‘No Butts,’ Say Students

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Ellen Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

Smokers on campus are not following the university’s smoking policy and students are complaining about the trash and odors they leave behind.

The campus smoking policy states that smokers must remain at least 20 feet away from building entrances and windows. Sophomore Nick vonEgypt, a resident of Gildea Hall, sent a complaint to Student Government Association in October about smokers not maintaining the required distance from entrances. He said he has not seen a change.

He said smoke  enters into his roommate’s room if a window is left open. He expects the same problems will occur once the weather gets warmer.

“It (smoking policy) definitely has to be enforced because it is a serious issue,” he said. “Smoking causes cancer. Second hand smoke causes cancer.  It’s an issue. I’m an athlete and I don’t want to be putting that into my body.”

Paul Murphy, Director of Facilities and Campus Safety, said everyone on campus is responsible for enforcing the smoking policy.

“The way the policy works is that we all have the responsibility to report people. Students can report each other, employees can report employees, employees can report students and students can report employees,” Murphy said. “It needs to be a concerted effort to keep the campus clean and not just on one particular entity. I strongly urge all students and all employees to report anybody who is not adhering to the policy.”

vonEgypt said he will not hesitate to voice his opinion.

“I would definitely not have a problem saying to someone ‘Why don’t you get away from the building?’ or something.”

Murphy said the littering and trash policy should be enforced along with the smoking policy.

There are more than 30 cigarette butt receptacles and more than 60 trash receptacles around campus, according to Murphy, who said there should be no reason for littering on campus.

“They should abide by the policy and not infringe on the rights of other people and smoke so close to the building that the smoke would go into the building, and then they need to dispose of their butt the same way you and I would dispose of a coffee cup or a soda bottle,” he said.

Murphy suggests residents report problems to their residence directors or residence assistants first. Then, if nothing changes, he suggests directing complaints to Dean of Students Kit Foley.

SGA president Catie Becker said she has heard talk of creating centralized smoking huts on campus, which would eliminate the problem of smokers being too close to buildings. She said the suggestions have mostly come from other students, but she is unsure if officials will act on them.

“Even if they have these huts though, smokers are still going to have to walk there in the bad weather, in the snow, in the cold,” she said.

Murphy is unsure how smoking huts would fit with the environmental aesthetics of campus, and where huts would be placed to benefit everyone in the campus community.

“Maybe not one for each building but have them somewhere strategically placed,” he said. “But if they are on the center of campus, then they begin to smell and it could be offensive to people. Then if we put them in parking lots, then the smokers would get upset with us. It’s a very delicate balance.”

vonEgypt suggests Campus Safety speak up when on rounds during the day or late at night.

“Campus Safety makes their rounds. If they could say something, like roll down their window and say, ‘Can you get away from the building?’” he said. “And if they see it multiple times, then something more serious has to be done, such as a fine because I know something as being loud in your room gets you a $25 fine rather something that’s against the law does not get you anything.”

Becker feels it is in the best interest of everyone to support the policy.

“So really, it’s about student integrity and upholding the policies for people who aren’t smokers but especially for the people who are. If they want to do this, then they should be compliant with the policies,” Becker said.

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