By Noa Maltzman
This year Skidmore welcomed a new smoking policy. The policy restricts smokers to certain designated areas on campus. Specifically, the interior of the main campus – including the tables outside the Burgess Café – has been declared “smoke free.”
Listed on the Skidmore College website, the smoking policy explains that the purpose behind this new development is "to limit the potential exposure of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the effects of second-hand smoke, reduce the risk of fires on campus and provide the community with a healthy, respectful working and learning environment.”
This year’s academic handbook gets into thick details regarding the smoking policy, unlike in the 2013-2014 handbook, which merely stated, “in compliance with New York State law, smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas of the College, including dining halls and the Spa. In addition, all residence halls and apartments are smoke-free buildings. Cigarettes are not sold on the College campus.”
No one is allowed to smoke indoors on campus, including residence halls and the dining hall. Nor is smoking permitted in college-owned vehicles, within 25 feet of a campus facility or in the designated smoke free areas. The interior of the college along the quad is one of the major smoke free areas. All college events are non-smoking and no smoking areas are provided.
Overall, the student reactions have been varied. The Skidmore News posed an online survey to the Skidmore community asking, “this semester, the College rolled out a new smoking policy that prohibits smoking in certain areas around campus. Do you support the new smoking policy?” The results showed in favor of the new policy. However it’s important to point out that the poll contained a mere 20 participants (16 in favor of new restrictions with only 4 counts against).
A few students – whom asked to remain anonymous – were smoking outside the library on Tuesday, the 16th. Students have been spotted smoking in other smoke-free areas as well.
Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, Rochelle Calhoun, said simply, “we expect our students to follow the rules” (in regards to the new smoking policy). For those not sharing Calhoun’s enthusiasm for policy respect, the new smoking policy details the consequences for those who choose not to comply. Consequences vary depending on your connection to the campus. For example, a faculty or staff employee of the college should know that, “violations of this policy will be addressed through educational and corrective measures as outlined in Human Resources policies and procedures.” As a student, you’ll be sent to the integrity board. Lastly, visitors refusing to comply with the policy may be removed from the building, the event they are attending, or from the campus and may not be readmitted.
For smokers who wish to quit smoking should seek the assistance the college has made available. “We have additional services in place to help people stop smoking,” said President Glotzbach. On the Skidmore College website under the listed smoking policy, you’ll find resources from the NYS Smoker’s Quitline, Glen’s Falls Hospital, Employee Assistance Program, and Community Health Centers for those seeking to quit. On campus, Health Services can provide counseling, and even prescription medicine for more drastic cases.
The College plans to revaluate the smoking policy in spring of 2017, and hope that by the fall of 2017 the campus will be completely smoke free.