Smoking Committee Makes Changes to SGA Resolution

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WKU HERALD | ANNA LAWSON | SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

A smoking committee has expanded a Student Government Association resolution. SGA passed a resolution in support of a limited smoking campus last year.

The resolution, Resolution 1-15-S, said  there would be 39 smoking shelters around campus, and these would eventually be phased out within the next three years.

“The current policy allows 85 percent of non-smoking students to be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke, which has been proven to cause numerous severe medical and health problems,” according to the resolution. 

At the time the resolution passed, SGA was opposed to a “campus-wide smoking ban at this time,” according to the resolution. 

Within Kentucky there are already numerous completely smoke-free campuses, including the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.

Emily Pride, SGA public relations committee chairwoman and representative on the smoking committee, said the committee was formed by former SGA senator J. William Berry. The committee is composed of faculty and staff from different departments across campus as well as students, she said. 

Although the committee used the the resolution as a basis, portions of the resolution changed and became more strict. The new committee decided that instead of just phasing out cigarettes within three years, the phase-out would include all tobacco products as well as electronic cigarettes. 

“Kentucky as a state is going towards being tobacco-free on public property, so it only makes sense to become tobacco-free,” Pride said. “I think that the administration … giving the university three years to achieve this goal is quite generous.”

SGA President Jay Todd Richey said he was in favor of the original resolution to an extent. According to the resolution, the limited smoking campus would “promote health, retention and the image of the university.” 

“I do want to ensure that WKU is a healthy place to live, work and learn. But I understand that it isn’t a crime to smoke,” he said. “I will never be the person that (sic) says, ‘I don’t like smoking so you can’t smoke.’” 

Richey said this change in the resolution shows that sometimes SGA doesn’t have the ultimate say. He said SGA should be concerned about the changes made to the resolution because it showcases how sometimes the student’s voice is not the loudest. 

Richey believes SGA is a way for students to voice their opinions, and if the voices are not being heard, then “what would be the point of SGA,” he said.

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