Smoking ban looms over campus


Molly Schons/The Chart

A campus-wide smoking, tobacco and vapor ban is in the process of being finalized after students and faculty showed overwhelming support. Members of the ad hoc community hope to have it implemented by the beginning of the fall 2015 semester.

A proposal to ban smoking at Missouri Southern is nearing the final stage after a vote by faculty and staff, who overwhelmingly supported the plan started by Student Senate.

After gathering feedback from faculty and staff in the fall of 2014, an ad hoc committee has been formed to finalize the wording of the ban. The committee is composed of faculty, staff and students.

“Our goal in this is not to have the committee reinvent the wheel when shaping the policy, but to look at what is already out there and keep it simple,” said Darren Fullerton, vice president of academic affairs.

When they have approved the final wording, the committee will present the proposal to both the senior administration and the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors will then have the final say on whether or not to make the proposal a firm campus rule.

“We hope to have it to the Board by the end of the spring semester so they can start implementing the changes over the summer when there aren’t as many people on campus,” said Brooklyn Lampe, committee member and Senate vice president. “Then in the fall hopefully they can really hammer down.”

Many people have questioned how the ban would be enforced, something committee members believe will be a team effort.

“It’s basically a campus-wide effort to remind people of the new policy that will be in place,” said Lampe.

Another area the committee is looking into is finding funding for no smoking signs and assistance to help students and faculty quit.

“We are looking into grants … hopefully we not only get monetary donations and support for this, but also donations of products for smoking cessation,” said Heather Arnold, staff senate representative on the committee.

The smoking ban came to fruition in the spring semester of 2014, when the student body in its entirety voted on the proposal after Student Senate passed an initial draft through the Senate body.

The student body voted to ban all tobacco and vapor products from the campus by a total of 401-159. The 560 votes represented about 10 percent of the total student enrollment, a large turnout when compared to past student body votes, according to Fullerton. The smoking ban was voted on at the same time as the then-controversial athletics fee, which was voted down.

When the proposal was announced, there was a bit of backlash from students about smokeless tobacco being included in the ban.

One former student, Shawna Lawson, said at the time, “Different policies could have been put into place that wouldn’t be as drastic. Not all products affect others directly.”