SMU Apologizes for Posting Photo of Students

SMU recently removed a photo of a recent grad after she said it was an offensive mis-characterization.

Southern Methodist University is apologizing to a recent graduate after posting her photo to the school's admissions website.

The photo shows four women over the heading "African and Middle Eastern Studies."

Noura Liben is one of the women in that photo. She said none of the women have any ties to the African and Middle Eastern Studies program.

Noura recently graduated from SMU with a bachelors and master's degree in engineering. She said the other three women majored in biology, chemistry and English.

Liben said the photo was taken in 2008 when she was a freshman. She said it was taken by a university photographer, and she signed a waiver giving the university permission to use it.

She said she has no problem with the photo being used, she just wishes it was used accurately.

"I was insulted, amazed that this could happen," she told NBC 5 via Skype. "I guess I'm frustrated because I was limited and pigeon holed into a specific field of study. Why could they not have used that picture to illustrate the school of engineering?"

In a statement, the university said, "We are disappointed the mistake was made. It was not intended to misrepresent anyone. We saw her concern and it has been addressed. The photo is now down."

"All four of us are black," Liben said. "There's no one that is Middle Eastern. The head wear that I wear does not make me Middle Eastern."

The university reached out to Liben personally on Twitter saying, it understands her anger and is working to make sure something like this does not happen again.

"SMU is an institution of high caliber. I think we can take this and pivot and use it as a learning moment," Liben said.

Contact Us