Beginning January 2013, the University of South Dakota campus will officially be smoke-free.
SGA President Alissa VanMeeteren and Vice President DJ Smith met with the executive committee Monday to discuss the smoking ban and the next step.
VanMeeteren said she and Smith gave the committee both the smoking ban resolution that had been passed last November and the call of action resolution, which was passed last Tuesday.
“We basically had a very cordial, calm conversation and they were unanimously in favor of doing this,” VanMeeteren said. “I think our call to action sort of lit a fire, but not in the sense that they felt like ‘Oh crap we have to do something,’ it was like ‘Oh, it’s time to do this,’” VanMeeteren said.
USD President James Abbott, a member of the executive committee, said the committee reviewed what SGA had passed, which was basically a smoke-free campus.
“Alissa and DJ had reported to us that SGA had passed a resolution banning smoking on campus,” Abbott said. “The same resolution was passed by the faculty senate and upon that information the executive committee agreed to support both the SGA and faculty senate efforts.”
A change to the student manual and handbook is the first step in enforcing the smoking ban, VanMeeteren said.
“Essentially, as far as regulating goes, we’re going to rely on each other, everybody, the students, if they see someone smoking, it’s going to be their responsibility to say, ‘This is a smoke-free campus,’” VanMeeteren said.
Sophomore Cody Menke agrees with the smoking ban policy.
“It will clean up the campus as far as cigarette buds and packs of cigarettes laying around, it will obviously help to make the students healthier because smoking is bad for your health,” Menke said.
VanMeeteren said the ban will eventually implement itself.
“I can recognize the fact that there are people upset about this, but within four years those people will have graduated and in five years, this (ban) will just be known,” VanMeeteren said.
Approval of the ban, VanMeeteren said, shows the activeness of SGA.
“They (the senate) are not going to settle for not doing anything,” VanMeeteren said. “This means the school is moving forward and that
Abbott said the students and the faculty overwhelmingly agreed that smoking is not in the best interest of anyone.
“The conclusion is that a healthier campus demands smoking be done elsewhere,” Abbott said.
VanMeeteren said the ban is meant to benefit students and the campus.
“We didn’t go about this because we wanted to fine people or make it anymore complicated than it needs to be, but the students will have to step up and make sure the policy is being implemented,” VanMeeteren said.