Category Archives: Health and Safety

Flu Shots Recommended for SMU Community

Flu season has started, and the U. S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu vaccine. Current CDC reports indicate high levels of flu-like illness in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, although few cases have been reported at SMU.

SMU 2012 flu shot schedule

The SMU Health Center held flu shot clinics during September and October, and will continue offering flu shots to students, faculty and staff between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through December 14, 2012. No appointment is necessary.

To shorten your wait, please take these steps:

Learn how to avoid the flu and where to obtain care at

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A Community Commitment to Health and Safety

SMU is committed to providing an educational environment that supports students’ health and well-being while they pursue their academic and personal goals.

The Live Responsibly Health and Safety website contains important information about SMU policies, procedures and resources that foster a secure environment that is free of misconduct and that upholds our community’s shared values and standards of behavior.

On the site, you will find information about substance abuse and sexual misconduct, which are serious issues at universities and colleges across the country. At SMU, a permanent Presidential Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention meets regularly to assess the University’s efforts and outcomes. The Commission’s 2011-12 report and previous reports are available on the website.

In addition, President R. Gerald Turner this fall established the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures, which is examining SMU’s programs in comparison with benchmark practices to determine if changes are needed, taking into account state and federal laws. Colleges and universities nationwide are reviewing their procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct in light of new guidelines issued by the federal government under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX requires universities and colleges to investigate reports of sexual assault and to provide internal grievance procedures.

More information about the Task Force and Title IX is on the website, as well as information about getting help in case of a sexual assault; reporting an assault to police, campus officials and confidential counselors; pursuing criminal charges and the University conduct review process; and campus and community resources that provide support and education. Because these are important, sensitive and complex issues, all community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these policies, procedures and resources.

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New SMU Task Force Receives Charge for Deliberations

SMU’s new Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures held its first meeting Thursday, October 11, and received its charge from SMU President R. Gerald Turner, who appointed the task force October 4.

The charge, which will determine the topics of subsequent meetings, reads as follows:

Charge to the Task Force

SMU is committed to providing the best possible learning environment for students to achieve their educational and personal goals. Such an environment must support student safety through University policies, standards of conduct, educational programs, and campus resources.

Toward that end, SMU aspires to develop and maintain model programs that include policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct.

The President’s Task Force is charged with the overarching goal of examining SMU’s procedures and policies related to sexual misconduct in comparison with benchmark practices to determine if any updates or changes are needed, taking into account adherence to state and federal laws, especially Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. These policies and procedures aim to ensure that all students are treated with care and fairness.

Specifically, the Task Force is asked to review the following to determine if changes or additions are needed to strengthen SMU’s efforts:

  • Sexual assault reporting procedures, including Clery Act compliance and effective coordination among campus offices, the SMU Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
  • The student conduct process as it relates to sexual misconduct, including the structure of the grievance procedure required by Title IX and the make-up of conduct review mechanisms.
  • Programs and responses to ensure a harassment-free environment, particularly for the complainant.
  • Policies regarding students who are accused of sexual misconduct.
  • Support services on and off-campus for students who are victims of sexual assault.
  • Orientation, training and education programs for all faculty, staff and students, especially for those who serve in roles in which a student might report a sexual assault (e.g., resident assistants), and who participate in conduct review activities.
  • Sexual misconduct policies and procedures that treat all parties involved with care and fairness.

In addition, the task force heard from Edward N. Stoner II, an attorney formerly with the Pittsburgh office of Reed Smith LLP; he is an expert on student conduct issues who has authored more than 50 articles and presentations, including the nation’s most widely used model code of conduct for colleges and universities. He also is an expert on Title IX, which requires colleges and universities to investigate and to have grievance procedures related to sexual misconduct; these procedures are separate and independent of the criminal process. Stoner is the first of the external experts called in to speak to the task force.

“Our first meeting was productive and informative. As an SMU trustee and the parent of college-age students, I deeply appreciate the care and deliberation that is being given to this issue, which requires our best thinking and highest level of compassion,” said Kelly Compton, chair of the task force. “With the perspectives and expertise of the membership and the information provided by external experts, I’m confident that the best interests of our students will be well served by the task force. Everyone is united behind this goal.”

Upon completing its deliberations, the task force will submit recommendations to President Turner.

“It’s important that every institution of higher education revisit its policies and procedures, especially on topics that can so deeply affect a student’s well-being and that are being debated on a national level,” Turner said. “We are gratified that a number of external experts are willing to visit the task force to address the often technical regulations governing sexual assault allegations, grievance procedures, and privacy issues.”

The next meeting of the task force is Oct. 17.

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2012 Clery Act Report Available Online

SMU 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.

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.

In addition, the report contains policies and procedures for enhancing campus security and individual safety, including the Giddy Up, Safe Rides, Security 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 at

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New Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures

Following is a letter SMU President R. Gerald Turner sent to the SMU community on Friday, September 28:

Dear students, faculty and staff:

In the past few weeks our campus community has been shocked and saddened by allegations of two sexual assaults that have resulted in the indictment of an SMU student and most recently the arrest of another. In an educational community that values and expects the highest level of mutual respect, personal responsibility and behavior that upholds the law, these allegations are especially troubling. As the criminal process moves forward, we continue to offer counseling and support to those affected, as well as to provide information to all students on procedures for reporting sexual misconduct.

I am asking members of the University community to re-acquaint themselves with the options and procedures for reporting sexual misconduct, information shared through the Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook, orientation sessions, Wellness classes, University websites, and crime alerts. Such resources explain the conduct review process through the SMU Code of Conduct as well as the option to file criminal or civil charges, which proceed separately and independently of SMU. Like all colleges and universities that receive federal funding, SMU is required by federal law under Title IX to investigate complaints of sexual violence and to provide an internal grievance procedure. Independent of this requirement, SMU is committed to fostering a healthy and supportive environment, to holding members of the community accountable if they violate the rights of others, and to providing care and counseling to the victims of sexual misconduct. At the same time, we encourage respect for the rights of all concerned while investigations and processes unfold.

In view of recent questions about how universities, including SMU, address sexual misconduct, I am appointing the President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. As the name implies, the charge of the task force will be to examine SMU’s procedures and policies in comparison with benchmark practices to determine if any updates or changes are needed, taking into account adherence to state and federal laws, especially Title IX.  Although our procedures are examined regularly, and mirror those of many other institutions, the task force will be a timely opportunity to broaden deliberations and conversation on this critical matter. Its focus will include not only how sexual misconduct allegations are addressed at SMU, but also how the University can strengthen prevention and education on this important topic.

The task force will be co-chaired by Lori White, vice president for Student Affairs, and Kelly Compton, SMU alumna, trustee and chair of the Board’s Students Affairs Committee. Members will include students; faculty; administrators in areas such as Institutional Access and Equity (Title IX coordination), the Health Center, Residence Life and Student Housing, and law enforcement. The Task Force also will include representation from victims’ support organizations. In its work, the Task Force will call upon other local and national experts as resources.

As we have dealt with the tragic issue of sexual assault over the past few weeks, we have appreciated expressions of concern from among our constituents and others who share our deepest commitment to the welfare of our students. We will further appreciate thoughtful input as we move forward with the deliberations of our task force. Our desired outcome will be to strengthen the University as a caring community with high standards of conduct that support the high purpose of education.

Thank you for your assistance in support of University goals.


R. Gerald Turner,
SMU President

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SMU Health Center Schedules Fall 2012 Flu Shot Clinics

Stock photo of inoculation syringeThe SMU Health Center has scheduled nine flu shot clinics for Fall 2012 on the University’s main campus and East Campus, and at SMU-in-Plano.

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Other faculty and staff members, as well as spouses, may purchase shots for $25.

Students, faculty and staff can update their inoculations during the following days and times at these locations:

Tuesday, Sept. 25 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dedman Center Students
Tuesday, Sept. 25 3-6 p.m. Dedman Center Students/Faculty/Staff
Thursday, Sept. 27 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Health Center Students/Faculty/Staff
Thursday, Sept. 27 2-4 p.m. Health Center Students
Friday, Oct. 5 1:30-4:30 p.m. Expressway Tower Faculty/Staff
Monday, Oct. 8 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Law School Quad Students/Faculty/Staff
Monday, Oct. 8 4-7 p.m. Law School Quad Students/Faculty/Staff
Tuesday, Oct. 23 10 a.m.-2 p.m. HR Fair/Hughes-Trigg Student Center Faculty/Staff
Mon. Oct. 29 3-6 p.m. Plano Campus, Building 2 Students/Faculty/Staff

This year, a single shot will protect against H1N1, or the swine flu, and two other widespread flu strains that affected the Southern Hemisphere during the last flu season. Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated.

To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

Keep up with the latest flu information, including upcoming clinic schedules, at

Dallas County influenza resources and updates are available at

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SMU Highlights Readiness During National Preparedness Month

September is the Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Month, and SMU is asking the campus community to take an active role in learning how best to respond to potential campus emergencies. Information will be shared through email, web and social media messages focused on recommended emergency responses to different threats.

Quick Response Codes printed on table tents in Umphrey Lee’s Real Food On Campus will make it easy for students, faculty and staff to use their smart phones to link directly to videos that teach when to Evacuate, Seek Shelter or Lockdown. The “Know What to Do” videos also are located at

As an extra incentive for watching the videos during National Preparedness Month, the University will Tweet (via @SMU) contest questions drawn from the three “Know What to Do” videos. Winners will earn $25 Starbucks gift cards for the first correct answers.

“Preparedness is a partnership,” said Anita Ingram, SMU associate vice president and chief risk officer.  “The world we live in demands that students, faculty and staff take an active role in learning the best possible responses to emergencies ranging from police actions to weather emergencies.

“First, I recommend that you update your contact information in access.smu so we can reach you in an emergency.  Then, I encourage you to watch the videos that explain when to EvacuateSeek Shelter or Lockdown.   These simple steps could save your life,” Ingram said.

Here’s what to expect this month:

  • Testing of the emergency notification system at various times, including outdoor sirens, internal fire panels and mass notification systems
  • Drills conducted by building managers
  • Email, web and social media messages focused on different emergency responses

Read important SMU dates below:  Continue reading

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SMU Issues Campus Crime Alert

SMU is taking additional steps to promote safety in light of the recent assault of a student on campus. Awareness and resources are essential in keeping our campus as safe as possible and supporting anyone who is a crime victim.

The University is taking these steps:

Read the campus crime alert and safety tips issued by SMU on Tuesday, August 28. Parents with questions, please call Student Affairs at 214-768-4564.

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SMU Welcomes the Class of 2016 as the School Year Begins

As a new school year begins at SMU, it is a particularly exciting time to be here — the University is commemorating the 100th anniversary of its founding and opening with The Second Century Celebration.

Classes started Monday, August 20, and it’s a good time for first-year students to consider their first lesson — college is different. And for more experienced students to remind themselves that each new school year brings a new beginning.

High school students typically study outside of class as little as two hours a week for frequent, small tests. In college, they need to study at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour in class, for just a few big tests each term. And in high school, students could count on parents and teachers to remind them of their responsibilities. In college, they must set their own priorities.

SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center offers free tutoring and workshops throughout the academic year, including time management, learning styles and test preparation. The center offers 10 study tips for new college students; read more.

SMU Director of Parent and Family Programs Deanie Kepler regularly offers advice for both parents and students.

“Certain times in the academic year tend to be more challenging than others,” says Kepler. “Parents who understand the ‘ups and downs’ of their student’s first year will be better equipped to help them negotiate the challenges they will face.” See a month-by-month list of what to expect the first semester.

Don’t miss Kepler’s list of friendly reminders for the start of school.

Continue reading

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Taking Precautions Against Mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus

Mosquito spraying update, August 20: As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, there will be a second aerial spraying today, August 20, of University Park – including SMU – to kill mosquito larvae that have hatched since the first spraying last week.  Aerial spraying is expected to begin about 8:30 p.m. and could continue into the early morning hours, depending on weather conditions. As a precaution, the city recommends that you avoid being outside during spraying, close windows and keep pets inside Read more from SMU News.

Because mosquitoes are common in North Texas this time of year, the City of University Park has been spraying for mosquitoes to diminish the threat of West Nile virus. SMU is working with area authorities in addressing the mosquito problem.

beware of mosquitoesThe SMU Health Center is prepared to test and provide immediate care for anyone in the SMU community who suspects he or she is infected with West Nile. The SMU Health Center also has the recommended DEET insect repellent available while supplies last.

To protect yourself against West Nile and other diseases carried by mosquitoes, the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you:

  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET or any other EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Wear long sleeves/pants, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
  • Protect yourself especially if you go outside during dusk and dawn hours.
  • Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. SMU monitors the campus daily for standing water, removes it and treats the area. Avoid stagnant water. If you see stagnant water on campus, please report it to SMU Facility Services at 214-768-3494.

Those with questions about the West Nile virus should contact the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141.

Click to read more about health considerations during the dog days of summer:

Continue reading

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