MSA to consider supporting a tobacco-free campus

GAPSA voted to support the initiative at its Oct. 16 meeting.

by Tyler Gieseke

The Minnesota Student Association will consider passing a position statement supporting a tobacco-free campus at forum on Tuesday.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said at an MSA meeting earlier this year that he didn’t feel there was widespread support or an effective method of enforcement for a tobacco-free campus.

At the Oct. 16 forum, representatives from Boynton Health Service spoke to MSA about the advantages of a tobacco-free campus, said MSA Speaker of the Forum Sophie Wallerstedt.

Boynton representatives emphasized the health hazards of tobacco and said other institutions like the University of Minnesota, Duluth had enacted a smoke-free campus policy.

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly already passed the position statement supporting a tobacco-free campus at its Oct. 16 meeting as part of its fall platform. 

The position statement was drafted by GAPSA Vice President for Administrative Affairs Meghan Mason and MSA College of Biological Sciences Student Board student group representative Heidi Rieck before being considered by the executive board and placed on the agenda, Wallerstedt said.

Even though a smoke-free or tobacco-free campus has been debated for years, Wallerstedt said the tobacco-free issue was a focus this year for MSA because several members are passionate about the issue.

What’s proposed each year “really depends on the makeup of our membership,” she said, adding that anyone can send in a position statement for MSA to consider.

MSA’s University Policies and Student Concerns Committee is hosting a student town hall discussion Tuesday night in Coffman Memorial Union, Wallerstedt said. The event — called You Only Register Once — will give students a chance to dialogue directly with administrators about registering for classes and academic concerns.

“This is really going to be what students put into it,” Wallerstedt said. “Hopefully we’ll have a really good conversation.”