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

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Board of Trustees discuss Bush Library status

The status of the Bush Library project, SMU’s response to the drug-related deaths and the launch of the Centennial campaign were the three major topics at last Thursday and Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

President R. Gerald Turner said a series of “what-ifs” is holding up the announcement of the George W. Bush Library complex.

“For example, what if Central Expressway were to widen. If the library was by Central Expressway…what happens?” Turner said. “You have to work through that.”

Turner said the library project is a very complex issue because the school is looking at something coming contractually to campus for a very long period of time.

“The difficulty is trying to anticipate the implications of a change on a long-term relationship,” he said.

Turner said the negotiations are going slower than the board would have hoped, but there is progress being made. The board was updated with the status of the project, including the announcement of an architect for the project.

But Turner said at this point the earliest an announcement would be made would be late September or early October. But don’t call that a prediction, Turner said. That’s simply a possibility at this point. He does believe there will be an announcement before the end of the semester.

“I would certainly hope we would have it done before then,” Turner said. “I am much more optimistic than that.”

SMU’s response to the three drug-related deaths last school year dominated the student-affairs part of the board meeting.

Board members wanted to know all aspects of the Drug Task Force’s evaluation: including policies, disciplinary procedures and interaction with local law enforcement. They also gave their own suggestions as to procedures that might help. Turner said no recommendation or question was given that has not already been addressed by the task force.

“It’s something the board is obviously concerned with,” Turner said.

One part of the discussion involved Greek life and what role those organizations have. He said the board does take note when a chapter has a major violation. Turner said self-policing will be key to Greek life maintaining its current role on campus.

“An organization has to have the ability to refine itself,” Turner said. “Nationally, it’s a topic of discussion how Greek organizations have got to speed up their own discipline.”

He said if chapters find out they have someone or some group of individuals that are creating a problem, then they have to find ways to either remove those people from membership or put them out of the house.

“Their own reputations will depend on them disciplining their own membership in ways they have been hesitant to do,” Turner said.

How Greek organizations discipline themselves is something the school will be emphasizing more from now on.

Other changes or recommendations will occur after the Drug Task Force issues its report in December.

“Greek organizations here have a long history with the institution,” Turner said. “Whether that is sustained, if when you come back for your 25th-year reunion whether they are here or not, it’s going to depend a lot on them.”

The major announcement to come out of the meeting regarded the status of the Centennial Campaign. SMU has been in the quiet phase of the campaign for nearly a year now and has been raising money during the time. The board signed off on getting the leadership structure in place for all of the committees and beginning the search for their respective chairs or co-chairs.

Turner will meet with leaders from the respective schools or departments and together they will determine who would be best for the job.

Once the chairs are approved, then the board will begin the work of filling in the committees. Each committee will have 10-20 people on it. Turner said potential chairs need to be people who would be best over the long term because the campaign will go through the Centennial year in 2011.

“They need to be individuals who are dedicated to helping advance whatever area they will chair,” Turner said.

The goal is to get committees organized in the spring and kick the campaign off in fall 2008.

There will be a committee for each school in the university, student affairs and athletics. Some of them will be also be regional in nature, including a Los Angeles-based committee along with those from Chicago and Houston.

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