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Faculty Senate supports tobacco-free policy, new degree programs

As residents of Bowling Green voted on the legalization of marijuana, members of Faculty Senate voted Tuesday to pass a resolution supporting the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy.

The resolution recommending University President Mary Ellen Mazey and the Board of Trustees endorse the policy passed with 27 votes for and 23 against. Six members chose to abstain from voting.

While the resolution does not put the policy into effect, it does state that the Faculty Senate “strongly endorses and supports” the policy.

However, the discussion before the vote revealed the senate’s mixed opinions. As at last month’s meeting, some members of the senate raised concerns about the policy.

Some questioned the need to update the University’s current smoke-free policy.

“We have a really nice policy now that still respects the rights of smokers,” Anne Gordon, associate professor of psychology, said.

Stephanie Walls, assistant professor of political science at Firelands, said the current policy does not account for things like e-cigarettes and other vapor-producing products, leading to confusion over whether or not these products are permitted.

Concerns were again brought up on how this would affect those dependent on tobacco products, especially students living in residence halls and faculty.

Julie Haught, senior lecturer in the English department, said though she supports the idea of not having tobacco and smoking on campus, “this seems cruel and unusual to impose this on people who are required (to be) on campus 40 hours a week, when it’s a legal substance.”

Monica Longmore, a former senator who sat on the committee behind the policy, repeatedly pointed to other college campuses that have already gone tobacco- and smoke-free.

”I think we can look to these other campuses for examples of best practices or what we can do to make this not so burdensome,” Longmore said.

Miami University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo already have tobacco-free campuses.

Enforcement will be more about “goodwill” than official enforcement, Longmore said.

When students, faculty and staff witness people smoking on campus, the policy “gives (them) the right to kindly ask them to put out their cigarette,” Longmore said.

The senate also voted to support the creation of a Master’s of Science in Forensic Science, a Bachelor’s of Science in Allied Health and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology.

The Bachelor of Arts option for biology was created for students who were not prepared to take the calculus course required for a Bachelor of Science, said Lee Meserve, distinguished teaching professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. A Bachelor of Arts would allow these students to take the minimum quantitative literacy courses required.

Meserve said this was not a “dumbing down” of the biology program, but an “opportunity-ing up.”

Senate members also voted to nominate Howard Aldrich for an honorary doctorate degree. Aldrich graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and now teaches at the University of North Carolina.

Vice President of Finance and Administration Sheri Stoll also presented the 2016 fiscal budget to Faculty Senate. She stressed the importance of increasing enrollment to bring more revenue to the University, as support from the state has decreased over the years.

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