Category Archives: Health and Safety

Helping Students With Stress During the Holiday and Exam Seasons

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, Interim Provost Harold Stanley is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

Dr. Stanley asked that each faculty and staff member “be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you” in an e-mail message dated Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” he added.

He also reminded the University community that “[s]tudents who feel overwhelmed by the stress of the season and finals can visit the offices at the Memorial Health Center, currently located at Perkins Hall, just to the north of Perkins Chapel.”

In addition, Dr. Stanley urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis. The confidential system “will allow us to identify students about whom we are concerned so that we are able to provide them with appropriate information, support, and advice,” he wrote.

He encouraged all to become familiar with SMU’s Guide for Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress, available online.

Dr. Stanley also issued the University’s traditional call for faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Many SMU resources are available to help students stay healthy and safe during the holiday and exam season, including these:

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U.S. Department of State issues Worldwide Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Worldwide Travel Alert through February 24, 2016, that alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

If students, faculty or staff are planning to travel internationally, please consult the travel alert and country-specific information.

The State Department says U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation; be aware of immediate surroundings; avoid large crowds or crowded places; and exercise particular caution at holiday festivals or events.

State Department security tips include:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Follow updates from the U.S. Department of State on Twitter at or on Facebook.

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SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.

All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs.

Students abroad are asked to review these personal security steps:

  • Register your travel with the State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP;
  • Make sure you register all independent travel with your program director so staff can reach you immediately in an emergency; remember to confirm and update any changes to your emergency contact information in your my.SMU account online;
  • Follow news reports closely;
  • Remain alert to your surroundings at all times;
  • Walk away from the first sign of trouble, and report any suspicious persons, packages or activities;
  • Avoid loud conversations and discussions that identify you as foreign, and avoid wearing clothing such as football jerseys or university sweatshirts, or T-shirts with American logos;
  • Keep your international cellphone with you, fully charged and turned on at all times, and respond immediately to any calls or messages from program staff.
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Free flu shots available during SMU’s Fall 2015 clinics

Stock photo of man receiving shotThe SMU Health Center has scheduled several free flu shot clinics for October and November 2015.

Clinics will take place at various places around the main campus, as well as the East Campus and SMU-in-Plano. All clinics are open to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, SMU retirees and retiree spouses.

> Keep up with the latest flu information at

Update your vaccination during the following days and times at these locations:

  • Monday, Oct. 5 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Thursday, Oct. 8 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Wednesday, Oct. 14 (HR Fair) – 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Monday, Oct. 19 – 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 – 2-6 p.m., Law School Pit, Underwood Law Library
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 – 4-6 p.m., SMU-in-Plano

> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

> Find statewide resources at

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SMU publishes Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was sent to the campus community on October 1, 2015, regarding SMU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report:

SMU is committed to maintaining an educational environment that supports safety and well-being through University policies, resources, education and prevention programs. Resources dedicated to campus safety include the SMU Police Department, which every year prepares and distributes a security report for the main SMU campus, SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos.

The annual security report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The security report includes SMU’s annual fire report, in keeping with the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations.

The University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at If you would like a paper copy, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail

The report contains three calendar years of crime statistics, including incidents occurring on SMU 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 Department of Public Safety, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department and SMU officials who serve as campus security authorities.

Read more below:
Continue reading

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SMU Health Center relocates to Perkins Hall

The SMU Health Center is relocating to Perkins Hall, 6004 Hillcrest Ave., on Tuesday, August 4, and will provide medical and other services beginning at 1 p.m.

Starting Wednesday, August 5, the Health Center will maintain normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Perkins Hall. Appointments will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 214-768-2141.

The Health Center’s permanent home, the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, is under construction and expected to be completed in 2016.

Medical Services offered at Perkins Hall include consultations with physicians, immunizations and treatment of illnesses.

Other services include:

  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (an emergency contact number is provided 24/7)
  • SMU Pharmacy, 214-768-2149
  • The Office of Student Health Insurance, 214-768-3408
  • Testing services for faculty exams and course evaluations, 214-768-2269
  • Health Education, 214-768-2393

SMU again will offer flu shots at no charge to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Information about fall flu shot clinics will be provided by email.

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

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Welcome, new Mustang students and families

SMU helps incoming students and their families transition to college with Academic Advising, Registration and Orientation (AARO). The two-day orientation sessions begin July 7 and end August 18, and will be followed August 19-23 by Mustang Corral.

  • Mustang Minute: Click here or on the video to watch 2015 AARO leaders prepare for new students’ arrival. 

At AARO, first-year and transfer students and their families learn about campus resources and academic expectations. During their AARO sessions, students:

  • Meet and have one-on-one meetings with their academic adviser
  • Register for fall classes
  • Meet their AARO leaders, who are current SMU students
  • Spend the night in Boaz Commons, one of SMU’s Residential Commons
  • Learn about campus involvement opportunities

Along with their students, parents will learn about SMU academics and resources, and are encouraged to attend special parent and family programming.

During Mustang Corral, August 19-23, students will meet and interact with other incoming students, faculty, staff members and alumni.  They will explore academic life and the spirit and traditions of SMU, and will participate in a retreat at Camp Corral, just south of Dallas.

Students participating in Mustang Corral move into their residence halls August 19. The deadline to register for Mustang Corral is August 15.

Get ready for the Hilltop: 

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SMU Health Center temporarily relocates

Due to maintenance at its Daniel Avenue facility, the Health Center is providing medical services at the Loyd All-Sports Center, 5800 Ownby Drive, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in Room L007. Students may call 214-768-2141 for appointments, or walk in.

For Counseling Services, please call 214-768-2277.

The SMU Pharmacy is available to transfer students’ prescriptions to the pharmacy of their choice. Students are asked to call the pharmacy at 214-768-2149 and leave a message with the following information:

•  Name and student ID;
•  The prescription number if available or the name of the medication;
•  The pharmacy name and number where you want the prescription transferred;
•  A phone number in case the SMU Pharmacy needs to contact you.

Please allow 24 hours for transfers. Any transfer request left after 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday will be handled the following Monday. Prescriptions can be transferred back to the SMU Pharmacy when it reopens.

In case of 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.

The office of Student Health Insurance will be available intermittently by email at For insurance benefit questions or for a temporary ID card, please contact the health insurance plan administration at 1-855-357-0242.

For more information about services or appointments, please call Assistant Director of Health Education Lisa Joyner at 214-768-2393 or email

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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 and at

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:

Fondren Library on the main SMU campus:

Please check for any schedule changes on the CUL homepage:

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

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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