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Students OK Tobacco-Free Campus, Eliminates Athletics Fee

Associated Press
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Photo: JES AZNAR/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: JES AZNAR/AFP/Getty Images

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Southern students voted for a tobacco-free campus but narrowly rejected a new fee to fund athletics and recreation.

Students supported a plan to ban smoking, tobacco and electronic cigarettes on campus by a vote of 401-159. The result of the two-day vote is mostly symbolic because the Student Senate is only an advisory group to university administrators, The Joplin Globe reported Thursday.

Smoking and tobacco are currently allowed only in designated areas on campus. The new proposal would enact totally smoke-free policies by the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

The proposal to impose a new athletics and recreation fee of $4 per credit hour, to be capped at $60 per semester, failed by a vote of 298 to 267. Only about 10 percent of the student body voted on the proposed changes.

Marcus Mahaffey, a freshman business management major from Joplin, supported the tobacco ban.

“Walking around, I don’t want to have to smell secondhand smoke,” he said.  “I think for the school and upcoming students, to have a tobacco-free campus is a big plus.”

Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, said administrators would consider all consequences of the tobacco-free proposal before making a recommendation to the Board of Governors, which has final authority on policy changes.

Members of the board had previously said they would consider implementing the proposed fee if students approved it.

A majority of the proposed Recharging Our Athletics and Recreation fee would have gone toward projects such as new lighting and sound systems at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center, new band uniforms and a new soccer/intramural stadium. The remaining 10 percent was planned for the Campus Activities Board, which oversees student programming.

David Reese, a senior from Kansas City, Kansas, who plays baseball for Missouri Southern, said the university needs athletics upgrades.

“After being here for four years and dealing with some of the facilities that we’ve dealt with, it would be nice to see some new things on campus,” he said.

Mahaffey said he voted against the fee because he doesn’t think athletics and recreation are a high campus priority and he didn’t want another fee added to students’ bills.

“There are so many fees right now that we just get nickel-and-dimed to death, so to build to help athletics honestly just kind of frustrates me,” he said.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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