Smoking policy not hindering smoking on campus
Smoking on campus continues to be a problem despite a policy banning it in 2011.
In spring of 2010, the school decided that they would give information and spread awareness about the new “no tobacco” policy, to be activated in the spring of 2011. Starting in January of 2011 the campus would be completely smoke and tobacco-free.
Associate Professor of Education and Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, Eugene Dial, said that Nicholls decided to become a tobacco-free campus before it became a state law.
“Last year, State Legislature passed a law designating that all campuses had to be smoke-free. Each year it’s an ongoing challenge, and we have to educate people,” Dial said. “We put out signs and notices all over campus.”
Even though the school puts signs up, people smoke right next to them, completely disregarding the warning.
“When anyone is seen smoking on campus, the faculty, staff and even students are supposed to politely say that this is a tobacco-free campus.”
Dial said that most people, if approached respectfully, will surrender and no harm is done. If a student refuses to surrender and keeps smoking, disciplinary referrals can be made to judicial affairs. If it’s a faculty or staff member, it can result in a referral to their director and/or human resources. If it’s a visitor, they will be warned or banned from campus.
Dial said, “The purpose of the whole plan is not to punish people. It’s to encourage compliance, especially now that it is a law.”
He doesn’t want to punish people for smoking, especially because everyone at Nicholls should be an adult.
“Personally, I don’t see many people on campus smoking. When I do, 90 percent of the time it’s a visitor,” Dial said.
He said that he thinks because it’s a statewide law, people are aware of the rule. Others, however, say that everyday people are smoking all around campus. Most people smoke on the outskirts of campus though. Rarely does one see someone smoking in the quad.
Dial said, “I think we should exploit this on every form of media, Nicholls Facebook, Nicholls Twitter and send e-mails every semester.”
There are about 1200 new freshmen each year and 300-400 transfer students every year, so everyone may not be aware.
Those who are aware of the university policy and law are hoped to be respectful.
Dial said that he understands that people have the right to smoke, but there’s a prevailing right to peruse ones educational goals without being subjecting to the smoke of others.
Dial explained that he feels that Nicholls should keep a smoke and tobacco-free campus. Smokers should just be respectful and smoke somewhere else.
Many students, smokers and non-smokers alike, think that there should be a designated area to smoke. A student who smokes may handle stress differently and may not have time to leave campus between his or her classes.
“The prevailing will of the people is that it’s more important to the society to provide a smoke-free school environment than to provide a smoking one,” Dial said.