SGA reconsiders a smoke-free campus

Aubrey Zych, Staff Writer

 

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) Smoke-Free Campus Committee met on Wednesday, Feb. 15, to discuss their research and exchange notes regarding the potential for Le Moyne to become a smoke-free campus.

Last semester, the idea of the college becoming smoke-free was brought to the SGA’s attention by Le Moyne College President Fred Pestello. At the time, many members agreed with Pestello’s idea, and looked forward to hearing the opinions of other students, and hopefully implementing the smoke-free campus rule as soon as possible.

However, after each committee member took the time to speak with numerous students last week, they discovered that the idea was not as popular as they had anticipated. Many students argued that they did not want the college “infringing on students’ lives.”

“Most students agreed that a completely smoke-free campus was too extreme,” explained Dennis Carringi, president of SGA and a member of the smoke-free campus committee.

Nour el Houda Sahraoui, SGA’s diversity chair, came up with similar results when talking to students about the smoke-free campus.

“Many students want to keep the 50-foot rule that’s in place now,” she explained.

Currently, Le Moyne has a “50-foot rule” that allows smoking on campus, as long as students are at least 50 feet away from a school building.

“Except, so few students even know what the current rule is,” Sahraoui explained.

Members collaborated with one another on ideas regarding how to inform students of the rule as a means to help enforce it; however, they are still taking the time to talk with other students and consider other options.

Sahraoui suggested a campus-wide email or a quick resident advisor meeting to inform students and remind them to “keep the rule in mind if they choose to smoke on campus.”

“Students aren’t looking to break the rules on campus,” SGA member Jules Shelton added. “If they were better informed and had better visuals to remind them, I don’t think anyone would break the rule.”

Carringi suggested small signs, or even temporary paint 50 feet away from each building to mark where students can smoke.

“It would be easier to enforce that way,” Carringi explained.

However, members also worried about who would be responsible for enforcing the rule. Many members felt uneasy about asking the Security Office or professors to pick up another job on top of their busy schedules.

Sahraoui suggested a system similar to the one currently in place at Michigan State University.

“A group of volunteer students, professors and employees have the job of going around campus and telling students to kindly respect the rule, without any tickets or police or any kind of enforcing involved,” Sahraoui explained. “Based on the article I read, people were very responsive to it.”

William Dolan, S.J., SGA’s moderator, suggested that members also reach out to Health Services to help those students who need help quitting smoking.

“Lots of students want to quit smoking, but can’t,” Dolan explained. “We should encourage support for those who need help quitting.”

The Le Moyne Health Center currently offers services and off-campus referrals for students trying to quit. There are also external links for tips and advice on their website at www.lemoyne.edu/healthservices.

Before settling on a definite plan, members agreed to continue speaking with other students. Members also decided to research other colleges in New York state as to their current smoking policies.

Members will research colleges that are the same size as Le Moyne, and have similar missions, such as St. John Fisher College, Niagara University, Siena College and the College of Saint Rose.

For more information regarding the smoke-free campus and other changes around Le Moyne, students can attend weekly SGA meetings every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Grewen Hall 408.

SGA members can also be contacted through their website at lemoyne.campusgroups.com/SGA/about. Click on the “Contact Us” button.