Pittsburg State University
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President’s Council Approves Tobacco Policy Task Force Recommendation

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Pittsburg State University’s President’s Council approved the recommendation by the Tobacco Policy Task Force to go tobacco free in 2015. The approval, which occurred in February of 2014, provides a timeline that includes both an informational and implementation phase.

President Scott has appointed an executive tobacco policy work group to consider a campus communication plan; develop training for staff, students and the community; provide cessation support services for tobacco users; and develop compliance policies.

One immediate effect of the report’s approval is the inclusion of e-cigarettes under the current campus tobacco policy. This means that e-cigarettes will be treated the same as all tobacco products.

A “soft implementation” of the new tobacco policy will begin with the spring semester of 2015, with full implementation by summer of that year.

The Pittsburg State University Tobacco Policy Task Force was formed to explore the feasibility of making the campus tobacco free. The initiative was built upon the university’s past efforts to determine which policies should govern the use of tobacco products at PSU and came after students voted overwhelmingly in a 2012 referendum to recommend that the campus move to a completely tobacco-free environment.

The original Task Force spent more than a year gathering campus input through town hall meetings, surveys and small group discussions. In addition, research of the more than 1,340 campuses that have already gone tobacco-free was conducted to determine best practices. The final recommendation represents a policy designed specifically for Pittsburg State University.


The Tobacco Policy Task Force will be led by Jim Triplett, a professor in the Department of Biology, and Rita Girth, operations director of the Bryant Student Health Center.

Through supportive funding through the Kansas Health Foundation grant, Pittsburg State University has obtained the consulting services of Ty Patterson. Ty is the director of the National Center of Tobacco Policy. He is a highly regarded expert on developing and implementing tobacco policies for higher education institutions, and will be offering assistance to the Task Force as it conducts its work.

Members of the Executive Work Group

Jim Triplet – Co-Chair, Rita Girth – Co-Chair, J.T. Knoll – Wellness and Prevention, Chris Kelly – Marketing/Communications, Mike McCracken – University Police, Brendan Finley – Student Representative/Leadership, Connie Malle – University Housing, Michelle Sexton – Human Resources, Alicia Mason – Faculty, Tom Amershek – Physical Plant

Members of the task force

Rita Girth - Co-Chair, Jim Triplett - Co-Chair, Kafui Alomenu - SGA, Dr. Bert Patrick - Faculty Senate, Barb Circle - Classified Senate, Mike McCracken - University Police, Connie Malle - University Housing, Debbie Amershek - Human Resources, Ashley Hedden - Graduate Student, Serif Uran - PSU-KNEA, Cathy Lee Arcuino - Unclassified Senate, Natalie Cullen - Intercollegiate Athletics, Chris Kelly - University Marketing & Communication, J.T. Knoll - Wellness and Prevention, and Val Engstrom – Admission


A final implementation plan will be delivered to President Steve Scott in June of 2014.

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