University Policy and Administrative Planning Director Pamina Deutsch said she hopes to revise the policy to include cracking down on smokers outside of designated smoking areas on campus has been a goal of hers for some time.
“Ever since I’ve taken over this role — I’ve been here since Feb. 2012 — there have been concerns about enforcement (of the smoking policy),” she said.
UNMPD has no role in enforcing the smoking policy, Deutsch said.
The current smoking policy states that “the University of New Mexico is committed to wellness, prevention and providing a healthy environment in which to learn.” To perpetuate that goal, UNM is a tobacco-free campus,” except in a small number of designated outdoor areas authorized by the University President.”
There are five such areas on UNM’s main campus, including one in front of Zimmerman and three in the residential area of campus.
According to the policy, the method of enforcement currently in place isn’t really enforcement at all. Rather, it is advocating for “thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation between smokers and nonsmokers.”
Jon Ungaro, a junior mechanical engineering major who smokes, said that if the policy is eventually changed to include stricter enforcement, the University should compensate by clearly marking smoking areas. He said the area in front of Zimmerman is the only one he knew about.
“They should try and make the designated areas clearer and in good locations where you can smoke between classes and what not, rather than having to run all over the place,” he said.”
Ungaro said he believes it takes cooperation from smokers to be in compliance with the regulations in place, but he’d rather not be h`assled for smoking on the run.
“I’m respectful about it,” he said. “I try not to smoke and blow smoke in people’s faces and what not, so I kind of keep it at a distance to begin with. If people do that then they should be fine — I’d rather not be harassed for smoking when I’m on my way to classes.”
Deutsch emphasized the importance of representing all parties, especially those whom the policy affects.
“I think we should have smokers at the table as well,” she said.
Deutsch also said that the Associated Students of UNM and the Graduate and Professional Students, the University’s student governing bodies, have already given their preliminary suggestions for revisions to her.
“It’s great that the students get to be involved in the matter,” Deutsch said.
She said that she is in the process of getting revision suggestions from other stakeholders in the issue, including campus housing, the President’s office and the faculty senate.
The current policy was last revised in 2009.
David Lynch is a staff reporter at The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.