Smoking Policy Updated

Smoking Policy Updated

Pat Hunter

First year student Lorenza Tuccinardi smoking a cigarette outside the McHale Residence Hall.

Brittany Hayes, Reporter

Student Government Association officials are trying to clear confusion surrounding the newest regulations for on- campus smoking.

Secretary Gabriela Vitorino and President AJ Heintz are trying to clear the air amongst all of the confusion—the rules are on a complete smoking ban.  Campus officials are beginning to enforce campus smoking rules.
According to the student handbook, smoking is not permitted in any building, including residence halls and university vehicles.  It is not permitted within 20 feet of buildings.  Smokers may light up in designated outdoor areas, which have ashtrays.

“The policy has been in place since the start of the academic year,” said Heintz.

Heintz said there is good reason for the policy—complaints. “There were some for the act itself, but most complaints revolved around people smoking right where people need to walk to get into class, their dorms, or Banks. They did not like that they had to be subjected to second-hand smoke, and there was no way around it.”

Vitorino said the numerous cigarette butts on campus grounds were even more incentive to create and enforce a solution. “Misericordia is known for its beauty and SGA does not want students to feel as if we are attacking their personal choices to smoke or not to smoke. We just ask that they respect the environment on our campus.”

Vitorino also said officials and the SGA want to maintain smoking on campus, but within reasonable rules. “If individuals do not cooperate with these guidelines with actions such as moving waste disposal receptacles and benches, enforcement will come into effect,” she said.

The SGA is working to have proper signage on buildings to inform students and faculty alike of the policy. “With the help from Kit Foley [Dean of Students], signage for locations around campus to remind everyone of the 20-foot distance from university buildings is in the works,” says Vitorino. “We hope to see these signs installed for the upcoming school year, if not sooner.”

Officials have not decided upon the consequences for violations.

Heintz said he and administrators hope to provide an environment where all students feel safe. “We want all members of the Misericordia University community, faculty, staff, and students, to go about their daily lives here on campus without being subjected to things that could be harmful for their health, when they have chosen to have a healthier lifestyle,” he said.

Vitorino and others are actively seeking ways to better the MU campus. “We work for the students and try very hard to make the best decisions for current and future students at Misericordia.”

While the smoking rules are not yet in the faculty/staff handbook, Heintz said those members of the community were also involved in the policy’s development. “It is in the student’s handbook but when we sent out the survey last year, we sent it to students, faculty, and staff.”

Colleges and universities in the area and across the country have endorsed similar policies. King’s College and Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre issued a similar policy, and Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke has designated smoking “huts” for student and faculty smokers.

SGA attempted to provide smoking “huts” for students and faculty in the past, but the idea was rejected by a number of survey participants consisting of MU students and staff.