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Smoke-free deserves to be taken seriously

The state of Illinois signed a law in 2014 stating all public universities and community colleges were required to have “smoke-free” campuses by July 2015.

After that, Bradley began its own mission to reduce the negative health effects from smoking on the Hilltop, as well. The notion was first proposed in November 2014 by Student Senate, and five semesters and a number of forums later, the resolution has finally been passed by University Senate.

As smoking and secondhand smoke has been proven to be detrimental to people’s health, “five semesters later” should be a startling statement. It took this university two and half years to decide whether to proceed with something that could positively affect the health of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Even after the resolution passed, administration is still unsure of how long it will take to actually carry out and enforce it.

Why is that?

Last year, The Scout was concerned that a smoke-free initiative would not benefit campus. We wrote that students had been under-informed about the proposal. That’s not so much of a concern for us anymore. After all this time, not only do students know what the smoke-free initiative entails, but administration has also had ample time to hammer out the details.

However, we still see significant holes with what they’ve approved.

The smoke-free plan is set to function on an “honor system” primarily, according to Nathan Thomas, vice president of student affairs. How is that different from what is in place now, regarding the rules of smoking a certain distance from buildings? How will it be effectively enforced?

This also raises questions about how much of a say Student Senate and the student body has. This was proposed in 2014. It appeared as a referendum on a Student Senate ballot in 2016. Yet, it was still delayed by university administration until only recently.

There is no excuse for this. In the future we demand to see university administration apply transparency and take seriously their plans to officially implement a smoke-free campus.

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