The University Record, March 14, 1994

Smoking policy group schedules two public hearings

By Rebecca A. Doyle

The University’s Smoking Policy Revision Implementation Committee has announced two public hearings “to enable the University community and outside interested parties to bring forth data and their expressions of interest,” says committee chair Wendy N. Powell, personnel representative, Administrative Services Personnel Office.

Public hearings on the proposed policy changes will be held 10 a.m.–noon April 4 in the Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union, and 2–4 p.m. April 5 in the North Campus Commons.

“We will permit interested parties two minutes with committee members to present information,” Powell says. The sessions will be recorded and later transcribed, she adds.

By scheduling public hearings, the committee is taking another step in the process that President James J. Duderstadt hopes will lead the University to a nearly smoke-free campus. In January, the University’s executive officers endorsed changes in the Standard Practice Guide that would prohibit smoking in all University facilities except resident rooms and apartments, some conference centers and hotels. Smoking also would be prohibited within 50 feet of any University building entrance.

Following the public hearings, the committee will discuss any new data and comments and will report to the executive officers any recommended changes in the proposed policy. Approval by the executive officers is expected by the end of April so that information can be included in materials sent to prospective students. The policy would be effective Sept. 1.

Changes in the policy are in response to reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that environmental tobacco smoke poses a significant health hazard.

Powell says the committee has polled other universities, including the Big Ten, and of the 12 contacted, nine had enacted similar policies.

“The University is not trying to make behavioral changes,” Powell emphasizes, “just to provide the healthiest possible environment for employees.”

The committee also will consider written comments from interested parties who cannot or do not wish to attend the public hearings. Comments should be sent to Smoking Policy Revision Implementation Committee, 1052 Administrative Services Building 1432. To address the committee at one of the public hearings, call the Staff and Union Relations office at 763-2387.