The University’s Division of Student Affairs sent an email earlier this month notifying students of the revisions made in the Student Code of Conduct. However, one of the things that remained the same is the University’s smoking policy.
According to the Student Code of Conduct, smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas of the university buildings and facilities. In addition, “University policy prohibits smoking within a minimum of 30 feet of any entrance, exit, open window or air intake to a building or facility.”
The code also states that there are areas on campus in which smoking is prohibited and there are signs “prominently and conspicuously” posted in these locations, in accordance with the Smoke-Free Air Act.
The smoking policy was put into effect on April 10, 1995.
“St. John’s University created the smoking policy to be in compliance with the law and to protect the health of members of its campus community and visitors to campus,” said Associate Vice President for External Relations, Dominic Scianna.
Scianna said the policy was revised in 2008 “by adding clear outdoor smoking restrictions: ‘When smoking outside, individuals should be mindful of nearby doors and windows. In an effort to prevent outdoor smoke from permeating buildings and affecting indoor occupants, University policy prohibits smoking within a minimum of 30 feet of any entrance, exit, open window or air intake to a building or facility.’”
Although the St. John’s community is quite large, Scianna finds that most members of the St. John’s community comply with the University’s smoking policy.
“Yes, most faculty, administrators, staff and students comply with the policy,” Scianna said. “Signs are posted throughout the campuses, and from time to time, the University issues reminders to its students and employees of the smoking policy.”
However, members of the St. John’s community, who are found to be in violation of the university’s smoking policy, will be penalized.
“New York City imposes civil penalties for violations of the Smoke-Free Air Act,” Scianna said. “The University issues warnings for policy violations. Administrators and staff employees found to be repeatedly in violation of the smoking policy would be subject to disciplinary procedures as outlined in the employee policy manual; faculty members are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Students who are found in violation of these policies are subject to the student conduct process.”
Although the smoking policy seems to be effective, some students would prefer if smoking wasn’t allowed on campus at all.
“I do mind people smoking on campus because the smoke affects us all,” junior Nathalie Tigua said. “Especially, when the smoke blows into my face.”
On the other hand, there are students on campus who don’t mind that others smoke.
“I think it’s fine as long as they respect the people around them,” junior David Rosario said. “If they keep within reasonable distance from the buildings and nonsmokers, then it’s fine by me.”
Junior Shanyse Clark agreed.
“I think that smoking should be allowed on campus,” Clark said. “I know it’s not a good habit, but I think we need to have an understanding for those who choose to smoke as long as it’s in designated locations.”
Despite the differences of opinions with smoking on-campus, the University’s commitment to the health and wellness of its members remains.
“For employees, the University’s Employee Assistance Program offers a seminar on understanding the power of nicotine addiction, as well as resources and strategies for smoking cessation,” Scianna said. “Participants will have the opportunity to develop a personal plan to accomplish their long-term goals.”
“In addition, Oxford Health Plans has partnered with Health and Fitness Concepts, which offers a group smoking cessation program to support employees in adopting a smoke free life,” Scianna said. “Student health services also provide resources for students who want to quit smoking.”