A smoking ban went into effect at South Puget Sound Community College’s Olympia campus Sept. 19, following a final board of trustees vote in July.
The new policy states that “The board of trustees intends to create a working and learning environment on campus that promotes the health and well-being of both college staff and students. South Puget Sound Community College shall be a tobacco-free campus.”
No tobacco products may be used on the main campus.
The ban applies to cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, as well as “smoke-free” and electronic cigarettes. According to college relations, this is to avoid any confusion.
Individuals may use these products inside their vehicles while parked on the premise. This is the only exception within the ban.
According to Director of Security Lonnie Hatman, the best way to enforce the tobacco ban “is to encourage and empower everyone on campus to state the tobacco-free policy to those who they see violating it.” Those who ignore requests or refuse to adhere to the policy may be reported to security.
When a security officer comes into contact with a student violating the ban, they will inform the person of the ban and ask them to extinguish their smoking product. If the student refuses, or the officer knows the individual has violated the ban previously, the officer will refer them to the vice president for student services for appropriate action.
The consequences students may face are outlined in the code of student rights and responsibilities. A student may receive a warning or formal reprimand, be asked to pay restitution for any damages, or pay a fine of up to $100. More severely, a student might face disciplinary probation, suspension, or dismissal from the college.
Visitors violating the ban will be asked to extinguish the product, and upon refusal be asked to leave the campus. If the individual still refuses local law enforcement will be contacted.
No further action will be necessary if the person complies with the request to leave. Once law enforcement arrives and the person still refuses to comply, they may be arrested for criminal trespassing as a last resort, said Hatman.
Faculty and staff will be referred to their supervisor for appropriate action.
Sheila Emery, chief human resources officer at SPSCC, hopes this will improve the quality of the campus.
“Currently the grounds employees spend a great deal of time cleaning up cigarette butts left on the ground…We received several complaints about smoking outside of the library in the covered area. Students did not enjoy walking through ‘a huge cloud of smoke’ to get to class.”
Emery also believes the ban will nearly eliminate health issues related to second-hand smoke.
Consideration of the smoking ban began during the 2007-2008 school year and culminated with the work of the 2010-2011 student senate and other college staff. A campus-wide survey was conducted in 2010 and the majority of respondents opted for a smoke-free campus over smoking shelters.
According to Emery, the construction of smoking shelters would cost the college money and with recent budget cuts that was not an option.
SPSCC considered using smoking shelters during the 2007-2008 school year due to complaints. The smoking ban is in large part due to the 2010-2011 student senate’s work towards a smoke-free campus.