Members of the Undergraduate Senate said they intend to override Student Government President Joe Vidulich’s expected veto of the smoking bill at their next meeting.
Vidulich told senators about his decision to veto the bill in an e-mail Tuesday night. The senate passed the bill during its meeting Sunday.
In the e-mail, Vidulich said he supports portions of the bill, including building smoking shelters, moving ashtrays from building entrances and a courtesy and awareness campaign. However, he said he opposes any bill that could lead to punitive fines, Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services sanctions or community service.
The smoking bill would create smoke-free courtesy zones at the entrances of buildings, bus stops and during outdoor events and emergency evacuations. The bill also calls for a campuswide awareness campaign to educate students about secondhand smoke and resources to quit smoking.
Nick Troiano, a class of 2011 senator, a photographer for The Eagle and one of the bill’s sponsors, said he was disappointed with Vidulich’s decision to veto the bill.
“Overall, I’m just very disappointed Joe would disregard something the majority of the senate supported,” he said.
Troiano said he expected Vidulich to veto the bill, but said he thinks the senate will be able to override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote this Sunday.
If all 27 senators are present at the upcoming meeting, 18 would need to vote in favor of the override to make it happen, according to Senate Clerk Seth Cutter.
Vidulich said in the e-mail that he discussed the smoking policy on Tuesday with President Neil Kerwin’s University Council, which is made up of faculty, staff and student leaders that meet once a month. Vidulich said the council created a policy with “reasonable steps for addressing smoking on the campus.”
The council’s proposed policy supports a smoking awareness campaign, constructing smoking shelters, placing smoking receptacles and a detailed plan to help students stop smoking. The council’s policy calls for it to review its stance during the February 2009 meeting, Vidulich said.
Vidulich’s suggestion is not a policy, Troiano said.
“His suggestions fall short of an effective solution for this,” he said. “I think we need to get it right at the first shot. Our bill protects people’s health who don’t smoke and accommodates for those who do smoke.”
Vidulich said he would be disappointed in the senate if it overrode his veto.
“I never would conceive that students would condone sanctions against their fellow students,” he said. “I think that all students do realize there is a problem, and that’s what I hope to solve.”