Students comply with smoking ban

Noelle Pennyman

A year and a half after the on-campus smoking ban started, the Department of Residence Services reported violations are minimal.

The smoking policy for residence halls, implemented in the Spring 2005, stipulates doors are designated as either a smoking or non-smoking door, said Daniel Shonk, adviser of Kent Interhall Council. The hall council of every residence hall voted on which doors can be the smoking door and non-smoking door in the fall of 2004.

Security Manager Brian Hellwig said students have been cooperative with the policies and he hasn’t had any major problems enforcing them.

The beginning of the year, he said the department educates students rather than chastising them.

“People seemed to catch on,” Hellwig said. “They’re now smoking at the designated doors.”

Ashley Pitzer, freshman fashion merchandising major who doesn’t smoke, said she hasn’t noticed people smoking around non-smoking doors as a problem.

“It seems to be working out fine as long as it’s (smoking) all in one place,” Pitzer said.

When approaching students who are smoking at the non-smoking doors, Hellwig said security aides will tell students where the designated doors are and why they can’t smoke at certain doors.

“We don’t want people smoking either under or beside student’s rooms or offices,” Hellwig said.

Residence hall staff and security follow similar standards when penalizing students for violating the smoking policy, he said.

“We work pretty closely with the hall staff,” Hellwig said. “Our enforcement could be the same as the hall staff in terms of our policies and procedures.”

Each residence hall has different approaches to punish students who don’t smoke by the appropriate doors, Shonk said.

Sophomore psychology major Nathan Boyett said a resident assistant caught him smoking by a non-smoking door and told him to pick up cigarette butts. Boyett said he ignored him and walked away.

Molly West, residence hall director of Verder and Engleman Halls, said she would only meet with a student for violating the smoking policy if he or she was frustrating the staff and the residents.

“We ask them to reflect about how their actions are affecting the community and try to instill some citizenship values that they become aware of how they’re affecting their community,” West said.

She said people smoke on a daily basis by the main door, which is a non-smoking door. Staff posted signs by all the doors but they have since been wrinkled or thrown away.

She said she believes people who smoke are receptive to non-smokers’ request.

West said she thinks the policy is working because the returning students who live in Verder Hall and a third of the Verder staff who smoke serve as role models of the behavior their staff expects.

Contact room and board reporter Noelle Pennyman at [email protected].