Campus News

More Tobacco-Free Clarifications

December 18, 2013

Lori Morgan Flood

We are writing to address some misconceptions about the proposed tobacco-free policy. These misconceptions include:

  1. The policy applies only to students.

  2. The policy includes punitive measures for infractions.

  3. Adoption of the policy is subject to a vote by the Student Senate.

Before we respond to these statements, we must reiterate that the tobacco-free policy is still in draft form. The draft policy calls for implementation in 2016.

With that in mind, our responses to the above statements are:

  1. If approved and implemented, the policy would apply to everyone on campus, not just students.

  2. The draft of the policy focuses not on punishment for infractions, but rather on education, support for cessation, and social policy. We do not expect that to substantively change moving forward.

  3. Approval of the policy is in the purview of the General Faculty, as is approval of all policy changes. Once we create a final draft, we will share it with various groups, including Student Senate, before submitting it to the General Faculty.

In an ongoing effort to be transparent, by January a website will serve as a clearinghouse of all information related to our efforts, with opportunities to give feedback. As always, anyone interested in providing input to the committee is encouraged to do so by contacting

The Tobacco Subcommittee will release a formal policy proposal next semester, and the student senate will hold several forums designed to foster discussion on the issue.

The Tobacco Subcommittee, which includes student members, has been working on this issue for more than three years. This work, much of it publicly delivered via multiple “tobacco-talks” to students and staff, has included education efforts related to health issues, environmental sustainability and other social justice concerns, ongoing cessation efforts, outreach to multiple offices and student organizations, surveying of relevant constituencies, and a review of best practice at other colleges and universities.

Colleges and universities moving toward a tobacco-free campus at the encouragement of many public-health organizations is a significant national conversation, and it only makes sense that Oberlin would take part. Nothing has been settled, and there is a lot to discuss.

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