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Smoking Policy Stalls, Input Needed

By Lauren Toole

Even after the release of a revised smoking policy, the debate between smokers and Student Council remains one-sided. After a complete lack of input from smokers and non-smokers alike, the Council is in the process of designating smoking zones itself. Student Council President Faith McDuffie 13 relishes the challenge.

Initially, we wanted to keep [the revised smoking policy discussion] open-ended and just hear from students, McDuffie said. Now, due to the lack of student body input, Dean of Students Hank Toutain has asked Council members to compile a list of what they think will make suitable smoking zones in non-residential areas.

We made a list of where people thought good spots were. We werent really specific, McDuffie said.

This lack of student input is especially curious given an incident that occurred two weeks ago on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Hanna Residence Hall. Someone smelled smoke in the stairway and called the Ohio Department of Health to file an anonymous complaint. The following day, the Department sent a letter to the College informing them that a formal investigation will take place within the next month.

This was the first complaint about smoking on Kenyons campus since 2008, when two separate reports were made concerning smoking at construction sites, according to Robert Jennings, a representative from the Department.

The Office of Housing and Residential Life was not informed of the incident or the complaint until the maintenance department forwarded them the follow-up letter from the Department of Health. Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life Lindsay Faulstick says the implications are unknown at this time, but that her office had been informed by maintenance that a Department of Health representative will be investigating the claim.

Though the identity of the tipster remains unknown, the anonymous call illustrates the fact that where people smoke matters. And yet, no students submitted proposals to Campus Senate or Toutain, leaving the designation of smoking zones to Student Council.

At the next Senate meeting, members will consolidate their selections from the following possible locations: the path between the Olin Library doors, the overpass between Hayes Hall and Tomsich Hall in the Science Quad, the north side of Peirce Dining Hall between the staircase and Lower Dempsey, the lower patio of Gund Commons, the grassy patch between the parking lot and the road by Ascension Hall, the turnaround across from the Kenyon Athletic Center and 25 feet from the Horvitz Art Center.

Student Council will submit a poll for student response based on this list and then choose two or three locations based on the feedback.

Given this methods success in the past, McDuffie is prepared for an alternate plan to determine smoking zones.

It may be a case of us as students on Student Council making some recommendations to Dean Toutain and Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman on this issue, McDuffie said.

Since former Campus Senate Co-Chair Gavin McGimpsey 11 first proposed a smoking ban during the 2011 spring semester, community members have enthusiastically voiced their thoughts at every step of the policys projection, until now

Asked about recent student indifference, McDuffie could only offer the following comment: Students are reactive. They are quiet until something happens. You see it all the time on [all-student emails].

McDuffie hopes to try and curb this lack of student concern before it becomes a fixed trend. Hopefully, we can work together to try and change that, she said.

McDuffie worries about the potential ramifications if administrators begin to notice students are not using Student Council to share ideas, interests and concerns.

What is going to keep [the administration] accountable to getting our input on things that need to have our input on? she said.

Disgruntled students complained Student Council had infringed on their rights when the proposal was first brought to Senate, but after a number of revisions intended to satiate those complaints, students failed to publicly readdress any lingering concerns.

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