EDITORIAL: Up in smoke: WKU should enforce rules, not change them

Herald staff

THE ISSUE: WKU could soon become tobacco-free, eliminating the option to smoke anywhere on campus grounds.

OUR VIEW: Administrators should compromise between the rights of smokers and non-smokers by actively enforcing the current rules or designating concise smoking zones on campus.

With Bowling Green’s City Commission recently passing the first reading of the proposed city-wide indoor smoking ban, WKU administrators have been reminded of many concerns about smoking on campus.

In its December meeting, the University Senate adopted the Faculty Welfare and Professional Responsibility Committee’s resolution to support a tobacco-free campus by 2012. The resolution passed with 39 in favor and 13 opposed, according to the minutes of the meeting.

Richard Miller, the associate vice president for Academic Affairs and chief diversity officer, noted that some faculty expressed opposition from a smokers’ rights point of view.

Despite the views of the committee, the administrators, who make the final recommendation to the Board of Regents, said they still want input from students and the campus community.

The Herald suggests an update in the vague language of designated smoking areas so that the areas are clearly marked.

There should also be a strong enforcement plan in place before such an impactful resolution is passed. Deborah Wilkins, general counsel and chief of staff, said enforcement would be the biggest issue as campus police should not be “tied up in writing tickets.”

The Herald believes that no matter how trivial some may think the smoking issue is, if someone on campus breaks the rules, they should be cited for it. There are certainly enough personnel patrolling campus regularly for illegal parking. Perhaps they could be assigned to enforcing smoking violations as well.

Besides, having more campus police or other authorities present around campus regularly could prevent other security issues.

The decision should give people the comfort of avoiding the effects of secondhand smoke without infringing on any smoker’s freedoms. It would be up to the administration and law enforcement to ensure the rules are taken seriously.

We encourage you to voice your opinion by writing to Student Government Association representatives or sending your commentaries to [email protected] It’s your campus; speak for it.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.