Staff Council votes down smoke-free campus

Caitlin Carter

Discussions about a smoke-free WKU campus continued this past week among Staff Council and the Student Government Association.

At February’s Staff Council meeting, a smoke-free resolution failed to pass, 4-6, according to minutes from the meeting.

Staff Council Chair Diane Carver said President Gary Ransdell sent a letter to the council asking if there would be support for a smoke-free campus.

She said that happened after the University Senate made a recommendation that other representative bodies pass resolutions.

In December, the senate passed a resolution, 39-13, that would eventually stop tobacco use on campus.

Carver said the majority of those who were against the Staff Council’s resolution aren’t smokers.

 “They believed it was taking away the rights of the individual on campus,” Carver said.

As a whole, Carver said the council is worried about the rule being enforced properly.

“Our main concern is regulation,” Carver said. “This is something that’s very hard to regulate and monitor.”

While the resolution didn’t pass, Carver said council members have served as instigators in designating smoking areas on campus for several years.

During January’s Staff Council meeting, it was announced that Chester McNulty, designated smoking area committee member, had started working with Anita Britt, health and safety specialist for Environmental Health and Safety, to relocate smoking areas around Grise Hall.

Their air tests showed that several smoking areas around the building needed to be moved, according to minutes from the meeting.

Carver said the council plans to make a recommendation to Ransdell that the areas around Gary Ransdell Hall and Jones-Jaggers Hall become entirely smoke-free.

She said this recommendation should be made because Ransdell Hall is expected to become LEED-certified, and Campus Child Care is located in Jones-Jaggers Hall.

At Tuesday’s SGA meeting, Campus Improvements Chairperson Kaylee Egerer said senior Jack Jackson, a political science student, is working with SGA on a survey to poll students about their smoking habits and opinions.

Egerer said SGA hopes to receive feedback from at least 25 percent of the student body and then will work on drafting a resolution for a smoke-free campus.

She said SGA expects the first read of the resolution on April 26.

Egerer said SGA, like Staff Council, is worried about potential problems with enforcement.

“Everybody’s worried that if it’s passed, how it will be enforced?” Egerer said. “If it’s not enforceable, then why pass it? I guess that’s what maybe the other (universities) thought, and they just don’t care that it’s hard to enforce.”