USenate: Smoking and Quality of Life
Written by Bwog Staff
Yesterday the University Senate met to discuss changes to the smoking policy and the upcoming quality of life survey. Senate sidekick Maud Rozee went to get the news.
The Senate plenary started with a statement from PrezBo about how critical it is for the University to have the policies and values which view sexual assault as intolerable and unacceptable. He said that it is important for the University to be as responsive as possible to victims, in its educational programs, services and adjudication process. “My attitude is that we’ll do whatever we can to improve,” PrezBo said. He referred to the continuing review of the President’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault as proof of the University’s commitment to improving transparency and to listening to the needs of students. PrezBo also said that there would be a townhall on sexual assault on March 13th, from 5-7, which undergraduate deans would attend.
PrezBo then briefly mentioned his new task force on personalized medicine. Then the Chair of the senate’s Executive Committee, Sharyn O’Halloran reviewed what was said about reforming PACSA at the last plenary.
Next up was the report from the Task Force on Morningside Smoking Policy. Task force Chair Scott Wright presented a map of 15 proposed designated smoking areas on the Morningside campus. Each area is 20 feet from any building, and none are placed at pinch points where people would have to walk through smoke. He also said that the task force attempted to put smoking areas in places which were already popular with smokers, and he assured the senate that they weren’t trying to hide smokers behind buildings and in alleys.
There were many questions for Wright, mostly by people who were concerned about how the University can ensure compliance with the new policy. A senator pointed out that people basically lean against the sign outside Butler that says “No Smoking” while they smoke. The senator suggested that Public Safety could be called upon to help ensure compliance. Wright politely said that using Public Safety to enforce compliance with the designated smoking areas is a horrible idea, and compliance would have to be voluntary. Other questions came from senators who were mad that the policy covered e-cigarettes. There were also questions from senators who seemed like they wished they could go back in time and stop the policy changes from happening at all.
The map of proposed designated smoking areas and signage on garbage cans:
Next, Senators Jared Odessky and Marc Heinrich presented a preview of the quality of life survey. They hope that the survey will inform future policies with student feedback, and that it will be institutionalized and carried out every two years. The results they found were that students had a satisfaction of .87 on a scale from -3 to 3, and were very satisfied with Columbia’s libraries and safety, but much less satisfied with its funding, space, and administration (several senators chuckled at that).
Odessky and Heinrich highlighted dissatisfaction with printing and availability of group study space as two areas which were important to improve. They recommended that the University open classrooms and lounge space, as well as incorporate group study space and informal meeting areas into Manhattanville buildings. The senators also said that trans* identified students were less satisfied overall, and that they would work to make sure that changed.
Tags: 20 ft smoking rule, a full page ad in the spec come on really?, prezbo looked flawless, quality of life survey, shoutout to scott wright for emailing me the photos, smoking policy, the snacks were amazing - rugelach and westside cookies, usenate