Main events, controversies of 2015-16 academic year reviewed
The 2015-2016 academic year has been quite the big one for SMU. The biggest fundraising campaign of SMU’s existence was capped off in extravagant style and numerous other developments propelled SMU through quite an interesting year. Here are some of the headlines from this year, and what we have to look forward to in SMU’s next year!
Capping the Centennial Celebration
If this academic year will be remembered for anything, it will be for the construction all over campus! From getting woken up, to construction dangerously close to residence halls, to closing down entire sections of campus this year has been a struggle.
But all of that building is moving toward a great cause. The Centennial Campaign has seen many great campus facilities added – including the new Residential Commons and the school of education. Most recently, the Crain Family Centennial Promenade was opened (at last). This beautiful walkway will only further our reputation as the nation’s most beautiful university.
The Centennial Campaign was certainly a monumental effort which pushed SMU even further than before. However, there may be even more to look forward to as R. Gerald Turner was already talking about another campaign, even as he closed out the Second Century effort. Whatever happens, SMU has lots of momentum to build off of for the upcoming years.
Fraternity and Sorority Trouble
This year did not end up being a fantastic one for Greek life. Most recently, Lambda Chi Alpha was suspended by their national fraternity. Additionally, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma filed a lawsuit over a secretly-filmed semi-topless dance which made it into the Dallas Morning News.
In addition to the recent issues, Greek life was the spark for many of the protests that occurred early in the year. An insensitive party theme and some anonymous racial comments on the website Greek Rank brought tensions to a boiling point during the fall semester.
Greek life always seems to have an uphill battle to maintain a clean reputation. It remains to be seen whether events like this will continue to occur here on SMU – and what will be done if the negative headlines continue – or if Greek life’s luck will change for the better.
Black Lives Matter at SMU
After several racial injustices occurred in quick succession on SMU’s campus last semester, the Black Lives Matter movement gained much traction on campus. This coincided with protests that were occurring all around the country at the time.
This movement spawned die-ins, marches, photos in solidarity, and ultimately demands made to the administration on how to better integrate and include everyone, making SMU a more inclusive campus.
The movement has not been nearly as visible in the spring semester as it was in the fall. It could be that the tensions are just waiting for another insensitive incident to emerge. Regardless, it remains to be seen whether SMU will move toward being a more diverse campus in the future or if it will continue along the path that it is currently on – much to the movement’s disappointment.
Athletic Ups and Downs
SMU athletics certainly had its highs and lows this year in its major sports. Chad Morris came to the football team bringing lots of excitement and hopes for a fantastic season. However, despite the excitement, SMU’s season ended with a record that was fairly similar to its past two efforts.
But Coach Morris is just getting started, and it is the hope that the progress and the excitement will build into next year’s football season. And hopefully there will be a few more wins to show for all of the effort this time around!
In addition to football, the men’s basketball team had the wind taken out of its sails early on with a postseason ban being handed down from the NCAA. Even with the ban, they fought hard and won an impressive amount of games. How they will be able to rebuild and continue on without the graduating seniors remains to be seen. But Moody Magic will likely be back in full force, actually looking for a playoff berth this time around, in the upcoming year.