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

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

Students help end substance abuse

Many of you are aware that earlier this week the SMU Police Department, while responding to a fire alarm signal, found illegal drugs in the room of a student living in a fraternity house. Clearly this is a serious violation of federal and state laws, and of the SMU Student Code of Conduct. Additionally, it is extremely disappointing to have this incident occur following all of the recent campus conversations related to the Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention.

I want to publicly thank those members of the fraternity who were willing to talk with members of SMU PD and Student Affairs during voluntary interviews after the chapter meeting on Monday.

There is a larger question that remains unanswered. Why would students who may have known that another student might be providing drugs to others on campus not let anyone in Student Affairs know? I recognize the current cultural norms embodied in terms such as “snitch,” “narc,” “sellout” and others (such as expressed in the rap song Snitch by Akon). I realize that these can discourage people from getting involved or sharing information that might result in someone getting in trouble, and I recognize the fear that people who share information will be socially ostracized. But you should think about this: what if sharing this kind of information could assist in getting help for someone with a substance abuse problem, preventing them from getting into more serious trouble, or even saving their life? A larger question is the extent to which you will let the illegal and irresponsible actions of a few students to reflect negatively on the entire student body.

One of the things that attracted me to SMU was the strong sense of community that I felt when I visited the campus for my interviews. Maintaining this strong sense of community works only if we are truly committed to caring for one another and holding each other accountable to the principles and standards for membership in the SMU community, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and in the University’s Code of Ethics.

A colleague of mine at another university told me recently that her campus has instituted a campaign called “See Something…Tell Someone” as a way to encourage students to share any information they might have about someone or something on campus they are concerned about.

I call upon those of you who are interested in helping to make SMU a drug-free campus to commit yourself to that same “See Something…Tell Someone” philosophy. If you are concerned about a friend with a substance abuse problem, please call the Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention (768-4122) or the SMU Counseling Center (768-2277) for confidential advice and/or counseling. If you have knowledge of drugs on campus, please call the SMU PD confidential TIPs line (214-768-2TIP). If you have ideas about ways that we might do a better job of dealing with substance abuse issues at SMU, I welcome your ideas: www.smu.edu/studentaffairs/ask.

The best part of my job as Vice President of Student Affairs at SMU is the opportunity to work closely with students to make the university a better place. Alternatively, the worst part of my job is to call someone’s parents to tell them that their student has been arrested for a DUI, for possessing or distributing drugs, or that their student has died from a drug overdose. Please help me make sure that I never again have to make calls like that.

Dr. Lori S. White is Vice President of Student Affairs at SMU.

More to Discover