Smokers on Missouri Western State University’s campus may be able to breathe a little easier as the current session of the Student Government Association disbands.
Last Monday night was the last meeting of the 38th session of SGA senate. History will record the members of the 38th session as the first to put the campus-wide smoking ban on a ballot to get student’s input. Key members of the group going out of power and coming in agree that the issue is dead.
“I’m not going to do anything with the smoking ban,” SGA President-elect Alison Norris said. “I feel we already have the student’s answer.” She does support enforcing the present rules imposed on those who smoke on campus in order to address non-smoker’s complaints. The goal of SGA now seems to be to facilitate cooperation between those who smoke and those that do not want to be around the second hand smoke by enforcing the current rules.
Those rules include smoke free zones encompassing a 30-foot radius of all doorways and building ventilation intake vents. Smoking students readily point out that one of the problems with this policy is the location of the outdoor ashtrays. Most are located within the 30-foot boundary. Using the ashtrays places smokers within the 30-foot boundary and create complaints from non-smoking students who need to walk through those doorways.
On the other hand, the areas close to doorways are the ones that are littered with cigarette butts. Campus maintenance employees have placed ashtrays and butt cans next to the doorways to save money on labor to pick up the mess left by inconsiderate smokers. SGA President, Dillon Harp agrees that the future is better served with enforcement of current regulations concerning smoking on campus.
“We need better signage on campus explaining the rules and helping smokers understand where the areas are that permit smoking,” Harp said. “We have heard the student’s voice.” He also agreed with some of the issues mentioned in recent opinion articles printed in The Griffon News. He stated that he knows of no efforts to bring the issue back to the ballot box.
The SGA Director of Student Relations, Kelsey Corzine has a slightly different opinion. “I think the smoking ban would have been a good policy for Western’s students, but I’m glad the student’s voices were heard,” Corzine said. She feels that complaints will subside if smokers would just follow the rules.
But those rules don’t address the littering problem of those unsightly butts around campus at nearly every doorway. The litter issue alone could encourage administration to ban smoking on campus. Maintaining the appearance of campus grounds under the current budget constraints could force the issue. It may come down to a mandatory smoking ban if smokers don’t clean up their act.