Dear SMU Students:
As new and returning students move into their Residential Commons or apartments this week, we must reemphasize how crucial it is for each member of the SMU community to take individual responsibility for our ability to complete and enjoy the fall semester on campus.
As you have surely read or heard, several universities that just began their semesters have had to call them off or delay them due to rapid COVID-19 infections coming from off-campus parties. Every one of these cancellations has been due to the thoughtless actions of groups of students having off-campus parties without wearing masks and violating social distancing standards. Any such gathering has an almost certain probability of involving one or more students who are asymptomatic but virulent carriers of the virus. As a result, significant numbers that go to such parties become ill and then spread it to roommates and others with whom they come in contact.
For us to complete the SMU fall semester on campus, such potential parties must be cancelled before they begin. Any person or organization who organizes such a reckless party will be seriously disciplined for putting the entire campus at risk. That is not the SMU Way: Mustangs do not put other Mustangs at risk. What has happened at other universities can be prevented at SMU, but it will require those who might host such events choosing not to do so, and those invited to any that are planned, choosing not to attend. The healthy alternative is to meet in groups of 10 or fewer, all wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Surely, we can all follow this approach for three months or until a vaccine is approved. We must all make the right choices.
Therefore, as we look forward to gathering for the first day of class on Monday, we must all take responsibility during this weekend and afterward for the health and well-being of the entire campus. If we do not, we will join those universities that have had to cancel in-person classes. As world changers, let’s Pony Up and follow the health guidelines and have a great semester.
R. Gerald Turner
K.C. Mmeje, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs