COLUMBIA — MU’s smoking policies may change in the near future.
At Thursday’s Faculty Council meeting, Michael Devaney, student affairs committee chair, gave an update on the progress of MU’s smoking policy revision process, which he received from Vice Chancellor Jacquelyn Jones earlier in the day. Because MU does not have the resources to actively enforce a smoking policy, Devaney said revisions will likely be a compromise between an absolute ban and other less restrictive options. He said Jones is opposed to implementing an absolute ban on campus and will focus on the entrances to campus buildings when developing the new policy. Jones’ office is not expected to make a decision on the campus smoking policy before the first of the year, Devaney said.
Throughout the 2006-07 academic year, the MU Smoking Policy Task Force, created last fall by Jones, held public forums and distributed surveys to gather information and opinions about changing the current smoking policy. The group has completed and sent a report of their findings to Jones’ office where it is currently in review, said David Currey, co-chairman of the task force.
The current smoking policy, created in 1988 and revised in 1998, prohibits smoking in all university buildings except in designated smoking areas. Every building is encouraged to have at least one designated smoking area that does not affect nonsmokers. The area may include private offices, dining halls and residence hall lounges as long as there is proper ventilation. Possible alterations to the policy discussed at public forums last year included making MU completely smoke-free and imposing a rule that allows smoking only a specific number of feet away from buildings.
According to their Web sites, smoking policies in all other Midwest flagship universities have already banned smoking in all university-owned buildings and vehicles. They all also prohibit smoking in and around the entrances of university buildings to some extent. Twenty-five is the average number of feet smokers must stay away from entrances, and some universities, like KU, require that only one entrance per building be smoke free.
The city of Columbia’s recent smoking ban, the MU Health Care campus becoming smoke-free as of Sept. 1, 2006, and the widespread agreement that MU’s current smoking policy is outdated have prompted the examination of the policy, the Missourian has reported. A new smoking policy was originally scheduled to be approved last spring or early this fall. Christian Basi, assistant director of MU News Services, said a decision may be made within the next few months.