LUCC passed a resolution at Tuesday’s general council meeting that demands the administration cancel the non-smoking policy set to go into effect on July 1, 2004.An Oct. 30 e-mail sent by Rik Warch indicated that at that time all university-owned buildings would become smoke-free.
The new resolution, which passed with 11 yeas, four nays, and one abstention, also demands that the administration “respect the democratic process embodied in LUCC when dealing with non-curricular issues” and “pledge to alter the smoking status of student residences only after receiving LUCC approval.”
According to Peter Snyder, who drafted the resolution, the reasoning behind the resolution is not that the council necessarily disagrees with decision to eliminate smoking, but that he believes the administration overstepped its authority by interfering with an issue that LUCC should have decided.
Most council members agreed that smoking is bad for one’s health. One student member stated that the administration had to act because LUCC had failed to keep up-to-date with current health trends and that banning smoking was necessary for the health of students.
This sentiment, however, was overruled by the belief that LUCC should maintain their power as a democratically elected body and that it must be LUCC’s decision to eliminate smoking in dorms.
Dean Nancy Truesdell noted that the administration felt it was within its right to act because a number of university employees work primarily within the dorms, and that the school has an “obligation to make the workplace safe” for those staff members.
It was noted at the meeting that because the ventilation systems circulate air throughout rooms, there is no way to effectively remove toxins generated by smoking from shared air. Even though the smell of smoke may be gone, the toxic components from cigarettes can still adversely affect anyone in the building.
It was also noted that three ACM schools have already adopted anti-smoking policies and that 100 people who indicated a smoke-free housing preference on their Lawrence housing survey this year were not able to live in smoke-free housing, but it was not clear that smoking was the only reason for the indicated preferences.
The other new business discussed regarded the possibility of an improved online voting system for Lawrence students. The computer sciences club quoted $1000 for a new system that would make voting easier and allow students to use the same login and password for voting as they do to log onto the network computers. The computer science club would use the money for additional hardware and software.