October 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 27  

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Sponsorship hubbub

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Smoking tobacco companies have had deals to get cigarette girls to sell cigarettes to students at university campuses in Alberta.

The students’ union at the University of Lethbridge cut a deal with Rothman’s tobacco company to sponsor a concert in which cigarette girls sold smokes in the non-smoking campus bar, confirmed Gorm Hanson, VP-administration of the Lethbridge Student Union.

According to Hanson, the break-even event was approved by student representatives and did not raise any controversy until the area’s media outlets heard about it. “Decisions of this nature would likely result in longer discussions now that we have been made aware of the controversy of the subject,” he said.

At the University of Calgary, the students’ union was in a similar deal with tobacco companies when the executives’ terms began, so the deal was revised so executives coming into office were not bound by a deal they did not make, said Gavin Preston, VP-operations and finance for the students’ union at Calgary.

“When we get talking about corporate sponsorship, we have to have flexibility in there,” Preston explained, adding future executives will now have the ability to make decisions concerning some events, which is valuable in the anti-smoking Calgary political climate.

“We don’t have a standing policy on it,” said Mark Sellars, University Students’ Council general manager, of agreements between the USC and tobacco companies.

Sellars explained the deals made at the Alberta universities have not happened at Western and there is no tobacco advertising on campus today. However, if a credible proposal would be offered to the USC it would go to Sellars and, if approved by him, would then be passed to the USC Board of Directors for consideration.

“I would be very surprised to see it happen at Western — there would have to be a tremendous fiscal benefit for the students,” Sellars noted.
“Such a contentious issue would be debated in council,” said USC VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy.



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