Campus rules on smoking lead to debate

Students bringing tobacco on campus might want to check out the smoking and tobacco use policy in the student handbook.

Believe it or not, it’s against policy.

The paragraph, under the Use of Facilities section in the student handbook, states, “The Board of Regents of Missouri Southern State College prohibits smoking and tobacco use of any kind. Tobacco products are not permitted in any campus buildings.”

The policy also states that “smoking and other tobacco usage is only permitted outside of buildings.”

“That’s the policy,” said Doug Carnahan, dean of students.

Carnahan said, however, that the policy saying it’s against the rules to bring tobacco into a campus building can be looked at in a different way.

“I don’t think someone is going to get bent out of shape if someone is walking around school with a can of chewing tobacco in their back pocket,” Carnahan said.

Carnahan issues four to five warnings a year to students who violate the policy. He said most of the warnings come from students in the residence halls.

Smoking on the Southern campus is almost always a topic of debate, especially when it’s cold outside.

“When it’s really cold, we shouldn’t have to go outside and smoke,” said Laura Phillips, freshman marketing major. “I understand the health issue, but at the same time, it’s discrimination because there are a lot of smokers on campus.”

Phillips said she would love to see a room in some of the buildings on campus to be designed especially for smokers.

“Maybe there could be a smoking lounge,” Phillips said. “It could be a heated ventilated room with a place to sit.”

On the other side of the tobacco debate are non-smokers.

“There’s a cloud of smoke when I leave buildings,” said Jenna Bass, freshman undecided major. “I have to hold my breath.”

Despite the inconvenience, Bass doesn’t have any harsh feelings for Southern smokers.

“They have to go somewhere,” Bass said. “It doesn’t bother me.”

While it’s a campus-wide policy about smoking outside of all buildings, a few areas around campus are a little more stringent regarding the burning debate.

The residence halls and the Matthews Hall have a rule that smokers must be at least 50 feet away from the structure when puffing away.

“There’s no campus policy for that request,” Carnahan said.

He said departments on campus can make it their policy for their respected buildings.

Carnahan believes there could be some changes with Southern’s smoking regulations.

Not anytime soon, though.

“In my own opinion I think the time is coming when there will be no smoking on campus,” he said.

Phillips offered a couple of money-raising solutions for her smoker’s lounge idea.

“Smokers could raise money for furniture,” she said. “I’d even donate the couch from my attic.”