Just BreatheGAMBIER, Ohio (December 12, 2012)
Campus Senate's new smoking policy designates smoking areas near academic buildings, but some students question its effectiveness.
The smoking ban, taking effect on January 1, will limit smoking in academic zones to three areas: the patio behind Horvitz Hall, the walkway between Olin Library and the Graham Gund Gallery, and the patio outside of Gund Commons. Smoking will still be permitted 15 feet outside of residences.
Heavily trafficked areas, such as the entrances to Peirce Hall and Olin Library, are common places for smokers to congregate. After persistent student complaints, however, Campus Senate sought to find alternative spaces for smokers.
Ally Compatore '13 of Seattle, a member of Campus Senate, said the ban was enacted to encourage a change of campus culture regarding smoking. "Respect and responsibility are the guiding principles of the ban," she said. "We expect smokers to respect the rights of those around them, but we also expect students to take responsibility and help enforce the ban."
Compatore said the ban was designed to accommodate both smokers and non-smokers. "We wanted to make the policy as feasible and reasonable as possible for all students," she said.
Beyond student responsibility and peer pressure, there are no enforcement mechanisms in place, Compatore said. Without this, some students wonder what the restrictions will accomplish. Max Elder '13 of Manchester, Massachusetts, said he is skeptical about how the ban will work without an official way of enforcing it.
"I think the ban's idea is smart, but without a way of enforcing it, I don't see how it will really take hold," Elder said. "It seems more logical to restrict areas where you can't smoke, as opposed to limiting where you can-that approach might make enforcement easier."
Erich Slimak '15 of Westlake, Ohio, said he is unconvinced the ban will be effective, both because of the lack of enforcement and student habits. "I think the ban is well-meaning, but will be ineffectual," Slimak said. "I don't think anyone will listen to it. We have so many smokers here-I don't see how it will be a deterrent for them."
Depending on the ban's effectiveness, Campus Senate is open to modifying the locations, Compatore said. "If there's a lot of pushback, it's something we will review," she said. "If something needs to be changed after the ban is implemented, we'll take that into consideration."
By Joumana Khatib '13 of Upper Arlington, Ohio