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


Students give opinions on task force

The Task Force at SMU was implemented three years ago at SMU. Its primary goal is to keep students safe, especially when it comes to alcohol and drugs, and it is composed of faculty members, staff, students and one trustee.

There is some question as to whether or not the Task Force is effective. Most students do not seem to know what it is, nor what it does.

Medical Amnesty, Good Samaritan, and “Call for Help” are all policies from the Task Force. If an intoxicated student receives medical assistance they can apply for amnesty, and if an intoxicated friend makes the call then they can apply for amnesty under the “Call for Help” program.

The controversy of this program is that students are taking advantage of it. Freshman Evan Taylor said, “I think its good as long as people don’t take advantage of it. I would rather someone make the call and be safe than try to avoid punishment, which could be harmful to a student’s life.”

Senior Benjamin Koopferstock, who sits on the EPIC Fund Committee, said, “The Amnesty Policy is wonderful, the fact that it took this long to be implemented at SMU is just sad.”
In the 2008-09 school year alone, 34 students were granted amnesty.

Sophomore Phillip Hughes said, “In regards to the amnesty policy, I feel as though it is enabling. I think that some students are inclined to drink even more because they know that they can just use amnesty in order to get out of the more serious consequences.”

The Task Force also encourages professors to take attendance more regularly. The hope is that students will act responsibly and go to class, rather than party the night before. Taking attendance can be a safety measure, however Hughes said feels it may not be necessary.

“We are all adults who are in charge of our own education. If we choose to abandon going to class, let us reap the consequences of our actions,” he said.

The Task Force also implemented the Evening Programs and Initiatives funds. In 2008-09, 22 of 39 applications were given funds. The last 17 that applied did not receive funds, because there were none left.

The “M” Lounge is also a contribution from the Task Force. It provides a space for students in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center to play video games, watch television and hang out.

Students such as junior Jennie Rhodes enjoy the “M” Lounge. It can be a great place to hang out and show off to perspective students. She said, “The TV’s are always set to a variety of stations, so you can catch up on the news or the latest sports happenings while you are waiting for your next class to start.”

The Task Force created the role of Resident Community Chaplains along with the help of Resident Life and Student Housing and Perkins School of Theology.  The RCC’s are provided for students in case any needs arise.  They also can provide programming in the halls that address spiritual issues.

Student safety is a top concern of the Task Force; the lighting on campus has increased since the fall. Safety lights now line the grass up and down the Boulevard. Senior Heather Gram feels the lights were a positive addition. She said, “The lighting definitely helps me feel a bit safer.” Giddy Up, stationed outside Boaz Hall, has also been extended to seven days a week.

Freshman Cohagen Wilkinson said, “I’ve never used Giddy Up, but I recognize that it serves a legitimate purpose. More often then not, however, I feel as though people abuse the service and use it to save themselves from having to walk a block and a half, rather than use it as a means to ensure their safety.”

Most students do not know the extent to which they contribute to campus other than the Amnesty policy and “Call for Help” program. Many still do not know the extent of the Amnesty policy or even how to apply for it. As students learn more about the Task Force, the programs will be utilized even more.


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