Administration continues struggle to enforce smoking ban

Despite the many banners proclaiming the University of Miami to be a “Smoke-Free Campus,” the method of enforcement for the campus-wide ban is still unclear, and clouds of cigarette smoke can still be seen around the school’s campus.

The Dean of Students Office said that any faculty member can inform violators of an infraction, and students instructed by a faculty member to report to the office must adhere. These students then meet with Muhammad Asad, the director of the campus’s quit smoking program, and a “certified tobacco treatment specialist” according to the university website. Sanctioned students must complete the entire program with Asad. The details of this program as well as a schedule are available in the Dean of Students Office.

The school’s website says all smoking and use of tobacco products are prohibited throughout the campus as of Aug. 1, 2013. Still, some students believe the smoking on campus is going overlooked.

“Students are well aware of the smoking that goes on near the Richter Library,” said student Santiago Olaguibel.

The school’s exact policy in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook for the 2015-16 academic year states, “The Coral Gables Campus and the Miller School of Medicine are smoke free environments; smoking is prohibited. ‘Smoking’ includes inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigarette or electronic cigarette, cigar, pipe or other such device which contains tobacco or other smoke producing products.”

“I think students know about the policy, but the university does not do enough to enforce it,” Student Government member Carolina Lorenzo said.

The student handbook outlines a range of possible sanctions for a case in which there was a single policy violation and no previous disciplinary violations. On-campus smoking is considered a “Major  or University” level offense. First-time violators risk disciplinary warning and a $75 fine.

While the specific sanctions that accompany the violation are unclear to some, the school has made its policy clear.

“The no-smoking signs are visible and everywhere,” student Mark Ciappesoni said. He believes that most students get the message, however like other students, he is not blind to the smoking that does happen.

For those thinking about quitting smoking, the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center offers classes on Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Feature photo courtesy Gareth Simpson via Flickr.