On Oct. 21, Lawrence University Community Council learned that senior administrators had effected a change in the school’s smoking policy, effective July 2004. The new policy states, “All LU owned and leased buildings become smoke-free by the 2004-2005 academic year.”
According Nancy Truesdell, dean of students, the decision was made by the president’s office over the summer, based on what she presented as a preponderance of evidence regarding the effects of second hand smoke.
Truedell also pointed to the report from the Student Affairs Smoking Committee, which states that the committee was aware of 100 incoming students who indicated a preference for smoke-free housing for whom the school was unable to accommodate their request.
According to Truedell, the school has been taking steps in this direction by making all academic buildings smoke-free, which was a change from the previous policy, which allowed professors to smoke in their private offices. Also, newly renovated buildings and new buildings are automatically smoke-free, ruling out buildings such as Hiett Hall and the executive houses, which were renovated when the school acquired the properties.
Truesdell stated that it is the position of the presidential staff that the health of all students, faculty, and staff is of the utmost importance.
This policy change has stirred some debate between LUCC members and administration.
Peter Snyder, a second year member of LUCC, has drafted a resolution criticizing the actions of administration. He is particularly upset by what he calls the bypassing of the democratic process in which he sees LUCC as being instrumental for students.
According to Snyder, during last year’s debate as to the status of Plantz Hall, “Students in no uncertain terms said that they want Plantz to remain a smoking residence.”
Snyder’s proposed resolution criticizes administration’s actions, repeals the 2004-2005 smoking ban, and asks that administration go to LUCC for any smoking policies.
LUCC president Jacques Hacquebord said that he feels confident that Snyder’s resolution will pass and both he and Snyder expressed that they hope administration will respond to the resolution in a constructive manner.
Truesdell did point out that the new administration policy concerns all buildings and affects all members of the Lawrence community, including staff, who are not represented in LUCC.
She said that given Lawrence’s multiple governance systems, it is the senior administrators who make the decisions which affect everyone including the staff.
Snyder, responding to the argument that staff is not represented in LUCC suggested that perhaps they could be.
“They are affected by everything on campus,” he noted, arguing that by that rationale, LUCC can do nothing, as it would effect staff.
Snyder feels that administration has been attempting to bypass LUCC in recently.
Also in the Oct. 21 meeting, changes in parking policy were introduced, which would have stripped LUCC of its control over student parking, according to Snyder. The proposed change was amended and LUCC was able to retain some control over student parking lots.
Snyder also cited last year’s formal group housing debate as an example of what he felt was administration bypassing LUCC.