The definition of “crisis” according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is, in part, “an emotionally significant or radical change of status in a person’s life; an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs whose outcome will make a decisive difference for better or worse.” With a University community totaling more than 10,000 people, we know crises will occur and will require a timely response.
One of the many positive factors about Southern Methodist University is its small size and the fact that many students, faculty, and staff know each other on a first name basis. However, as a result of this closeness, an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in one person’s life can have a major impact on the larger community.
The goals of the Crisis Management Team are:
- To assist in the direction of a crisis while paying special attention to the safety and security needs of community members.
- To offer counseling, spiritual guidance and any other feasible type of support needed to members of the University community, including their families.
- To use the experience of crisis, when appropriate, as a teachable moment which may enhance the quality of life for all of those touched by the experience.
Members of the Crisis Management Team have completed special training and meet periodically to stay ready to respond appropriately to any crisis. Team members are pledged to confidentiality and may be entrusted with highly confidential information. They refer all requests for information to the Office of Public Affairs unless that office has designated others to speak on behalf of the University.
This manual is intended as a guide only, since each situation is unique and involves the specific needs of individuals. Questions or suggestions about protocols, procedures or policy issues may be directed to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life, who chairs the Crisis Management Team, or to the Vice President for Student Affairs.