MSA to reconsider tobacco-free campus, award grant

The group will also decide whether to award the second half of a grant it created last year.

by Tyler Gieseke

After turning down a position statement in support of a tobacco-free campus two weeks ago, the Minnesota Student Association will reconsider its stance on the issue.

Members will discuss a revised resolution at forum on Tuesday and vote on whether they will support and give feedback to Boynton Health Service in its efforts to make the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus tobacco-free. MSA will also choose whether to award the second half of the Improve U grant to recipient Adam Moen, who received the first portion last year.  

Two weeks ago, the forum decided to send the tobacco-free position statement back to committee, said MSA Speaker of the Forum Sophie Wallerstedt.  

The language of the statement was debated at length in the University Policies and Student Concerns Committee meeting on Nov. 20.

The position statement now includes a promise of action by MSA, making it a resolution. If approved, MSA promises to “provide input and feedback to Boynton Health Services” as it works to develop and implement a tobacco-free policy.

Before, the statement simply stated that MSA would support Boynton Health Service in its efforts.

“I think that it will have a lot more support,” Wallerstedt said, pointing out that some of the authors of the revised resolution opposed the position statement at the last forum.

One of those authors is CLA Senator Andie Whitaker. Last forum, she said she witnessed a similar smoking policy fail when she attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth because implementation was not planned well.

Now she’s a co-author of the revised resolution, after she introduced language that states Boynton’s intention to offer cessation services and ample time to prepare for a tobacco-free campus.

MSA will also vote whether to award the second half of the $10,000 Improve U grant to finance major Adam Moen, who received the first half when he was chosen for the grant last year.

The grant was created by MSA last year to aid an individual or group in efforts to improve the University community, Wallerstedt said.

Moen’s project — creating a mental health website — was chosen from a pool of five applicants, the Minnesota Daily reported last spring. 

The website, called OURspace, offers a forum for students to converse among themselves or with health professionals about mental health issues like depression, substance abuse and academic concerns.