USG passes Tobacco Free Campus resolution


Kent State Undergraduate Student Government senators vote to approve a smoke free and tobacco free policy during a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. The policy is projected to take effect in 2017 and it is apart of President Beverly Warren’s goal to make Kent State the healthiest college campus in the nation.

Anthony Calvaruso

USG passed a Tobacco Free Campus Resolution during an energized meeting with President Beverly Warren in attendance for support of the proposed resolution. 

Although the resolution cannot be passed solely by USG, it does show support for a policy banning tobacco products like cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, hookah smoked products and oral tobacco. Eighteen college campuses in Ohio are Tobacco Free as of January 2016, according to a report from the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

 “I think that the resolution passing USG is a good indication that not only student government is for a tobacco free campus, but the student body is too,” said Chelsea Kennedy, senator for the College of Public Health and sponsor of the resolution.

“As you could see in the meeting I had a student, an administrator and a faculty member all present to support the resolution, and hopefully the policy will get passed by the board of trustees in the future,” Kennedy said.

President Warren spoke at the meeting and addressed her belief that Kent State cannot be a healthy campus unless it is fully tobacco and smoke free. Warren also said that a Tobacco Free Campus resolution would be passed on to the Board of Trustees, who would be given extensive time to discuss the resolution before voting. 

 “We would need to put resources into more counselors who could help with the smoking cessation,” Warren said in regards to how the university would support students and faculty who continue to smoke. 

Although the resolution passed USG successfully, not all members were in support. Some were skeptical that adopting a full tobacco free campus instead of first implementing a smoke free resolution was too drastic. 

 “If a student wants to chew tobacco or wants to do something that can only affect them, not anyone else like second-hand smoke, they should be allowed to do that,” Director of Business and Finance Colin Otubu said. 

“They know the risk, anywhere you go and buy chewing tobacco it has warning labels all over it,” Otubu said. 

USG members in support of the resolution recognized that despite possible difficulties like enforcement, if the resolution becomes a campus policy it will be a step toward making the campus healthier for all students and faculty.

 “Everyone is required to wear a seat belt, it’s hard to enforce because the government isn’t always looking in your car. We’ve created a culture where for citizens and drivers it’s subconscious to wear a seat belt, that’s something we should re-enact here at Kent State with smoking in particular,” said Matthew Chernesky a Senator at Large. 

The Tobacco Free Resolution wasn’t the only legislation passed by USG.

 A resolution was also passed requiring any paid student leader at Kent State to attend two cultural events each semester. This is in addition to the two events already required. An amendment was added that one of the two be an event funded by allocations. 

 “We are a different campus, we have 17% diversity. We want our leaders to be aware of all the students they are serving,” said Kevin Otubu, Director of Programming and co-sponsor of the resolution. 

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Anthony Calvaruso is the USG reporter for the Kent Stater. For more information contact him at [email protected]