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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Faculty Senate revisits student smoking policy

Vanessa Peña — THE BATTALION
The faculty senate discusses smoking policies for students at a meeting Monday.
Vanessa Peña — THE BATTALION The faculty senate discusses smoking policies for students at a meeting Monday.

Faculty Senate brought the smoking portion of Student Rules, which has not been revised since 1993, into line with changes made to the University Rules in 2012 during its Monday meeting.
The revision to Student Rules now matches policies that have been in place since 2012 that prohibit smoking on campus and expand the definition of tobacco products, but stop short of providing any new techniques for the enforcement of these rules.
Provost Karen Watson said the 1993 change in Student Rules referred to banning smoking in buildings, whereas the change Monday bans smoking on campus as a whole. Watson said faculty members are not responsible for enforcing these rules.
“That’s what has changed from before, is used to you could stand outside the building and smoke and that had been that way for more than a decade because the only place smoking was banned was inside the building,” Watson said. “And now it’s banned on campus.”
Kim Hill, political science professor and member of the College of Liberal Arts caucus, said the passage of the rule change hopes to address the public health concerns with on-campus smoking. Hill said the enforcement of the University Rules regarding smoking on campus is still in question.
“We learned at the last meeting, as I recall, that the impetus for both of these rules are federal law or federal regulations because of certain grants we get,” Hill said. “But we got the hint, too, that while we have these rules for [grant] reason[s] but we’re not going to be trying too hard to enforce it.”
Dr. Mark Sicilio, assistant professor in the Department of Humanities in Medicine and member of the Health Science Center caucus, said the campus originally led the charge in the prohibition of smoking in buildings. Sicilio said A&M took a stand long ago on this as a public health issue and said the university should stick to its guns.
“We preceded the University of Texas and their M.D. Anderson institution in [banning smoking in buildings.] We were second only, I believe, to Johns Hopkins and they had a burning bush phenomenon.” Sicilio said “They actually — somebody caught a bush on fire outside of their building. We didn’t have that. So we went on record long ago, and I applaud my friend from liberal arts for advocating for this because we should take a stand and stick with it.”
Hill said his real concern was the administration’s ability to enforce the rule. He cited his own experience on West Campus and in the Allen Building.
“I just want to add and clarify that the rule that’s been in place since 2012, its the law on the books, but it ain’t the law on the street in West Campus,” Hill said. “And that is a really important consideration. Outside every exit to the Allen Building, where I happen to work, there are cigarette butt holders — or whatever else one gracefully might call it — and routinely, many times of the day, various faculty and graduate students and perhaps visitors stand outside our doors and smoke. Sometimes two and three feet away, and there’s no enforcement.”
Hill said the requirement of the 2012 University Rule that department heads and others with purview over facilities communicate the new smoking policy was not followed where he works.

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