By MELINDA PEIRCE/Montana State News
Montana State University’s new tobacco-free campus policy is halfway through its second semester, but you may never know it with the amount of smokers and their continued litter around campus.
Is the policy truly enforced, or is it going up in smoke?
Enforcement issues start with the size of the university, and the tobacco policy is not the only school wide policy the university is trying to enforce, according to MSU Dean of Students Matt Caires. According to Caires, 48 citations have been issue for tobacco policy violations, and 99 percent were issued in student housing.
Other problems with the new policy include lack of signage, lack of education and smokers who choose to ignore the policy.
Caires and E.J. Hook in MSU facilities maintenance, both said that, since took a community to pass the tobacco policy, it will take a community to help educate and enforce the policy.
Plans are in the works to increase education about the policy, erect more tobacco policy signs, publish more articles in the Exponent student newspaper and programs to help students and staff learn how to approach and remind those still smoking on school grounds of the new policy.
According to school officials, a person caught smoking will be given up to three warnings before they are issued a citation, repeat offenders will be given community service and in the worst case scenario, possibly be expelled from school.
For more information on the MSU Tobacco Policy and its guidelines and procedures, go to; http://www.montana.edu/health/healthpromo/tobacco.php/, or http://www2.montana.edu/policy/smoking_facilities/. For more information on enforcement of the policy, go to; http://www.montana.edu/wwwds/policies.html#atod. Note: Tobacco enforcement follows the drug and alcohol enforcement guidelines.
– Edited by Kevin Knapek