Lawrence campus goes smoke-free

Bonnie Alger

As of June 30, 2004, there is a non-smoking policy on campus. According to Associate Dean of Campus Activities Paul Shrode, smoking is not permitted indoors at any college owned, leased, or controlled facility. This would include the London Centre, Bj”rklunden, and all Appleton campus facilities. The installment of this new policy has been in the works for several years now. The campus has gradually become more smoke-free over the past few years: first all public buildings on campus were smoke-free, then a few residence halls (namely Kohler, Colman, and Ormsby) became smoke-free, and then 25-foot smoking “halos” were added to Ormsby and Kohler halls.

Halos can be established for other residence halls by a three-fourths majority vote from residents of that hall, and for academic and administrative buildings by the building coordinator, though there are no designated smoking areas.

The remaining halo-less residence halls voted for or against smoking halos at their all-hall meetings on Wednesday night. All residence halls, with the exception of Plantz and Trever, voted to establish 25-foot smoke-free halos.

Director of Health Services Carol Saunders was a member of the original Student Affairs Smoking Committee, which submitted a statement to former President Richard Warch’s staff in August 2003, proposing that all Lawrence University owned and leased buildings become smoke-free by the 2004-05 academic year.

The factors that led to the Committee’s eventual proposal included extensive research on the smoking policies at other Associated Colleges of the Midwest schools – and the discovery that Lawrence was considerably behind them – as well as attendance at the Wisconsin College Tobacco Summit. Dean Shrode was also a member of this committee, and said that “permitting smoking… would not be good public policy and is not a responsible thing to do.”

Many students approve of this new policy. Junior Meghan Phillipp called it “excellent and fair for all students. The majority of students do not smoke and it’s not like they can’t smoke outside… and now buildings won’t smell.”

Others support the new policy, but don’t agree with how it was handled. Senior Elissa Ewert says, “I think it’s a good thing, but I think they went about it in a bad way by just forcing it on us. It would have been much more productive if we as the students had made the decision to go completely smoke-free.”

What about those students who continue to smoke? Dean Shrode warns that “those who elect to smoke…will need to respect the policy of the campus and more importantly, respect their fellow students, faculty, and staff who should not be adversely affected by a person’s choice to smoke. Violation of this policy, like any campus policy, can be taken to the Judicial Board and adjudicated by the Board which has discretion to use any of the sanctions noted in the Student Handbook.