SGA to vote on tobacco-free resolution

Mike Stunson

The Student Government Association will vote this Tuesday about whether it supports WKU as a tobacco-free campus.

A recent survey conducted by Madisonville senior Jack Jackson, a political science major, determined for SGA that 47.82 percent of students are in support of a tobacco-free campus, said Kaylee Egerer, campus improvements chairperson.

Egerer said 23.47 percent were opposed to the ban, and 28.71 percent polled were neutral on the issue.

Because the poll showed a majority of students support a ban, Egerer will write up a resolution for Tuesday’s meeting to support a tobacco-free campus.

“They have already gotten the student voice, so I envision us supporting it too,” Egerer said. “We are a voice of the students, and the students seem to be in support of it.”

If SGA passes the resolution, only Staff Council will remain among WKU’s three campus government bodies not to support a tobacco-free campus.

University Senate supported the ban by a 39-12 vote in December, and President Gary Ransdell said he wouldn’t move forward and support a tobacco-free campus until all three governing bodies pass a resolution. Staff Council voted down a resolution in February.

SGA Chief of Staff Charlie Harris said that if SGA approves its resolution, he wouldn’t be surprised if Staff Council brought it up again.

“It could be interesting to see their reaction if we pass it,” Harris said. “If there are two-thirds (of governing bodies) in support, then they might feel different.”

Smoking is already banned in the buildings on campus.

The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville already have smoke-free campuses, having passed their policies on Nov. 19, 2009.

SGA Executive Vice President Kendrick Bryan said he supports WKU being smoke-free so long as there is enforcement.

“It’s up to campus officials, and we know how inconsistent the current policy is,” he said. “If it is not enforced then I don’t see the point.”

Egerer said SGA will help provide outlets for those who use tobacco as well as look into how to enforce the policy should the resolution pass.

Egerer wins speaker race

At last Tuesday’s meeting, Egerer was voted by the senate as next year’s Speaker of the Senate.

She defeated Nathan Bishop and Daniel Shaw.

The speaker is the head of the legislative branch of SGA and oversees the committee heads.

“It’s nice to know an organization you have worked so hard in and been a part of for so long has this kind of faith in me,” she said. “I am looking forward to having a good relationship with everyone in the senate.”

Egerer will take the reins from current speaker Austin Wingate, who graduates in May.