A series of open meetings to explain the campus’s plan to prohibit tobacco use starting July 1 will begin later this month, according to Associate Chancellor Susan Pearson.
In a Feb. 12 broadcast e-mail to the campus, Pearson said the ban, which was approved by the Campus Leadership Council and the Faculty Senate in 2011, applies to everyone on campus, including students, staff, faculty, contractors and visitors and covers all buildings and grounds as well as vehicles. All tobacco products and electronic cigarettes will be prohibited.
“In doing so, the campus joins more than 700 colleges and universities around the country that have taken this step in order to protect the health of members of the campus community,” said Pearson. “Recognizing that tobacco use compromises the health and well-being of the entire campus community, the campus administration adopted this policy and appointed an implementation committee, whose charge includes developing programs to help educate the campus community about the dangers of tobacco use and resources to support students and employees in their efforts to adapt to the new policy.”
To brief community members about the initiative and answer questions, five open meetings have been scheduled. Each session will include a presentation by Wilmore Webley, associate professor of Microbiology; Ann Becker, public health nurse at University Health Services; Sally Linowski, assistant dean of students; UHS family physician Robert Horowitz and Akshay Kapoor, president of the Student Government Association. Release time for employees will be provided whenever practicable, said Pearson.
The meetings are as follows:
Thursday, Feb. 28, noon, 101 Campus Center
Wednesday, March 6, 4 p.m., Campus Center Reading Room
Thursday, March 7, 7 p.m., 101 Campus Center
Wednesday, March 13, 5:30 a.m., Student Union Cape Cod Lounge
Thursday, March 28, noon, Student Union Cape Cod Lounge
Prior to the policy going into effect, Pearson said, “the campus has developed some new resources for students and employees who are considering or planning to quit the use of tobacco products or who wish to get through the workday without nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Information is available at www.umass.edu/uhs/services/tobacco/
Pearson said the goal is “to achieve voluntary compliance with this policy, and we anticipate that this effort will be successful.”
Plans call for extensive educational efforts over the next several months to make students and employees aware of the rationale for the policy and the importance of compliance. “We will also rely on all members of the campus community to engage with each other and encourage compliance,” said Pearson. “In instances where voluntary compliance is not successful, students and employees will be subject to disciplinary action through the established procedures for violations of University policies.”