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SGA conducts on-campus smoking survey

By Ben Suazo, Assistant News Editor

Kemi Ajisekola, 21, smokes cigarettes on campus between classes a few times a week.

"It's convenient for me when I have a day with a full schedule and I don't have time to go back to my house every time I have to smoke," said Ajisekola, a senior. Ajisekola's habits would have to change if a campus wide smoking ban were instituted.

President David Zuniga reported the results of an SGA survey on campus smoking on Tuesday. The survey found that, of 643 students surveyed, 8.5 percent identify themselves as smokers. In regards to campus smoking policies, the survey found that 39.2 percent of students support a 20-foot smoking buffer, 22.4 percent support the minimum regulation required by state and federal law and 22.2 percent support a campus-wide ban. A 20-foot smoking buffer is currently the official university policy, as mandated by New York state law.

"I could see why [a smoking ban is being considered] but I think it's infringing on students' rights a little bit because nowhere does it say students can't smoke; nobody signed up for that," said Ajisekola. "To ban smoking all together is a little bit ridiculous."

Rand Smith, a first-year Film major with A.P. Statistics fresh on his mind, questioned whether the survey was valid.

"It's a convenient sample if they're walking up to people [to survey]...It's biased by what people they see," said Smith. "Certain people stay in dorms." To account for surveys taken through Facebook, Smith added that "the only responses will be highly negative or highly positive. [For example,] if you felt really strongly about the issue, you would respond on Facebook."

Ross Nikides, a sophomore Chinese major, found the number of students who encouraged an absolute ban unfair.

"I'm not entirely surprised by the survey's results, although I feel the percentage of people who want smoking banned altogether is rather high, seeing as it's not their decision to smoke or not," Nikides said. While he acknowledged that the harmful effects of secondhand smoke bother him, Nikides remained an advocate for a more gentle policy towards smokers. "It is their choice to smoke, so they should not have to be punished too much for doing it," he said.

In other SGA news: Tonight, according to Programming Chair Caitlin Rauchle, Men's Basketball Coach Mo Cassara will judge student-decorated cakes in the Student Center from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30. The event promotes Friday's season-opening home game.

Appropriations Chair Nick Gomes reported that $1,991.99 was awarded to clubs this week. The remaining funds for fall appropriations are $24,267.15.

The Report of Comptroller Mike Hershfield noted that sports clubs will be paying "costs associated with the use of some fields," beginning next year.

Club Relations and the Rules Committee are working together to give clubs clearer policies from the Office of Student Leadership and Activities, Multicultural and International Student Programs Office and the Recreation Center.  

Student Services continues to work on expanding the Dutch Treats menu and bringing PridePrint to more residence halls.

Addition reporting was contributed by Alexi Knock, Managing Editor.

TNL hit and miss

Letter to the Editor (Oct. 27)