Louis Hannegan, Managing Editor
Campus Safety officers began to ask smokers to move off the Cap Bar patio and away from entrances to other campus buildings last week as they started to enforce the Irving smoking ordinance.
The ordinance, as read and applied to the University of Dallas campus by the administration, prohibits smoking within 25 feet of entrances to all buildings, operable windows, fresh-air intakes, and athletic fields and facilities on campus, with exceptions for porches and balconies on the residence halls and the student apartments.
Enforcement began last Monday and has met with little opposition and even some approval.
“While they enforced it, it was the nicest CSO enforcement I’ve ever experienced,” said senior James Meier.
Like Meier, many students who enjoy a good cigarette haven’t seen moving away from the entrances to buildings as a big deal.
Non-smokers are already appreciating the smoke-free entrances to buildings.
“Since I’m allergic to smoke, I am glad I don’t have to walk through a cloud to get into the Cap Bar anymore,” senior Kim Read said. “With the nice weather, it has also been nice to be able to study on the patio.”
“Although the smoke previou-ly surrounding every entrance here at UD made it impossible for me to smell a cigarette back home and not think of the great place, I love being able to walk into classes and the Cap bar without risking my lungs. I definitely don’t miss the smoke!” freshman Marie Dixon said.
Some, such as senior Joe Kaiser, who was asked by a CSO officer to move further out onto the patio at TGIT, have not been so appreciative.
“I feel that my first amendment freedoms of association were unnecessarily infringed last night [at TGIT],” Kaiser said. “I understand smoking right next to doors is not good but forcing everyone to move is a little overboard.”
Several others at TGIT, such as sophomore Will Narduzzi, were asked to move further from the door, some even to outside the gates of the patio. According to the officer on duty, students only needed to stand beyond the planters on the patio.
Though some have objected to the policy, most students have been very compliant, according to director of Campus Safety Charlie Steadman.
“The initial compliance by the students with the policy in the first week has been overwhelmingly positive,” Steadman said. “The attitude, thoughtfulness and cooperation of smokers have so far been remarkably near perfect.”
No fines have been issued so far, and only three “warning citations.”
CSO will continue to issue warning citations for first-time violations through Feb. 14 of this year.
After Feb. 14, violators will be fined $100.
“CSO plans to strictly and aggressively enforce the policy,” Steadman said.
Covering all buildings on campus, this policy differs slightly from the proposed policy of last semester that was said to exempt residence halls as “private buildings.”
“This policy is intended to reduce the health risks related to smoking and secondhand smoke. Several students pointed out that they frequently had to walk through a cloud of smoke at the entrance to their residence halls,” Steadman said, explaining the reason for the shift in policy.
In addition, smoking is now prohibited on the bench in front of the main entrance to Haggar, an area not specifically covered by the policy.
“Hundreds of people, including most first-time visitors to campus, use this entrance every day, and we thought it was important to try to keep this main pathway to the building smoke free,” Steadman said.
The bench is currently the only such area where smoking is prohibited by specific prohibition rather than direct application of the 25-foot rule, but the administration retains the authority to add such additional areas.
“This policy relies on the thoughtfulness and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers,” Steadman emphasized. “The University of Dallas is committed to promoting a healthy and safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.”