In less than 100 days, East Central College in Union will become a smoke-free campus.
Associate Professor of Nursing Judy Bieker and Vice President of Student Development Cookie Hays briefed trustee members Monday night on the progressive steps taken to educate students about restrictions on tobacco products come 2013.
College President Dr. Jon Bauer said notifying students in earnest of the impending change kicked in during the summer.
Outdoor smoking lounges were removed, ashtrays were relocated, smoking cessation workshops were offered to employees and signs stating, “Smoking not permitted within 25 feet of buildings,” were placed at entrances and exits.
Flat screens in common areas feature a daily countdown until ECC goes smoke-free. Plus, faculty and staff have been encouraged to use the theme of the tobacco-free initiative “Change Is In the Air,” as part of their email signature.
Hayes said when it comes to enforcing the policy the college does not intend to hire “tobacco police.”
She added current security personnel do not have the resources to monitor the college’s parking lots all day for smokers and smoking will be allowed in cars as long as the vehicle’s doors and windows are closed.
Her expectation is a constant collective effort will be required to maintain a culture of respect, wellness and stainability once the tobacco-free policy is enacted.
When an individual is seen using a tobacco or tobacco related product — students, college employees or even visitors — can and should enforce the policy. Polite and positive interaction is encouraged.
If an individual in disrespectful, unreasonable or fully noncompliant an incident report can be completed online.
Students in violation of the tobacco-free ordinance will be sanctioned under student conduct policies, Hays said.
After the first incident, the student receives a warning. A second violation of the tobacco-free policy will warrant a $20 fine or two hours of campus cleanup. Third and fourth violations will result in probation and suspension, respectively.
Faculty, staff and administrative supervisors are responsible for enforcing the policy among his or her employees.
Events scheduled for later this year to transition the college to a tobacco free environment include an opportunity to register for free, online, smoking cessation lessons called Freedom From Smoking and the Great American Smoke Out. Freedom From Smoking begins Wednesday, Oct. 17, and the smoke out will be Thursday, Nov. 15.
The tobacco-free campus policy was approved by the board of trustees Dec. 5, 2011.