Lack of Enforcement Causes Concern

Ellen Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

Students are concerned about what they say is a lack of enforcement of the campus smoking policy.

Multiple students have appealed to Student Government Association to take action to cut down on smoking too close to building entrances.  SGA president Catie Becker and her peers are asking students to help.

Becker said most of the smoking complaints came from residents of Gildea Hall. She has heard from roughly 15 different students, she said.

“People will smoke right next to the door, especially when the weather is bad, and the smoke then comes up into the windows of residents’ rooms,” she said.

The smoking policy, listed in the student handbook, states smoking is not permitted within 20 feet of university buildings or in the Shakespeare Garden. SGA posted signs on the front and back doors of each residence hall as a friendly reminder. They also sent out an email on Monday reminding smokers to adhere to the policy.

Junior Tamara Bradley, a nonsmoker, said smoke would travel to the second floor window of her dorm during her freshman year, and the smoke  from the butts of smokers outside to her bedroom inside the dorm. She said she spoke to her Residence Director about the issue which was then resolved. Since then she hasn’t had a any problems with smoking around campus buildings, but said smokers should have the common courtesy to stay away.

“I think smokers should understand not everyone smokes and it does bother some people,” Bradley said. “If they heard complaints about it and they are the ones standing so close to the buildings they should have the common courtesy to move the 20 feet for the five minutes they’ll be outside.”

Bradley, along with a group of nonsmokers suggested moving the cigarette trays 20 feet from the entranceways so smokers would not be prompted to light so close to the buildings.

Becker agrees, but said the job description of staff members does not include walking around, spotting smokers, and enforcing policy. She’s heard suggestions from students  that Campus Safety or the Residence Assistants should become responsible for enforcing the policy.

“The smoking policy can be effective but it will take all of the student’s checking up on each other and holding each other accountable, however uncomfortable it might be,” she said. “No one group is solely responsible for enforcing the policy.”

Senior Colleen Dean recently quit smoking after 10 years. She said she understands smokers’ challenges and why they do not always abide by the policy.

“I think it’s really unfair that they want people outside of the dorms 20 feet away because that is their home and they should feel comfortable smoking outside it,” Dean said.

She feels the university should provide other accommodations.

“I feel like they don’t accommodate to smokers on this campus where as other campus’ have smoking gazeboes or specific places to go,” she said. “This semester I even noticed fewer ash trays which is a little ridiculous.”

Darcy Brodmerkel, Student Government Advisor, said smoking has always been an issue on campus but does not think the problem has gotten any worse.

“I think it’s always been an issue but maybe it has gotten a little better since we have primarily only had complaints from Gildea Hall residents where in the past we had a lot of complaints from McHale Hall as well,” Brodmerkel said.

Brodmerkel blames the Gildea complaints to the fact that there is only a small overhang directly in the front and back of the residence hall. Larger covered areas exist outside of other campus buildings and residents’ rooms are farther away from the entranceways.

Brodmerkel wants students to voice their opinions.

“I know it’s a tough situation but students need to step up and hold their peers accountable,” she said.

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