Constitution change bans smoking in all residence halls

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Smoking is a habit that a number of people on campus take part in every day. However, for smokers living in the dorms, things will now be more difficult, due to a recent amendment to the Association of Residence Halls constitution concerning smoking. Currently, all 10 residence halls, including Jardine Apartments, will have to begin enforcing the new smoking policies.

“Constitution Main Motion S was the piece of legislation that was amended,” said Sarah Herigon, ARH voting member and freshman in animal science. “This will now clearly lay out that there will be no smoking, of any type, inside of residence halls. This will eliminate people who smoke electronic cigarettes from smoking them anywhere in any of the halls.”

Herigon also said ARH had to clearly define what smoking meant. ARH defines smoking as anything that emits smoke or vapor from the body of the device. Falling under this definition, hookah will no longer be allowed within smoking parameters or inside any of the residence halls.

“Personally, everyone is different and has their own style,” said Emily Rubeo, freshman in business. “As a smoker, I have my own reasons for smoking, as I know other people have their own different reasons for smoking. People choose to smoke and others choose not to. Smoking for some people is something that helps them de-stress and that is something that shouldn’t be taken away.”

Herigon said she loves the new policy change. She says it benefits people who have asthma, because they will no longer have to walk through smoke to go in or out of buildings, and for people who are trying to quit. She said this way people who don’t want to be around the people who smoke don’t have to be.

The part of the amendment Herigon dislikes is that each residence hall will be able to set a boundary for smoking farther than the mandatory state law and city ordinance of 30 feet. She doesn’t like this because residence halls could set unrealistic distance limits, and it also creates inconsistency between the halls.

“With the halls being able to set their own parameter limitations for smokers allows Housing Governing Boards of each hall to have input on their communities and surroundings,” said Nick Lander, assistant director of residence life. “The positive of this policy is that it is hard for ARH to make policies that pertain to all 10 residence halls. The negative of this is that there are a lot of students who go between halls. Without clearly posted expectations of each hall, there could be confusion.”

Lander suggested a solution to the smoking limit around dorm buildings. He said that smokers should be clearly told where they can smoke, instead of all of the places they can’t. He said resident assistants can warn smokers if they are too close to the building and possibly even document it.

“When smokers are warned or asked to move, they typically do,” Lander said.

For smokers who live in residence halls, like Rubeo, it becomes difficult when there are no places to sit and socialize that are at least 30 feet from all of the buildings in residence hall complexes. Rubeo questioned the policy if universities try so hard to be fair, why do they discriminate against smokers?

“I have met so many cool people sitting outside and smoking. I mean even some of my really good friends,” Rubeo said. “We are in college now. We are all adults. And we should all be treated as adults by making our own decisions about things like smoking.”

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