Category Archives: Health and Safety

SMU Inclement Weather Policy

It is the goal of SMU to remain open and hold classes as scheduled. However, if conditions warrant closing, the President in consultation with the SMU Police and the Provost will make that decision. Individual schools, colleges and departments are not authorized to make their own decisions on closings, delayed openings or cancellation of classes.

As soon as a decision is made, the following steps are taken to notify the university community:

  • An e-mail message will be sent to all students, faculty and staff.
  • A recorded message will be available at 214-SMU-INFO (214-768-4636). Please do not call the SMU Police Department.
  • Closing announcements will be posted on the SMU web site, via SMU’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/smu and at facebook.com/smudallas

Additionally, the Office of News and Communications will attempt to contact the news media by 6 a.m. if day classes must be cancelled. If it becomes necessary to cancel evening classes or events, News and Communications will attempt to contact the news media by 4 p.m.

SMU cannot guarantee that local media will announce closing information promptly or fully. Therefore, confirm information from non-SMU sources against official University communications.

SMU’s goal is to maintain the normal operations and educational processes of the University while remaining sensitive to safety concerns. Therefore, if SMU remains open, faculty, students and staff should report to their classrooms or offices as usual. If someone lives in an area that is affected by bad weather and feels that travel to campus would be an unreasonable safety risk, that individual should contact his or her supervisor or department head to discuss possible options, and students should contact their professors in advance. For staff members, an absence when SMU is officially open can be taken as vacation leave. Emergency service personnel are expected to report to work in any case to keep essential services and operations functioning.

Dining Services on the main SMU campus:

Dining services will be available even when the University closes because of inclement weather. For information about hours of operation for SMU Dining Services, please see: www.smudining.com
or
www.facebook.com/smudining

Fondren Library on the main SMU campus:

Please check for any schedule changes on the CUL homepage: http://sites.smu.edu/cul/.

SMU-in-Plano and other locations away from the main SMU campus:

Separate decisions regarding closings or cancellations will be made for the Plano and Taos campuses. Those campuses are not automatically affected when the main campus is closed, or they may be closed when the main campus is not, depending on local conditions.

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Information about sexual misconduct policies and prevention

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner and Lori S. White, Vice President for Student Affairs, was emailed to students on January 28, 2015:

As we begin a new semester, we’d like to remind you of SMU policies and resources that support our campus community’s safety.

SMU strictly prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual and gender-based harassment, assault and any form of sexual violence. It is important that you, as a member of our community, support a learning environment free from sexual misconduct and that you remain informed about SMU policies and resources.

For these reasons, we ask you to review the SMU Live Responsibly website or download the Live Responsibly booklet, which undergraduates received in printed form last semester to keep during their time at SMU.

Please pay careful attention to the information provided about Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that requires universities to investigate reports of sexual harassment and violence, and to have internal grievance procedures to address Title IX violations. SMU takes very seriously its obligations under Title IX and will vigorously pursue any violations. SMU’s Title IX Coordinator, Samantha Thomas, and seven Deputy Title IX Coordinators are available to assist you and other community members who have questions or concerns, or who wish to file a complaint under SMU’s Title IX policy. Call 214-768-3601 or email accessequity@smu.edu.

Please also be aware that in addition to violating SMU policy and federal law, sexual assault is a crime punishable under Texas law by imprisonment from two to 20 years, plus a fine up to $10,000. In the event of sexual assault, all community members are urged to immediately call police and seek medical care.

In addition to SMU’s Title IX Coordinator, campus and community resources available to help you include:

  • SMU Police, 214-768-3333 or pick up a blue-light phone on campus
  • The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, 214-345-6203
  • Trained confidential counselors at SMU’s Psychological Services for Women and Gender Issues, 214-768-4795; Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), 214-768-2277; the SMU Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502; and the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, 972-641-7273
  • The Office of the Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564
  • The Women & LGBT Center, 214-768-4792

We encourage you to contact these resources with any questions and to learn about ongoing programs at SMU to prevent sexual misconduct.

We would like to thank SMU student leaders who have developed the “Not On My Campus” campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault, as well as students who are participating in the White House’s national “It’s On Us” campaign. We also thank the students, faculty and staff who have helped to implement the recommendations of SMU’s 2012-13 President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures.

Thank you, as well, for being informed about this serious issue and for your commitment to Live Responsibly at SMU.

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SMU Urges Flu Shots and Other Preventive Measures

SMU health officials remind students, faculty and staff to take precautions against the flu and help prevent its spread by getting a flu shot.

Potentially severe flu season

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, cases of influenza are expected to increase across the country. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, we recommend that if your student has not yet had a flu shot this fall at the SMU Health Center, that he or she do so at a local pharmacy, clinic or physician’s office to allow time to develop protection against the flu.

National data indicate that this year’s vaccine may be somewhat less effective than in previous years, but getting vaccinated continues to offer the best protection against the flu, according to the CDC.

Where to obtain a flu shot

Students who are remaining on or near campus during winter break can obtain a flu shot at local healthcare providers including QuestCare, 3414 Milton in Snider Plaza, open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 214-368-4822. QuestCare will be closed December 24-25. For other options near campus, click here.

The SMU Health Center will reopen after winter break with special operating hours January 5, 7 and 9. On those days, medical services, including flu shots, will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; call 214-768-2141. Flu shots are available at no cost to SMU students, while supplies last. No appointment is needed; students should bring their SMU ID to the Health Center.

The SMU Pharmacy also will offer services January 5, 7 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), students should call 214-768-2277 and an emergency contact number will be provided 24/7. In case of a health emergency, students should call 911.

The Health Center resumes normal operating hours January 12, with flu shots and other services available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Continue reading

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SMU to break ground on Dr. Bob Smith Health Center

bob-smith-health-center-renderingSMU will break ground Dec. 5 on the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, a 33,000-square-foot center designed to provide comprehensive outpatient health care to more than 11,000 SMU students on an ongoing basis throughout each school year. A $5 million gift from the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation funded the new building named for Dr. Bob Smith, long-time Dallas pediatrician and SMU alumnus. The funding will enable center staff to increase promotion of student wellness through health education, medical services and counseling and psychiatric services.

“From caring for some of Dallas’s youngest patients to establishing medical care facilities for patients of all ages, Dr. Bob Smith demonstrated his devotion to health care in Dallas his entire life,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This gift to name the health center honors Dr. Smith’s love of his alma mater and supports good health for all SMU students.”

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is scheduled for completion in spring of 2016.

The new two-story building is designed to provide outpatient medical care for students, including laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services. Students will receive care from the center’s full and part-time physicians as well as from part-time specialists in dermatology, gynecology and sports medicine in ten newly equipped exam rooms with private waiting areas. The medical care area of the facility also will include two new consultation rooms for physician-patient meetings, two rooms for patient observation and a treatment room. In addition, the expanded space includes offices for the addition of dental services at the center, as well as space for extended evening and weekend hours for student care.

“The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will provide medical and mental health care with a focus on promoting wellness and sound health decision-making,” said Lori White, SMU vice president for Student Affairs. “Research shows that there is an important link between a student’s wellness and the ability to thrive academically. Encouraging students to make healthy lifestyle decisions while in college will provide them with a firm foundation for enjoying a healthy life post-college.”

Read more from SMU News.

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Update: Missing Student Found Unharmed

Update: 1:45 p.m. November 20:

SMU student Connor Burrell, who had been reported missing Nov. 19, was found unharmed by Dallas Police, working with SMU Police, at about 1:15 p.m. today, Nov. 20, near Mockingbird Station in Dallas. SMU is grateful to members of the SMU and Dallas communities who provided assistance in locating our student.

Connor Burrell

November 19, 2014:

SMU Police are seeking help in locating SMU student Connor Burrell (see his photo below), who was last seen about 2:30 p.m. Nov. 18 on a sidewalk on the north side of North Park Mall in Dallas.

Burrell, a 21-year-old white male, is 5-feet, 11-inches tall, weighs 190 pounds, has brown hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a white hoodie, khaki pants and was carrying a dark-colored jacket or sweater. He may have been wearing a white baseball cap.

If you have information about Burrell, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3388.

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SMU Takes the ‘It’s On Us’ Pledge

The SMU community shows its support for It’s On Us, a nationwide campaign to end sexual assault and violence, in the latest video from Myles Taylor of SMU News.

Learn more from President R. Gerald Turner, Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas, basketball coaches Larry Brown and Rhonda Rompola, Student Body President Ramon Trespalacios and Vice President Monica Finnegan, and many more students, faculty, staff members and administrators – click the YouTube screen, or open this link to watch the SMU It’s On Us video in a new windowvideo

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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 27:

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 have informed the University community 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, Amber Vinson, 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. On Oct. 24, Vinson and another Presbyterian Hospital nurse, Nina Pham, were declared successfully treated and free of the virus.

Both graduate 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 Dallas, 66 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. Most of the individuals still being monitored are health care workers who had contact with the first patient.

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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