COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolinas Columbia campus will go tobacco-free on Jan. 1, school president Harris Pastides announced Friday.
USC will join at least 10 other schools in South Carolina the nations fifth-largest tobacco-growing state that already ban smoking or all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco. Another five S.C. colleges, including Clemson and Benedict College, are considering bans.
Since 2006, USC has banned tobacco use within 25 feet of buildings and outdoor seating areas, including patios.
A campus-wide ban means fans tailgating at the former State Farmers Market site or in school-owned parking lots, around basketballs Colonial Life Arena and baseballs Carolina Stadium, cannot light up cigarettes or chew tobacco.
Despite word around campus to the contrary, the ban will be enforced, Pastides said at Fridays USC Board of Trustees meeting.
However, Pastides said he prefers university officers and the schools nearly 40,000 faculty, employees and students offer reminders of the ban and ask tobacco users to attend stop-smoking programs to disciplining or ticketing violators.
It will be imperfectly enforced, he said. This isnt about how many people we catch. Its about how many behaviors we could change. ... This will be enforced in a gentle way.
Pastides said surveys found 87 percent of students and 94 percent faculty and staff dont smoke.
The school will hold a tobacco-free summit in October and install signs and remove ashtrays in December.
Nearly 1,200 colleges nationwide have gone tobacco or smoke free, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation.
In other news from the USC trustees meeting:
• Officials said USCs Columbia campus plans to have a school-record 4,900 freshmen arrive on campus next week.
The school had 4,625 freshmen last year. Its previous record-high freshman class was 4,636 in 2011-12. USC has added students to make up for cuts in state funding, which has dropped nearly in half over the past six years.
• The board approved hiring Jancy Houck as vice president for development and alumni relations where she will work to complete the $1 billion Carolinas Promise fundraising campaign.
Houck, 60, is Yale Universitys associate vice president for development and director of medical development. She aided the Ivy League schools recent $3.9 billion capital campaign. She also worked in development for the University of Florida College of Medicine.
Pastides said he was impressed with Houck, whose office has sent him donation pitches since he holds masters and doctorate degrees in epidemiology from Yale.
If you say no as a donor or I cant, theres always that little extra push. I dont want to call it badgering, but they are relentless, Pastides said. They expect that if youve graduated from that university that a lot of who you are today is because of that. I think we can see a little cranking up of our persistence.
Houck succeeds Michelle Dodenhoff, who left in May. Houck will receive a $300,000 base salary 11th highest most among non-athletics USC employees, according to the state salary database.
• The school said it set a sixth consecutive annual fundraising record, netting $149.1 million in 2012-13.
The old mark was $146.8 million. The Carolinas Promise campaign has reached a total of $756.5 million toward its $1 billion goal set for June 2015.
This years fundraising is expected to get a jump start. Pastides said Friday that he expects one of the larger contributions of the campaign to be announced in a few weeks.
S.C. college campuses that have smoking or tobacco bans, or are considering them:
Charleston Southern University
Columbia International University
Francis Marion University
Medical University of South Carolina
North Greenville University
University of South Carolina (Jan. 1)
College of Charleston