University's smoke-free plans has student union fuming
The University of Prince Edward Island wants to implement a complete smoking ban on campus, but the student union has concerns.
The final draft of a policy to ban smoking everywhere on campus was supposed to be completed this fall, but the student union wanted more time to find out what the students had to say.
Student union president Willy Gauthier told CBC News Wednesday the university already follows the provincial smoke-free Places Act, banning smoking from all buildings, including residences, and requiring people to smoke at least 4.5 metres away from any entrance. Gauthier says this is sufficient.
"Our primary concern is ensuring that students aren't faced with an unsafe environment, specifically those students living in residences who might smoke," said Gauthier.
"At night time, after dark, those students would have to walk outside to the street in order to smoke, so we just raised some concerns with that on behalf of the safety of our students here."
The streets surrounding UPEI, University and Belvedere, are both busy thoroughfares.
Angela Marchbank, fitness and wellness co-ordinator at UPEI, said the university believes a complete smoking ban would protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty on campus.
"We're prepared to work with the student union and other groups on campus, with UPEI security, to develop a plan so that we can look at safety as a whole," she said.
"To date, we haven't heard any legitimate arguments as to why a tobacco-free policy would be a bad thing for our campus."
Marchbank said the final draft of the smoke-free policy will be presented at a meeting with the board of governors in January.