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


Drug Task Force report still under review

SMU’s Drug Task Force report won’t be available for the public to read until February at the earliest. The report has been slowly winding its way through the SMU bureaucracy and reached President R. Gerald Turner’s desk sometime in the past week and a half.

Turner is in the middle of reading and reviewing the task force’s recommendations and deciding which ones to input and which to discard.

The task force was formed in June 2007 after three drug and alcohol-related student deaths in the 2006-07 school year. Dean of Student Life Dee Siscoe and Associate Provost Tom Tunks co-chaired the committee, which was composed of 18 faculty, staff and student members. They had until December 2007 to make recommendations to Turner, a deadline that was met by the task force.

But then the final report was sent to Lori White, the vice president for student affairs, and Provost Paul Ludden. Each of them was allowed to read the report, ask questions of the task force and make any changes they deemed necessary before the report was sent on to Turner.

The ability of White and Ludden to review and make changes to the task force’s report was not indicated in any releases or information SMU created provided about the task force. The June announcement of the task force included this simply stated line: “It will report recommendations to President Turner by December 2007.” No subsequent release or post on the task force’s Web site indicated other administrative officials would have prior review of the task force’s report.

Whatever the final report winds up including, Turner confirmed during an interview with The Daily Campus that it will be released in full to the public. The interview was conducted before Turner received the task force’s report.

“After I get it and have a chance to review it then the intention would be to make it public,” Turner said.

Turner indicated that it would take a lot to not implement one of the recommendations given by the task force because of the effort spent to create the suggestions.

“There would have to be a reason because they’ve spent a lot of time on it,” Turner said.

Turner does not know if another group would need to be created to implement the suggestions or if they could be carried out through existing administrative structures.

Turner also said that he believes there was a greater general awareness of substance abuse and the problems it can create on campus during the fall semester. He hopes some of the suggestions from the task force can create ways to make that awareness a permanent part of the campus culture. He said that will be a challenge, though.

“The generational life of a campus is really short and the student leadership is two years,” Turner said. “To maintain some diligence and awareness longer than two years on a campus within the student area is tough.”

Awareness and prevention have to become part of the campus fabric now, according to Turner.

“Otherwise, next fall, the freshman class will show up and they’ll have no idea about any of this.”

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