2020-2021 Guidelines for Student Events
In conjunction with the university operations plan, these guidelines govern event planning for student groups of all types during the 2020-2021 academic year given the COVID-19 pandemic. Student groups recognized by or affiliated with SMU (both formally or informally) must follow these guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all participants. These guidelines govern any activity, event, meeting, gathering, practice, ceremony, etc. planned by a SMU student or student group (formal or informal). This includes both on-campus and off-campus activities.
For the Spring of 2021, we have expanded the exception approval process. Groups now have the ability to apply for exceptions to the following event planning categories:
- Event format and venue requirements
- Food, beverage, and giveaways
- Guests and volunteers
- On-site community service
- Religious services
These event exceptions change depending on the event color designation currently in place. Even with event approval, these guidelines must be followed during event planning. Submitted a form does not guarantee an exception will be granted. Please see the tables below for links to the appropriate forms. As always, we will continue to monitor the situation weekly on campus, locally in Dallas, and review all applicable data. We will continue to monitor weekly and update the event guidance throughout the remainder of the semester as needed.
All events planned by student organizations are subject to the following expectations:
- Follow all CDC, State of Texas, and Dallas County guidelines.
- Practice social distancing - at least 6 feet between participants, even outdoors.
- All attendees will be required to wear face coverings - including at off-campus venues.
- Offer a virtual option (as we still have students participating in coursework and co-curricular activities remotely).
- Record event attendance through Connect either directly or through uploading a participation list after the event.
- Outdoor events are preferable to indoor. However, regardless of event format, these guidelines must be followed.
Additionally, Student Affairs has developed four guidance designations to prescribe more specific expectations, dependent on the current campus climate related to COVID-19. The statuses include: Green (lowest amount of restrictions), Yellow, Orange (medium amount of restrictions), and Red (most restrictions - in-person events not allowed). See the tabs below for detailed information about the restrictions at each color designation.
Event coordinators should plan for the current color status and one color more restrictive in case the designation changes prior to the event date. All groups will be held responsible for meeting the event guideline status color expectations according to the guideline status on the date of the event - so plan ahead in case last minute changes are needed.
Please note, given the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic, the situation is extremely fluid and requirements are subject to change at any time including cancellation of events. It is recommended no financial commitments be made.
Student leaders have a particular responsibility to plan events that are safe and do not put students at risk for contracting COVID-19. Please note that student organizations that are found responsible for violating the expectations outlined in the Pledge will also be subject to disciplinary action through the SMU Student Code of Conduct. If a student group is alleged to have hosted an unauthorized party/social gathering, on- or off-campus, they will be placed on an immediate cease and desist (or interim suspension) and/or be denied the ability to request future exemptions pending the outcome of the conduct process. Practicing the general expectations outlined in the Pledge to Protect SMU involves following the event guidelines and will help ensure the appropriate safety measures are in place. It is likely that a student organization will not be able to host any events for the remainder of the semester (and possibly year) if they violate any of the guidelines outlined in the Pledge and the student organization leaders may also face individual charges through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Additional information regarding the event guidelines is forthcoming and will be included in MOM training for this year.