News | Administration

Task force presents smoking ban implementation plan at plenary

  • MAN WITH THE PLAN | Scott Wright, the vice president for campus services and chair of the University Senate’s implementation task force, presented a plan to implement the smoking ban, which will take effect in July 2014, at Friday’s plenary.

The Smoking Policy Implementation Task Force presented its long-awaited report at Friday’s University Senate plenary, outlining how the senate’s smoking ban will be enforced throughout campus.  

The ban, which was approved by the senate last May after almost three years of discussion, will go into effect in July 2014.

Vice President of Campus Services Scott Wright, who chaired the task force, presented the report, which included a map of the 15 campus locations that will become designated smoking areas.

Locations for the designated smoking areas include the area outside the front doors of Butler Library, outside of Lewisohn Hall, and the courtyard in front of Hartley and Wallach halls.

Wright said that the locations for the smoking areas were chosen to be at least 20 feet away from buildings, away from commonly trafficked paths, and where smokers currently congregate. 

“Many of the smoking areas were located behind buildings as if we were trying to hide where people smoke, and I assure that was not the case,” Wright said, referring to points on the map such as the one behind Mudd Hall. 

He added that it was not the University’s responsibility to designate smoking areas on city streets—a reason why the task force eliminated proposed smoking areas on College Walk, Broadway, and Amsterdam Avenue.

“It was somewhat illogical to put smoking areas where you could take five steps and smoke,” Wright said.

Wright also presented the prototype of the smoking urns to be placed in those areas, which will advertise smoking cessation programs and the number of the New York State Smokers’ Quit Line.

Several University senators questioned the effectiveness of the plan and wondered how the task force planned to enforce the ban.

“Will there be any way to ensure that people are actually using these areas besides voluntary compliance?” University Senator Marc Heinrich, CC ’16, asked.

Wright replied that a consensus was yet to be reached on how to deal with the problem of compliance, and that the issue will be addressed in the final publicity stage of the project.

“The more we are telling people they can or cannot do something and trying to enforce it and be very strong willed, the more likely it is that people will not want to comply,” Wright said.

Wright identified the task force’s next steps as “developing a timeline and budget to build designated smoking area materials,” including the urns.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated University Senator Marc Heinrich is CC ’14. He is actually CC ’16. Spectator regrets the error.

yasemin.akcaguner@columbiaspectator.com  |  @y_akcaguner

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Why not set up cremation urns to be used as ash trays around campus.

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