University’s Courtyard renovations displace smokers

The university courtyard has long been a hot spot for students and faculty who need a place to smoke on university grounds. The courtyard is a convenient location for students coming from the library, cafeteria, and classes. Renovations to the courtyard are currently in the works, and when they are completed, a new policy will be instated that will prohibit smoking of any kind inside the courtyard.

It was difficult for the university to come to the decision to instill no smoking regulations for the courtyard. For campus officials, however; it seemed like the most logical option in the process of improving the university’s overall environment and standards.

Dr. Marijo L. Russell-O’Grady, dean of students at the New York campus, was one of the main administrators who helped bring the new policy into effect. She explained that after the Student Government Association conducted a survey, the NYC faculty council, facilitated by Vice President Bill McGrath, also held a lengthy discussion on the topic to reach a consensus.

“The impetus for the decision was to reinforce healthy lifestyles. Several non-smoking students have complained over the years, as have faculty members. An anonymous donor provided the funds for the renovation of the courtyard and it seemed like an ideal time to make a culture shift,” Dr. Russell-O’Grady said.

This begs the question as to where the smokers will go. Due to the current construction within the courtyard, smokers have not been able to frequent there, and have taken up post in front of the main entrance to One Pace Plaza.

“Students who wish to smoke can exit the security booth on Spruce Street,” Russell-O’Grady said.

The [newly] designated smoking space is located at the right of One Pace Plaza, through the gated, grassy area where there are picnic tables.”

Although there are no current statistics reporting what population of students and faculty are smokers, Russell-O’Grady anticipates that the majority of both smokers and non-smokers will react positively to this change.

Nara Molnar, senior, a smoker, expects that it will be much more of a hassle if she has to walk to a different, less expedient location to smoke. “I can understand that people would think the clouds of smoke are annoying to walk through, so I get why they’re doing it,” said Molnar. In addition, Molnar presumes that the new policy will cut down on the number of cigarettes she smokes on a typical school day. This will “save me some money,” Molnar predicted.

Saving students money is an added benefit of the policy, but not one that Sophomore Caroline Ford particularly cares about. A non-smoker, Ford was thrilled to hear about the amended rules. She personally finds smoking to be a “bad habit” and is relieved that she will “finally be able to walk through the courtyard without holding my breath.”

When asked if the ban on smoking in the courtyard was part of a plan to make the University’s campus completely smoke-free, Russell-O’Grady replied that this is not a goal “at this current time.” She added “we must comply with city and state laws with respect to smoking and where people smoke.”

The ban on smoking in the courtyard is just one of the many changes that will be coming to the University’s campus in the upcoming weeks. The date of implementation has not yet been specified but changes will come into effect as soon as construction is complete.