Tobaccofree_JBBy JACOB BLAIR
jacob_blair50@mymail.eku.edu

Construction isn’t the only thing that changed the campus landscape, a new tobacco-free policy enacted June 1 has also changed The Campus Beautiful.
Since the policy was enacted, an online reporting system has filed 50 complaints about tobacco-use on campus and three sanctions have been handed out to students in residence halls, said Jack Rutherford, co-chair of the Tobacco-Free Taskforce.
The entire campus community is responsible for helping to enforce the ban, Rutherford said.
The taskforce wants to set up training classes that will be open to students and university employees to instruct them on how to approach violators of the tobacco ban and tell them there is a tobacco-free policy in a compassionate manner, said Renee Fox, co-chair of the Tobacco-Free Taskforce.
The taskforce is currently interviewing candidates to serve as Tobacco-Free Ambassadors to help police the policy and issue sanctions, Rutherford said. The Ambassadors will be the ones directly responsible for issuing sanctions to students and employees.
The sanctions are as follows: the first offense for students includes one semester of social probation, completion of the tobacco education program, based on quizzes and video through Blackboard, a two-page educational paper and written reprimand.
The second offense for students includes one semester of university probation, two hours of university service assigned through the Student Rights and Responsibility Office, an educational paper, a $100 administrative fee and written reprimand.
The third offense for students includes one semester of university probation, four hours of university service, an educational paper, a $200 administrative fee and written reprimand.
Any subsequent offenses include a year of university probation, eight hours of university service, an educational paper, a $400 administrative assessment and a written reprimand that includes a warning of suspension or expulsion from the university.
Faculty and staff that violate the policy the first time will have their supervisor contacted along with a written reprimand, Rutherford said.
Any visitors that violate the policy will be asked to leave campus, Fox said.
Signs are posted along all of the roads that enter the university, the EKU Center will have the policy posted in brochures, and a message will play at the university’s athletic events, Rutherford said. Football Coach Dean Hood also recorded a message that will play at the home football games.
The only setback the taskforce faced during the summer was not removing all of the smoke shacks. Rutherford said a buyer was lined up to move some the shelters across campus for bus stops and to potentially use them for transit stops throughout Richmond, but the buyer backed out at the last minute.
The taskforce has a website established with a reporting form that updates Rutherford and Fox on violations across campus.
“It’s pretty detailed. You can describe the individual,” Rutherford said.
The discussion of enacting a ban began in 2006 when a taskforce was first created and the end result was the old policy, which was no smoking within 25 ft. of building entrances. When President Benson came to Eastern, Rutherford said they asked Benson to reconvene the taskforce.
“If it hadn’t been for his support, this never would’ve happened,” Rutherford said.
The taskforce examined tobacco-free policies at other universities such as the University of Kentucky and decided anything that would be enacted need all of the university property to be tobacco-free. Grand Campus at EKU, leased by the university, also falls under the tobacco-ban as the policy forbids smoking on any leased, owned or university controlled property.
To educate nearby property owners, the taskforce distributed fliers to the neighboring properties of the campus and also offered to give the homeowners yard signs, Rutherford said. He said when Morehead State enacted a tobacco-free policy three years ago; people went to the surrounding properties to smoke and left the yards full of litter.
Violations of the tobacco-free policy can be reported anonymously online at http://tobaccofree.eku.edu/tobacco-violation-report.