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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Snuffed Out

St. Joe’s implements smoke-free campus interim policy

St. Joe’s is now a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. A new interim policy, which went into effect Oct. 18, prohibits all forms of smoking and tobacco use in all academic and administrative buildings, athletic facilities and residence buildings, according to the
online Student Handbook.

Smoking and tobacco are also prohibited in university vehicles, including buses and vans, and at athletic or intramural fields, including spectator viewing areas in the immediate vicinity of the fields.

The permanence of the policy lies in the hands of the University Council and University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.  The council could vote as early as its monthly meeting in November on whether to send the policy to Reed for ultimate approval. At that meeting, an ad hoc working group will present its review of the policy.

The Hawk reached out to Zenobia S. Hargust, associate provost and chief human resources officer, who wrote the policy and
submitted it to the University Council for consideration in mid-September. Gabrielle

Lacherza, associate director of public relations in the Office of Marketing and Communications, responded in an email on Hargust’s behalf, attributing the response to both Hargust and Ashley Lillie, assistant director of the Office of Student Outreach and Support.

“After successfully partnering with other local institutions, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Clean Air Council reached out to SJU to offer support for transitioning to a smoke-free campus,” the email said. “With our increased focus on the health and wellness of our constituents, the timing seemed right for us to approach this change.”

The interim policy also means that “no employee or contractor may smoke or use tobacco while in the conduct of their job whether inside or outdoors. The advertisement, sale or promotion of tobacco products on campus and the sponsoring of campus events by tobacco companies or tobacco-promoting organizations is also not permitted,” according to the Student Handbook.

Sal De Rienzo ’22, vice president of St. Joe’s University Student Senate (USS) and a voting member on University Council, said the intent of the new policy is not to penalize students. Still, De Rienzo said he would like to see more emphasis on resources for cessation of smoking.

“The administration, they don’t want this to be so much of a penal policy where students are just going to be written up left and right, that is not their goal,” De Rienzo said. “The goal is to create a healthier campus where students choose not to smoke and where if they do have the addiction to nicotine and are smoking, then they have the adequate resources to kick the addiction with the help of resources.”

De Rienzo said he is also concerned this interim policy may negatively impact students and faculty who smoke on campus.

“Will this increase the probability of harm for students who now have to leave campus and also on top of that, an inconvenience if during class, or in between classes, now you have to leave campus to go and take a smoke break?” De Rienzo said. “I know a lot of people who benefited from the designated smoking policies, our staff workers, like Campion workers, a lot of them used the designated smoking areas to smoke.”

One student who smokes but asked to remain anonymous said she thought while it may be hard to maintain the ban behind closed doors, the ban may ultimately benefit her.

“I will not be able to partake in any smoking or activities like that while I’m on campus,” the student said. “I did not start [smoking] here, but it definitely got worse once I went here and was around other people who were doing it and seeing it done on campus as well.”

Another student who smokes but asked not to be named because of her job as a resident assistant (RA), said she wonders about enforcement. 

“Something I talked about with other students, specifically RAs because I’m an RA, is how we’re going to be the ones who have to enforce this now,” the student said. “That’s going to be a new expectation to our job that was previously unforeseen.”

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