Student Senate passes resolution to limit smoking areas

By Sarah Hillenbrand | 4/7/13 6:49pm

The 2012-2013 Grand Valley State University Student Senate passed a resolution to create designated smoking areas throughout the GVSU campus at its final meeting Thursday.

The resolution is to: “Encourage the official designation of smoking areas on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus, thereby protecting students, faculty, and staff from exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing the amount of litter on campus.”

Senator Tim Layer from the Educational Affairs Committee wrote the resolution and said that it could possibly lead to a smoke-free campus. “We’re trying to create a balance between smokers and non-smokers,” Layer said.

The resolution must be reviewed and approved by administration before it becomes a reality on campus. Several senators said they support the resolution, but not as a step to becoming a smoke-free campus.

One of these senators includes Doug Krusell from the educational affairs committee, who said that as a representative body Student Senate has a duty to protect the minority, whoever it might be in a given situation.

“With smokers being in the minority, I think that we need to be a representative government and make sure that we are protecting them as the minority,” Krusell said. “I support the resolution but I don’t support having a smoke-free campus.”

The specifics of where the designated smoking areas would be located and how many of them there would be are still unclear, but would be decided by administrators if the senate resolution is passed by them, as well, Layer said.

The resolution states that support for it has been given by Ranelle Brew from the College of Health Sciences, Bart Bartels from the Sustainability Center, and Grand Valley Housing and Facilities.

Some of the rationale for its necessity include that designated smoking areas are a better way to reinforce GVSU policies, cigarette butts are the main source of littering on campus, any guests to campus will be impressed by the clean environment, and that other universities are smoke-free.

Also at the meeting, other resolutions were passed including the Student Housing Voting Initiative resolution, which supports the rezoning of the property on 52nd Street and Pierce Street, the Right to Research Coalition resolution and a resolution to commemorate the work of Dean Diana Pace. The senate also passed its constitution and bylaws.

After the last meeting with this year’s senate concluded, the newly elected senators for next year stepped up and nominations for the cabinet positions began.

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