The possible campus-wide tobacco ban, which sparked controversy in spring, continued to be a topic of discussion in the Student Government Association senate meeting Wednesday.
The majority of the discussion revolved around a resolution proposed by College of Libeal Arts & Sciences Senator Eduardo Reyes. The policy Reyes proposed is an attempted compromise between the rights of smoking and nonsmoking students.
The policy outlines a plan that will give smokers designated, covered smoking areas along with moving cigarette butt receptacles 25 feet away from entrances and exits of buildings. Reyes said on-campus students must have a place to smoke nearby.
“If you ban smoking, students will walk across Wheeler and Scott to smoke. It just isn’t safe,” Reyes said. “I have been told by a security officer that once a student crosses Scott or Wheeler, she really doesn’t care what happens to them.”
Bauer College of Business Senator Danny Alexander II said it isn’t only active smokers who will feel the effects of a campus-wide ban. The ban would apply to any and all tobacco on campus.
“It would even break the rule to have tobacco in your car or on your person,” Alexander said.
“That being said, we understand cancer research and funding and how important it is.”
The last stipulation of Reyes’ resolution would require all smoking and non-smoking areas be clearly labeled.
“Students need to be aware of where they can smoke and where they cannot smoke,” Reyes said. “Students who walk and smoke are flicking their butts in the grass. That is anti-green, anti-UH.”
No conclusive vote was taken on the issue, and Reyes concluded by asking for support from his fellow senators. The focus of the meeting then shifted to President Bandoh, who spoke on additional issues such as parking policy and road repair.
Bandoh said last year’s elected body passed a policy that gives discounts to students who pay parking fees early. The discount gives a 75 percent and 50 percent discount if a student pays within the first 24 and 48 hours, respectively. He noted that the policy has thus far been ineffective but he hopes to extend the policy one more year to give it time to work.
“This is not solving the issue, but it is one more step,” Bandoh said.
Lastly, Bandoh spoke about the status of Cullen Boulevard, and he later expounded on the issues relating to the nearby road in an email.
“Cullen Boulevard is on the Top Ten worst streets list for the City of Houston,” Bandoh said. “Initially there was a timetable set to repair the street, but we learned recently that there currently wasn’t any long-term plans to repair Cullen. I met with the city and there I learned that the Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for it, since it is in fact a state highway.”
Bandoh said the situation is being handled by the external affairs section of the student government.