MICHELLE DEPINHO AND SEAN SONNEMANN
NEWS/MANAGING WEB EDITOR AND WEB EDITOR
Signs were posted on the doors to East Hill informing residents that smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of Manhattan College building entrances last month. While this policy is standard for all buildings on campus, the new signs brought mixed reactions from residents.
“In the college’s smoking policy, one of the actual points in there says that the college shall continually update the signs,” interim Director of Residence Life Andrew Weingarten said.
“I think it’s that maintenance. It’s nothing new.”
Students can frequently be seen smoking in the areas directly outside the first and eighth floor entrances to East Hill. Even after the signs were posted, several residents continued to smoke in these areas.
“We pay the tuition to come here and it [the smoking] is outside. I’m out the way of people and we stand off to the side. I don’t see why the signs are there; why it’s such a big issue,” Paul Jan, a junior who lives in East Hill said.
“I think it’s ridiculous, you can see someone probably tore one of the signs down already.”
Many smokers feel that they have no other location to smoke other than directly outside the building’s entrances. They argue that the continued placement of cigarette butt receptacles within 25 feet of the doors sends mixed messages about where they are permitted to light up, no matter what the signs may say.
“Considering the janitors don’t even care, they put smoking canisters, the cigarette butt canisters, within 25 feet. Not even the workers here care about people smoking so I don’t know why [the signs were placed],” Jan said.
“If it was really a problem, then they [the college] should get like benches or a place for cigarette smokers to go, because it’s not a tobacco-free campus,” sophomore and fellow smoker Lidia McGee said.
As of Jan. 2, 2014, there are at least 1,182 college or university campuses in the United States that have gone completely smoke-free, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. This list includes New York City schools such as Barnard College and New York University.
Currently, MC policy permits smoking outdoors, so long as smokers are not “at any outdoor event with seating” or “within 25’ of any building entrance or ventilation system.” In compliance with the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking is additionally prohibited within all enclosed buildings and areas.
East Hill is the only residence hall where new signs have been placed.
“There are a lot of students in there that are coming in and out of that entrance,” Weingarten said.
“I know it’s hard, because I don’t think there are 25 feet outside that entrance.”
While many of the East Hill smokers feel that they are being unfairly targeted by the college, other students praised the posting of the new signs.
“I love it. I hate it when there are smokers,” Katherine Petrizzo, a sophomore resident of East Hill said.
“It smells up the area. I’m really conscious of smoke; it gives me headaches and stuff.”