No place for smokers to smoke on campus
By Jasonya Cato
The Arkansas Clean Air Act of 2009 prohibits smoking on state facilities. Such facilities include: hospitals, certain business, and school campuses.
For some students, the actual logistics and definition of campus grounds is a concern.
Officer Jennifer Sibley, UALR’s Crime Prevention officer, stated that any part of Asher Avenue and University Avenue including sidewalks is still considered campus grounds.
If any student, visitor, or member of the faculty is caught smoking, then warnings or even citations can be issued. If a citation is issued the cost could range from $100 to $500.
After receiving a citation, violators must take up the matter with the county courts, just as a traffic violator would if issued a traffic ticket.The issuing officer has the discretion to issue a warning instead of a citation, but they are not obligated to do so.
If violators are caught smoking marijuana, they can be arrested, resulting in a misdemeanor and/or felony charges.
Darryl McGee, UALR’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Judicial Affairs, stated that a smoking violation will not result in a student being expelled from school alone. He said that student discipline is determined case by case.
Officer Sibley states that the non-smoking policy is difficult to work with sometimes because her ultimate concern is with student safety. She also added as a mother she does not like asking students to cross the street to designated smoking areas to smoke. Her daughter was a smoker and attended UALR also.
McGee states that most witnesses do not report smoking violations on campus. This makes it difficult to establish a pattern to enforce the non-smoking policy. McGee challenged the student body to step up and report the violations. He said he would also like to see a campaign or fundraiser to actively stop smoking on campus.