Campus Smoking Ban Takes Effect Next Fall

by Jake Hawkins

Thank you for not smoking.

President Charles Shearer announced Wednesday that a campus-wide smoking ban will go into effect on Aug. 1, 2010. This will prohibit all forms of tobacco consumption anywhere on campus except for a designated area between Clay Hall and the International House.

This ban comes after a year of campus-wide discussion and research headed by Ashley Hinton-Moncer, part-time instructor in physical education and the director of fitness and wellness, with the help of an exploratory committee charged with researching tobacco consumption on campus.

The committee, according to Hinton-Moncer, recommended two options for limiting tobacco consumption on campus. The first option was to implement a complete and immediate ban on all tobacco products. The second option was to put forth a schedule that would incrementally phase out tobacco products on campus.

However, the administration took the advice of the committee and chose a third option that Hinton-Moncer described as a “95 percent tobacco-free campus.” The decision to provide a designated smoking area prevents the ban from being a complete one.

The smoking ban also prohibits tobacco consumption in all campus parking lots and inside personal vehicles parked on campus property.

“Currently if (the Department of Public Safety) sees people smoking in their vehicles they can assume it is an illegal product they are smoking. That can cause safety concerns,” said Hinton-Moncer.

Public sidewalks will, however, not be included in the ban. Public sidewalks include any sidewalk that borders campus, rather than those within campus. For example, the sidewalks on North Broadway would not be included in the ban, but the sidewalks that lead from one campus building to another would be. The sidewalks on North Broadway and other bordering locations of the university are not property of the university; the administration, therefore, does not have the jurisdiction to ban smoking in those locations.

Don’t rush to line up on sidewalks to smoke, however.

“There is a congregating rule,” said Hinton-Moncer, “so you can’t congregate on the sidewalks. … That will be enforced.”

This ban will undoubtedly be one of the last major acts put forward by President Shearer, and it is one marked with some controversy.

First-year Bethany Davenport said, “I feel they didn’t really listen to the students. Even though I feel smoking is harmful the choice to smoke is the student’s and not many, if any, students at the panels were against the current policy, which I feel would have been adequate if they just enforced it.”

The current policy designates areas within 20 feet of entrances to be the only smoke-free zones on campus.


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