President's Message | Reports & Announcements

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    Neil Kerwin
    President

Mailing Address
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MEMORANDUM
August 9, 2013

 TO: Campus Community
 FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT: Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Policy Announcement

____________________________________________________________________________

Last fall, in a memo to the campus community, I announced that American University will be tobacco- and smoke-free before the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. In doing so, AU joins almost 1,200 schools around the country that already are smoke-free, and almost 800 that are tobacco-free.

Our new policy is effective August 15, 2013 and prohibits the use of tobacco products and medical marijuana on property owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the university, including campus owned, leased, or rented vehicles. This policy applies to faculty, staff, students, vendors, guests, and contractors.

This action follows years of campus discussion and several months of planning for implementation. The policy is aimed at supporting the health of our campus community and the university’s sustainability commitments. Becoming a tobacco-free campus demonstrates our commitment to the environment and supports the university’s LEED certification efforts. Prohibiting tobacco use on campus will reduce the amount of cigarette butts, other tobacco product related litter, and tobacco waste that has a negative impact on the environment and our campus.

The university is not preventing people from smoking. However, we are prohibiting the use of tobacco products on our university property and grounds. To assist individuals who chose to continue their use of tobacco products with the transition to a tobacco- and smoke-free community, three temporary designated smoking areas have been designated for the fall 2013 semester. These three areas include the Kogod ellipse, Roper/SIS walkway, and the green space next to the tennis courts behind the Sports Center Annex. Use of tobacco and smoking products will only be permitted on campus for controlled research or theatrical performances, as set forth in the D.C. Code.

I would like to commend the project team consisting of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and neighbors, led by co-chairs Beth Muha, associate vice president of human resources, and Rob Hradsky, associate vice president and dean of students, for their work implementing this new policy.

The project team conducted a situational analysis and constituent readiness study, which included a literature review, surveys, and outreach. They also researched best practices at peer institutions.

Last spring, the project team presented the committee’s progress to various campus constituencies, including the University Council, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Student Government, Residence Hall Association, Human Resources representatives, and other campus groups. They also gathered feedback and comments from students, faculty, and staff, which helped form some of the committee’s decisions.

Becoming a tobacco-free campus is an ongoing and long-term initiative. We trust that members of our community who disagree with the policy will accept the university's decision and take the necessary steps to comply.

As we implement this new policy in the coming weeks and months, please let us know how we’re doing. Comments and feedback can be sent to tobaccofree@american.edu.

Thank you for your support in this important effort.


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