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WSC preparing for campus to become tobacco free

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Posted by Bo Saeton

Aug. 20, 2011
For Immediate release
For more information, contact Kayla Retzer at 774-4222 

WSC preparing for campus to become tobacco free 

WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College is concerned not only with the education of its students, but also with their health and well-being. To that end, the institution is working to become a smoke-free campus by Jan. 1, 2013. 

According to WSC President Dr. Ray Nadolny, the campus is only one of two campuses in the North Dakota University system, and possibly the only one, which is not smoke free. 

"Whenever we have a decision to be made which impacts the institution, we run it through all three senates and the executive cabinet," he said. The three senates include the staff senate, student senate and faculty senate. 

"Members of the student senate approached me about becoming a tobacco-free campus," he said. "They appear to be very on board with the plan of going smoke free." 

As with any change, there will probably be those who are against the policy. However, Nadolny said that is the reason that the matter will be discussed and voted on by the four entities at the college. "If they have concerns, we hear them. Then we have a conversation, helping us decide what we can do to get everyone on the same page - whether that be more education, a plan for healthcare so people who are currently smokers get the help they need, etc. It allows us to make sure we are meeting the needs of people across the campus." 

Deannette Piesik, CEO of the TrainND program, said that they have talked to a few of the clients with whom they work, and also with some of the businesses that send employees for training, and have found that most of the businesses are supportive of the campus going tobacco free. 

"We've gotten no complaints at this time," Piesik said. "It won't go into effect until January 1, so it gives us time to transition and work with the clients." 

She added that many of the worksites where their clients work are smoke free already, due to the fact that there are so many flammable chemicals on the worksites. "We're more worried about (opposition from) the clients who use chewing tobacco, as that is allowed on job sites, but will not be allowed on campus," Piesik said. "I guess they will just have to get used to getting into their vehicle and driving off campus during breaks to have a smoke or chew." 

The Human Resources department of the college has been in contact with members of the staff and have reported to Nadolny that there is support from the employees, even those who are smokers, for the change in policy. 

"The response has actually been very positive," said HR Manager Michelle Remus. "As smokers, we are used it (businesses being smoke free). Nobody is really upset by it. Since we are the last campus to go tobacco free, we saw it coming and knew it was inevitable." 

"We have gotten input from the staff, and from students, and now is a good time to take the opportunity to establish a tobacco-free campus," Nadolny said. "If there are questions, we will find out through the democratic process we have and use at the college." 

He said he expects the vote to be done by the first or second week of September, and if passed, the policy would take effect Jan. 1.