While there are a number of rules regarding smoking on campus, many students are unaware of these restrictions. To remedy this, new signs have been posted around residence halls to inform new students and remind returning ones of Binghamton University’s smoking regulations.
The smoking policy is delegated through SUNY, and dictates that the BU residence halls be smoke-free, which includes hookah, e-hookah, cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Those who smoke must do so at least 25 feet away from the buildings.
Sharon O’Neill, the senior associate director of Residential Life, said that the signs, posted this semester, are in place to remind students of the smoking policy and that there is no use of hookah, e-hookah and e-cigarettes allowed.
“They should be posted in all residential buildings,” O’Neill said. “They were posted because it is the beginning of the year, and we want to be sure all new students are aware of the rules.”
However, many students still feel that the rules are vague, and have not been explicitly explained enough. Smokers like Michael Kosowski, a senior double-majoring in art history and Eastern European studies, said that campus needs to clarify the regulations.
“If there were rules on campus, they are badly enforced because I tend to smoke about once a week and I’ll be walking into class and I’d have a cigarette and no one will ever stop me for it,” Kosowski said. “We are state-owned property but we’re not a state park so I don’t think we should be limited in what you do. That being said I do understand that some people have big bodily responses to cigarettes so I do understand limitations.”
Other students feel that BU should join other universities nationwide in creating smoke-free campuses. Deepthi John, a freshman majoring in integrative neuroscience, said she believes that the University should ban smoking altogether.
“I think we should be a smoke-free campus,” John said. “I’m dying out there. I feel like I’m gonna get lung cancer just by walking around. I see people smoking everywhere. I think some people would be frustrated, but as a generation we should be going away from smoking and I think we are going in the right direction.”
Paul Stroud, the director of the Office of Student Conduct, said the University has no power when it comes to altering the current smoking policy.
“The University actually doesn’t have a choice,” Stroud explained. “It has been decided on by SUNY; they have certain rules and regulations about smoking in the dorms and we have no say in that.”
He said that due to this, the anti-smoking rules are not in the Code of Student Conduct. However, he said he believes students should know what is allowed and what is against policy.
“I think the students in this University are smart,” Stroud said. “They know what they can and can not do.”
O’Neill said that in order to make any changes, like banning smoking on campus, it would have to go through the SUNY Board of Trustees.
“Residential Life is not in a position to make the campus smoke-free,” O’Neill said. “That would be a University and/or SUNY-wide mandate.”