Council solidifies smoke-free campus

Although SUNY Fredonia has been a smoke-free campus for a while, a request for a formal resolution inspired much discussion at the College Council meeting Wednesday.

Council Chair Frank Pagano explained that at the Association of College Trustees the SUNY Tobacco-Free Initiative was discussed and the SUNY Chancellor’s Office would like each college council to adopt a resolution to officially declare its campus smoke-free.

Pagano said the law making SUNY campuses smoke-free was passed but “there are no teeth in it,” but he rarely sees smokers on Fredonia’s campus.

SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath said even if the smokers are not seen, she has noticed the butts and litter they leave behind.

“I think we do still have people smoking, but our approach is to say ‘as a matter of courtesy, we ask for your cooperation,'” she explained. “… I think it is one of those things that will take a while for the culture to change.”

Horvath cited a study by the department of health, which said most people who do not smoke by age 25 will not start later. Of those who start before they are 25, one will successfully quit and one will die of a tobacco-related disease. She said she believes statistics like this are what is driving the chancellor’s office on this issue.

Council member Angelo Bennice pointed out he smokes and he believes it is an adult’s Constitutional right to choose to smoke. Council member JoAnn Niebel said she understands people feel they have the right to smoke.

Council member and Fredonia Village Mayor Stephen Keefe pointed out non-smokers also have Constitutional rights and there is also the issue of litter.

As part of the campus’s smoke-free status, butt containers have been removed from entryways and a smoking cessation program is available at the health center.

Student Association President Antonio Regulier said he thinks there needs to be more advertising about the smoke-free initiative.

Council voted six to one to approve the resolution with Bennice opposed.

“I think people believe cultural change can never happen, but when I was an undergraduate faculty and students would smoke in the classroom. There were ashtrays on the back of the chairs. … It wasn’t that long ago smoking was allowed in restaurants and indoor spaces and I think we can get there (on smoke-free outdoor space),” Horvath added.

Vice President of Student Affairs David Herman reported the college’s budget target for enrollment was reached on May 1. The school hopes to meet its over enrollment goal of 1,100 students total, but will not know the final figures until later in the summer.

Vice President of University Advancement David Tiffany reported the senior class raised donations to go toward a memorial scholarship in honor of student Thom Dean, who died suddenly last year, and for dinosaur models for the science center lobby.

Provost Theresa Brown reported the searches for associate provost of curriculum, assessment and academic support and associate provost for graduate studies and faculty development will be filled by July.

Vice President of Administration Karen Porpiglia reported science staff will be able to relocate into the new science center in July. She said they anticipate no problems in the building being open for classes for the fall semester. She said the Townhouse Residence Halls will also be open for the fall semester. The next big project to be started this summer on campus is the Rockefeller Arts Center addition.

Porpiglia, as interim vice president of finance, also reported the college received $300,000 of the $616,000 it applied for, for critical minor maintenance of facilities.

She also reported the e-recycling event collected 6,600 pounds of e-waste and earned $2,470.

Horvath asked the council to consider sending the agenda in electronic format in order to save money and be more green. It was agreed this would work going forward with any council members wanting a paper copy requesting one.

She also asked the council to consider creating a college council award and decide the criteria for the award. This will be discussed at the next council meeting in September.