SMU establishes new policies, procedures on workplace violence

risk management

SMU establishes new policies, procedures on workplace violence

(Originally published Aug. 13, 2010.)

Stock photo of business people in an escalating argumentNo campus is immune from the possibility of violence by one community member against another. This summer, SMU has taken steps to ensure that all faculty and staff members have easy access to University resources when harassment, intimidation and other hostile acts are committed or threatened in the workplace.

“For some time now, we have been interested in getting a formal workplace-violence policy and program in place,” says Jeff Strese, SMU Director of Human Resources. The departments responsible for preventing and reacting to risk have been working together for years, he says. Human Resources, Legal Affairs, the SMU Police Department, Institutional Access and Equity, and Risk Management meet regularly to deal with high-risk issues and involve one another as appropriate.

Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Business Services Bill Detwiler and Vice President for Legal Affairs Paul Ward spearheaded the effort to improve connection and communication among these areas. “This is an opportunity to better deploy the resources that already exist,” Strese says. “It creates an umbrella for the whole University that allows our offices to work together to respond to or mitigate any risk.”

Campuses across the country have begun to focus on raising awareness of workplace violence during the past year, Strese adds. The issue came to national attention in February 2010, when a University of Alabama-Huntsville professor who had been denied tenure shot six colleagues in a departmental staff meeting, killing three.

“When you look at case studies of campus violence, you find that in every single one of them there was previous knowledge and concern,” Strese says. “We intend to streamline the information-gathering process so that intervention can occur earlier in situations where there is an emerging threat or risk, whether it comes from inside or outside this community.”

SMU’s program includes a new policy on workplace violence, added to the University Policy Manual in August. Policy No. 10.12 in the Public Safety section includes clear descriptions of prohibited behaviors, as well as procedures for reporting violence and threats of violence from an SMU community member or visitor.

A new website, smu.edu/workplaceviolence, provides e-mail and telephone contacts for reporting concerns securely and confidentially. It also serves as a clearinghouse for information on policy and procedure.

In addition, the University has established a Workplace Violence Assessment Team, which includes representatives from the offices of the Provost, Risk Management, Legal Affairs and Human Resources. The team will meet as needed to review individual cases and recommend appropriate responses in accordance with University policies. Other staff or faculty members, or both, may be invited to join on a case-by-case basis.

The new program “is not intended to supersede any existing policies or processes, such as those coordinated by the Office of Student Life or the Ethics and Tenure Committee,” says Anita Ingram, SMU Executive Director of Risk Management. The Workplace Violence Assessment Team will review each case it receives to determine if it should be referred to the appropriate area, she says.

> Learn more at smu.edu/workplaceviolence
> Find SMU’s University Policy Manual online

August 17, 2010|News|

Environmental management peer review begins June 7

ICUT review stock imageAdvisers from seven Texas universities will visit campus June 7-10, 2010, to conduct a confidential environmental management peer review.

SMU will be the fifth Texas institution to be audited as part of a program of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) and EPA Region 6. The peer audit team will address environmental compliance criteria issues, with HRP Associates supervising the audit process.

Team members will arrive from Abilene Christian University, Baylor University, St. Edward’s University, Southwestern Christian College, Stephen F. Austin State University, Temple College and Texas Lutheran University. Inspectors will wear identification badges to ensure campus security.

A majority of buildings located on campus will be audited, including but not limited to Dawson Service Center, Dedman Life Sciences Building, Embrey Engineering Building, Fondren Science Building, Heroy Hall, Junkins Engineering Building, the Material Accumulation Center (MAC) building and Owens Arts Center. Also included are the University’s on-campus food service areas, mechanical rooms and elevator spaces.

The process will assist SMU in identifying ways to improve environmental management on campus. The review will focus on areas that use and/or store chemicals, and/or create hazardous waste.

> Find more information and a detailed schedule at the Risk Management homepage

June 1, 2010|News|

For the Record: Sept. 24, 2009

Anita Ingram, Risk Management, has been elected 2009-10 treasurer of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA), an organization dedicated to advancing the discipline of risk management in higher education. She and other new officers were inducted at URMIA’s 40th annual national conference Sept. 15 in Nashville.

Students in the Division of Journalism, Meadows School of the Arts, have received a 2009 Best of Show commendation from the Center for Innovation in College Media. The news segment “Students Reflect on Chaotic Inauguration Day,” originally broadcast by The Daily Mustang on Jan. 21, 2009, was named Best Breaking News Package.

Students Tyler Murray, Jessica Huseman and Reem Tahir won 7 of their 10 debates at the University of Northern Iowa Debate Tournament Sept. 19-21, 2009. The debate topic concerned U.S. policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons. Murray and Huseman argued a unique affirmative case offering a U.S. apology for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was undefeated at the tournament. Tahir finished 3rd in the novice division in her first collegiate debate competition. The SMU debate teams are coached by faculty members Ben Voth and Chris Salinas, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Meadows School of the Arts. Read more from SMU News.

September 24, 2009|For the Record|

For the Record: Nov. 13, 2008

Jim Hollifield, Political Science, Dedman College, spoke at the 2008 Dallas Institute Festival of Ideas Nov. 8. The lineup of speakers included Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, and New York Times columnists David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof.

Larry Palmer, Music, Meadows School of the Arts, played a recital at Harvard University to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Flentrop organ Nov. 2, 2008, in Busch Hall. The instrument, made famous through broadcasts and recordings by E. Power Biggs, is one of the most influential pipe organs in America. The following evening Palmer presented a program for the Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists, in Harvard’s Memorial Church to mark the centenary of the birth of Hugo Distler, a German Lutheran composer who was the subject of Palmer’s first book. In October, Palmer played the dedicatory recital for the C.B. Fisk organ at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, NM, for which he was the consultant.

SMU’s departments of Risk Management and Budgets and Information Technology Services have received a 2008 Honorable Mention Award from the International Association of Emergency Managers. ITS was honored in the Public Awareness: Division 2 category for its 2008 SMU Aware calendar. The calendar is part of the University’s Security Awareness Program.

November 13, 2008|For the Record|

Lighting Walk, National Night Out promote campus safety

SMU with Dallas evening skylineSMU’s 2008 Lighting Walk took place Oct. 7 in support of National Night Out. Personnel from SMU’s Physical Plant, Police and Risk Management departments gave presentations and discussed campus lighting needs in the context of safety, security, functionality and aesthetics.

As Daylight Savings Time draws to a close and the end-of-day walk to the car is darker than ever, SMU’s Park ‘N Pony office provides maps that mark lighted pathways to and from the employee, student and visitor parking areas. Pick up one or all at Parking and ID Card Services on the first floor of Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

October 10, 2008|News|
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