More than a year after the implementation of the tobacco-free policy, university officials are considering new ways to enforce the smoking ban.
Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, said a tobacco awareness course is being developed as a penalty for breaking the tobacco ban. The course could be enacted as early as the spring 2013 semester.
Rickey Lattie, University Police Department captain, saidhas started referring students caught violating the ban to the Dean of Students Office, and faculty are referred to their respective departmental supervisors.
“We’ve gotten more aggressive on that front,” Lattie said. “We’re following up with people.
However, Lattie said it will take time to “recondition” people into knowing that smoking is not allowed on campus. Lattie said visitors caught smoking on campus are informed of the university’s tobacco-free policy. If a visitor refuses to stop smoking, UPD will ask them to leave campus grounds.
Lattie said 112 tobacco ban violations have been reported since January. He said the same number of violations was reported between September and December 2011.
While faculty members are expected to abide by policy and advise students to do the same, it is solely UPD officers’ duties to take down the names and ID numbers of students in violation of the policy, Lattie said.
When a UPD officer finds a student violating the tobacco-free policy, they will first identify the individual and advise them of the policy. The student’s information is forwarded to the UPD office.
Lattie said this is usually all that UPD does, but if records indicate the student has several previous violations, tobacco related or not, the student is reported to the Dean of Students office.
Smith said students referred to the judicial branch of the Dean of Students office could potentially be reprimanded. Smith said reprimands can include writing an essay, community service, probation and suspension, depending on the severity of the case and former violations.
Francesca Invernizzi, Spanish senior, said though she is a smoker she agrees with the tobacco-free policy.
“If I’m killing my body, it’s my choice,” Invernizzi said. “I don’t need to intoxicate everyone else.”
Smith said the issue of tobacco use on campus is of high importance because the medical evidence of its harmful effects is “pretty substantial.” She said the tobacco-free policy is creating a healthier environment for individuals on campus, as well as improving Texas State’s aesthetics.
Reese Black, who will attend Texas State in the spring, disagrees with the tobacco-free policy.
“To be singling out a group of people because they’re doing something that you don’t like is not right,” Black said. “(Smoking tobacco) is not illegal. My main stance is for people to mind their own business.”