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Daytona State College board takes up smoking, tobacco ban

board takes up smoking
Smoking and using tobacco products at Daytona State College’s campuses may be prohibited come August if approved by the college’s board tonight.

The first reading of a new tobacco-free policy at all of its six campuses in Volusia and Flagler counties will be heard by the board of trustees, with a final vote set for the April 26 meeting.

Under the proposal, the college would prohibit “smoking or any use of tobacco on any college property. The prohibition includes any lighted tobacco products or the use of any smokeless tobacco product on any campus or property owned or operated by the college.”

The policy would allow people to use tobacco products in an individual’s personal vehicle in the parking lot.

The policy would pertain to employees, students and other campus visitors.

If approved, a committee made up of representatives of the faculty, the Student Government Association, career employees, professional staff and administrators will develop how the policy will be implemented and enforced.

President Carol Eaton said if approved by the board, the intent is for the policy to be in place when students come back for the fall semester.

Eaton said the committee will also look at how other colleges have implemented and enforced similar policies.

Nationally, more than 640 colleges and universities have moved to smoke-free or tobacco-free policies, including about 10 in Florida.

Bethune-Cookman University does not allow smoking and is looking at whether to add tobacco products. Stetson University is also considering a tobacco-free policy, but it has not yet been brought to the university’s board.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University allows smoking except within 25 feet of building entrances.

Currently, Daytona State allows smoking except in buildings, hallways, balconies and other areas where posted.

The college got input from the various student, faculty and staff groups.

“Every one had an opportunity to voice their opinions about it,” Eaton said. “I think the majority of the people have said this is the direction we need to be going.”

The monthly board meeting, which is normally at the main campus, will be at 2 p.m. at the Advanced Technology College, 1770 Technology Boulevard, Room 109, off Williamson Boulevard. Board Chairman Dwight Lewis said he “has not seen a great rebellion” over the proposed policy. His personal view: “I don’t like smoking. I know it’s bad for your health.”

He said he will want to hear from college staff how the new policy will be enforced.

“I think we will do it in a way that would not be offensive,” Lewis said. “It will take some time to implement.”

Nancy Homan, Daytona State fitness and aquatics center coordinator in the health and wellness department, who will serve on the committee looking at implementation, said she’s “sure it will be a soft rolling out” if approved by the board.

“Certainly, we will go with it slowly,” said Homan, who was also the principal investigator on a grant that has been studying a tobacco-free campus policy.

The new policy will “improve the health and wellness of the employees, staff and students,” she said, adding it also will help prepare students for what many will face in professions that do not permit smoking.

Faculty Senate President Barry Gibson, assistant chairman of the math department, said the faculty is pleased because some of their suggested changes were made to the original proposal.

They wanted to ensure people could still carry such products in their pockets, for example, which is allowed under the proposed policy.

“I didn’t hear any negative at all. It’s (a policy) many local businesses have. It just comes in tune with that.’

In other business, the board will vote on the college’s master site plan, which includes demolition of the Theater Center (Building 220) and building a new four-story Student Center and classroom building. Plans also call for a thermal energy storage system and parking improvements.

Some projects are included in the state’s budget for capital projects but it has not yet been signed by the governor.

The board also will vote on the monitoring report to be submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The accreditation agency had concerns last year about external influences impacting the board and the board’s understanding of differences between its responsibilities and the role of the administration.

Lewis said the board since has had several training sessions and workshops “to make sure we comply with policies and procedures” and understand the separation between board responsibilities and administration.

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