Written By: Kristin Whitman
If you must smoke, take your “butts” off VSU campus.
The tobacco ban has been fully enforced for a little over two weeks now, and the ban depends on the VSU community to let people know tobacco use is not at all allowed on campus.
The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents put in place a tobacco ban that was implemented by VSU on Oct. 1.
In keeping with the ban, VSU prohibits all forms of tobacco use on any properties owned or in the possession of the USG. The ban applies all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
VSU wants to help stomp out tobacco use by having Freshstart Series, a collection of workshops given by the American Cancer Society that is comprised of four one-hour group sessions over the course of four weeks. This series began Oct. 13 in the Student Union.
According to Dr. Denise Bogart, director of human resources, VSU has been trying to take steps to be a tobacco-free campus for around two years.
VSU’s Campus Safety Committee and Student Government Association hosted a Tobacco Use Policy Forum at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 to give background information about the new policy.
The big question at the forum was how do students tell other students who are using tobacco products to put them away?
“VSU is not asking students to challenge others; this is only an educational program for everyone and hopes to be a positive educational experience,” Dr. Bogart said.
After attending other school policy meetings, such as the University of Georgia, SGA Vice President Nicholas Buford is optimistic about VSU’s new tobacco ban.
“Other schools have had the ban enforced for months now and we hope that this transition is as positive as possible for our school as it was for them,” Buford said.
Cards were made for students and faculty to hand to others if they ever see them smoking on any part of VSU campus.
The question on ticketing policy violators came up during the tobacco meeting and was explained by Sherolyn Hopkins, assistant dean of students for conduct.
“VSU does not want to have to make the steps to start ticketing because it may cause friction in the community here on campus,” Hopkins said.“If problems start to arise, we will have a tiered process just like the alcohol policy.”
“First a letter will be given to the violator, then a reference to the Drug and Alcohol Center, and if there is still an issue, measures will be taken from there to possible ticketing,” Hopkins said.
According to Hopkins, a tip to help students who may see others neglecting the new policy is to report a specific location that they commonly see violators instead of reporting a specific person.
“A person or location can be reported to student conduct, housing, the VSU police or any other faculty or staff, and monitoring will be taken from there.”