The tobacco policy is becoming law as it enters its final phase.
The Faculty Senate met on Thursday, Sept. 20, to discuss a new policy to make campus tobacco-free. The author of the policy, Dr. Christopher Bond, addressed the senators hoping to gain support.
“I think that we as an institution need to set the policy because we need to show that we are responsible for the health of not only ourselves but also colleagues and especially our students,” Bond said.
Dr. Suzanne Kissock, assistant professor of legal studies, voted in favor of the policy, and also urged her fellow senators to support the tobacco-free initiative. She said if we are not going to be leaders and apply the scholarly research that is endorsed, by literally the world, how is that going to look to others.
“We have our Board of Governors endorsing it, our student’s majority endorsing it, and the faculty is going say we reject this research,” Kissock said. “I think it looks shameful if we deny the fact that this is the right thing to do.”
Eight senators supported the policy while Dr. Daniel Trifan, Dr. Ian Roberts, Dr. Teddi Deka and Dr. Kevin Anderson voted against the policy.
Trifan, professor of history, said he could understand the concern that some people have with second hand smoke. However, in his opinion a perfectly reasonable compromise would have been designated smoking areas.
“After all this is a large campus and we are talking about the open air,” Trifan said. “ I can understand that; however I cannot understand a tobacco free policy because this to me is an attempt to control people’s behavior.”
During the presentation Bond, assistant professor of communication studies, said that since the end of February, we have had 26 Missouri Western employees participate in a smoking cessation program.
“It has been a free program,” Bond said. “All colleges and universities should be tobacco-free.”
Students would have the responsibity to personally abide by the policy. Dr. William Russell, assistant professor of health, physical education and recreation, believes the policy is in the best interest for those at Western.
“What we’re looking at and what we are talking about it a policy change,” Russell said. “That allows us to make it easier for people to engage in healthy behaviors.”
There are 25.3 percent of Missouri Western students who smoke on campus — those figures don’t include staff and faculty. Student Government Association President Jacob Scott said he stands for the minority of students who smoke and use tobacco on campus.
“The administration is well in line with their authority to do something about this,” Scott said. “ I don’t necessarily agree with their methodology; I believe it should go to a student vote.”
Brian Shewell, student governor, stated Western is living on borrowed time in regards to not having tobacco-free campus.
“The students support it in the Senate, and the Board of Governors have already passed a resolution to support it,” Shewell said. “It does look bad that the faculty doesn’t support it, that is my opinion.”
Shewell also commented that students who smoke would have a difficult time finding another tobacco-friendly college.
“If students are not going to come to Missouri Western because we are a tobacco-free campus,” Shewell said. “Good luck finding any university in the state of Missouri that’s not going to be tobacco-free in the next two to three years.”