KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Chancellor Beverly Davenport said the University of Tennessee is planning on reviewing two policies beginning in the fall semester.
Chancellor Davenport says new legislation passed by the General Assembly authorized leaders of all state colleges and universities to adopt policies to regulate smoking and tobacco use on properties the university owns or operates on. She said Senior Vice Chancellor Chris Cimino will lead a task force to review the university’s current smoking policy and make recommendations.
Smoking is currently prohibited in all buildings owned or operated by the university and entrances. It is also not allowed at the entrances to those buildings.
“We’re kind of behind compared to other SEC schools with that policy,” said Student Body President Morgan Hartgrove. “Hopefully we can take a good look at that, bring us more up to par with what other schools are doing, and hopefully it will be a good fit for UT as well.”
She says other schools have stricter policies.
“They’re either smoke free or smoke and tobacco free so we’re kind of an outlier within the SEC and within schools in Tennessee,” said Hartgrove.
According to Americans for Non-smokers Rights, there are now at least 1,827 100 percent smoke-free campus sites as of as of April 3, 2017. Of these, 1,536 are also 100 percent tobacco-free and 1,400 also prohibit e-cigarette use.
Additionally, Davenport said Vice Chancellor Vince Carilli is chairing a second task force to review and analyze the university’s current alcohol policy. The task force will include students, faculty , an academic dean, staff, alumni and community members. They will also host public meetings to gather input from the community.
“Over the last several years, the Student Government Association has asked the administration to conduct a policy review, and we recognize that it has not been reviewed or updated in many years,” said Davenport in a statement. “This process will give us all an opportunity to collect broad-based input and to have informed conversations about this complicated and multifaceted matter. The task force will prepare a report to summarize its work, make recommendations for policy changes, if any, and provide relevant information regarding the potential impacts of any recommended policy changes.”
Currently, the university does serve alcohol to alumni, donors and other special guests at select university functions. At Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium, alcohol may be stored and served inside suites. However, the university does not serve alcohol at either location.
Vice Chancellor of Student life Vince Carilli says the review will look at possibly having alcohol at large events, however, the SEC has its own set of policies regarding alcohol during conference games.
“If we bring a concert to Thompson Boiling Arena, will we have an opportunity to maybe think about an alcohol policy as it relates to will alcohol be available at those types of events.”
More than 30 other college stadiums already allow alcohol sales in stadiums. Tennessee State Rep. Eddie Smith said the Knox County delegation has discussed the issue in the past. He says they ran the numbers, and if alcohol was served at non-sporting events like concerts, the university would bring in $500,000 to $600,000 more a year. Adding sporting events to the equation causes that number to skyrocket to more than $1 million.
Carilli says other facets they will look at is clarifying dry campus rules and alcohol education for students.
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