Warren Wilson College News

New Smoking Policy

By: Sandy Pfeiffer
August 23, 2007

TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY:

Welcome to a new year at Warren Wilson! One clear sign of the spirit of this community is the involvement of faculty, staff, and students in developing campus policies, such as the new smoking policy that starts this week. My thanks to all of you who helped write the compromise draft that became the foundation for the current policy. I’m writing to restate that policy and give you a few details about its implementation.

BACKGROUND

The primary purpose of the policy is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke on campus. The policy was developed through our regular shared governance procedure, which began when a faculty member proposed a new policy after talking with various campus constituencies. The draft was approved by the Staff Forum, but not by the Student Caucus. At that point, I followed our governance procedure by appointing a compromise committee that included (a) members of both groups, (b) only people who had been fairly neutral in discussions, and (c) both smokers and non-smokers. With a few relatively minor changes, the draft that came forward from the compromise committee became the one I’ve put into effect as a temporary policy this year. After more conversation this semester about the appropriate number and placement of smoking structures and after developing sanctions, the community will be asked to affirm the policy with changes. Finally, after following College guidelines with respect to process, the policy will become permanent.

POLICY

On central campus, the new policy designates five locations as "smoking-permitted areas," with all other areas considered non-smoking. Central campus, for the purposes of this policy, is defined as the area on the Gladfelter side of Warren Wilson Road and extends from the campus boundary beyond the Village to the Service Road. It also includes the pedestrian bridge. On other areas of campus, our old policy guidelines still apply prohibiting smoking on the college trails or within 25 feet of a building or athletic facility. Smoking continues to be prohibited inside any campus building or vehicle.

The covered smoking areas are (1) near the pedestrian bridge across from the exercise park, (2) at lower Carson parking lot, (3) adjacent to the trash shed behind Sunderland, (4) near the gravel parking lot next to Bryson, and (5) the fire pit area above the Village. For now, there are temporary tents and benches in place at these areas. As we become sure that these are the best locations, more permanent structures will be erected. If you have feedback about the placement of the structures, please direct your comments to Larry Modlin, our chief fiscal officer who also oversees facilities.

IMPLEMENTATION

This policy will be effective in accomplishing the goal of reducing exposure to second-hand smoke ONLY if we have cooperation from the whole community. While Public Safety will have primary responsibility for enforcement, it is also true that building managers, residence life staff, and the rest of us (faculty, staff and students) will need to help by informing all members of our community of the new regulations and asking for compliance.

In the first semester our focus will be on making sure that community members are aware of the guidelines. If you see someone smoking in a non-smoking area, please approach that person and say something like the following: "There is a new smoking policy in effect, and this is not a smoking area. Could you please move to the smoking area located [indicate the nearest structure]." If the person or persons comply, thank them for their consideration and let them know that maps with all of the smoking areas outlined are posted in Gladfelter and on other bulletin boards on campus. If the person refuses to comply or is disrespectful, remind them that the policy was adopted through a process that included representation from all constituencies for the purpose of reducing second-hand smoke. Appeal to them again for their cooperation and consideration as a member of this community. Hopefully, this will result in compliance and you can then thank them. If they continue to refuse to comply, you can request support from Public Safety or submit a report to the Student Life office. It will be acted on as a violation of campus policy because members of our community must cooperate with reasonable requests regarding policy.

You can also let people know that while the focus is on education this semester, starting in January there will be sanctions associated with violations of the smoking policy. The specifics of those will be developed by the Student Life Committee this semester.

CLOSING

This new policy, adopted with the help and support of ALL major groups on campus, will help lead us toward becoming a healthier and more sustainable community. I thank you for all you’ll do to support it.

Sandy Pfeiffer

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