Category Archives: Health and Safety

SMU Accepts Sexual Misconduct Task Force Report

SMU President R. Gerald Turner announced May 8 that he has accepted the recommendations of the SMU Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures for maintaining and improving programs related to sexual misconduct. The recommendations address areas including sexual misconduct reporting procedures, requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the student conduct process, education programs for students, enhanced training for staff and communications to parents.

Turner established the Task Force in September 2012 to re-examine the University’s procedures and policies related to sexual misconduct to determine what changes are needed. Among the 20 members of the Task Force were external experts, including a representative of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the executive director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Initiative, as well as SMU students, faculty and staff members.

“Sexual misconduct is a serious issue at universities and colleges nationwide, which are required by the federal government to investigate allegations and hold violators accountable through an internal grievance procedure,” Turner said. “Even without such requirements, SMU is committed to policies and procedures that uphold community standards and foster a healthy learning environment based on mutual respect, responsible behavior and fair treatment of all students. I am grateful to the Task Force for its careful deliberations and recommendations. SMU is committed to implementing these changes and monitoring our practices.”

The Task Force made 41 recommendations, some of which address policies and procedures in place at SMU that the group felt should be continued but strengthened. Among these are procedures related to student reporting of sexual misconduct and the process for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations under the Student Code of Conduct. New initiatives recommended include new and more extensive education programs for students, as well as student mentoring and bystander intervention programs. Several Task Force recommendations were implemented during the past year, such as expanding information on SMU’s website. The full report is available online.

“Through our research and meetings, we learned that SMU has in place policies and procedures that align with national benchmarks,” said Task Force chair Kelly Compton, SMU trustee and chair of the Board’s committee on Student Affairs. “We also found areas that should be improved or more effectively addressed with new measures, particularly programs promoting education, training and communication. We are united in our commitment to the well-being of students through effective procedures, helpful resources and the support of a caring community.”

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New Health Services Fee to Take Effect in Fall 2013

Beginning in Fall 2013, SMU tuition and fees will include a new fee for health services. The mandatory fee of $100 for full-time undergraduate students and $50 for graduate and part-time undergraduate students will support enhancements to health care services and increased access to specialists and mental health counselors. The establishment of the fee has been endorsed by SMU Student Senate.

SMU is preparing for a major renovation to modernize facilities and augment services at the Memorial Health Center. The renovation includes plans for improved patient amenities, additional patient procedure rooms and counseling offices, and upgrades to medical equipment and technology. The plans also allow for expanded Health Center hours during evenings and on weekends.

During the past 18 months, the Health Center has gathered recommendations on desired improvements from the campus community, including through a student survey and meetings with student leadership. The new fee will help support these improvements, including additional mental health counselors, access to online scheduling and electronic health records, and expanded space for peer support groups and student health education.

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SMU Health Center Adopting Electronic Health Records

The SMU Health Center is pleased to announce that it has adopted a new electronic health records system called “Point and Click.” The secure system will launch Tuesday, February 26.

Now the standard for medical care, electronic health records have been shown to streamline and enhance care and communication between patients and clinicians.

After the launch of the new system, students visiting the Health Center may experience longer wait times as the staff completes the transition. Their patience is appreciated.

Later this spring, SMU students will be able to schedule appointments online, fill out patient forms online in advance of appointments, and check lab results and other communications from clinicians through the Health Center’s secure portal, Open Communicator. In addition, students will be able to send their patient records quickly and securely to other doctors and institutions.

Students will be notified of system updates by email and during Health Center appointments. No other action is required by students or parents at this time. Students will continue to waive or elect mandatory health insurance coverage at the beginning of each term in Access.SMU.

For more information, contact Patrick Hite in the SMU Health Center,, or Deanie Kepler, director of Parent and Family Programs, at 214-768-4797 or

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Monitoring the Flu: SMU Urges Preventive Measures

With the early 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.

Cases of influenza are expected to increase throughout the flu season. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, it is important that our community members take these precautions:

Get a flu shot. A limited number of flu shots are available at no cost at Health Center immunization clinics Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 to 11 a.m. The Health Center also will offer shots from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 23.

  • Students should bring their SMU IDs to the immunization clinics, and should complete the online  Flu Vaccine Form and bring it with them.
  • Students may call the Health Center at 214-768-2141 to schedule a flu shot if they are unable to attend an immunization clinic. Flu shots also are available at local pharmacies, clinics and physician’s offices.

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve, and avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.

Monitor your health. Flu symptoms include fever with cough or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.

What to do if sick with the flu

Students with flu symptoms should stay home. Ill students should limit contact with others who are not sick. Those with flu-like symptoms should not return to class until they no longer have a fever (a temperature of less than 100.5 F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Resident students who have flu symptoms may order meals for pickup from RFoC at Umphrey Lee by contacting Tammie Henderson (  Roommates and friends picking up the meals must have the ill student’s SMU ID card.

Students should seek medical attention if they have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100.5. They must bring their health insurance cards to Health Center appointments; otherwise, they will be charged full price for any prescriptions. They should talk with a doctor about appropriate medicine to treat flu or flu-like symptoms.

If students get worse after being on the medication for three or four days, they should come back to the Health Center to have their lungs rechecked to make sure they have not developed a secondary infection. Those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, or complications should call the Health Center at 214-768-2141.

Where to find health care

The SMU Health Center is open Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students should call 214-768-2141 to make an appointment. If students need assistance after hours, they have several options:

Visit a local clinic:

  • QuestCare, in Snider Plaza at 3414 Milton, is open Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 214-368-4822.
  • PrimaCare, 6350 E. Mockingbird Lane, is open Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays-Sundays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 214-828-0448.

See their private physician.

If a student has an emergency, please call 911 or go to a hospital:

Parents with questions or concerns: Please contact Deanie Kepler, director of SMU Parent & Family Programs, at 214-768-4797 or

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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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