The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Inaction in action

I don’t know why I even bother to continue to bash my head against a brick wall in addressing serious issues on this campus. Maybe it’s because so few other people bother to ask the hard questions, or because that fact bothers even fewer.

As we start this new school year, it’s tempting to wipe the slate clean on what has happened at SMU over the past two years. We could just celebrate (or dread) the arrival of the Bush Library or go to Ford Stadium and see if June Jones has had the impact the billboards along 75 say he will.

But we can’t forget that in the past two years, at least two students have died from drug and alcohol abuse. It’s easy to ignore the occasional ranting article on the subject from George Henson, but I propose asking some new questions.

At San Diego State University on May 6, 2007, a female student overdosed on cocaine and alcohol and died. The local police force, in cooperation with the campus police, immediately launched an in-depth investigation into the matter. Six months later, federal drug agents joined in the effort, bringing their expertise in undercover drug stings.

Over the course of the year-long probe, over 130 undercover drug buys were made on and off campus. Seven fraternity houses were infiltrated, with federal agents finding that organized drug rings were being run out of the houses with the members’ knowledge.

In the end, 96 arrests were made, 75 of them students. The students arrested are suspended pending their trials. According to the Los Angeles Times, “SDSU President Stephen Weber said he did not hesitate to allow undercover officers on campus. As for those responsible for drug-dealing, he said, ‘If we find that the fraternities as organizations were involved, they will be kicked off campus.'”

In a previous position, SMU Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White was dean of student affairs at San Diego State University. She was working at USC when the overdose incident that sparked the investigation occurred at SDSU, but as dean of student affairs she undoubtedly worked closely with President Weber on addressing many issues of student life, including drug abuse.

President Weber’s determination and frankness are admirable, but why hasn’t Dr. White carried some of that over to her current position? Don’t misinterpret my comments: Dr. White is in no way solely responsible for the administration’s response, yet with her experience of working with a university administration committed to stamping out drug abuse, why hasn’t she called for a more proactive approach such as that taken at SDSU?

In fact, why hasn’t any administrator called for this tactic or indeed even spoken of stepping up enforcement? Not one of the accepted task force recommendations on enforcement mentions stricter policies or intimately involving the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the group responsible for the undercover aspect of the investigation at SDSU.

The investigation there lasted a year; it has been over a year and half since Jacob Stiles died of alcohol and drug abuse, and slightly more than a year since Meghan Bosch passed away. Besides calling a task force, what other substantive measures has the school taken?

Jacob Stiles’ father told the press that after seeing the text messages on Jacob’s phone after his death, he believes strongly that many other fraternity members either knew about or were involved in some organized distribution out of the SAE house, just like at SDSU. The drug deals Jacob was involved in were discussed via text message, just like at San Diego.

So after two student deaths related to drug abuse, two universities had vastly different responses. Where is the determination and clear thinking of a President Weber on our campus? Our administration is surely not unaware of the situation at San Diego State; as I mentioned before, Dr. White previously worked there in a capacity similar to her position at SMU.

President Weber did not inform faculty or staff of the undercover operation, stating that he did not care whether it angered them. “We did the right thing,” he said. “I think frankly more universities should step up and take these kinds of actions.”

Why haven’t we?

John Jose is a junior finance and economics major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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