From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Presidents (page 2 of 8)

OSU snuffed out smoking on campus as early as 1900

Sketch of a smoking student from the 1895 Makio.

1895 Makio.

Earlier this month, the University’s new tobacco-free policy took effect. It prohibits the use of all types of tobacco products on University-owned property, both inside and outside of buildings. This is the most widespread prohibition on tobacco products on the books yet at OSU. However, the University has banned tobacco on campus, at least to some extent, since 1900.

That year, in an update to the campus by-laws, Section 46 was amended to read: “The use of tobacco in any form in the lecture rooms, halls, corridors, door-ways, stair-ways, laboratories and libraries of the university is prohibited.” Until this time smoking was allowed in hallways, but not classrooms or labs.

There was a push in 1930 to have this rule revoked on the grounds that many campus buildings were fireproof, with an understanding that the ban would still hold for non-fireproof buildings, but it was unsuccessful.

William Oxley Thompson, 1907

President Thompson, 1907

At a Wednesday morning convocation in March 1901, then President William Oxley Thompson spoke out not only against the use of tobacco products but the “use of narcotics or stimulants in any form,” particularly for those men under the age of twenty-five. He argued that stimulants produced “a derangement of the nervous system and such a result cannot but affect any man’s abilities in later life.” Keep in mind that this predates the Surgeon General’s report by 63 years!

Campus interest in controlling tobacco use waned until the 1970s. In 1975 Associate Provost George Crepeau sent a memo to all faculty regarding a lack of enforcement of the 1900 ban. The memo mentions “students (and professors) …smoking in rooms with large red NO SMOKING signs posted.” It also discusses the “damage to floors in some buildings where cigaretts [sic] have been dropped and tiles have been burned.” There were many complaints to the Office of Academic Affairs and the President (then Harold Enarson). In 1977, Enarson announced a new focus on enforcing the no-smoking rules in compliance with a new state law regarding smoking in public places.

Student smoking in classroom, 1976

Student smoking in classroom, 1976

A University committee was formed to review the existing non-smoking policy and issued recommendations in 1986 that included banning the sale of tobacco products on University grounds and offering a smoke-cessation program for OSU employees who smoked.

After much public discussion among the University community regarding the proposed policy, the Board of Trustees approved it effective July 1, 1987. Some small changes were made, specifically that the smoking or non-smoking designation for single-occupant offices that could be enclosed were left up to the inhabitants. The Ohio Public Health Association awarded OSU a silver commendation in 1987 for this policy.

In 1991 OSU put together a new Committee to Review University Non-Smoking Policy. As a result of this committee, a new stricter policy was approved by the Board effective July 1, 1993. The updated policy extended the ban to all indoor areas, including St. John Arena and Ohio Stadium, with the exception of “specifically designated private residential space.” The ban

on the sale of cigarettes on campus was continued, as were smoking cessation services. A policy regarding alcohol and tobaccos advertising was issued in 1999, banning both from public campus spaces.

"Smoking permitted in designated areas only" door sticker, 1988

“Smoking permitted in designated areas only” door sticker, 1988

Prior to the current tobacco-free policy, the last major change was in response to the 2006 Smoke Free Workplace Law passed by the state of Ohio. This law prohibited smoking inside buildings or under outside overhands and within 25 feet of doors, windows, and air intakes. This same year, the entire Wexner Medical Center became tobacco free, even in outside spaces. The current policy took effect on January 1, 2014.


Twelve Days: As OSU’s First Lady, Audrey Enarson was a trailblazer

Audrey Enarson, 1970s

Audrey Enarson, 1970s

Until Audrey Enarson, the wives of OSU presidents mainly focused on the social side of the University’s presidency, such as hosting formal gatherings for dignitaries and donors, or arranging casual get-togethers of students and faculty. Their volunteer work was mostly of the fund-raising capacity. Enarson, though, approached her role as First Lady, well, a little differently. 

Audrey Enarson, wife of OSU’s ninth President, Harold Enarson, was born in New Mexico on August 22, 1920. She rode horseback to attend school at a one-room schoolhouse before attending the University of New Mexico, from which she received a degree in education in June 1942. Later that month, she married Harold Enarson.

Enarson talks with a group

Enarson talks with a group

She taught school for several years, eventually leaving the workplace to raise their three daughters. She also served on the school and library boards, and her daughters became involved in Girl Scouts, which led to many years of volunteering long after the girls were grown.

In 1966, Harold Enarson accepted the presidency of a then-new public university, Cleveland State University. Audrey Enarson said in a 2002 oral history interview with the Archives that while she performed the normal duties of a First Lady, like managing the house and organizing parties and other functions, she also volunteered with a group that worked with disabled residents of the city. (Her nephew was developmentally disabled.) It came to an end, though, when she was visiting “this gentleman, and he picked up the coffee table and threw it at me, and just barely missed me,” she recounted.

Top: Enarson walks blindfolded across the Oval with a blind student. Bottom: Woody Hayes is blindfolded for the walk across the Oval, 1973

Top: Enarson walks blindfolded across the Oval with a blind student. Bottom: Woody Hayes is blindfolded for the walk, 1973 (Photos courtesy of the Lantern)

Though she wasn’t able to do such community work anymore, Audrey Enarson continued to advocate for the disabled when her husband became President of OSU in 1972. She made it her mission to make higher education facilities, particularly on the OSU campus, more accessible for those with physical disabilities. In fact, one of her first experiences on campus was to accept the challenge from a student group to experience campus as a blind person. So, along with Coach Woody Hayes, she walked blind-folded with a cane from a certain point on campus to Bricker Hall.

Audrey Enarson approached her role as First Lady a little differently in other ways. During her husband’s presidency, women were often excluded from private lunch clubs and speaker groups. So Enarson and 12 other women created their own organization – the Columbus Metropolitan Club – and recruited members of all races, religions and ages to be members.

She also did things her own way on a much smaller scale: Once, her husband invited representatives of various student groups and their faculty advisors – from the main and regional campuses – to have lunch at the house. Audrey Enarson wasn’t sure what to serve, so she made something from one of her Girl Scout books. (Audrey Enarson had been a Girl Scout, and was an avid supporter of the organization her whole life.) She had decided on cole slaw, so she bought brand-new garbage cans, cleaned and sterilized them, threw all of the slaw ingredients into them and stirred everything – by hand.

Though she disliked the title and the lack of privacy, Audrey Enarson took her role as First Lady in stride. Having grown up on a ranch, Audrey Enarson said of her relationship with Harold at OSU: “… A husband and wife on the ranch worked together.  There is no husband over here and the wife there. And I took that job, as being the wife of a university president, in much the same fashion.  I was by his side as a partner.”

Harold and Audrey Enarson

Harold and Audrey Enarson

To thank her for her work for OSU, Audrey Enarson was awarded with the University’s Distinguished Service Award at Commencement in June 1981. After leaving Ohio State in 1981 the Enarsons retired to Colorado. President Enarson died in 2006 and Audrey Enarson died in 2008, after complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

You can read about Audrey Enarson in her own words, in a transcript of her 2002 oral history interview with the Archives.

– Filed by C.N.

From founding, OSU community celebrated Thanksgiving with a day’s respite

The first faculty of the University, 1873

The first faculty of the University, 1873

On Friday, November 21, 1873, just over two months after the University first opened its doors, the faculty were talking about taking a vacation.

In this particular case, it made sense: Not even a week later, Thanksgiving would be celebrated, so they needed to decide whether classes would be held that Friday. The faculty minutes for that date – the group’s 10th meeting ever – say “that Thursday Nov. 29 (Thanksgiving day) and the Friday following be allowed as holiday by the college, and that all college exercises be disbanded.” It was the only item of business for that meeting.

During World War II, Thanksgiving Day was a holiday for only civilians on campus. All Army and Navy-related classes were still in session on Thanksgiving. At that time, the Commencement ceremony for Autumn Quarter fell in early December, so classes on the Friday after Thanksgiving were considered a must.

In 1945, after the war was over, it was decided that no classes would be held from the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving until the following Monday – a first since before the war – to allow students to travel home for the holiday. In 1946 University faculty and staff were given both Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday off again in recognition for all of the overtime hours they had put in throughout the quarter with the record number of students enrolled that year.

President Bevis, 1948

President Bevis, 1948

In 1947 President Bevis ordered classes to be held the Friday after Thanksgiving, with the tradeoff that employees would get Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as the following weekend off. He stated that the University’s payroll deadlines, as well as orientation and fee payment deadlines necessitated the working Friday.

Classes were again eliminated for the Friday off as early as 1957, according to the Lantern, although OSU employees still had to show up to work. In the mid-1970s, during the nationwide energy crisis, the academic calendar was changed so that finals were completed by Thanksgiving. University employees still had to work the day after the holiday. By the mid-1980s, however, University classes were cancelled and University offices were closed both days.

–Filed by C.N.

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