A Georgetown University Student Association effort to make Georgetown a smoke- and tobacco-free campus seeks to collaborate with Students of Georgetown, Inc., more commonly known as the Corp, to end tobacco and nicotine sales in Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles.
GUSA Policy Chair for Student Health Casey Kozak (NHS ’20) sent an email to the personal email of Corp CEO Alex Gong (SFS ’20), copying two other Corp employees, asking them to speak with her about eliminating sales of tobacco products and replacing them with contraceptives Oct. 10.
“I would like to meet with you and discuss a possible collaboration of working to replace nicotine sales on campus with contraceptives, which I believe could off-set [sic] the loss of profit,” Kozak wrote in the email.
The Corp representatives did not respond to Kozak’s email and Chairman of The Corp Ricardo Mondolfi (SFS ’19) said he was not aware of the email until his Oct. 23 interview with The Hoya.
“We have not been contacted by anyone in the community about our tobacco sales,” Mondolfi said in a phone message he left before an interview with The Hoya. “It’s an issue we discuss and continue to look at.”
Kozak created two surveys and sent them in the GUSA weekly email Oct. 24. The first asks about students’ opinions on tobacco and nicotine sales on campus, and the second asks about students’ opinions about the sale of contraceptives, which, Kozak said, could replace tobacco in Vittles and Snaxa. No on-campus vendor at Georgetown currently sells contraceptives, because it would violate their lease agreements with the university, which does not support or affiliate with any groups that offer contraceptives.
The Corp has not yet seriously deliberated ending tobacco product sales, Mondolfi said.
“There’s not even been an internal deliberation about this,” Mondolfi said. “It’s just we have sold tobacco products for who knows how long, certainly since I came to Georgetown, and the nature of it is that we’re going to continue doing it until we decide not to, and we just haven’t sat down to have that conversation.”
The Corp would collaborate with GUSA on the issue of eliminating the sale of tobacco products on campus, Mondolfi said.
“We’re happy and ready to begin a conversation with GUSA as we have on many other issues in the past,” Mondolfi said. “We closely collaborated with them, and this is certainly an issue that we’re happy to engage on, and a lot of members of Corp leadership feel very strongly on this issue as well.”
The Corp will consider student health, morals and finances as it decides whether to stop selling tobacco products, Mondolfi said. The Corp brings in $5.5 million in revenue annually, according to Mondolfi, but he could not offer any information about what percentage of that revenue comes from tobacco sales.
In 2016, a majority of students voted in support of making campus tobacco-free in a schoolwide referendum. GUSA is pushing the university to meet its goal of going tobacco- and smoke-free by 2018, GUSA Press Secretary Jonathon Marek (SFS ’21) said.
“University administrators have made clear that Georgetown is in the process of becoming a smoke- and tobacco-free campus, with full implementation expected by the end of this academic year,” Marek wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The administration must provide additional clarity on its plans for a smoke- and tobacco-free campus to align with its stated goal and to allow GUSA and others to examine its proposals and determine if they are in the best interest of the student body at large.”