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Hazy smoking ban enforcement

By Edan Stanley (Special to The Chronicle) Many wonder if the South Campus smoking ban will not only be built upon, but actually enforced, as well.

And while this ban is still falling into place, the University Senate Student Affairs Committee is working with the Provost and students to come to a decision on the potential smoking ban status of North Campus.

The new topic of debate centers on whether or not to enforce a campus wide smoking ban, extending South Campus’s policy to the North Campus.

Policy passed in October of 2012 was formally enacted in the Spring of 2013, putting into effect a South Campus smoking ban for students, faculty and visitors alike.

Matt Markowitz, a senior public relations major said “It could be seen as a bit harsh, because as unpleasant as being around smokers is, they do have a right to do that.”

Some potential ideas thrown around the Student Affair Committee’s most recent meeting include; designated smoking areas and time slots when smoking is allowed to avoid heavily populated times, instead of a total campus-wide ban.

The idea of creating a survey to poll student opinion was also suggested.

Billy Finnegan, senior creative writing major and Chair of the University Senate Student Affairs Committee said, “I think we should have our voices heard. I think we should have student representation with actual holding data that an actual relevant student body would support.”

While the number of no smoking signs has increased, some students question the actual enforcement of the ban.

Ron Singh, a senior political science major and SGA’s vice president, has watched the transition from smokers being allowed to smoke 20 feet away from a building to not at all on the south side of campus.

“It is generally enforced, but Public Safety can’t be everywhere,” Singh said.

Singh presses for more student involvement in ensuring that the policy is followed.

“The argument is, if you’re going to go halfway, why don’t you go all the way? But the opposite argument is, where do the population of smokers go?” said Singh.”

Gioacchino Stillone, a senior finance major, says he has never been asked to put out his cigarette since the ban was put in place.

“I think it’s more professors themselves coming over sometimes and saying that you can’t smoke here but Public safety, I haven’t seen anybody.”

Stillone is not alone in his belief that the ban is not well enforced.

Medea Giordano, sophomore journalism major, said “I’ve only had students say things about it, not directly towards me, but if I’m smoking and they walk by I hear, ‘Oh, good thing that smoking ban works!”

Stillone went on to say, “They took away all of the ashtrays so now I find when I’m done smoking I have to throw it in the garbage can, rather than just throwing it in the ashtray. Some people just throw them on the ground, but I don’t want to do that.”

Giordano echoed Stillone’s opinion, “I think the ban is stupid and I hate it and if they had ashtrays here, there wouldn’t be cigarette butts all over the ground.”

Charles Forrest, associate director of Hofstra’s Public Safety office explained the rules that go along with the ban.

“We will approach, and we have approached students and said, ‘There is a smoking ban on the south side of campus, can you please put it out?’ and if they choose not to, we will ask them to go to the sidewalk,” said Forrest.

Forrest also added that there are no fines or summonses penalties for not following the policy.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman Berliner believes, “It’s working, but it’s not perfect.”

“I’m still told that there are areas where there are students who smoke on campus, and other members of the community, not just students, and I think we have to get the word across more effectively that on South Campus there is a total smoking ban,” said Berliner.

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