The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

Smoking Haven No Longer

As smoking on campus has risen to prominence in campus dialogue, a first action has been taken in the pool hall. Smoking will no longer be allowed in the pool hall during tournaments, announced pool hall manager Wren Kominos-Marvell during the tournament the night of Thursday Sept. 27. CSOs will also be increasing their monitoring of the pool hall, though disciplinary action will still not be taken against students in violation of the ban on indoor smoking.

The pool hall, where students regularly light up while they play, is a last vestige of a disappearing culture more tolerant of smoking. Though smoking is illegal there, as in any building, there are no smoke detectors. But Director of Community Safety Gary Granger says he receives a steady stream of complaints over second-hand smoke.

When CSOs notice students smoking in the pool hall, they ask that cigarettes be put out, and sometimes explain to the students why they prohibit smoking in the pool hall. But names are not taken down, and no disciplinary action is taken. After CSOs leave, there is nothing preventing students from lighting their cigarettes back up. Marijuana is treated as an AOD, as anywhere else on campus.

Pool-hall smokers feel smoking there is part of the pool hall’s culture. “I miss being able to smoke inside,” says one senior who regularly smokes while playing, who preferred to be unnamed. “That is a very comforting feeling to me.”

But Granger says frequent student complaints show that not all are onboard with this culture. “Smoking in the Pool Hall removes the choice of non-smokers to walk into a community space and not be exposed to smoke,” he says. “The choice made by smokers to smoke in that space, particularly when there is a reasonable alternative, forces those of us who do not want to be exposed to smoke to choose between not going to the Pool Hall, or to be exposed to smoke.”

Since last week, CSOs have been guided to drop by the pool hall twice per shift, or six times every 24-hour period. They will record information on whether students are smoking or if the scent of smoke is on the air. “The goal is to get a sense of the problem with a little more objective basis and be able to watch for changes,” says Granger.

“We are often there as we pass through the GCC for various reasons an pop our heads in, so it’s not much of a change in patrol practices,” says Granger.

But one CSO, who preferred not to be named, says there have not been guidelines on patrolling the pool hall previously. “It had never come up before until recently,” the CSO says.

The prohibition on smoking during the pool hall’s weekly tournaments came after Granger, Associate Dean of Student and Campus Life Bruce Smith, and Director of Student Activities Kristin Holmberg asked Kominos-Marvell what he could do to curtail smoking in the pool hall. Tournaments are the only consistent time Kominos-Marvell is present in the pool hall, he says, and so he agreed to take action then. The pool hall’s other managers were not present at that meeting.

At the first tournament with the new prohibition, few students smoked early in the night, but by later, cigarettes were being lit back up. The next tournament, on Oct. 4, did not occur until after press time.

Earlier this year, Granger commissioned a cartoon poster (which also ran in The Quest), which argued that smoking in the pool hall is dishonorable. He hung the posters in the pool hall, but, he says, they were soon torn down. The posters “struck just the right tone,” says Smith. “Rather than taking the approach of telling community members what to do – or, in this case, what not to do – the signs were designed to create thoughtful dialogue and to remind folks that their behaviors have an impact beyond themselves. And, alas, rather than participate in constructive debate, someone put the signs in the trash,” he adds.

Granger says he hopes the new patrolling and the limits during tournaments will spread into other times at the pool hall and end the smoking culture there. “Smoking in the Pool Hall is going to have to become Olde Reed and something that smokers speak of reverently, even wistfully–as they stand outside the GCC doors finishing their smokes,” he says.

The smoking senior, though, will continue to smoke when a ban is not being actively enforced. “As long as I’m not being asked to stop permanently, I don’t mind there being sanctioned times, and if that’s during a tournament [that I can't smoke], so be it.”

Besides, the senior says, “you can still have a cigarette in the [pool hall] office.”

One Response to “Smoking Haven No Longer”
  1. Rachel says:

    That’s a great photo.

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