Posted by Danny Graugnard
A new policy on smoking was announced today by the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee which prohibits anyone from smoking within designated areas on campus. These smoke-free areas include most of central campus and the surrounding buildings, which are indicated in purple on the Smoking Policy Map (the smoke free areas are a rough estimation and precise parameters will be released in the Fall). The policy will go into effect in the Fall 2014 semester.
The purpose for the ban, according to an email sent out to the student body by Student Government Association President Sam Harris '15, is to reduce the exposure of second hand smoke to non-smoking members of the College community, as well as to visitors. The policy specifically states that smoking is prohibited within all College facilities, College-owned vehicles, and within 25 feet of all facilities.
The policy does indicate that smoking will be permitted in areas facing the loop road and that individuals may smoke in their own vehicles, even when they are parked on campus. In addition, although the policy does not appear to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, it mentions that users should be mindful of their surroundings.
The new smoking policy has been discussed and reviewed for two years, beginning with a survey of 615 participants between 2011 and 2012. It then opened up to a college-wide survey with 1000 participants that included students, staff and faculty. The IPPC also factored in advising from the Safety in the Workplace Committee. Although the policy focuses on making part of the campus smoke-free, the IPPC subcommittee on Student Affairs has suggested to the IPPC that the entire campus be smoke-free by 2017; steps and further discussions are underway which will determine if this will pass.
In an earlier interview, Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun stated that the College will put up signs for the smoke-free locations, and that while the enforcement of this new policy will mostly be placed on the individual, a student with multiple violations will go before the Integrity Board.
When asked how the College would aid those who would have to change their smoking habits or quit entirely by 2017 should a smoke-free campus policy pass, Calhoun admitted that the current level of support on campus is minimal, but that the College will work to amend this with help from its peer health educators and Health Services.
"If we want to be pro-active and supportive," Calhoun said, "we need to do more on campus."