UWO plans changes to its vaping, tobacco policies

Calvin Skalet, News Writer

A-T in depth: changes coming

UW Oshkosh is currently discussing policy changes on the use of tobacco on campus.

Oshkosh Student Association President Jared Schadrie said he attended a meeting with the University last week, in which he voiced UWO students opinion on whether or not they want a full tobacco ban on campus.

“I went to the policy feedback meeting this last Friday, and I said, “Hey, I have 1,467 students that have submitted feedback, and 77 percent of these students want to see designated areas rather than a full ban,’ and since then, they have changed it to designated areas,” Schadrie said.

Schadrie said UWO and OSA agreed on a resolution that discussed the amount of designated areas that would be free of the tobacco ban.

“We put forth a resolution that was signed by all three campuses, [UWO, UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac],” Schadrie said. “In this resolution we asked that we have at least one OSA person on the implementation team, and we also asked that we have at least five designated areas on campus.”

Art Munin, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students said the changes to the tobacco policy will help students quit their smoking habits.

“This policy is intended to prevent tobacco use and support those who are trying to quit their use by establishing UW Oshkosh as completely free from tobacco,” Munin said. “As stipulated by the Surgeon General, tobacco use is a significant health hazard.”

Schadrie said there’s a committee at the University which addresses these issues on that effect the UWO campus.

“There’s a bunch of very passionate students that are on the Student Health Advisory committee and they have been working on areas to make our campus healthier,” Schadrie said. “This is something where one of our senators is very passionate about.”

UWO senior Chance Smith said going to a full ban that includes vaping would not be in the best interest of the University as many college students use vape pens.

“That would be a bad policy shift,” Smith said. “Not many students use tobacco, but a lot of them vape. And more so, it would also affect non-student staff and faculty in a negative way.”

Smith said this ban will force students to walk long distances to smoke if they choose to do so.

“Making those folks walk long distances to have a smoke break is only going to lead to them being grumpy and unpleasant in their interactions with everyone,” Smith said. “Sure, walking past someone who’s smoking isn’t the most pleasant thing, but if it’s really that big of a problem, the ‘25-foot from a doorway’ rule should be enforced more.”

Smith said banning other things like vape pens would make a large population very angry.

“Banning vaping on campus would make the dude-bros angry, and that’s like 90 percent of the campus population,” Smith said.

Schadrie said the punishments will be dealt with through the implementation team moving forward.

“At the end of the day, it’s up to the implementation team to decided the consequence,” Schadrie said. “According to the current policy, it’s recommended that there aren’t any consequences.”

Munin said the University wants UWO student tobacco users to reconsider their use of tobacco on campus.

“We hope that all tobacco users, whether or not this policy is passed, will reconsider their use of tobacco,” Munin said. “Students seeking to quit can contact the Student Health Center for resources to assist.”