The University Senate’s task force on smoking policy will put forth a proposal at Friday’s plenary meeting to create designated smoking areas around campus, an idea pitched by some attendees at last week’s smoking town hall.
In its preliminary proposal, the task force acknowledges the lengthy debate over the current smoking policy, stressing that the members wish to come to a consensus about specific matters. While some senators have tried to increase regulations since the twenty-foot ban was passed in December 2010, no proposals have passed.
The proposal asks that “smoking be permitted only in carefully selected areas,” citing the health of nonsmokers as the biggest priority. “We do not rule out charging for the use of these areas,” the proposal states.
At the town hall last week, some students expressed their opposition to smoking fees. Some also commented that designated smoking areas in a new policy, which would apply both to the Morningside campus and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute, could marginalize certain members of Columbia’s community.
Still others believe that the appropriate way to address health concerns more thoroughly is to strengthen existing cessation programs in Health Services, which are not available to employees free of charge, as they are to students. The task force’s proposal takes this into account, arguing that these programs be “available to all and easy to access.”
A vote on smoking policy is not likely until later this semester. At the plenary meeting Friday, senators will also review a report by the task force on global initiatives and vote on whether to establish a master’s of arts in global thought.