Huntington, WV- The Student Senate of the Marshall University Student Government Association (SGA) held a Tobacco Policy Open Forum at their meeting, last Tuesday evening.
The discussion took place inside room BE5 of the Memorial Student Center, located on Marshall University’s main campus. The open forum got off to a great start that led to heated discussion.
Amy Saunders, Director of Student Health Education Programs presented a proposal to ban tobacco on campus, as put forth by the University Tobacco Regulation Committee.
This event gave Marshall University students on both sides of the issue, a chance to express their thoughts and feelings on the “Smoking Ban” proposal.
Saunders and Piyali Dasgupta, associate professor of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology at the Joan C. Edward School of Medicine, were the first people to speak, and answer any questions from students who had attended.
A joint committee involving representatives of the President’s Office, Student Health, Housing and Residence life, Student Affairs, and the student body president, drafted the proposal.
After two hours of debate from both sides of the issue, the SGA voted 11 – 7 to pass a resolution supporting a campus-wide ban on all tobacco products.
The proposal will now go to the Faculty Senate, where it may be revised, and then it will go to the Board of Governors who will make the final decision on its passage.
Student Body President, Ray Harrell was approached by Marshall University’s President, Stephen J. Kopp to create a “Tobacco Regulation” committee to make a proposal up.
The proposal involved a campus wide ban of tobacco products including pipes, chewing tobacco, cigars, dip, cigarettes, cigarillos, e-cigarettes, hookah, water pipe, snus and snuff both indoors and outdoors.
Harrell said he wanted the senators to set aside their own opinions on this controversial issue, and consider their constituents instead.
“The executive branch, as well as the Senate, is voted upon and represents the student body,” Harrell said. “We are there to represent their voice. This isn’t a movement from my organization. This is a grassroots movement that has been developing since before I got here.”
Saunders said the ban is supposed to promote a healthy environment for both tobacco and non-tobacco users alike on Marshall’s campus.