SGA passes Resolution to Support a Limited Smoking Campus

Anna Lawson

During Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting, the organization voted on Resolution 1-15-S, Resolution to Support a Limited Smoking Campus, which would support limiting smoking on WKU’s campus.

The resolution says tobacco use would be limited to 39 designated areas. The resolution also says the Administrative Council will create a plan, which would decrease the smoking areas and gradually phase them out over three years.

The policy would not limit use of electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco.

The current policy on smoking allows for smoking on campus as long as they are 30 feet away from buildings.

Currently in Kentucky there are multiple completely smoke free campuses, two of which are the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, according to the resolution.

The resolution’s goal will “promote health, retention, and the image of the university,” according to the resolution.

SGA passed the resolution with a 13-11 vote. Authors of the resolution, senator J. William Berry and Seth Church, chief of staff, said they were both pleased with the outcome.

“I am pretty happy with it,” Church said. “I feel like this is an issue that has been dominating SGA since last semester. That is probably the fifth copy of this resolution we have had. We kind of of bartered back and fourth to find what was a good fit for Senate and exec[cutive committee] and best represented what the students wanted.”

Berry said the resolution has been a large time commitment and required a lot of effort.

“I want to give a big thanks to the senators and students who have supported this effort,” he said. “I don’t think that supporting and fighting for something that so many students want will ever be a waste of time.”

However, while they were pleased, Church said he was surprised that it was so close.

“I thought we would really pull support from the ‘no bans at all’ side and the ‘ban it all side,’ but instead I feel like we kind of got the people in the middle and then both edges voted no,” Church said. “I was surprised the vote was close, but I think it’s good that it came out on our side.”

There were many senators who were against the resolution. Senator Joseph Hunter said they all had a duty and responsibility to students of WKU not to enforce popular opinion or to change the lifestyle choices of the student body.

“ I cannot and will not vote for in favor of a resolution that implicitly denies a student of this university who is in compliance of all federal laws and regulations for practicing their own free will to choose a lifestyle for themselves,” he said.

Berry said that many people don’t think that a compromise can be better in some situations.

 “I think that some people are extremist and don’t think that compromise will get anything done,” Berry said. “But those people just have to realize that working in any kind of government position, getting something to be passable sometimes is a far better goal than to continue to drag out and fight for things that will never happen.”

 “We hope to see this actually enacted and get this moving forward within the next three years,” Church said.

SGA President, Nicki Taylor said she is in favor of the resolution.

“I definitely think it is a step in the right direction,” she said. “It seems like student reception is positive.”

Taylor said she would send the resolution to President Gary Ransdell and the Administrative Council.

One bill also passed in Tuesday’s meeting with no debate. Bill 1-15-S, Funding for the 2015 WellU Student Health Fair. This bill states SGA would allocate $500 to the 2015 WellU Student Health Fair. The bill says this is an effort to promote health and student life.

The funds will come from the Legislative Discretionary Funds.

Berry said that SGA sponsored the WellU Student Health Fair last year, and last year’s health fair had over 600 students.

SGA also appointed two new positions: Sawyer Coffee, who was appointed as director of Public Relations and a new senator.