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Senate Beat: Blowin’ Smoke

Cigarette smokers at Reed may soon find that their favorite campus hangouts no longer welcome them.

Much of last week’s Senate meeting focused on the possibility that smoking may be banned from campus. Many students enjoy lighting up in covered areas like the breezeway between the Biology building and the library, but these same areas are often those most frequented by pedestrians who may be irritated by secondhand smoke.

Many members of the community advocate a ban, and patience is waning, said Community Safety Director Gary Granger. “This is going to be a growing issue on campus until something is done,” he said.

“My sense is that something will happen at some point this year,” said Vice President Aidan Sigman.

Almost 25% of Reedies smoke, according to a survey conducted in the 2010-11 academic year, while 40% of students said they were bothered by others smoking. Reed’s an addicted school, compared to a smoking rate of about 20% of college students nationwide. (We’re okay overall for vice, though, guys—we have infinity times fewer frats than average!) The poll also found that most students favored people being allowed to smoke on campus.

However, it’ll be hard to reconcile the various needs of students. Though a proposed smoking structure along the lines of a gazebo that would allow smokers to smoke in the rain without disrupting others was widely popular last year, trustees didn’t want to be seen as promoting smoking on campus by making special accommodations, and were also worried about the aesthetic impact on campus. Without such a compromise, a ban may be inevitable.

“I feel a little bit cornered right now,” said Sigman about the lack of options.

Lewis and Clark College has designated smoking structures around campus, which are the only places where smoking is allowed. The University of Oregon banned smoking on campus this year, along with Montana State University and the University of Oklahoma, and the University of California system will have banned smoking on all campuses by 2014.

There was also uncertainty at the meeting whether a ban would impact amounts of students who smoke. A 2011 Indiana University study published in Preventative Medicine found that a ban at that school decreased student smoking rates by 3.7 percentage points.

Senators also discussed postponing the issue by encouraging more dialogue around the issue, like the sort seen in the comic in the first Quest this year. (I know! They totally talked about us during the meeting! It was great.)

“It seems like Reedies are very reasonable people,” said junior Bryan Kim, who was in attendance.

“It kind of has to start at that individual level,” said Senator Ari Galper.

Senator David Azrael, though, was doubtful attitudes could be significantly changed, especially in a short time. “I think those conversations have been had,” he said. Apparently, he thought such discussions would just be… blowing smoke. (Ba-dum.)

Interesting factoid from this conversation: the faculty of the Math department is generally one of campus’ most opposed factions to campus smoking. Why? They have to walk through the haze to get to their offices in the library. Sigman added that math professor David Perkinson is on the AOD committee this year, which may put more pressure on anti-smoking action.

Senators also discussed the repainting of the SU loft and a downstairs GCC bathroom, but I’m not going to worry about reporting on it ’cause the Q‘s very own new freshling writers already got that covered for this issue in a most pulchritudinous manner. They’ve been working hard to bring some journalistic light to campus even as they buckle down on Hum papers and cry over how much they miss their mommies. And they’ve been doing a darn good job, so let’s give it up for them. Alright, freshies!

Associate Dean for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Jyl Shaffer was officially named “sassy” by Senate. Shaffer, who gets a new adjective at most Senate meetings, says her goal for this semester is to rise to the level of “badass.”

But now there’s a problem—this campus has two officially “sassy” people. CSO Tall Pawl’s personal brand of hot sauce (quite tasty, and available in the P-Dox. Tall Pawl did not pay for this message) is called “Tall Pawl’s Hot Sass.” So there’s only one thing can be done—a sass-off. Here’s how it works: Tall Pawl and Jyl stand at opposite ends at the SU and snap their fingers in a Z formation until one falls. May the sassiest sass win. (To make up for the unwarranted endorsement of Pawl’s hot sauce, my money’s on Jyl. Furthermore, I just would not want to be Z-snapped by her.)

Senate also gave $500 to Rugby for registration for 20 players, $2818 to the SU for special cleaning purposes (I can only imagine to wipe up all the sass that’s going to be spilled in the sass-off), and some money to Mad Sci theme dorm for ice cream. (I want to know, why can’t those mad scientists figure out some science and whip it up themselves out of some dirt or coal or something? That’s how science works, right?) Live Action Role-Play, or LARP, asked for money, but they will have to come back next year. For now, they’ll just have to use their imaginations.

Anna Schneider was named SU assistant manager. Emily Agan, Axcelle Bell, and, the winner of this week’s Senate Beat Name of the Week sweepstakes, Orestis Papaioannou, were named as non-voting members to Honor Council. (Axcelle came in a close second for the name contest.) I know they don’t get a vote, but if they were all tied, Athena could come and break it. (Sorry Orestis. Sure you get that a lot here at Reed. Congrats on the appointment.)

One Response to “Senate Beat: Blowin’ Smoke”
  1. VoxClamantis says:

    For a private LAC, a 25% smoking rate is exceptional high. Oregon’s smoking rate is 18% and California’s 15%.
    “We’re okay overall for vice, though, guys—we have infinity times fewer frats than average!” Williams, Carleton, Middlebury, Vassar, Bowdoin and Haverford also have no frats.

    Ban smoking and stop making excuses!

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