UW-Stevens Point to be tobacco-free campus by fall 2014

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point will become a tobacco-free campus by the fall of 2014.

“It’s time,” said Chancellor Bernie Patterson. “UW-Stevens Point is known for sustainability and health consciousness. This policy demonstrates our commitment to wellness, which is a major part of our strategic plan, A Partnership for Thriving Communities, and our Healthy Communities initiative.”

The decision was made after carefully considering views of hundreds of faculty, staff members and students during the past year, Patterson said. The decision-making process included: 

  • A spring 2013 Student Government Association (SGA) tobacco policy referendum showed that of the students responding, 70 percent favored a tobacco-free campus.
  • A faculty and staff survey in May and June 2013 indicated a tobacco-free campus was the overwhelming first choice.
  • Maintaining the current policy, to allow smoking in designated areas outdoors, received the fewest points in surveys of faculty, staff and students.
  • The University Affairs Committee recommended, and the Faculty Senate supported, a tobacco-free campus.
  • Three open forums were held this fall for input across campus.
  • The Classified Staff Advisory Council narrowly voted against a tobacco-free policy, concerned about specific wording.
  • SGA voted in support of a tobacco-free campus. 

While support was not unanimous, it was overwhelmingly in favor of a tobacco-free policy, Patterson said in a message to campus. 

“The goal was to promote and protect the health of all faculty, staff, students and visitors to our campus, said Sallie Scovill, associate professor, School of Health Promotion and Human Development, who co-chaired the tobacco-free campus committee and coordinates employee wellness. “We’ve had evidence of the damaging effects of tobacco use for a long time, and this is clearly the greatest good for the vast majority of people.” 

“Responding to concerns from the student body, the Student Government Association has been leading the policy development around tobacco since the spring of 2012. This is an important step in improving the overall wellness of our community,” said Ryan Specht, SGA president. 

Patterson will appoint a committee of faculty, staff members, students and community members to develop an implementation plan in the spring semester. Support will be provided for those who want to stop using tobacco.

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