SCSU will become the sixth four-year school in the MnSCU system to implement a tobacco-free policy.
Lead-up to Phase I
In March 2010 the MnSCU Board of Trustees passed a resolution, setting in motion the process which will end Wednesday. The resolution encouraged schools in the MnSCU system to consult with students and faculty regarding their thoughts on tobacco use on campus.
In October 2010 President Earl H. Potter III appointed a task force to review existing policy and public health information. The task force gathered opinions of university employees and students through a variety of different methods including a Facebook page, a traveling video talk-box, a traveling opinion board where opinions were recorded, emails, and focus groups.
The final recommendation of the taskforce was a two-phase process by which SCSU would become tobacco-free on Aug. 1, 2012.
The first phase would allow smoking in designated areas on campus as well as an increase in the efforts to make cessation options more readily available.
A student and employee referendum was conducted in April 2011 which showed 63 percent of students and 75 percent of employees in favor of the recommendations of the taskforce.
Grant funds from Stearns County Human Services Public Health Division as a part of the Statewide Health Improvement Program were used to gather feedback and implement the changes.
The first phase of the new tobacco policy began Aug. 1, 2011, which restricted tobacco use to designated campus locations.
As the first phase progressed Student Government began to discuss the possibilities of continuing tobacco use on SCSU’s campus.
A resolution was brought in front of Student Government on Feb. 2 opposing the second phase of the tobacco ban.
The resolution cited excessive amounts of littering across campus, the inability of SCSU to enforce the ban on city streets within campus and loss of revenue from the Quick Zone Convenience Store as reasons why the second phase of the tobacco ban should be reconsidered.
Samantha Ivey, former Student Government president, said when it was first brought up to the senate during the 2010-2011 school year she was furious about it, along with half the senate. However, she said they decided to put it to a vote of the association because Student Government realized how biased they were.
For a vote to be considered an official vote, 8 percent of students need to participate.
“It didn’t receive quorum. Only about 1250 students voted and we need about 1800 to receive an official student vote,” Ivey said.
On Feb. 9 the resolution was discussed at length during the weekly Student Government meeting.
“This year’s governing body isn’t last year’s governing body. Our campus is ever-evolving and ever-changing,” said Randal May, Student Government senator.
Many Student Government members echoed the sentiments of the resolution by stating their displeasure with the number of cigarette butts found all over campus.
While Student Government officially opposed the second phase of the tobacco policy, Ivey said the President’s Council and President Potter always have the final say on any policy.
Phase II of the tobacco policy continues to receive a wide range of commentary from many members of the SCSU community.