Administrators consider campus-wide smoking ban after petition gains traction
With more than 1,400 signatures on a change.org petition calling for a campus-wide smoking ban at MSU, school administrators have taken notice.
“Going smoke-free is something the university has considered before and is currently reviewing,” MSU spokesman Jason Cody said in an email. “A task force is being pulled together now to take another look at the issue; we should expect to have some recommendations within a few weeks.”
This is far from the first time the issue has arisen for debate. In the past has voiced support of the idea, along with a push for a smoke-free campus from officials at Olin Health Center.
MSU is somewhat behind in addressing the matter. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, there are at least 1,477 smoke-free campuses in the United States. MSU is not one of them.
and Lansing Community College is a tobacco-free campus. That means LCC also does not allow even chewing tobacco on its grounds, which has been in effect since 2008, website.
Sergeant Chad Beckett of the LCC police department said the college’s ban on tobacco has generally been well-received and respected by students.
“If someone was smoking, we would simply make contact with them, and faculty were advised to do the same thing,” Beckett said. “We were told to ask them to take it out to the sidewalk by the street, which is public, open property. Most of the time, that’s where we left it.”
Beckett said it was mainly an educational process of informing students of the tobacco-free policy. He said he had “no recollection” of the issue arising to a criminal matter between an LCC student and campus police.
“The only way you could get in legal trouble is when we make contact with you, and we ask you to move to the sidewalk, and you refuse,” Beckett said. “At that point we’d ask for ID, and if you refuse, we will advise you that you are trespassing on LCC property.”
But what makes a difference between MSU and other schools is the logistics of a campus-wide smoking ban. In areas where LCC and the U-M share sidewalks with their respective cities, smoking is permitted.
The vast, centralized layout of MSU would make it very difficult for an individual in the middle of campus to reach an area of East Lansing where smoking is permitted. LCC’s relatively small campus size and the number of streets the U-M shares with the city of Ann Arbor make finding a place to light up easier in those locations than if there were a ban on MSU’s campus.
“There of course would need to be conversations with employee groups and unions as well as conversations around enforcement and education,” Cody said.
But the university cannot ignore more than 1,000 individuals asking for a change.
“It’s important that all voices in the MSU community, including students, are heard,” Cody said. “We appreciate the fact that students are engaged on this issue and making their opinions known.”