WSGA eyeing smoking policy change


 Public smoking and the rights of smokers vs. non-smokers is an ongoing and often heated debate But what of the rights of those who don’t smoke? Cassandra White, president of the Washburn Student Government Association (WSGA) feels one solution is to have dedicated smoking installations.

“The White/McAfee administration is not looking to ban smoking on campus,” said White, “We are just trying to relocate it. Right now it’s in the middle of walkways, doorways, and the ten feet rule is not being adhered to.”

The plan, still in the information gathering stage, is to have about five to six different locations around campus where installations, which she described as having a concrete slab foundation with benches and ashtrays, would be set up to have an overhang to keep smokers out of the elements. Currently, smokers are not provided with shelters.

“When it rains, or snows, they are in the doorways,” said White, who also noted that a number of students from various areas, primarily around Morgan Hall, Mabee Library and Henderson have been complaining about the smoke.

White said her administration is trying to find a happy medium.

“We are walking the line between those that think smoking on campus is fine as is, those students, faculty and staff should be able to walk around campus as they please, and the students faculty and staff that wish to ban it, entirely,” said White.

Janae Fairborn, though not a WU student, frequents campus multiple times a week. She agreed that while smokers should have the right to smoke, it sometimes inflicts upon others’ freedom to not be around it.

“It’s hard to balance everybody’s freedom,” said Fairborn. “I would say designated smoking areas are a great idea.”

Some of the tentative locations that White is looking at placing installations include the west enclave of Morgan Hall, between Henderson and the Library, and areas around Petro that aren’t damaging to athlete health.

White wants the shelters accessible, especially for the faculty.

“If they only have a 15 minute break in their day, and they want to go out and smoke, we don’t to make it to where they have to walk twelve minutes to go wherever they are trying to get to.” said White, “Our main concern is just getting it off the pathways”

Aside from the instillations, the plan would be for smoking to be prohibited on campus.

White and her administration plan on talking with members of faculty and administration about the plan.

“We don’t want to pursue anything that isn’t capable of coming to fruition,” said White. “We really can’t do anything to alter the face of campus without their support.”

WSGA hopes to hold an open forum before winter break for students, faculty and staff to voice their opinions about on-campus smoking.

“This is something that is so important for everyone on campus to be engaged in,” said White.

Students are welcome to share their thoughts with WSGA via email at [email protected] Additionally, students can attend the full senate meetings, which meet every Wednesday at 6:30pm in the Kansas Room in the Memorial Union.