Board of trustees looking for input on proposed smoking ban for SC4
Members of the board of trustees met for their regular meeting Oct. 10 where the board took public comments and made a second reading of the proposed revision for smoking policy at SC4, known as Board Policy 2.13.
The policy presently states smoking is prohibited within a 20 feet radius around any enclosed space on SC4’s campus. The proposed revision to the policy eliminates the 20 feet radius rule and call for a complete ban on any tobacco products anywhere on the SC4 campus, effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Board Vice Chair Nicholas Degrazia recommended postponing an action on Board Policy 2.13 until the next general meeting.
“We’ve heard valuable input from those who believe in a smoke-free campus, but we’ve yet to hear anything from the other side, someone who would propose some kind of allowance for smoking. I’m wondering if there is some way we could get input from those people,” Degrazia said.
Ken Barker, a member of the St. Clair County Smoke Free Team, doesn’t think so: “The reason that the other side of the smoke-free campus isn’t represented at these meetings is because they have no legal ground to do so,” Barker said. “St. Clair County’s adoption of a smoke-free campus would be following in the footsteps of over 22 other universities and colleges who are adopting these polices.”
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Coalition report published in July, out of the 22 colleges that have smoke-free policies in Michigan, 17 are completely tobacco free.
To address the possibility of a policy change, a SC4 smoking policy committee has been created to brainstorm the most effective way to implement the new policy.
While no definite conclusion was reached at the smoking policy committee’s meeting Oct. 22, discussion arose about possibly allowing students to smoke in their cars, a prevision that the current board policy does not allow.
“As a smoker, I know that I’m not going to quit smoking just because the college is going tobacco free,” said assistant registrar Sue Tenbrink, who was the only smoker present for the committee. “When someone approaches me and tells me that I’m not allowed to smoke on campus, my first question will be to ask them where I can. We need to keep this in mind while we decide how to implement the ban.”
SC4 nursing student Natalie Hillman fully supports a tobacco free campus.
“Whenever I go to class I have to walk through a cloud of smoke. I’m very sensitive to tobacco smoke and end up coughing every time,” Hillman said.
Teddy Pace, SC4 alumni currently on campus for the University of Michigan psychology degree had a different opinion.
“That’s bullshit,” said Pace. “I follow the rules and stand 20 feet away from the building. If they need change, why can’t they just have designated smoking areas for us?”
The board of trustees next regular meeting will be held Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the SC4 Alumni Room, located in the College Center.
Erick J. Fredendall