SMU Recommends Flu Shots and Other Preventive Measures

With the arrival of flu season across the country and in North Texas, SMU health officials are urging students, faculty and staff to take preventive measures to protect their health. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, SMU health officials recommend getting a flu shot if you have not yet done so. Know the symptoms. Be prepared. Learn more . . . 

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Update on Ebola Situation in Dallas

Updated October 22:

We are providing updates to you and the campus community on developments related to the Ebola situation in Dallas, as we receive new information. Toward that end, we want to inform you that two SMU graduate students have told University officials that they were passengers on the October 10 Frontier Airlines flight from Dallas to Cleveland that included a Presbyterian Hospital nurse who later tested positive for the Ebola virus.  Neither SMU student was a passenger on the return flight to Dallas, when the nurse was reportedly showing symptoms. Both students are considered at extremely low risk, but out of sensitivity to the University community, both have volunteered to remain off campus at their homes in Dallas for the 21-day monitoring period, going above and beyond CDC requirements or recommendations. Along with other passengers on the flights taken by the nurse, they are being monitored as a precaution.

The two unrelated graduate students, both of whom live alone, are working closely with CDC and county officials. They are monitoring and reporting their temperatures and keeping in daily touch with health officials. They are working with their professors on arrangements to continue their studies, and SMU is providing assistance to facilitate their remaining home-bound.

If any other members of the campus community were on the flights in question between Dallas and Cleveland, they should contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-232-4636 or the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141 to determine if they should be monitored as a precaution. Information from the CDC about the two flights is posted online here.

At the same time, there is little risk to the University community from this situation, according to medical experts. As a reminder, the disease is developed only after close contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has developed symptoms. In fact, the 51 individuals who were being quarantined because of close contact with the first Ebola patient have been cleared to resume their normal activities; none has developed the disease. In addition, medical experts are urging against overreactions based on fear, rather than science. On Oct. 17, the 7,000-member Dallas County Medical Society said that “keeping all schools open, including schools that have children of parents who are being monitored, presents no risk to students or teachers and sends an important message of allaying fears in the community.”

Please see the University’s health information on the home page at www.smu.edu and related links to external health information sources. We are in close touch with health officials and are monitoring best practices. The SMU site also includes University health and counseling services available to all students.

Parents with questions may call 214-768-7501 or 1-866-768-1012 (toll free).

Parents who have not received updates by email are asked to update their contact information; instructions are provided online here.

We appreciate your patience and support, and we will do our best to keep you informed of any further developments on this matter.

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Oct. 18: Update on Ebola Situation

Updated October 18, 2014:

SMU understands the interest in developments related to the Ebola situation in Dallas. We want you to know that SMU is monitoring the situation, is sharing updated information with the campus community, and has protocols in place to deal with any threat of illness.

First, it is important to be aware of how the disease is spread — NOT through casual contact, but only through close contact with the body fluids of someone who is actively exhibiting symptoms of the illness. For this reason, the risk is low for members of the general population who have not had such close contact. We are aware that some SMU students live in the neighborhood of one of the nurses affected, but geographic proximity alone is not enough to put a person at risk. We encourage you to consult the information sources listed on SMU’s Health and Safety homepage or through the SMU Parents blog.

Because both Ebola patients have been transferred to hospitals outside Texas, there is currently no active case of Ebola in Texas, though some Dallas individuals who had previous close contact with those patients are being monitored as a precaution.

A core group of SMU officials — experts in health, security, and crisis management — is meeting daily and is in contact every day with local, state and federal health officials to guide SMU actions. Even though the risk of Ebola is low, SMU is taking some extra actions, most of which would normally be implemented at this time to prevent the flu, which is much more likely to affect our community.

Steps include:

  • Increased posting of information on campus about personal hygiene and health measures, such as careful hand washing and covering of coughs and sneezes.
  • Heightened sanitization measures across campus, such as frequent cleansing of buses and golf carts serving the campus, as well as high-touch surfaces in facilities; food-handling guidelines; immediate clean-up of spills using protective measures; availability of sanitizer dispensers in buildings.
  • More frequent cleaning of campus residential facilities.
  • Continuous training to address emerging needs.
  • Oversight of foreign travel involving SMU students, faculty and staff.  SMU also supports CDC travel advisories for universities. Currently the CDC has a Level 3 Warning urging all U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola outbreak.

We appreciate the questions regarding SMU procedures for assisting students who are feeling ill. As always, SMU students experiencing symptoms of any illness are urged to seek assistance from the SMU Health Center or other nearby medical providers and to stay home from school or work.  In case of a health emergency, students should call SMU Police at 214-768-3333 or 911. Dallas Emergency Medical Services directs ambulances to area hospitals based on the circumstances of each case. At this time, there are no emergency transports to Presbyterian Hospital.

All students who contact the Health Center are screened through a series of questions related to risk factors, such as travel and other recent activities. If a student calls ahead for an appointment, and the phone screening indicates a possible risk of Ebola-like symptoms, the student will be instructed to isolate himself or herself and immediately call 911.  If a student goes in person to the Health Center and is thought to be at risk for Ebola, measures are in place to isolate the student immediately and contact 911. Safeguards and appropriate protective equipment, as needed, will be utilized during the patient encounter. If the screening shows no history of possible exposure to an Ebola patient, and the student shows symptoms of the flu, a nurse will take vitals, a physician will examine and treat the student, and the student will be advised to stay home until symptoms subside.

For students who would like to discuss this situation with professional counselors and other staff, several resources are available:

  • For health questions or concerns, please contact the SMU Health Center, 214-768-2141.
  • For confidential counseling, contact Counseling and Psychiatric Services, 214-768-2277, or the Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502.
  • Faculty or staff with concerns about students may contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564, or visit Caring Community Connections.

We are committed to helping our students, faculty and staff to continue their studies and work uninterrupted, while we monitor the situation and act on the basis of factual information.

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Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for the SMU Campuses

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

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Family Weekend 2014: Follow the Clues to SMU

smu_fw_14Family members from across the nation will “follow the clues to SMU” for Family Weekend 2014, Oct. 24-26.

Sponsored by Student Foundation and organized by the Family Weekend committee, the three-day event is devoted to SMU students and their families. For more than 40 years, this tradition has offered parents the chance to take a glimpse into their son’s or daughter’s life on campus.

Dozens of activities are planned for family members visiting campus during the highly anticipated event. Student Foundation has compiled a schedule for the weekend. Below are the highlights:

Friday, Oct. 24:

  • Attend a Class: Family members are encouraged to attend classes with their student.
  • Ticket Pickup: Family members can pick up their tickets at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Crossing from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. After 4 p.m., tickets can be picked up at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Mane Desk.
  • Engaged Learning Symposium: Stop by this come-and-go event to see student presentations from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Engaged Learning will also host an open house from 2-4 p.m. at the Office of Engaged Learning, G13 Clements Hall.
  • Family Luncheon: Co-sponsored by Student Foundation and the SMU Mothers’ Club, the family luncheon will take place at noon in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.
  • Meet the Faculty: From 2-3 p.m. family members can meet Cox School of Business faculty in the Collins Center; Dedman College faculty in the Dallas Hall Rotunda; Lyle School of Engineering faculty in Caruth Hall; Meadows School of the Arts faculty in the Taubman Atrium; and Simmons School of Education and Human Development faculty in 144 Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall.
  • Hegi Family Career Development Center Open House: Stop by the Hegi Family Career Development Center from 2-3 p.m. to meet career counselors and discuss career planning.
  • SMU Abroad Open House: Visit the SMU International Center to meet study-abroad advising staff and discuss study-abroad program options from 2-4 p.m. in the Blanton Student Services Building.
  • Interterms and SMU-in-Taos Joint Open House: Learn more about summer and winter courses, as well as SMU-in-Taos, from 2-4 p.m. in 338 Blanton Student Services Building.
  • My Home Away From Home: Tour your student’s Residential Commons with SMU Residential Life and Student Housing from 4-5 p.m.
  • Fish Fry: The Association of Black Students and National Pan-Hellenic Council invite families to their annual Fish Fry from 5-7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Varsity.
  • Taste of Dallas Dinner: The 8th annual Taste of Dallas Dinner begins at 6 p.m. at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Tickets are $30 each.
  • Talent Show: The 39th Annual Talent Show follows dinner at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. Tickets to the show are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. 

Saturday, Oct. 25

  • Ticket Pickup: Family members can pick up their tickets from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Mane Desk.
  • Panhellenic Sorority Potential New Member Parent Tea: Families of women interested in going through Panhellenic sorority recruitment are invited to learn more about the process from 10-11 a.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.
  • Meadows Museum Guided Tours: Featuring masterpieces by El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Miró and Picasso, guided tours of Meadows Museum are available to family members from 2-3 p.m.
  • Boulevard Barbeque: The annual Boulevard BBQ will take place before the game on the Clements Hall South Lawn. Time is to be determined.
  • SMU vs. Memphis: As the Boulevard winds down, family members can head to Ford Stadium for the football game against Memphis. Time is to be determined.

Sunday, Oct. 26

  • College Hispanic American Students Familia Luncheon: Featuring lunch and entertainment, the College Hispanic American Students Familia Luncheon will start at noon in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.
  • Asian Council Parents’ Dinner: Featuring dinner and entertainment, the Asian Council Parents’ Dinner will take place from 6-8 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Stay updated with everything Family Weekend by connecting with Student Foundation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

> Family Weekend 2014 registration is open through Sunday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m.

- Written by Melanie Galindo-Huaume 

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SMU Rises in U.S. News & World Report’s ‘Best Colleges’

SMU rose in the ranks of the nation’s top universities in the 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, which was published online today.

Among 280 institutions classified as national universities, SMU ranks 58, up from 60 a year ago. The ranking again places SMU in the first tier of institutions in the guide’s “best national universities” category.

In Texas, only Rice University at 19 and the University of Texas-Austin at 53 ranked ahead of SMU. Among private national universities, SMU ranks 40.

“It is gratifying for SMU to be noted for its positive movement among the best national universities in this ranking,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We appreciate external recognition of our progress, but we also know that rankings do not portray the whole picture of an institution and its strengths. We encourage parents and students to visit the institutions they are considering for a firsthand look at academic offerings, the campus environment and campus and total student experience.”

The factors weighed in determining the rankings include measures of academic quality, such as peer assessment scores and ratings by high school counselors; graduation and retention rates; faculty resources; student selectivity; financial resources; and alumni giving.

Rankings of nearly 1,600 institutions – including national universities, liberal arts colleges and regional universities and colleges – are posted online at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will be published in the U.S. News & World Report issue available on newsstands September 23.

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A Health and Safety Message from President Turner

SMU President R. Gerald Turner sent the following message to students, faculty and staff on August 25, 2014:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome to the start of what promises to be a memorable Centennial year on the Hilltop. I wish each of you success as you pursue your academic, professional and personal goals.

Toward that end, it’s imperative that every member of our community play a role in maintaining a healthy and caring campus environment. All of us must be familiar with SMU policies, procedures and resources supporting that environment.

For this reason, I ask every student, faculty and staff member to read the online booklet “Live Responsibly,” which you can access on the SMU Live Responsibly website, smu.edu/LiveResponsibly. It addresses sexual misconduct and alcohol and substance abuse, which are serious health and safety issues at universities across the country, including SMU. Undergraduates also will be receiving a printed copy of this booklet in the mail to review and keep during their time at SMU.

Please carefully read the information provided about SMU’s Title IX (Sexual Misconduct) policy, and contact Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the Office of Institutional Access and Equity with any questions at 214-768-3601. It should be understood that SMU will vigorously pursue its policies and support state and federal laws. The federal law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. Sexual assault also is a crime under Texas law punishable by imprisonment. SMU will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form.

In the event of an emergency, including sexual assault or a medical emergency due to alcohol or drugs, SMU community members are urged to immediately call police and seek medical care for themselves and others. Please find more information about SMU and community resources available to help students in the Live Responsibly booklet and online.
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Welcome to the Hilltop, Mustangs!

Class of 2018 photo on Main Quad.

Class of 2018 photo on Main Quad.

Welcome to the 2014-15 academic year!

Mustang Minute: Watch a video from SMU News’ Myles Taylor featuring highlights from Move-In Day 2014.

Mustang Corral 2014: View photos of the retreat in the Texas Hill Country on SMU Facebook.

Watch Opening Convocation online: Help SMU welcome first-year and transfer students during the 100th Annual Opening Convocation and Rotunda Passage. Watch the live webcast here beginning at 4:45 p.m. Central time Sunday, August 24. 

Read about the Residential Commons in The Dallas Morning News.

Here are some Fall 2014 dates to remember:

  • Opening Convocation and Common Reading discussion: Sunday, Aug. 24
  • First day of classes: Monday, Aug. 25
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 1 (University offices closed)
  • Fall Break: Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 13-14
  • Family Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 24-25
  • Homecoming Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 14-15
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 27-28 (University offices closed)
  • Last day of classes: Monday, Dec. 8
  • Final exams: Thursday-Wednesday, Dec. 11-17 (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • December Graduation: Saturday, Dec. 20 (official close of term and date for conferral of degrees)
  • Christmas/Winter Break: Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014-Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 (University offices closed)

Visit the SMU calendar to keep an eye on upcoming events.

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SMU Health Center Moves to 3014 Daniel Avenue

The SMU Health Center has moved to 3014 Daniel Avenue in preparation for the construction of the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

The Health Center will maintain normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at its new location. Appointments will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 214-768-2141 for more information. Designated parking spaces are available in the lot at 3014 Daniel. Students in need of on-campus transportation to the Health Center during operating hours can call 214-274-9909 to be picked up by golf cart.

Most medical services, including consultations with physicians, immunizations and treatment of illnesses, will continue to be offered at the new location. Other services offered at 3014 Daniel include:

SMU again will offer flu shots at no charge to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Please watch your email beginning in September for announcements of fall flu clinics.

In case of an emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals and emergency resources are listed on the Health Center website. Students also may visit area clinics.

For more information, please contact Assistant Director of Health Education Lisa Joyner at 214-768-2393 or ljoyner@smu.edu.

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‘Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style’ at Bush Center

Laura-Bush-and-Oscar-De-La-Renta-340x260

First Lady Laura Bush and Oscar de la Renta

The George W. Bush Presidential Center is hosting a major retrospective of legendary American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, exploring his significant career from its origins to his most recent runway and red-carpet masterpieces.

Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style features more than 50 garments, some on view for the first time. The exhibit opens July 19 and continues through October 5 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Known for his artistic eye and exquisite craftsmanship, Mr. de la Renta has designed for iconic women of style, including First Ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Barbara Bush. His designs for First Ladies will offer an opportunity to examine the unique role of the First Lady as our country’s official hostess to world leaders and diplomats and as a trendsetter in style, fashion, and entertaining.

Learn more about the exhibit.

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