The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Commentary September 8, 2006

Smoking Policy is Revisited

To the Review:

    Do you like to have a smoke on the Wilder porch on a sunny day? How about catching that last cigarette before heading to class outside King? I do.

    Have you ever overheard a conversation where someone was explaining to a friend that the smoke at the entrances of on-campus buildings really bothers them, or makes their asthma worse? I have.

    I both enjoy an occasional smoke on the benches outside Mudd and recognize the inconvenience and disturbance such smoking inflicts on Oberlin College students.

    The College recently surveyed the student population in an effort to get a comprehensive picture of the smoking habits and attitudes towards smoking of the student body. Students overwhelmingly voiced a concern with second-hand smoking around campus.

    Loads of research documents the serious health problems associated with second-hand smoke and supports the conclusion to reduce the amount of second-hand smoke that people are exposed to.

    For these reasons, Brendan Morris of student senate and I, Jenny Sandler, will be working together with the support of Student Health Services and the ever-welcome input of OC students to draft and present a newly refurbished Oberlin College Tobacco Policy to our community.

    The logic behind the policy will come directly from the results of the student-opinion survey accomplished last semester, as well as the latest research on second-hand smoke.

    We will also be reviewing the tobacco policies of our peer institutions in Ohio and those of leading US colleges and universities. A brief look at the policies of other colleges clearly shows that the Oberlin policy is outdated, ineffective and, for all practical purposes, non-existent. If you have any ideas, feelings or opinions about the future of this policy, feel free to e-mail me at

    Hopefully, your thoughts can help us draft a policy more agreeable to students. Perhaps you think that smokers should have more space around campus that are smoking friendly or have other ideas about accommodating smoker’s needs. Maybe you have a compelling personal reason to share with our community to help them be more understanding of the need for a better tobacco policy.

    Please share your comments! I’ll promise to keep the community posted on the process throughout the semester and hopefully publish the first draft of the policy online for all to read as soon as it’s ready. The next step will be seeking the approval of the Student Life Committee and then a “yes” vote from the general faculty in support.

    The policy, once approved, will be prepared for implementation by the end of this academic year and fully implemented and enforced beginning in the 2007-2008 academic year.

    I plan to facilitate at least two community forums in Wilder to invite discussion, feedback and suggestions from the student body in regards to this policy.

    If you are interested in the future of the OC tobacco policy, please keep your eyes open for the flyers and come for a lively discussion. Thanks for your understanding, participation and support for this important process.

–Jenny Sandler
College senior


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