EMU Student Senate passes tobacco-free resolution with 12-11 vote
Eastern Michigan University could be gearing up to crack down on smoking on campus with the passing of a tobacco-free resolution by the student senate Tuesday night.
Student Senator Keven Sommerville introduced a resolution to make EMU’s campus fully smoke-free.
The resolution itself encourages the Board of Regents at EMU to add “university grounds” to the university’s policy statement on tobacco use.
With the current policies at EMU, a person is not allowed to smoke within 25-feet of a building at the designated areas and are prohibited from smoking near vents and windows, but can smoke at the university’s designated locations.
At Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting, the initial vote on the bill tied at 11 for 11 opposed, but the chair and student body vice president Nino Monea cast his supporting vote to break the tie and pass the resolution.
In an email interview, Monea said that passing the bill is important because it will play a role in changing the culture of EMU’s campus to one that promotes healthy life choices.
Sommerville also said the bill isn’t looking to penalize anyone. He stressed that it is simply promoting a social push to end smoking on campus, not a legal push.
“You just have to enact little things like this, like it’s just socially unacceptable to smoke on campus. Over time it will evolve and it will just be a thing,” Sommerville said, “Maybe in five years you walk on Eastern’s campus and find that there’s no laws punishing people smoking on campus, you’ll just find no people smoking on campus.”
“It simply changes the culture, which has proven effective at other universities. Also, over 1,000 colleges over the nation have already passed such a policy,” Monea said.
Monea added that the bill will benefit the entire EMU community by ensuring clean and breathable air across the campus.
“It is particularly good for students with conditions such as asthma who may be especially bothered by smoke,” Monea said.
EMU political science major and creative writing minor, Samantha Snell, is a smoker and has considered transferring if a bill like the tobacco-free resolution was passed.
“We’re not trying to harm anyone,” Snell said of her smoking and the other smokers around campus, “It’s an addiction.”
Snell also said that it’s much too dangerous to go outside of campus to smoke and ridiculous to do so running in between classes. She added that even if people were penalized, that they would still find a way to smoke regardless of any resolution.
According to Monea, now that the resolution has passed through Student Government, it is up to go forward in front of the Board of Regents once it is signed by president Desmond Miller.