By Caitlin SchudallaTheNorman TranscriptWed Jan 25, 2012, 01:29 AM CST
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a policy banning smoking on campus — except in two designated areas — during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.
“We feel morally obligated as an educational example to help save lives in our community and our country,” OU President David Boren said. “Over 500 colleges and universities nationwide have already adopted similar policies to make their campuses tobacco-free.”
The policy will go into effect July 1 and will be enforced by fines of up to $50 for repeat offendors. As a campus policy, the smoking ban will apply to visitors and OU students, faculty and staff.
When the policy goes into effect, it will prohibit all smoking at sports venues, such as the Gaylord Family Okahoma Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center.
The features of the policy were based largely on the conclusions of Boren’s tobacco policy advisory committee, led by OU College of Public Heath Dean Gary Raskob, Ph.D.
“We truly did seek very broad input from the campus and surrounding community,” Raskob said. “We’ve received enormous support from local and national groups. The timing is right for this step.”
In spite of a committee majority of around 80 percent favoring a completely tobacco-free campus, Boren and the board of regents agreed to designate two smoking areas. The proposed isolated locations in the parking lots of Dale Hall and Lloyd Noble Center are intended to minimize exposure to secondhand smoke.
Boren called these smoking areas a “compromise,” saying he and the committee recognize the difficulty in quitting smoking and wish to make the intended transition to a healthier lifestyle as smooth as possible.
The university will offer free tobacco-use cessation classes beginning February and free quit kits, personal coaching, online tools and up to $500 coverage of prescription drug coverage for those who qualify. Norman Regional Hospital also offers a free, four-session program for tobacco-use cessation called QuitSmart.
In addition to adopting the new tobacco policy, the regents approved the purchase of a warehouse space at 705 E. Lindsey St. They also sanctioned the university to actively attempt to acquire the residential properties at 209, 211, 213 and 215 E. Brooks St.
The warehouse space will continue to serve as shop space for the university’s Facilities Management. The residential spaces will be operated and maintained by University Real Estate Operations, pending their purchase.
Other actions of note include:
· Gregg Garn was approved as the new dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.
· The regents approved the purchase a $2.1 million cluster supercomputer for the OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research.
· The Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course was approved to receive new maintenence equipment, including new service vehicles and golf carts.
· A 24,000 square foot practice facility for the women’s intercollegiate rowing team was added to the Campus Master Plan of Capital Improvement Projects for the Norman campus.
Caitlin Schudalla 366-3541 cschudalla@ normantranscript.com