*2,091 students responded; 1,381 voted for proposal
Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 11:45 am | Updated: 12:44 pm, Fri Feb 28, 2014.
Email poll shows UNK students favor tobacco-free campus
By JOSH MOODY Hub Staff Writer Kearney Hub
KEARNEY — Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney who responded to an email poll say they want to make the campus tobacco free.
Students voted Wednesday and Thursday on a tobacco-free initiative proposed by Peer Health Education, a student organization; 2,091 students responded.
Of those responding, 1,381 voted for the tobacco-free proposal and 710 voted against it. That’s 66 percent-34 percent. UNK’s enrollment is 7,052.
“We’re very excited about it, but we’re not surprised,” said Ismael Torres, Peer Health Education adviser, and a multimedia specialist for the department of counseling and healthcare. “We had done research in the past that indicated that students wanted it.”
In spring 2012, the department conducted the American College Health Association — National College Health Assessment, randomly selecting 3,000 UNK students to participate in the survey. Of 690 respondents, 73 percent indicated that they wanted a 100 percent tobacco-free campus.
The next step is for Torres and Peer Health Education to present the proposal to the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
“We’re going to continue to move forward with our plan, putting together a packet and presenting it to the chancellor and his cabinet,” Torres said. “Our hope is that by early April we will have a thorough proposal put together.”
The Chancellor’s Cabinet will then determine which appropriate governing body to send the proposal to for approval — the student government or the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
The proposal will include banning chewing tobacco and snuff in addition to smoking materials. Peer Health Education members said that an outright tobacco ban would allow for a more clear-cut policy that would prevent confusion. Signs will be posted around campus to inform students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the policy.