SMU remains in close contact with national, state and local health agencies to closely monitor information related to the Ebola virus. The University’s health and safety protocols, as well as resources for travel and other activities, have been outlined in a message to University parents and through the SMU News homepage.

Please monitor these links for updates, as well as important information SMU is sharing with parents and students.

> See the University statement from SMU News
> Read more from the SMU Parents blog

October 17, 2014|News|

2014 security and fire safety report for the SMU campuses now available online

The following message from SMU President R. Gerald Turner was sent to students, faculty and staff on October 1, 2014:

Dear members of the SMU community:

SMU is committed to fostering a learning and working environment that supports health and safety. As part of that commitment, the SMU Police Department prepares and distributes an annual security report for the University’s main campus, the SMU-in-Plano campus and the SMU-in-Taos campus. This report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations also require that institutions issue an annual fire report, which is included in the security report.

The SMU report covers three calendar years, including incidents occurring on its campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms. Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico and University officials with significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

The report is available online at smu.edu/CleryReport. If you would like a paper copy of the University’s annual security and fire safety report, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail lindaperez@smu.edu.

In addition to security policies and crime statistics, the report contains information about programs and procedures for enhancing campus security and individual safety. These resources include emergency response plans and notification systems, blue-light emergency phones across campus that connect directly to SMU Police, campus-wide crime alerts, the Silent Witness Program for anonymous crime tips, and the SMU Police Security Escort Program, Giddy-Up and SMU Rides.

Many campus officials who support campus security are highlighted in this report. I urge you to know how to reach these officials and to participate in the education and training they provide throughout the year, including crime prevention programs offered by SMU Police and emergency drills coordinated by the Office of Risk Management.

Two serious health and safety issue at colleges and universities nationwide, including at SMU, are substance abuse and sexual misconduct. This report contains information about policies, reporting procedures, education and prevention initiatives, and resources available to help, including the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, SMU Police, the SMU Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, the Coordinator of Psychological Services for Women and Gender Issues, and the Women & LGBT Center. Information also is available online at smu.edu/LiveResponsibly.

All students, faculty and staff members play an important role in their own and our community’s well-being. Each of us is asked to be informed and aware, to respect all community members and to uphold high standards of behavior. Thank you for supporting our collective efforts to provide an exceptional academic environment in which all of us can do our best work.

Sincerely,

President R. Gerald Turner

October 1, 2014|News|

2013 Clery Report now available online

SMU students on McFarlin Auditorium steps at duskSMU is committed to fostering a secure learning and working environment for our campus community.  As part of that commitment, the SMU Police Department prepares and distributes an annual security report for the University’s main campus, the SMU-in-Plano campus and the SMU-in-Taos campus.

This report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations also require that institutions issue an annual fire report, which is included in the security report.

Read the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report online

The SMU report covers three calendar years, including incidents occurring on its campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms.  Information also is gathered from the University Park Police DepartmentHighland Park Police DepartmentDallas Police Department, Houston Police DepartmentPlano Police DepartmentTaos County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico and University officials with significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

In addition, the report contains policies and procedures for enhancing campus security and individual safety, including the Giddy UpSafe RidesSecurity Escort and awareness programs; methods by which the campus is alerted to crimes; the anonymous reporting system; and assistance for victims of sex offenses.

If you would like a paper copy of the University’s annual security report, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail Officer Linda Perez.

October 9, 2013|News|

SMU accepts recommendations of Sexual Misconduct Task Force

SMU President R. Gerald Turner announced May 8 that he has accepted the recommendations of the SMU Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures for maintaining and improving programs related to sexual misconduct. The recommendations address areas including sexual misconduct reporting procedures, requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the student conduct process, education programs for students, enhanced training for staff and communications to parents.

Turner established the Task Force in September 2012 to re-examine the University’s procedures and policies related to sexual misconduct to determine what changes are needed. Among the 20 members of the Task Force were external experts, including a representative of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the executive director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Initiative, as well as SMU students, faculty and staff members.

“Sexual misconduct is a serious issue at universities and colleges nationwide, which are required by the federal government to investigate allegations and hold violators accountable through an internal grievance procedure,” Turner said. “Even without such requirements, SMU is committed to policies and procedures that uphold community standards and foster a healthy learning environment based on mutual respect, responsible behavior and fair treatment of all students. I am grateful to the Task Force for its careful deliberations and recommendations. SMU is committed to implementing these changes and monitoring our practices.”

The Task Force made 41 recommendations, some of which address policies and procedures in place at SMU that the group felt should be continued but strengthened. Among these are procedures related to student reporting of sexual misconduct and the process for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations under the Student Code of Conduct. New initiatives recommended include new and more extensive education programs for students, as well as student mentoring and bystander intervention programs. Several Task Force recommendations were implemented during the past year, such as expanding information on SMU’s website. The full report is available online.

“Through our research and meetings, we learned that SMU has in place policies and procedures that align with national benchmarks,” said Task Force chair Kelly Compton, SMU trustee and chair of the Board’s committee on Student Affairs. “We also found areas that should be improved or more effectively addressed with new measures, particularly programs promoting education, training and communication. We are united in our commitment to the well-being of students through effective procedures, helpful resources and the support of a caring community.”

During its deliberations, the Task Force took into account adherence to state and federal laws, in particular Title IX of the Education Amendments and its requirements for handling sexual misconduct allegations. Members also examined other universities’ conduct processes, which – like SMU’s conduct process – are separate and independent of the criminal process.

The Task Force report emphasized that students who experience sexual misconduct should continue to be allowed to choose options that best meet their needs and foster personal healing, as is recommended by sexual misconduct experts. At the same time, SMU should continue to urge students to seek medical care and alert law enforcement about sexual misconduct. The Task Force recommended that SMU enhance efforts to educate students about the right to pursue a Title IX complaint under University policy and their options to pursue criminal charges, the SMU conduct review process, or both processes at the same time. Read more about these options here.

Because these options must be considered during a sensitive time, SMU must clearly communicate and explain processes and ensure that staff members are well-informed in providing guidance. According to the Task Force, education efforts also should focus on students’ understanding of consent, the interpersonal communications related to consent and the impact of alcohol use.

The Task Force recommended that SMU continue its use of hearing boards in student conduct cases, including those related to sexual misconduct cases, a practice similar to that of other universities. It also recommended that SMU continue to have a sexual misconduct hearing board and, also consistent with benchmark practices, reaffirmed that students continue to serve on this board, with these changes: They should not be in the majority nor serve as chair. The majority of this board would consist of faculty and staff, and all members would receive special training and be bound by strict confidentiality requirements.

Regarding student participation on the sexual misconduct hearing board, the Task Force received feedback from students that their understanding of campus social life is critical in aiding conduct deliberations and that SMU has a long history of trusting and valuing student leadership, including appointing a voting student member of the Board of Trustees. Students also described student participation on conduct boards as a way to educate other students about the conduct process. The Task Force agreed with these perspectives.

The Task Force also recommended that student leaders encourage the student body to develop, adopt and disseminate a new SMU Values Statement, such as the following: “I, as a citizen of the SMU Community, commit myself to upholding the values of intellectual integrity, academic honesty, personal responsibility and sincere regard and respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff.”

The Task Force said SMU should develop a bystander intervention program similar to those at Duke and Yale universities. Those programs provide students the skills to intervene when they perceive peers to be in high-risk situations. In addition, students who may hesitate to report sexual misconduct because of their alcohol or drug use could be granted immunity for those transgressions in order to encourage reporting of sexual misconduct first and foremost, though they also would be referred for counseling to SMU’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention.

During meetings with the Task Force, several visiting experts shared information and perspectives, including law enforcement and health officials. The Task Force invited feedback from the campus community, including from students involved in sexual misconduct cases through SMU’s conduct process. During their 12 meetings and additional small-group meetings, the Task Force reviewed more than 45 benchmarking reports, including student conduct codes and task force reports from other universities and government agencies.

“The Task Force valued all of the input provided, and especially appreciated hearing from students and members of our North Texas community,” Compton said. “Sexual misconduct is a community issue that requires community partnerships, including with local service and health care providers and law enforcement officials. We recommend that SMU continue building these relationships.”

SMU’s vice president for student affairs, Lori White, will oversee implementation of the Task Force recommendations in coordination with campus offices including Counseling and Psychiatric Services, the Health Center, Dean of Student Life Office, Title IX Coordinator, SMU Police, the Women’s Center for Pride and Gender Initiatives, Chaplain’s Office and Residence Life and Student Housing. As recommended by the Task Force, Student Affairs and other University representatives will maintain regular meetings on sexual misconduct issues with local law enforcement and resource agencies.

“The University thanks the Task Force and the many experts and campus and community members who have provided their perspectives,” Turner said. “SMU regularly reviews its policies and procedures, and no issue is more important than our students’ well-being. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of all our policies and procedures on sexual misconduct.”

May 8, 2013|News|

SMU seeks full participation in Protection of Minors program

SMU President R. Gerald Turner has requested that all University employees complete an online training program on their responsibilities under Texas law to report suspected child abuse.

The course, “Program for the Protection of Minors,” requires approximately one hour to complete and includes a module on fundamentals of the Clery Act. Per University Policy #9.31, all SMU employees are required to complete the training.

The program is offered as a partnership among SMU’s Office of Police and Risk Management, SMU Human Resources, and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC). The policy requirement applies to the SMU-in-Taos and SMU-in-Plano campuses as well as to the main campus.

> Complete SMU’s Program for the Protection of Minors on Blackboard

Texas colleges and universities are required to comply with the law laid out in Senate Bill 1414 relating to abuse-prevention training for employees who work with campus programs for minors, which took effect Sept. 1, 2011. For the first phase of training, an SMU task force spent five months identifying the University populations that work directly with minor children, says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.

All SMU camp operators, coordinators, and employees who work with minors completed a version of the program by June 1, 2012, Strese adds. In addition to the training in Blackboard, the SMU Police Department has completed DCAC’s first-responder training, which is recognized for its collaborative and child-centered approach to protection of minors, says Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer Anita Ingram.

Phase Two of the training rollout is currently in progress for all benefit-eligible faculty and staff, as well as student workers. The deadline for completion is Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The third phase will include training for temporary employees, including adjunct faculty.

The University has committed to exceeding state standards for compliance, said President Turner in a video introduction to the program. Turner and the President’s Executive Council have already completed the program.

Log in to Blackboard at courses.smu.edu with your 8-digit SMU ID and e-mail password. Find the training program on the right side of the page under My Courses (HRPPM-01: SMU Program for the Protection of Minors).

If you believe you have already completed the program, check your training summary in Access.SMU or contact SMU HR to review your training records. For more information, contact Mary Stall, 214-768-2194.

Find the full training sequence and more information on Blackboard

April 17, 2013|News, Save the Date|
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