Smoke free campus check point


Alejandro Rivera – Special to the Southern News

Southern Connecticut State University has almost completed its first year as a tobacco-free campus.

According to the SCSU tobacco-free policy webpage, the term “smoking” refers to: inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying or possessing any lighted tobacco products including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and other lit tobacco products.

Gallup polls say that 56 percent of Americans are in favor of making smoking in public places illegal. Many students around campus are bothered by secondhand smoke, while some do not care.

“I am in favor of the tobacco free campus rule. I see less smoking now that the campus has gone tobacco free,” said Christian Samaniego, a junior business major. “But many people have been complaining about students still breaking the rules. Most people walk by Engleman hall everyday and see the same group day after day smoking. Yet, no ones says anything nor do they get in trouble for it. What’s the point of having a rule if it is not enforced?”

Joseph Dooley, Chief of police and director of public safety at SCSU said the university has made progress towards making SCSU a healthier and better campus. Dooley also said since the start of the second semester, there have been reports on how students continue to violate the tobacco-free campus rule.

Dooley says, “Ever since the grant has been approved for a tobacco-free campus, our main goal is to get the message out and make sure more and more people are understanding and respecting this rule.”

Dooley also said there is a plan soon to come in which ambassadors and figures of authority will roam the campus throughout the day and make sure the campus remains tobacco-free.

“We enforce this law in a case by case basis,” Dooley said.  “If a student continues to get caught violating the rules, it is an automatic student handbook violation and may be dealt with by judicial affairs.”

Demi Brennan, sophomore and public health major said, “I couldn’t care less about the rule, but I think it’s silly that students aren’t mature enough to follow the rules that the school has.”

Brennan said she walks by the same group smoking outside of Engleman everyday.

“I do not mind them smoking, but I feel bad for the people that do,” said Brennan. “I am a strong believer that smoking in public places should not be allowed simply because no one can agree on whether it is appropriate or not. Therefore, eliminate it and the problem should be solved.”

The Health and Safety committee has worked hard to make this rule relevant to the school, said Dooley. He roams campus often and the smoking on campus has been decreased dramatically.

Dooley said that before the rule, there would be criminal offenses in smoking areas and graffiti.  

“When we had designated smoking areas, people that used them abused them and others did not use them and would smoke inside, under doorways and other places around campus where smoking should be prohibited,” Dooley said.

Samaniego said he feels as if his health is at risk if students continue to break the rules and smoke on campus.

“It is not like I can walk another route and be late to every class,” Samaniego said. “I should be able to take the short route and not worry about people smoking because it is not allowed.”

Dooley said there is no plan to re-instate designated smoking areas around campus, but there is one thing for sure: the tobacco-free campus rule will stay in effect for a long as possible.

Photo Credit: Michael Ocampo

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