Editorial: Enforce, or expect students to ignore
By Andy Garrison
January 15, 2013
Like a puff of smoke in a summer breeze, Western’s policy makers are wandering aimless when it comes to how they will enforce the new smoke-free legislation slated to begin this summer, and the clock is ticking.
To pass such a restrictive policy without any solid proposal of how to enforce it seems like an unwieldy way to handle business.
There is no shortage of ideas spinning on how to tackle this issue; however, the efforts come off as unorganized and somewhat casual without much dedication to follow any of them through to fruition, and almost all of them contain some sort of flaw.
One possible solution would be to have campus security handle it. The obvious problem with that is they would probably have to add to the existing force, costing the school more money and resources.
The other possibility being discussed is to have the honor system in place. That would mean relying on students to rat one another out when they see someone abusing the policy.
The problem with that is people won’t be smoking out in the open where the students are likely to be; furthermore the students, for the most part, don’t really have a vested interest in telling on one another.
There isn’t going to be any reward systems going into place for letting people know about possible abuse, so all a student would be left with is feeling like a tattle-tale.
This system has been used in other smoke-free campuses and from all reports seems to work about as well as a two legged chair.
When rushing to create restrictive policy it would be much more prudent to figure out how it will work, not to mention if it will work, long before everyone pushes it through.
As it stands, it comes off as some sort of posturing than any actual constructive move forward.
There are a ton of “good” ideas out there that would benefit the school, students and faculty; but there are an equal number of “bad” ways to implement them.
This policy is already going to be a massive inconvenience to a lot of students and staff at Western. There is no reason to make it even harder by implementing it with weak effort. Western deserves a clear and well thought out plan on every level to transition smoothly into a policy that has already proven to be a non-starter at many other campuses.
As Western’s leaders come together to discuss this proposal, there will need to be a lot of research on how other campuses have tackled enforcement policies regarding smoking because many have failed to do so efficiently if at all. This policy is not something that can be done half way, it is going to take a lot of work and thought and there is not a lot of time to pull it off. If not, students will probably ignore the policy and simply hide in unseen areas and light up their cigarettes.