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Initiative Shot Down By Senate

Campus Will Not Become Smoke Free

Assoc. News Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

College campuses are one of the last safe havens for smokers in an increasingly smoke-free world. Boston College will remain smoker-friendly for the foreseeable future, as the UGBC Senate recently chose to shoot down a campus-wide smoking ban initiative.

"There's no ban for smoking being worked up currently," said Mike Kitlas, UGBC president and A&S '12. "Elise Phillips, the Director of Health Promotion, approached myself and Jill [Long, UGBC vice president and A&S '12), asking us about this and whether we thought there would be student support for it. We told her that this was an issue the Senate would normally deal with, so we passed along her inquiry to the Senate. The Senate looked it over, talked to their constituents, and found that there was not very much support from students for looking into the initiative further."

BC students were not the only population on campus that was not supportive of such an initiative.

"We would probably get a significant pushback from faculty, probably even more so than from students," Kitlas said. "One of the things we talked about is if this is going to be a ban and the students have to follow it, faculty, staff, and the administration would have to be held to the same standard."

Though there was little support for such an initiative at BC, this issue was brought up due to a growing trend on college campuses of going smoke-free. Emory University, the University of Kentucky, and Barnard College have all recently imposed campus-wide smoking bans. It does not appear that BC will follow suit any time in the near future, unless students decide to make smoking an issue.

"We haven't heard many complaints about it before," Kitlas said. "We are doing a survey, that will be sent out tomorrow in an e-mail asking what the one thing BC students would like changed or improved about their campus would be. If someone says, ‘I want to see a ban on smoking policy implemented here,' then we'll look into it, but I don't foresee that happening."

Kitlas does not personally support a campus-wide ban on smoking. "What I have found through many of my encounters is if a BC student is bothered by the smoke of another student and goes up to them and asks them to not smoke in a certain area, they'll gladly move and accommodate them," Kitlas said. "I think that is part of the BC campus and the quality of student we have here. That's part of the reason I wouldn't go for the ban specifically at this time."

Even if support were to be found for a smoking ban in the near future, Kitlas would only support a modified ban. "I wouldn't personally support the all-out ban, but smoke zones," Kitlas said. "If students want to smoke it's their choice, they have that right, but having certain zones on campus where students can smoke would limit the effects on non-smokers and would be the best sort of compromise."

The UGBC reviewed the topic of smoking on campus for two weeks, but has switched its focus back to an issue BC students have shown much more interest in: alcohol policy. "Currently, we're putting effort behind the ‘Green Zone' campaign, with the Office of Health Promotion, to really get students more informed about that, because drinking affects students on a regular basis," Kitlas said. "We get a lot of comments from students asking us to work on that."

The cancellation of the fall concert may have been the alcohol-related issue that garnered the most attention and complaints from students in the recent past. The UGBC sent in recommendations to the administration about how to make concerts at BC safer before leaving for winter break.

"Probably one of the biggest recommendations is to change the environment of the concerts," Kitlas said. "We'd be changing the environment so the concerts won't be so late at night, maybe five o'clock—so it's more like the idea of Modstock where it's pushed closer to classes on a Friday afternoon so there's not as much time in between classes and the concert for students to go drink."

Another recommendation included preventing students who are kicked out of concerts from buying tickets to any future concerts. "That way it's the students that are transported who are the ones being negatively affected and not everyone else," Kitlas said.

The clock is ticking on BC's ability to have a spring concert, but Kitlas remains positive. "We're very close," Kitlas said. "Hopefully the administration's response to our recommendations will be positive and we can start planning within the next week."

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