MSA Senate supports full smoking ban for 2013

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton wants to make campus completely smoke free by 2013, instead of 2014 as originally planned.
Director of Student Communications Zach Toombs provides discussion on a smoke-free resolution during the Missouri Students Association Senate meeting. MSA Senate passed the resolution in support of moving up the date that MU will be a smoke-free campus from 2014 to 2013.

The Missouri Students Association Senate passed legislation Wednesday in support of moving the implementation of a smoke-free campus from 2014 to 2013.

The legislation came at the request of MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, who wanted MSA's support on the change.

Zach Toombs, director of student communications and author of Bill 51-36, said the change is necessary to replace the current policy. Toombs is a former Maneater staff member.

“This is a resolution in support to replace a policy that absolutely does not work,” Toombs said.

MU’s current smoking policy, which Toombs called “ambiguous,” allows smoking in designated areas such as Speakers Circle and outside of the MU Student Center, as well as in parking lots and garages. The designated smoking locations are not marked by signs.

“A lot of people are actually confused about the rules because the areas are unmarked,” Toombs said. “A total smoke-free policy is less confusing.”

MU’s current plan for Smoke-Free Mizzou is to implement the full smoking ban on Jan. 1, 2014, but Deaton wants to speed up the process and implement the ban on Jan. 1, 2013.

MSA senator Matt Kalish spoke against the legislation, stating that the faster timeline did not give smokers enough notice.

“You cannot quit smoking in nine months,” he said. “My mom has been trying to quit smoking for three years.”

Toombs said there are many resources on campus for students trying to quit smoking, including the Student Health Center and the Wellness Resource Center located in the basement of the MU Student Center.

Many senators questioned how the ban would be enforced. It is expected that an honor code system would be used.

“We don’t want people to be written a ticket for smoking a cigarette,” Toombs said.

Kalish said he did not think this was an effective way to enforce the policy.

“Honestly, if I were a smoker, I wouldn’t want to be interrupted by some kid telling me not to smoke,” he said.

MSA President Xavier Billingsley agreed that the current policy was not being enforced by campus officials.

“Right now the reason it is not effective is because nobody from Jesse (Hall) is supporting it, nobody from MUPD is supporting it,” he said.

Billingsley said a total smoking ban is easier to enforce. He also said many Big 12 Conference schools had already banned smoking on their campuses, including the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. Several Southeastern Conference schools also have smoke-free campuses, and Billingsley said a smoke-free campus would promote a positive image for MU.

“We just need to focus on the campus community and our beauty and not putting a stain on that with our smoking,” he said.

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