The following letter to SMU students from President R. Gerald Turner and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori S. White first appeared in the April 27, 2014, edition of The Daily Campus.
During last week’s referendum on an LGBT Student Senate seat, some students reported that disrespectful, anonymous comments were posted on social media. These reports are extremely troubling because such behavior by any student would conflict with SMU values, to which each of you committed when you joined our community.
As defined in the Student Code of Conduct, SMU values include respect for all students, faculty and staff, which allows for the free exchange of ideas; personal integrity, which includes taking responsibility for one’s actions; academic honesty; and the moral courage to recognize that we all are part of something larger than ourselves. When students violate these values through anonymous social media comments, they are harming our community and, we believe, themselves.
SMU values are fundamental to student government and your right to determine your representation in the Student Senate. We applaud the many students who actively engaged in the democratic process and in respectful debate on the important issue of LGBT representation in the Student Senate, and we urge you to continue to do so. SMU as an institution is committed to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination.
We commend Student Senators for their strong leadership this academic year in creating the SMU Values Statement and the “Not on My Campus” campaign. Their efforts contribute to a caring, inclusive community. We will continue to collaborate with student leaders to ensure that all community members respect SMU’s shared values.
We urge each of you to care for one another and to speak out against those who disrespect others online or in person. If you have concerns for yourself or others, please contact any of the resources that are here to provide support, including SMU Police (214-768-3333, or anonymously at 214-768-2TIP), the Dean of Student Life (214-768-4564), Title IX Coordinator (214-768-3601), Health Center (214-768-2141), Counseling and Psychiatric Services (214-768-2277), Women’s Center (214-768-4796), Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (214-768-4580) and Chaplain’s
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