SGA urges Co-Lin to go smoke-free

Published 12:07pm Friday, June 6, 2014

The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Student Government Association is pushing for a smoke-free campus.

A letter from the SGA president was presented at the Co-Lin Board of Trustees meeting Thursday afternoon, requesting a campus policy go into effect starting August 2014 or January 2015 at the latest.

The SGA unanimously approved the proposal at their last meeting. According to the letter, SGA would be very active in education and spreading the word of the new policy and would work with King’s Daughters Medical Center to provide smoking cessation programs.

Community colleges across Mississippi are making the move to smoke-free campuses. Eight out of the 15 currently have these policies in place, according to the SGA research team.

The letter explained that the policy should apply to any person that is in and around buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and sporting facilities, “in order to promote a healthier environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles said the board polled the campus two years ago to find the public opinion on the same issue. The majority of faculty, staff and students felt the campus should be smoke-free.

The board acknowledged the SGA’s recommendation and is investigating different avenues for enacting a smoke-free policy for Co-Lin.

Other business discussed at the meeting included:

• The demolition of the vacant triplex faculty-housing unit to make way for the new Early Childhood Instructional Facility. The board is in the process of receiving bids for the project. It is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million.

Jane Hulon, vice president of instructional services, explained that the current Early Childhood program is currently housed in two facilities: the R.E. Anderson building and a trailer, which was supposed to be temporary several years ago.

• Enrollment at Co-Lin has steadily increased since 2012, and 707 students attended the college in 2014. However, summer enrollment figures are lower this year compared to 2013.

• The board voted to increase student meal tickets for 2014-2015: five-day meal ticket will cost $850, seven day tickets will be $1,025 and a commuter meal ticket will cost $375.

• Kristan Lee, audit manager with Fortenberry and Ballard, reported that Co-Lin had only one negative finding on its audit. The trustees have been able to remove all other previous findings from their report. “It’s a great feat to have something removed,” said Lee.

• The report on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ response to Co-Lin’s compliance report showed nine minor areas that needed improvement, which the board has begun to address. The average school has 18, officials said.