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Smoking Ban on Academic Side of Campus

Initative to ban smoking south of Park River

By Joseph Sciancalepore | 02/27/14 | Updated 02/27/14 | Posted in News, Campus News

An initiative is being led by the Smoke-Free Committee to ban smoking on campus, south of Park River (also called 'Hog River'). This would prevent anyone from smoking on the academic side of campus. The residential side will remain open for anyone to smoke in.

The committee has support from University President Walter Harrison, but is not run by the University's administration. Instead, the students will be in charge of deciding the rules that go along with the ban.

The committee includes students from many different organizations throughout the University. They hope to gain the involvement of several other clubs and organizations, including Greek Life, in order to ensure that the students are in charge of the initiative.

"I represent SGA," says Committee Chairman, Ross Hart. "There's one other person on the committee that represents SGA. We have two student athletes on the committee, and we have two regular students."

During the 2012-2013 school year, a group called the LifeSavers attempted to ban smoking from the entire campus (Which you can read about here: http://stn2.tv/article/view/436). This plan fell through but the Smoke-Free Committee is using their attempt as an example, and believe that limiting the ban to the academic side will increase the chances of success.

"We are also working off what they did." said Hart. "What we thought the problem of doing the residential side is: this is where people live. [The academic side] is where people go to class. Commuters go there, everybody is using that side, not everyone is using this side. You live here. This is your home. So, we didn't feel it was justified to say 'You can't smoke, pretty much where you live.' because we just didn't feel that was right."

Three public forums are being planned for members of the community to voice their concerns on how the ban should be implemented. The forums will help decide the rules of the ban and consequences for anyone who is caught smoking on the academic side of campus. The Smoke-Free Committee hopes to avoid the punishment simply being Public Safety handing out tickets, and make it something that the University community can all agree on. The first forum will be held Thursday, March 6th, in the South Cafeteria in GSU AT 12:15.

"We really want this to be students telling students to do this. We really want organizations involved besides SGA and student athletes. We really want people to come out openly for it. We don't want people to think that you're going to be judged for saying 'No, I want my community to be healthier and cleaner.' We really want to encourage students to voice their opinion, either way, on how they feel this should be best implemented. " says Hart.

If you have any questions about the initiative or wish to join the Smoke-Free Committee, contact Jane Horvath at horvath@hartford.edu.

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