Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced that it is set to become a smoke-, vape- and tobacco-free campus on January 1, 2020.
Dr. Mark Rudin, president of A&M-Commerce, sent a letter to the university community on December 13 explaining the details of the decision and policy.
"In a directive received from John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System on October 1, 2019, the use of electronic cigarettes has been banned on all Texas A&M System campuses, including Texas A&M University-Commerce,” Rudin stated. “Chancellor Sharp asked that we implement the ban as quickly as possible."
The letter explains that the university was also encouraged to align its tobacco-use policy with the vaping ban. In response, university administration says that it consulted several on-campus groups, including the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Staff Council, University Police Department, Student Affairs, Residential Living and Learning, Safety, Athletics, and Administrative Council. After in-depth discussions among its members, each group reported back in favor of making the A&M-Commerce campus tobacco free, according to the letter from Rudin.
The letter goes on to say that after careful consideration and discussion, university administration has decided that–in the interest of the health and wellness of the entire community–the campus will officially become smoke-, vape- and tobacco-free beginning January 1, 2020. The ban is set to take effect on all university property.
“We realize that this will not be an easy transition for everyone,” Rudin acknowledged, “but we ask for your support for this decision.”
The president concluded the letter by thanking everyone for their cooperation and understanding as the campus community works to make A&M-Commerce a healthier place to teach, work, live and learn.
Questions may remain regarding enforcement and potential consequences for violators of the university-wide ban. The published policy FAQ webpage explains that the university expects voluntary compliance with the ban, that it is the responsibility of everyone on campus to politely inform others of the policy and ask that they refrain from using tobacco or vaping products while on campus property.
The page indicates that messaging on university-related materials, websites, and vendor contracts will be aimed at obtaining voluntary compliance from campus visitors. Further, the page says, the institution expects cooperation from students and employees, and that, "the university will evaluate reports of repeated concerns and implement actions for resolution using existing methods of enforcement for university rule violations," in reference to system and university policies that govern ethics, compliance, and disciplinary action, as stated here.