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Senate, you and the decisions that connect the two

Partial tobacco ban raises excitement and concern

By Heather Worthing | Campus Life Editor
On May 23, 2012

Senate voted on resolution 4.12 concerning a partial ban on tobacco. As a resolution, this proposal acts as a suggestion and not law. However, policy will be affected and therefore the way students conduct themselves.

Senate represents the students of Western and therefore has a diversity of opinion and conviction which tries to accurately represent the best interests of students. Senators Michael Espinoza and Bryce Wolford conducted surveys around campus and asked non-smokers and smokers alike what their thoughts would be on Western having a  more strict stance on tobacco use. "I think Senate has a direct impact on students' lives, students just have to recognize that and support Senate. The more student support Senate receives, the more power Senate has, and the more power Senate has, the more things Senate can change," said Espinoza.

This resolution would in essence enforce policies already in place concerning smoking, although  there will be more designated smoking areas, with current ones such as the Werner patio, along with any along the main strip prohibited.  Oregon State University is currently smoke free and this resolution would be considered a step towards such a goal.

Because there have been numerous studies demonstrating the harmful aspects of second- hand smoke, there is the desire to create an atmosphere and campus that respects all students. Senator Wolford feels that this resolution would not achieve such a goal.

"I feel that if the resolution is upheld, then it is a violation of students' right to smoke. I feel that we are allowing our school to create a hierarchy that tries to extinguish behaviors that do not flow within the confounds of "social norms," and it informs the administration that we as a student body are willing to standby and accept being policed," said Wolford.

The difference in policy enforced will be limiting use in specific areas instead of feet rules by each individual building.

"If this resolution passes the further steps it needs to take, then it will effect students by making smokers go to designated areas. The SHAC, an on campus group that deals with tobacco use relating to students, also said that it will give non-smoking students the right to confront smokers and remind them that there is a partial ban in effect on campus, and that they need to be smoking in a designated area. Smokers who refuse to smoke in these areas on campus could receive a citation from public safety similar to parking citations and could also include a fine," said Espinoza.

Others who are part of the process, however, are optimistic about these developments, maintaining that even smokers understand that such policies are not to police, but rather protect all persons of health concerns related to smoking and second hand smoke. By creating new spaces that are convenient to smoke, rights are said not to be taken away. The resolution passed 7 to 3.

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