SGA passes alcohol resolution

Lashana Harney

Discussion of alcohol and smoking on campus dominated most of the two-and-half hour Student Government Association meeting on Tuesday, the final meeting of the semester.

A motion to overturn the SGA Executive Cabinet’s decision to veto the passage of Resolution 11-14-F, Resolution to Support a Smoke Free Campus, from Nov. 18 was made. However, the senate failed to overturn the veto. 

President Nicki Taylor, during her report, read the Executive Cabinet’s official statement on the issue. Taylor said the Executive Cabinet vetoed the smoking ban resolution because of enforcement, housing requirements and practicality. 

“I did want to make sure that I read the exact Executive Cabinet’s decision that we all voted on too because those are the words, those are the reasons, that is the language that all of the Executive Cabinet voted on to veto the resolution, signed onto and agreed with,” Taylor said. 

Taylor also spoke about her personal opinion on her reasoning behind favoring the veto. 

“I’m just not comfortable with any type of smoking ban,” she said.

Taylor said she is for promoting wellness, but enforcing a smoking ban would enforce more smoking withdrawal symptoms on students. Taylor said she also favored the veto because the resolution didn’t take non-traditional students into consideration. 

“We have to think about the regional campuses,” Taylor said. 

Taylor said most students on regional campuses are non-traditional students. She said during her discussions with students on regional campuses, they felt their voice wasn’t heard on the issue. 

“Overall, I do stand firm with the decision the Executive Cabinet made,” Taylor said. 

Taylor said the decision was very divisive. 

“It was very close,” she said. “I honestly think that if a different group of senators were to have been here, it could’ve went either way.” 

Nolan Miles, executive vice president, said he abstained from the vote for the veto in Executive Cabinet.

Senator William Berry, author of the smoke-free resolution, disagreed with the veto. 

Berry said SGA is in place to represent the student body. However, nothing it does will ever have full support from students. 

He said he gathered 1,500 signatures for a petition for a smoke-free campus. 

While the smoke-free resolution remains defeated, SGA expresses its support on selling alcohol in on-campus restaurants, such as RedZone.

Resolution 13-14-F, Resolution to Support amending the University’s Alcohol Policy and Student Code of Conduct, passed. The resolution will support amending WKU’s alcohol policy and the code of conduct to allow students age 21 or older to purchase and possess alcohol on campus.

Resolution co-author Jody Dahmer said banning alcohol outright does not work. 

“We are a moist campus in a wet city in an otherwise dry county,” Dahmer said. “I just want to say that is too many loops and hoops to jump through. We need clarification because the point is this university policy as it stands right now not only is ineffective, but also incredibly hard to enforce fairly among students.” 

Dahmer said although consumption of alcohol is a problem students are facing, this resolution can take a step in the right direction to promote safer consumption. He said he wants to make it clear that the resolution does not support underage drinking or drinking in the dorms.

Berry said a campus that doesn’t allow alcohol on campus only pushes partying further away from campus and increases some potential risks.

However, senator Zach Jones said selling alcohol on campus could encourage students to drink.

“I am just concerned a little bit with the reaction of the student body as we were trying to restrict the ability to smoke on campus, and then, in the same day, go conversely with the loosening or adding more freedoms when it comes to drinking,” Jones said.  

Taylor said she received feedback on Resolution 8-14-F, Resolution to Support the Consultation of the Student Body by Members of the Administration of WKU.

She said President Gary Ransdell responded to the resolution, saying he will present the resolution to other members of the administration.  

Bill 16-14-F, Funding from Organizational Aid Appropriations for S.T.R.I.P.E.S. Club and National Pan-Hellenic Council, passed with no debate. The bill allocates $1,000 from Organizational Aid Appropriations for S.T.R.I.P.E.S Club and National Pan-Hellenic Council. The organizations will receive $500 each. 

Resolution 14-14-F, Resolution to Support the “Many Neighborhoods, One Community” project, passed with no debate. The resolution supports the establishment of minority cultural centers on campus.

Resolution 12-14-F, Resolution to Support the Adoption of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) in the Bowling Green/Warren County Community, passed with no debate. The resolution supports the adoption of URLTA by the Warren County Fiscal Court, which would provide a standardized legal relationship between landlords and tenants.

Resolution author James Line said URLTA protects both landlords and tenants.

“This affects the students …When students move off campus and the majority of students at WKU live off campus and many of them rent,” he said.