By CAMERON MEISWINKEL
The Student Senate has proposed the idea of a smoking ban. A decision will be made by January of 2011.
There has been talk of following the footsteps of many of New Jersey’s other county colleges by making the grounds smoke free. Bergen, Morris, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem County Colleges have all become smoke free.
Around campus, students seem to favor a ban on smoking. “ I think they should ban it”, Chase Adams said. “Everybody smokes by the doors. Who wants smoke blown into their face when they walk into the building?”
“When I walk into the academic building, I literally have to hold my breath. It really bothers me”, said Brooke Nessen. “I don’t care if they still smoke on campus, as long as it’s away from everyone else”.
Jacqueline Galbiati, the vice president of the college, said, “The student senate asked us to look at this topic. We need to evaluate other colleges and see how it’s done.
Input on the subject will be taken from focus groups consisting of students, faculty, and administration. “We need to survey people”, Galbiati said. “If we decide to do this, it will be a 12 to 18 month incorporation”, Galbiati said. “Administration is in favor of doing it”.
Not everyone approves of a smoking ban. Professor Michael Mills is among one of the many advocates of smoking on campus. However, he said it is not because he is a smoker. He believes that the school could be spending their time and resources on more worthwhile causes.
“I think the college is misplacing its attention”, said Mills. When asked where the college’s attention should be, Mills offered that the obesity epidemic is a more pressing issue. Mills said, “The cafeteria offers a variety of deep fried cheesy products and our vending machines dispense soda and tasty cakes. The college is a supplier. It is akin to us placing cigarette machines in those locations”.
Mills also stated that enforcing the ban might be difficult. “ How do we police everyone? Do we have the resources to enforce such a thing?”
One solution offered has been to build smoking pavilions in order to keep smokers away from the entrances, thereby respecting their rights as well as non-smoker’s rights. The right to be able to smoke on campus is an important element in the smoking debate. “ I don’t have a problem with people smoking, but I really don’t appreciate them doing it in front of the doorways where other people have to pass through. It’s inconsiderate”, Nessen said. “If they want to smoke, that’s their choice”.