The smoke clears as Western’s new tobacco free policy begins but while a big push to make students aware of the policy is under way, when it comes to enforcing the ban, things are still a little hazy.
The role of enforcement is falling squarely on the shoulders of the students. Director of Human Resources, Sally Sanders, explains.
“It’s our hope that if people see a group of people, students for example, out there smoking and whoever sees this, they go up and say “Hey, did you guys know that there is a university policy?” and give them a card and they say “Oh, I didn’t know.” Then it’s all good,” she said. “If the person goes back the next day and the same group of students is out there, and they go “Hey, what’s going on?” and they go “Screw you!”, at that point a couple of things could happen.”
She explains that at this stage, as long as there is positive ID of those in violation, then it will be handled as any other infraction of policy.
“We are all students; we are supposed to have IDs on our person,” Sanders said. “If a person had the where-with-all to say “Let me see your ID.” Then they know that they have the potential to get sent over to student affairs for a conduct issue.”
She also says that the campus police, in most situations, won’t be able to get involved.
“We will not involve the university police unless someone really gets to a disturbance stand-point,” she said. “Until there is a city ordinance or something like that, they cannot issue any citations.”
Not only is smoking on campus violation of policy, smoking in vehicles is off limits as well.
“Technically, if the vehicle is on university property, then yes (it is a violation),” she said.
Dr. Christopher Bond, who has been pushing for this policy for over three years, wants to distance the policy from the term enforcement.
“Were kind of getting away from the word enforcement and moving to the phrase of cultural change,” he said. “So we are trying to change Missouri Western culture of health, and also human rights and environmental conscious culture.”
While distancing the term, he is implementing at least a small effort at enforcement, but again, it comes back to students for the most part.
“Specifically, in regards to enforcement, we are setting up campus ambassadors that will be students, faculty and staff,” he said. “That information will be coming out next week over email and announced other places.”
Even though the enforcement aspect is a little bit murky right now a lot is being done around campus to make sure that the word gets out about the new tobacco free Western.
Memorandum of Agreement, or MOA, and PR department employee Autumn Sands explains.
“First of all, we started sending out emails to faculty, staff and students starting last semester,” she said. “We started in March sending out just reminder emails letting people know that the policy was going to be happening. We sent out a 90, 60 and 30 day reminder and then we also did it a couple of times getting closer to time (of policy activation).”
Beyond emails and notifications, efforts to educate people at Western are also changing the landscape a bit.
“We have permanent signs that will be going to be put up around campus,” Sands said. “They are going to be taking the place of the old signs that say no smoking in this area; we took all of those signs down and we have new signs going up that say Missouri Western is smoke free.”
In addition, they also have temporary signs, t-shirts and business cards that are being disbursed to students on campus as well as signs for the parking lots near the stadium to inform non-Western visitors and tail-gaiters of Western’s new tobacco free status.