A full-campus smoking ban may be coming to Barnard.
Barnard’s Student Government Association distributed a survey Monday to gauge student opinion on a possible full smoking ban on campus. Columbia has been contemplating a similar smoking ban since last year.
Currently, Barnard has a partial ban on smoking—it’s banned everywhere except for the area north of the Barnard Quad and the plaza on the northern side of Altschul. A full ban would prohibit smoking in these areas as well.
In the SGA survey, students were asked whether they would support a full smoking ban, would not support it, or are unsure as to whether or not they would support a ban. According to Diana Rastegayeva, BC ’11 and vice president for communications, Barnard has found it difficult to enforce a ban on only certain parts of the campus.
“Part of the trouble with having a partial ban is that it’s hard to enforce for everyone. Students are unaware of the policy,” Rastegayeva said.
But non-smokers at Barnard seemed indifferent to the possibility of a full smoking ban on campus.
“I’m not a smoker, and so the presence of a ban or lack of a ban does not affect my life whatsoever,” Amarynth Sichel, BC ’11, said.
Some students said they were concerned about the location on the Quad set aside for smokers, noting that the smoke could possibly infiltrate nearby dorms.
“I think it’s ... strange that it’s allowed in the area outside the Quad, because that area is a bit encased, which I would think would cause the smoke to filter into other people’s rooms or even towards people walking by,” Cattie Rolfe, BC ’12, said.
Other students expressed full support for a total campus ban.
“I’ll vote to support the ban,” Erin Eckstein, BC ’14, said. “I feel like it’s good to have as much of a smoke-free campus as possible, smoking is gross. Also, the ban might discourage current smokers to continue smoking, which would be helpful for not only them, but for everyone else at Barnard. It would be a win-win situation.”
For smokers, however, the ban is less than ideal.
“I am going to vote no for the ban,” Margaret Kaminski, BC ’12, said. “I think the full ban would of course in some ways send the right message, but smoking is already allowed in such a small percentage of the campus and no one is complaining for that area to be expanded, so I can’t imagine there a ton of complaints for the area to be made even smaller than it already it is.”
She added that the ban would not prevent her from smoking in other places.
“We aren’t bad people, I know I try to be conscientious when I smoke and stick to the designated areas,” she added. “Still, if the ban is put in place, it won’t be the biggest deal. We are in New York City, I can smoke elsewhere.”
Rolfe said that, ultimately, she would support the ban to promote student health.
“I haven’t felt a preponderance of smoke on campus,” Rolfe said. “It hasn’t been an issue. But I’ll probably vote to support the ban because I think it’ll only be beneficial. We have such a small campus that if you really want to smoke you can easily step out.”
SGA will review the results of the survey next Monday. The council will then decide whether to pass a resolution in support of or against the smoking ban, though they may ultimately postpone the decision.