More news from neighbor schools, and this isn’t quite as festive: Yale has formed an administrative committee, the “Tobacco Free Yale Workplace,” in order to weigh the pros and cons of making the campus officially smoke-free. The TFYW, which includes students in addition to faculty, staff, and health officials, plans to gauge how prevalent smoking is on campus and how apocalyptic feasible the proposed ban would be. (Major issue number one: Yale’s campus, like Wesleyan’s, is significantly physically integrated with its city, New Haven; what becomes of smoke-happy New Haven residents who traverse the campus everyday?)
Yale would not, of course, be the first to go all out. “According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation,” the Yale Daily News writes, “at least 466 colleges and universities nationwide have entirely smoke-free campuses as of January 2011.” The University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis are included on this list. Wesleyan is not. Thankfully, I guess, our prospective students seem to have different smoke-related concerns . . .
But still—a student’s right to smoke (outdoors, away from classes, not within 50 yards of children or the elderly or Michael Roth) matters. Right? “While students interviewed were divided over whether Yale should establish a smoking ban, most agreed that Yale should consider a person’s right to smoke before making any final decisions.” So . . . what “final decisions” are there to make, Yalies? More from the article:
“We need to provide incentives for those who seek to quit, and we need to help educate those who might start,” committee member and Dean of Yale College Mary Miller said. “Our educational commitments extend beyond the classroom and to the larger health — and long-term, lifetime health — of our community.”
The committee, formed in the fall of 2009, has been meeting intermittently over the past three semesters to discuss the impact of a smoking ban on the Yale community and to design a survey that will gauge the prevalence of smoking on campus.
Gentry said his main focus is to include programs that would help and support current smokers who want to quit. But he added that he is aware that there could be parties who oppose the ban.
“We all need to consider how the policy is going to affect the people who smoke, and we need to have programs to address it,” Gentry said.