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Chancellor extinguishes rumors on smoking ban

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Chancellor Susan Koch spoke to the SGA last weekend about the progress the Smoking Policy Task Force has made and to publicly voice her expectations of the task force.

Koch expects a recommendation from the task force on Feb. 1 and wanted to notify students that the task force will not be making a decision, just a recommendation.

“I think there are some folks that have jumped the gun,” Koch said. “I’ve been getting some emails from people saying ‘Why are we having this task force when everybody knows we’ve already made up our minds, or that I’ve made up my mind?’ I can tell you I haven’t made up my mind.”

She also addressed the posters that have been popping up around campus, pushing students to email SGA President Aaron Mulvey and Koch about the smoking ban. The poster was unauthorized and took the image from the Chancellor’s blog.

“It’s bringing more emails into my inbox and I’m just forwarding it on to the chair of the task force,” she said. “I have not asked all of campus to give me input because that’s the task force’s job to collect that input. I know that there are some folks on campus that are just very excited about it and their very worried about it and that’s completely normal.”

Because of her relationship with the other two chancellors, Koch is very familiar with the smoking ban that will hit the Urbana-Champaign campus Jan. 1 and the tobacco-free policy already in place on UIC’s campus. But she also stressed UIS is not simply going to follow suit because the other sister schools have these policies.

“I’m completely confident that the task force is going to do a thorough job,” she said. “I have no idea what their recommendation is going to be.”

Though the task force is still a long way out from their formal recommendations, they are set to move past the introduction phase of the process.

“We are happy to announce that the survey that we have been putting together should be available by the end of this week to all of campus,” said Parliamentarian Kyle Noland.

“We’re basically doing open dialogues multiple times this semester and maybe the beginning of the next to try and get people to come out and get those questions out there, help clear up some of the confusion about what’s actually going on,” said the other student member of the task force, Internal Vice President Dane Vincent. “We’re trying a large-pronged attack to get as much positive and correct information out as possible.”

“If there were to be a decision to implement a new policy that would either be a smoke-free or tobacco-free, it would take a number of months to do that,” Koch said. “Because what you do in that situation is you offer smokers (quitting) classes and you do a lot of other things to educate the campus before you actually implement. So this is not something that is going to happen very quickly if it’s going to happen at all.”

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