Three weeks back we mentioned how the parents of Jacob Stiles, an SMU student found dead of an overdose at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house in December, were furious with school officials. The Stiles said then, as they do now, that the university's done nothing to find out who provided Jacob with the cocaine and fentanyl that helped kill him. And, yes, they know their son was responsible for his actions; but they also want to know why no one else has been held accountable for providing Jacob -- the first of three alcohol- and drug-related deaths involving SMU students this school year -- with the synthetic fentanyl, which is usually misidentified as heroin in toxicology reports but is significantly more powerful and delivered via patch.
Turns out that even since sending missives to the Dallas and Chicago-area media in June, hoping to humiliate SMU into some kind of a response, the Stiles haven't heard a single thing, according to yesterday's Daily Campus.
This is despite text messages on Jacob's phone that suggest he "may have been supplied the drugs from a fraternity brother," reports the paper, as well as others that discuss "snow" use at the SAE house. "At this point," reports the paper, "no fraternity member has been publicly disciplined by SMU, and the chapter has not subject to any actions by the university."
Also in the SMU student paper on Monday was an editorial in which Spanish lecturer George Henson acknowledges that the university has struggled "to defend itself against charges that the university was negligent in its responsibility to address -- or at least acknowledge -- what many consider a widespread alcohol and drug problem on campus." Henson also dismisses university president R. Gerald Turner's recently announced drug-and-alcohol-abuse task force as a problematic, conflict-of-interest-riddled solution that "may raise more questions than it answers."
The paper's editorial board is even more dismissive: "The task force, recently enlisted by President R. Gerald Turner, is a joke." Why? Well, for one reason among many, the school's publicist is on the task force, that's why. --Robert Wilonsky
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.