Mesa State trustees OK tobacco restrictions

Effective immediately, tobacco-users will have to smoke or chew at least 40 feet from Mesa State College structures and facilities.

The college’s board of trustees approved the new policy Wednesday. Mesa State Associated Student Government members wrote the policy based on information received from students and faculty at two public forums in the fall and a campus survey performed by students of Mesa State business professor Jerry Moorman.

The survey of 1,483 people found 23 percent of Mesa State students use tobacco daily, 30 percent use it occasionally, and 12 percent are former tobacco-users. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being in agreement and 1 being in disagreement with the statement, the statement “MSC should be a tobacco-free campus” received an average score of 2.61, while “MSC should be a semi smoke-free campus” got an average score of 3.26.

Associated Student Government Vice President Nick Lopez said the survey results made student government members hesitant to propose a campus-wide tobacco ban. Instead, members decided a 40-foot smoke-free perimeter around college buildings and sports fields would be far enough to keep tobacco-users from most commonly used sidewalks and walkways.

The rules will be self- and peer-enforced, and an education campaign that will include signs, e-mails and possibly a meeting this spring will begin by the end of the semester, Lopez said. If problems persist, security, parking services or other workers may be asked to talk to people breaking the rule. If that doesn’t works, tickets may be handed out.

“We’re all adults here at college — we want to try self-enforcement first,” Lopez said.

Trustees also discussed the following topics at Wednesday’s board meeting:

Associated Student Government members recently voted to accept a 2 percent tuition increase for the 2010–11 school year as long as tuition does not increase by more than 9 percent next year. The extra 2 percent will fund the renovation and expansion of Houston Hall. A vote of the entire student body is not needed to approve the tuition increase.

Trustees approved a plan that will give the college $15 from each month of rent paid by a retailer or restaurant that operates on the ground floor of the North Avenue Residence Hall and have the college’s Real Estate Foundation collect the rest of the money. In return, the foundation will act as manager of the building’s storefronts. The foundation will use at least part of the money for improvements to its land at 29 and D roads and to help pay for the former Leitner-Poma building, which the foundation bought through the use of bonds.

The split will only happen after enough rent has been paid to cover the cost of finishing a storefront’s interior to make it ready for operation.

The college will add an insurance concentration to its business baccalaureate program next school year, as well as three new courses. The college also will add a business administration bachelor of arts program, with managerial informatics concentration, next year.


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