Likins in favor of new smoking policy
Opponents seek avenues to fight the changes
While the proposed changes to the university smoking policy still have not been presented to the Faculty Senate, UA President Peter Likins said he is in favor of the tighter policy.
"I'm entirely satisfied with the new smoking policies for the campus," Likins stated in an e-mail interview Tuesday. "Experience has taught us - not only in Arizona - that the concentration of smokers at building entrances and exits creates a serious problem for asthmatics who must pass through that zone of concentrated smoke."
The new policy, drafted by the Campus Community Health, Wellness and Safety Committee, would ban smokers from lighting up within 25 feet of university buildings.
There is already a ban on smoking in all university buildings - with the exception of Corleone Apartments and Babcock Inn, which permit smoking in rooms.
That exception would not be changed if the new policy is approved.
Other exceptions that will allow smoking are outdoor stairwells and concourses of McKale Center and the Arizona Stadium.
Melissa McGee said the feedback from campus organizations has not created a need for revisions and they expect to take it to Likins after the policy is presented to the Faculty Senate.
At their April 5 meeting, the ASUA Senate voted to give its support for the new policy after discussing it the previous week.
The Staff Advisory Committee was presented the new smoking policy by Steve Holland, director of risk management.
Herb Wagner, assistant director of risk management, said the proposal is widely supported.
"It has not met with a whole lot of opposition," Wagner said. "There's a lot more positive (responses) than negative."
There was no discussion following the presentation, leaving Linda Lee - administrative assistant for the department of renewable and natural resources and a member of the Staff Advisory Council - feeling railroaded by the proposed changes.
"I really feel discriminated against," Lee said. "It's an infringement on our (smokers') rights."
Because there was no discussion, Lee was unable to express her concerns about the new smoking policy.
"I've tried to think of a way to fight and haven't found a way without repercussions," Lee said. "I'm not saying everyone should smoke, I'm just saying let's be fair."
The Faculty Senate will be presented with the new policy during its May 1 meeting and while Faculty Chair Jerrold Hogle has not read the proposal, he said he is in favor of the changes.
"We ought to have a sharper one (smoking policy)," Hogle said.
Although Likins supports the changes, he said he understands the smokers' condition.
"I do feel genuine sympathy for people who are truly addicted to nicotine, and really feel that they need tobacco," Likins said. "The first priority must go to others in their environment, however. "
Ryan Gabrielson can be reached at Ryan.Gabrielson@wildcat.arizona.edu.