The University’s Department of Student Housing is considering a new proposal that would prohibit all smoking paraphernalia from scholarship halls, Jayhawker Towers and residence halls.
If the policy is enacted, students would be unable to enter any on-campus housing with items including, but not limited to bowls, pipes, bongs, hookahs, rolling papers, etc., said Daniel Skinner, a Student Housing Advisory Board (SHAB) member.
Housing’s Associate Director for Student Life Jennifer Wamelink said this proposal does not include cigarettes.
“Residents could have them in their bag or their purse inside the residence halls,” she said.
As it stands now, students living in on-campus housing cannot smoke traditional cigarettes in the building, but electronic cigarettes or vaping devices are allowed. In addition to the proposed ban on tobacco paraphernalia, the SHAB has also talked about prohibiting the smoking of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.
"We have had several fire alarm situations related to vapor," Wamelink said. "So, independent of the tobacco-free conversation, we've been saying that we probably need to take the step of prohibiting cigarettes and vaping devices in Student Housing."
Wamelink said the SHAB, composed of representatives from the different student governing bodies, as well as faculty members, was encouraged by the campus-wide initiative to go tobacco-free.
"With the [tobacco-free initiative]," Wamelink said, "our student leaders have been invited to some preliminary conversation and we're thinking about what would it look like for KU Student Housing to go completely tobacco-free. Should we wait for the campus to do it, or should we go ahead and make that step? That's one of the conversations that we've been having."
Currently, the draft policy proposed by the tobacco-free initiative does not apply to Student Housing, said Ola Faucher, the director of human resources and a member of the tobacco-free steering committee. If the policy were to go into effect, all facilities operated by Student Housing would be exempt.
Both policies are currently being discussed by residents of on-campus housing, especially within the residence organizations like the Association of University Residence Halls (AURH), All Scholarship Hall Council (ASHC), and the Jayhawker Towers Tenants Committee.
Skinner, who is also the president of ASHC, said most of the people he's spoken with don't have a problem with the ban on electronic cigarettes, but do take issue with the ban on tobacco paraphernalia.
"In terms of paraphernalia, most of the opinions I've been hearing, especially from students who live in the scholarship halls, is that they aren't very much in favor of banning the paraphernalia," Skinner, a senior from Wichita, said. "Most of that is because a lot of people aren't sure that it's enforceable; a lot of them aren't sure that it's necessary."
— Edited by Laura Kubicki