MURRAY, Ky. — The head of Murray State University's student government is eyeing a campus smoking ban, but wants to wait for a survey of students to be completed before acting.
Student Government Association President Michael Dobbs told the Murray Ledger & Times (http://bit.ly/1qg04M3 ) he and the student body senate are awaiting the results of a campus survey that should be conducted this fall to gauge the public perception regarding widespread tobacco use.
This isn't the first time the university has questioned its policies on tobacco use. Less than five years ago, a student-led organization formed to lobby the Board of Regents to address the issue. Last year, smoking was banned in front of Regents Residential College.
In 2008, MSU's Staff Congress easily passed a resolution to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of a building on campus, but no formal policy change was made, and there have been no efforts to enforce it.
Dobbs said students and faculty now are looking at buildings like Faculty Hall, an academic hub on campus that houses several departments and a number of classes while school is in session.
Smoking is allowed only at the back of that building, but many students are complaining, because it's unquestionably the side of the building that sees more foot traffic.
"It gets to a point where you don't want to infringe on anybody's rights, but you want to find a happy medium," Dobbs said.
That's not the approach some of MSU's fellow Kentucky land grant universities have taken.
Eastern Kentucky University voted to go tobacco-free early last month, joining the University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville
Murray State and Western Kentucky University are the only two large public universities in Kentucky that don't have smoking bans, and Western Kentucky has initiated a strict designated area restriction.
Dobbs said as administrators and Regents continue to research this issue, he would anticipate the formation of designated areas at Murray State as well.
Information from: Murray Ledger & Times, http://www.murrayledger.com