Ohio State University President Dr. E. Gordon Gee ignited a debate on campus today after sending an e-mail to students, staff and faculty proposing making the entire campus tobacco free.
Currently most of the academic portion of campus is "smoke free" which means students can smoke outside in public areas but must remain 25 feet away from the entrances to buildings. The OSU Medical Center and Health Sciences portion of the campus however are already tobacco free which means that no tobacco is allowed on those portions of campus. OSU spokeswoman Liz Cook said Dr. Gee's proposal would mean extending the "tobacco free" status to the entire campus.
However Cook said it is also possible that the "tobacco free" status which would be applied could differ from the way it is applied to the medical portion of campus. The definition would be up to a committee that the university plans to form to examine the issue.
Freshman Ben Schumann hopes the university will choose to remain on "smoke free" status.
"I mean personally I don't smoke and that's not something I ever want to do but at the same time it's a college campus. We're all adults here. I feel people should have a right to do what they want with their own bodies," Schumann said.
"I know a lot of people that would be angry about it. So I guess it just depends on how many people want it and how many people don't," said freshman Catherine Elliott.
Others like Emily Neff disagree saying they frequently get caught behind smokers on the way to class, "I think it's a good idea because I don't smoke and I don't like the smell of smoke and I think it's unhealthy!"
According to Cook the university hopes to have a new policy in place by August 1st. However Cook said it is unknown when the policy would actually take effect or if it would go in to effect for the 2013-2014 school year.
The university will also ask the Board of Trustees for its recommendation on the issue.