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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Sidewalks Abutting Named City Streets Excluded from Tobacco Policy Regulation

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 12, 2015) – One year after implementing a new policy to establish a tobacco-free campus, the University of Central Missouri’s continued review of activities in support of this effort is prompting changes in how the university  regulates tobacco use on public sidewalks at UCM that abut named city streets.

Following a review that was conducted by the Office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management and supported by UCM President Charles Ambrose, the university will now use the legal definition of Public Right of Way for public use in determining how UCM controls tobacco use on campus sidewalks. Sidewalks that abut the city’s named public streets will no longer be included as the university implements the Use of Tobacco Policy. Other sidewalks within the campus that do not border such streets will still be regulated.

According to Legal Affairs, the Public Right of Way approach is similar to what individual homeowners experience with public use sidewalks that extend across their own property. The city may require them to have a public sidewalk, and maintain it, but the property owner does not control the sidewalk.   

Responding to a question posted by two students, the matter regarding Public Right of Way and sidewalks was brought to Legal Affairs for review by a representative of the Tobacco Policy Procedures Committee chaired by Mollie Dinwiddie, dean of library services. One of the committee’s charges is to identify specific boundaries on campus where tobacco is or isn’t allowed.

“Our goal as a committee is to find a fair and reasonable approach to implementing the Tobacco Use Policy as the Board of Governors intended. We’ll move forward with efforts to regulate tobacco use across campus, but using the legal definition of Public Right of Way will help us better determine more exactly what the boundaries are,” Dinwiddie said.

The Tobacco Use Policy was adopted by the Board of Governors in November 2012 to aid the universitycommunity in providing a healthy, respectful, clean and safe campus environment to study, work and learn. As stated in the document, the university community shares in the responsibility for adhering to and encouraging individuals to follow the policy. The success of such efforts depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of those who use tobacco and those who do not.

Dinwiddie noted that as part of continued efforts to make people aware of the policy, the Tobacco Policy Procedures Committee is continuing to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues related to its implementation and understanding. The committee plans to work with University Relations to develop additional signage, and engage in other communication activities to enhance awareness.

Since the university began implementing the Tobacco Use Policy Jan. 1, 2014, there has been an overall decline in smoking, and smokeless tobacco use has remained steady on campus, according to committee member Amy Kiger, director of violence and substance abuse prevention (VSAP). She said four-year trend data collected through the UCM Missouri College Health Behavior Survey since 2011 shows a steady increase in the number of students who have attempted to quit smoking versus smokers who have not attempted to do so. VSAP will continue to conduct surveys to help document tobacco usage, in addition to providing cessation opportunities for those who want to quit.

Although the number of tobacco users has declined, Kiger added one of the issues related to tobacco use is time spent by custodial staff cleaning up areas where cigarette butts have been discarded. She said her office is planning to offer small tin containers, which can specifically be used for disposal of cigarette butts. People can request a tin by emailing or stopping by Administration 102. Additionally, the VSAP staff will be distributing the tins to individuals on campus beginning the week of Jan. 17.

Dinwiddie said the committee is pleased with the cooperation UCM has received campus-wide since the policy implementation process began. She stressed the value of ongoing activities to make people aware of the Tobacco Use Policy, and the continued need to work with individuals who use tobacco to help them understand and follow the policy.  

“A culture shift takes time,” she said. “This requires an ongoing educational effort.”

People who have questions related to reporting incidents that relate to policy regulation or who want to know more about free opportunities to stop smoking or using chewing tobacco are encouraged to visit or call 660-543-4404.