Smoking policy must be enforced
By Philip Croucher
The smoking policy at Holland College seems simple enough to understand. Smoking is prohibited anywhere on college property.
However, each day students and faculty are seen smoking in front of college doorways.
But who can blame them? The school installed a cigarette disposal right next to the door. One would naturally assume smoking is allowed there.
Before Christmas, it seemed college officials were stepping up their attack on smokers. A memo was sent out to all classes reinforcing the fact that smoking is prohibited on college property. It also pointed out that the college was considering moving the smoking disposals away from the front doors. It felt this would alleviate a lot of the problems people were having entering and exiting school buildings.
But since students have returned from the holidays, nothing has changed. Smokers are still using school doorways in large numbers and the college seems to be letting it go by without a second look. If the college is serious in its attempts to move smokers, then it must begin by moving, or even eliminating, the cigarette disposals all together.
While they were installed to eliminate cigarette butts being tossed on the ground, they give smokers the impression that this is a place where they can smoke. It would be like putting an ashtray in the non-smoking section of a restaurant and expecting patrons not to smoke there. If the college wants to make Holland College a smoke-free work place, then having disposals anywhere on school property does nothing but encourage people to smoke.
Next, the college must start enforcing the rules.
If the policy states that no one can smoke on college property, and the school stands by that rule, then it must act upon it. Basically, the way it works now is someone might come up to you and ask you to move if you're smoking by the door.
What if the smoker refuses to leave. What then?
And who are these people who are going to ask students to move away from the doors? Is it up to the faculty alone or can students do it too?
And why should a student listen to another student, anyway?
Pure and simple, the school has yet to develop a policy to deal with smoking on school grounds. The college says no one will ever be kicked out of school for smoking on school property, and while it is nice to hear this, some sort of punishment is required to get the message across.
Why not levy a small fine for someone caught smoking on college property?
Yes, this will make some people angry, but it will show students the school is serious in its attempts to get people to stop smoking on college property.
Any backlash from a fine will not last long. Rules are rules, and basically 99 per cent of the population will follow them.
The fine doesn't have to be huge. Even if it is $20, it will give the school some leverage in trying to crack down on the problem.
There is little question that the school wants to get smokers away from the entrance ways. If the school continues to only discuss the matter, nothing will change.
However, if it is truly serious, then it is time for the school to come up with a policy that sends a strong message that smoking will not be tolerated in certain areas or on the entire Holland College property.