SGA votes against resolution for designated smoking zones

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    SGA’s support of a smoke-free campus holds after the House of Student Representatives failed to pass House Resolution 101-12 Tuesday night.

    This legislation would have nullified the November resolution to support a smoking ban on campus. Opponents of the new resolution highlighted health concerns for TCU’s asthmatic students.

    Student Body President Cody Westphal spoke in opposition of the resolution.

    “There’s just no pragmatic way to enforce it,” Westphal said. “I believe in rights, but I’m not okay with hurting people.”

    The resolution calls for “ashtrays [to be] moved away from doors around campus to the minimum required distance of 25 feet.“ Currently, ashtrays are located at the entrances to dormitories which causes people to disregard the ordinance, according to the resolution.

    Student Body Treasurer Lydia Longoria advocated the resolution.

    “Enforcing this may be impossible, but there has been no effort to enforce [this] whatsoever. There’s been no effort to educate,” Longoria said. “If smokers knew they were hurting people, if they knew the rule, they would [follow] it.”

    The resolution said the current punishment for not adhering to the 25-foot ordinance is “vague and undefined”, making it difficult for those in authority to enforce the ordinance.

    Currently, the TCU student handbook states that those who violate the ordinance will be “subject to disciplinary action”.

    House members raised questions about the punishment that would be “enforced” in the new resolution.

    “If the punishment for having alcohol in your room was ‘disciplinary action’, there would be less [alcohol violation]s,” drafter Ben Taylor said. “I would propose a [similar] smoking violation.”

    Other universities have similar policies.

    Vanderbilt University allows smoking in designated zones on campus. Conversely, the University of Texas allows for no such smoking zones, or the use of any tobacco products on campus. The University of North Texas, however, allows smokeless tobacco products to be used 25 feet from the entrance to on-campus buildings.

    Taylor, along with fellow drafters Lauren Mackson and Justin Loar, hold that “TCU attempts to be a community of inclusion without condemning or condoning the independent actions and lifestyles of others.”

    The committee meets with Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for student affairs, to work out a policy that works for the university.