University raises awareness for campus-wide smoking ban

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University Relations, Missouri Southern

Stickers and signs informing students, faculty, and visitors of Missouri Southern’s ban on all tobacco products, including smokeless, and e-cigarettes, have recently been placed around campus.

Many around campus have noticed stickers and signs informing them that Missouri Southern is a smoke-free campus. Prompted by students wanting to have a healthier school and clean environment, more than 400 students voted for the measure to ban tobacco products and E-cigarettes in 2014. 

Missouri Southern’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the policy last September, prohibiting tobacco use from all Southern buildings, grounds, property and vehicles owned, leased or controlled by the university. 

Recent efforts by the University to notify students, employees, and visitors of the prohibition include plastering the new stickers and signs in and around all buildings and devoting a large banner on their homepage acknowledging the ban. Southern also wants to help those dependent on tobacco to quit if they wish, starting a smoking cessation program on April 6. 

Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs, said the University is trying to inform people who may not be aware of the ban that smoking is not allowed on campus. 

“We have many students who weren’t around when this policy was implemented, so we are just trying to make sure people know the rule is in place, and we do take it seriously,” said Fullerton. 

Undeterred by the ban, many students around campus have yet to conform to the new standard and are continuing to light up. 

According to Fullerton, the rule is not just administered by the campus police department but is a “self-policing policy.”

The Missouri Southern Student Handbook for 2015-2016 lists tobacco use as an infraction of the school’s code of conduct and against University guidelines and rules, stating its usage is “inappropriate for the University community and in opposition to its core values.” 

The document also says sanctions may be imposed upon any student for any single violation of the Code of Student Conduct. These sanctions include but are not limited to, a warning, restitution, fines, community/Missouri Southern service requirements, loss of privilege, confiscation of prohibited property, required attendance in educational programs, and behavioral requirements including seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening or writing a letter of apology. 

More severe sanctions include restriction of visitation privileges, housing probation, housing reassignment/suspension or expulsion, academic probation, eligibility restriction, and finally University suspension/expulsion. Faculty and staff violators will be subject to discipline from their supervisor while visitors and guests who violate the policy could be asked to leave campus.

While procedures for punishing smokers exist few people, if any, have received any form of discipline for tobacco usage. 

The policy originated in a proposal by the student senate, which sponsored the ballot initiative in its annual spring election. The proposal also later received support from the faculty and staff senates.

Student Senate President Kyle Prisock said he was glad to see the results of something he played a major role in developing come to fruition.

“It’s a great thing,” he said. “We’re happy to do anything we can to move it forward.”

Student Senate Vice President, Daniella Campbell is also happy the ban passed.

“I’m just excited I can walk around campus and not have to worry about breathing in smoke,” she said.  

The group smoking cessation program is held from 12:30 to 1 p.m. each Wednesday at the Willcoxon Health Center, and is free to all Missouri Southern students and employees. Free cessation products will be available.