Ban ignites controversy

Huden employee Denver Griswold takes a smoke break just beyond the limits of campus on Glenbrook Road. Photo by Olivia Maher.

Every day, Castleton student Sadie Baker gets in her car and puts her key in the ignition. She shifts it into gear, and pulls out of the parking space and makes her way off campus. This is her new reality whenever she wants to smoke.

In Aug. of this year, Castleton University implemented a new tobacco free policy, a move which Baker feels is unfair.

“Having been a smoker on campus for over four years, and now having that right taken away feels really unfair,” Baker said, “I understand what the school was trying to do by creating this policy, but I feel that it was poorly executed.”

Baker is not alone. Castleton senior Erik Andersen, a non-smoker, says that while he recognizes that this policy is for all colleges, he is not sure how effective it will be.

“My main problem is that it’s not going to stop people from smoking,” he said, “It might stop people from smoking outside of the buildings and in the designated areas, but you can’t just end smoking like that.”

Sodexo employees Jim Birch and Garrett Alt, both smokers, disagree, and say that they understand the new policy.

“I smoke, but the whole thing of it is, you got them(smokers) in the buildings,” Birch said, “They don’t want to clean up. Down here, it’s all clean. Why? Because I’ve done it.”

One of the places to smoke off campus is just beyond the barricade blocking off Glenbrook Road. That is where Birch and Alt now go to smoke, disposing their cigarette butts in empty coffee cans.

“I’m for it, but I think there should be a couple designated spots a little closer,” Alt said, “It’s an inconvenience, and I understand some people don’t smoke, and don’t want to smell it, but some of us do smoke.”

A can for cigarette disposal located just off campus. 

According to public safety director Keith Molinari, people have respected the new policy.

“We haven’t received a single call here to public safety to respond to any smoking incidents,” Molinari said, “But that’s not the plan anyway. The plan is to be a community enforcement… My office hasn’t received one phone call about smoking on campus.”

Molinari says he no longer smokes on campus, and plans to utilize the cessation classes the campus offers to stop smoking entirely.

“I just don’t do it,” he said, “The director of public safety should be the last person smoking on campus. It’s a struggle, but it’s not the end of the world.”

The first cessation classes for students was scheduled to take place in April, but according to wellness education coordinator Jamie Bentley, nobody attended.

“Neither of the cessation groups went last semester,” Bentley, a former smoker herself, said, “which was understandable in the sense that often times people will wait until they really need to quit.”

Bentley says that the new policy is not about convincing people to stop smoking.

“It’s not saying that you can’t smoke, or you can’t chew,” Bentley said, “We would just prefer you not do that here.”

Bentley says the campus intends to offer a “Tobacco Free Ambassador” training session.

“(It is) a training on how to approach people that might be using tobacco on campus,” she said.

Training for the Tobacco Free Ambassadors is on Sept. 14, 2017, at 12:30 p.m. in the campus 1787 room. Any students interested in taking part are welcome to attend.


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