Cigarette butts are being found in places outside the designated smoking areas at APSU. Those responsible are in violation of the student code of conduct.

Students, faculty and staff are expressing concerns about the current smoking policy at APSU. SGA meetings are being held to decide if the policy needs to be changed for the upcoming school year. The current policy has been in effect since Nov. 1, 2006.

“We’re not sure if it’s going to change, be modified or remain the same as of right now,” said SGA advisor Gregory Singleton.

According to Singleton, the biggest concern is students, faculty and staff violating the current policy and nothing is being done. Policies don’t just confine smoking to designated areas. The policy prohibits smoking in all university buildings and state-owned vehicles, and the policy includes most of the campus.

APSU does have authorized smoking areas in certain parking lots. A total of 11 locations are listed under the current campus smoking policy.

“We have also looked at modifying our current policy so that smoking will only be allowed in perimeter parking lots. This [policy] is already being done on some college campuses,” Singleton said.

If a violation complaint is filed, the complaint goes to the office of Singleton. He then meets with the violator and can impose a fine, cite the person with a violation of the APSU code of conduct or both.

Students on the Academic council sub-committee of the Academic Council have been charged with researching 76 comparable institutions and other TBR schools.

The sub-committee will consider smoking policies at those institutions and the level of enforcement they apply.

They are also trying to ascertain if universities nationally and within TBR are going to a smoke-free policy.

Research by the sub-committee is still in progress and only preliminary reports are complete. The group will reconvene in January to make a formal recommendation.

“It was originally a student initiative to set in place the current policy we have now for those to go to a designated smoking area. That was by student vote and referendum,” said SGA President Kenny Kennedy.

Kennedy said that SGA is re-evaluating the policy because of complaints and violations. The sub-committee has been formed to see what we can do to fix all the complaints and problems.

“People are going to smoke regardless and it’s inconvenient for students to walk to a designated smoking area when they have little time before their next classes,” said freshman communication major Jamie Moses.

Conversely, a large number of students still hope to see a smoke free campus in the near future. Sophomore married couple Ryan and Kayla Moore feel designated areas should remain because they don’t wish to be subjected to the smoker’s lifestyle everywhere on campus.

The policy hasn’t changed in more than four years. Most university policies are eventually reviewed. Students are expected to follow the code of conduct and, if there are violations, be held accountable. Parties on both sides of this issue are waiting to hear the final decision. TAS