This past Monday, the University announced in a campus-wide e-mail that it has expanded its smoking policy to forbid smoking within 25 feet of all University buildings. The new policy applies to all members of the community, including students, faculty, staff and contracted workers. Previously, smoking was forbidden inside all buildings and, for students, smoking was banned within 25 feet of all student housing. Now the ban will extend into such popular areas for smokers as the steps of Olin Library and the Usdan courtyard. 

According to Julia Hicks, Director of Human Resources, the Human Resources department spearheaded the change in an effort to make the University a healthier and safer environment.

“The new policy change will be impacting administrative and academic buildings, and places such as Usdan,” said WSA President Mike Pernick ’10. “The policy regarding student housing will remain the same as before.”

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy and Enforcement Committee, which includes students and members of the administration, was also working on revising the smoking policy, but Human Resources implemented the change first.

It appears, however, that the policy will not be strictly enforced by Campus Public Safety (PSafe). Dave Meyer, Director of Public Safety, stated that he did not see the enforcement of the new anti-smoking policy as a priority for Psafe. 

“It’s a regulation that PSafe won’t really enforce,” Meyer said.  “I don’t see PSafe as the main enforcer. That will be peers, supervisors, Res Life, and RAs.”

Human Resources asked that the University community follow the rule in consideration of the health of others.

“Effective implementation of this policy depends upon the respect and cooperation of all members of the Wesleyan University community,” Hicks wrote.  “We ask that you demonstrate your concern for your fellow colleagues by ensuring that you keep the appropriate distance from University buildings when you choose to smoke.”

The response to the new smoking policy has been mixed. Karl Grindal ’09, a member of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee, believes that a more limited policy would be more enforceable than the new one. Meyer noted that smokers have cooperated in the past with policy changes.

“I don’t think it’s an unreasonable rule,” Meyer said. “I think most people who are smokers will do the right thing on their own.”

Pernick doesn’t appear to view the changes as a negative development either.

“What will be different?” he said. “Students won’t be walking through a cloud of smoke when they’re entering Usdan.”

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