Friday, February 21, 2014

Nobacco is Backo, by Megan Sukovich

The Nobacco resolution created by a group of students and the Wellness Center is returning to the La Crosse Student Association to be reexamined.

The original proposal was first introduced in the spring of 2013 with the goal to make the entire campus tobacco free. Student Senate then put the proposal to a referendum, a school wide vote of students. The vote had a very low turnout, but the Nobacco proposal did pass. However, the Faculty and Staff Senate voted it down.

In the fall of 2013, Jason Bertrand, the Wellness Resource Coordinator, returned to Senate with a new proposal hoping for feedback on a few changes he had made. The new proposal included having the sidewalks surrounding campus as a smoking zone. A student Senator must write the improved proposal to introduce to Senate.

One of two things could happen with the new proposal. One, Senate votes on the resolution and either passes or fails it. The other option is Senate could vote to put it to referendum during the spring elections.

Residence Hall Association Council Senator Molly Davies states, “I think that Nobacco is a grand idea, but it targets people and has a lot of flaws.”

Campus staff would be required to go off campus to smoke if the proposal does pass. With this thought in mind, Davies states, “The conflict with this is that on public land at a public university, how can we tell someone that they are not allowed to smoke. On the other hand, do other students not have the right to clean air?”

Sophomore UWL student, Amber Mehr, states, “I don’t want second hand smoke on my campus when I am just trying to go to class. We have a small enough campus that the referendum could actually work.”

Two other UW schools have successfully made their campus tobacco free within the last few years.