University to make campuses tobacco-free
DALLAS — Texas Woman’s University will become tobacco-free on its Denton, Dallas and Houston campuses this fall.
The Board of Regents decided unanimously Friday to authorize university officials to develop policies banning all tobacco products for each campus.
The Faculty Senate, Student Government Association and Staff Council submitted recommendations to make TWU smoke-free, and after a survey of more than 400 employees, 63 percent were in favor of the measure, said Brenda Floyd, vice president for finance and administration.
“The emphasis is, from all of the respondents who want us to move in this direction, that we are a predominantly health science-directed institution, and therefore we should lead the way in healthy environments,” she said.
In June 2011, the Denton and Dallas campuses adopted a policy that designated specific smoking areas, but it was not as successful as expected.
Both the previous policy and the new policy will be self-enforced, Floyd said, but since the university designated the campus smoking areas, there have been complaints about disobedience.
“So, Faculty Senate and the student government have brought forward a resolution to make it totally smoke-free, and we ultimately decided to make it tobacco-free, meaning smokeless tobacco as well,” she said.
Floyd said that in the survey, a few faculty members were concerned that a tobacco-free policy would inconvenience student smokers, but Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life, said student opinion strongly favors a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.
“The number of student smokers is very low, and students through both official and unofficial channels have been asking for us to be smoke-free,” he said. “I don’t really expect any real change, and it is what they want.”
The Houston campus is already smoke-free because of a Houston city ordinance, and policies for the Denton and Dallas campuses are near completion, Floyd said.
The policies will then go to Chancellor Ann Stuart for approval before being implemented for the fall semester.
This will make TWU one of the 1,130 universities across the country to implement a smoke- or tobacco-free policy. Neighboring University of North Texas went smoke-free Jan. 1 this year, and now limits on-campus tobacco use.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.