AU considers smoking ban on campus

AU considers smoking ban on campus

AU may ban smoking on campus, according to student leaders.

“They are still looking for student input looking for what the best thing to do would be,” Student Government President Tim McBride’s chief of staff, Palak Gosar, said.

University representatives did not respond to requests for comments by press time.

AU President Neil Kerwin has gathered members of the University Council, which includes student leaders, faculty, staff and an alumnus, as well as other student leaders to ask them to measure student input on the possibility of banning smoking, according to a student familiar with the conversations, who wanted to remain anonymous because the information is not yet public.

“President Kerwin cares very deeply about the issue,” Elliot Bell-Krasner said, executive chairman of the Graduate Leadership Council.

SG and the GLC sent out a survey Dec. 2 via email, asking the student body about AU’s smoking policy.

About 47 percent of polled undergraduates said the SG should “advocate that campus be smoke/tobacco free.” About 53 percent of graduate respondents were in favor of AU becoming a smoke-free campus, according to Bell-Krasner and McBride. About 700 undergraduates and 900 graduates completed the survey.

“There are a number of students on this campus who are very vehement about the issue,” Bell-Krasner said.

About 10 percent of graduate survey respondents identified as smokers, Bell-Krasner said. SG’s undergraduate survey did not ask students whether they were smokers.

“I am personally very appreciative of the fact that we have been, Tim and I, been included in the conversations with regards to this, because if this had been another university, the administration might not have been bothered,” Bell-Krasner said.

Administrators would implement the changes no sooner than fall 2013, the anonymous student said.

People should not assume that the changes will occur “overnight,” Bell-Krasner said.

Student leaders and administrators also considered restricting smoking to outlying parts of campus. Some recommended regularly enforcing the rules already in place, such as prohibiting smoking on the steps of Mary Graydon Center, the anonymous student told The Eagle. Signs on the MGC steps currently ask smokers to move 25 feet from the building entrances.

AU is not the first school to consider a smoke-free campus. There are at least 648 U.S. campuses that ban smoking. However some of these are medical campuses, according to no-smoke.org.

news@theeagleonline.com

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle