The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Student Senate bans smoking on Campus School’s premises

Student Senate passed two resolutions Nov. 23 dealing with smoking and secondhand smoke on campus.

These resolutions came after a failed resolution presented Nov. 9, which aimed to develop a task force to make the campus smoke free.

The first of these new resolutions would prohibit smoking on the premises of the Campus School.

“Really that resolution just urges the enforcement of a law that is already in existence. So for us to just allow that to happen . is not okay,” Sen. Sarah Tweedale said in reference to state statute 101.123.

Under the statute, those in violation of this law could be fined between $100 and $250 dollars.

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The second resolution passed will allow a task force to be developed to assess on-campus involuntary tobacco exposure. A previous failed resolution sought to form a task force as well; however, some senators took issue with the resolution’s wording, Tweedale said.

“It called for a task force but stated essentially the decision that the task force would reach, so it was very directed in that way,” she said.

According to the new, approved resolution, the taskforce will be formed by the Chancellor and is suggested to include students, faculty and staff, as well as personnel from Student Health Services, Housing and Residence Life, University Police, Admissions and neighborhood liaisons among others. Both smokers and non-smokers will be appointed.

The task force is charged to investigate issues including enforcement, effects of involuntary tobacco exposures and a more effective tobacco policy. The assessment formed by the taskforce, as well as the recommendations of the taskforce, will be presented to the Student Senate before the end of their current session.

“The comprehensive assessment of the tobacco exposure is a great opportunity to look at the whole picture of what does tobacco use look like on campus, how is it being address currently and what changes could be made,” said University Health Educator Kate Wilson.

In doing research for the new resolutions, the senators involved also found that the “25 foot rule” has been slightly misinterpreted. It was assumed that the rule applied to all university buildings. However, the state statute states that it is illegal to smoke at “a location that is 25 feet or less from a residence hall or dormitory that is owned or operated by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.”

Due to the wording of this statute, it is legal to smoke within 25 feet of university academic buildings, but the university has the power to add additional restrictions. However, because of the lack of a state law involving campus academic buildings, options for enforcement are slightly limited.

Tweedale said she is not sure yet how the new statewide smoking ban recently signed by Gov. Jim Doyle will affect the university.

The statewide ban, which will go into effect in June 2010, would prohibit smoking in all public places – any enclosed place that is open to the public – in the state. The ban will also bar smoking in sports arenas, either indoor or outdoor.

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Student Senate bans smoking on Campus School’s premises