Friday, October 07, 2005

University Should Follow Policy and Make The Annex Smoke-Free

Recently varies viewpoints in the Marquette Tribune have focused attention on whether or not Milwaukee Bars should be made smoke free (see "Chit Chat" and "There are enough bars for everyone"), however, these viewpoints fail to mention the University's own smoking policy and its apparent self-inflicted violation of it with regards to the Marquette-owned Annex on 16th and Wells. It is my belief that a University-owned sports bar that allows smoking not only violates its own stated policies on smoking, but allowing smoking also violates the core Jesuit ideal of cura personalis or "care for the whole person".

The University policy on smoking is pretty clear and is covered by the Office of Residence Life (in the student handbook) and on the facility services website. According to Residence Life, smoking is not permitted in the Residence Halls nor is it permitted within 25 feet of the doors of any residence hall. Additionally, facility services states the following in with regards to policy number "UPP 5-02":

What is the policy:

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of all university
buildings. In addition, smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of all building
entrances. The Office of Student Affairs will publicize specific rules for
smoking in residence halls consistent with this policy and the Wisconsin Clean
Air Act.

It is my contention that The Annex is a university building as it is essentially an additional cafeteria with TVs and a bowling ally in it. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that students have the option, of using their standard meal plan to eat at The Annex during "“Eagle Option" hours. If the University does not allow smoking within the cafeteria in the AMU or in any of the dorm cafeterias, it must also prohibit smoking in The Annex since it is also designated as a similar facility. In addition, student organizations, according to university policy, in order to reserve space at The Annex for official events, must first apply and then get approval through the Office of Student Development. Lastly, the University uses The Annex for a number of official school events, including watch parties for Marquette Athletics, a number of MUSG activities, Parents Weekend, and Little Sibs Weekend. The Annex is without a doubt a university-owned and controlled building that students and the public have access to.

Regardless of this policy, the University is violating its own Jesuit principle of cura personalis, commonly known as "care for the whole person". The University cannot seriously argue that allowing students to be inundated by second-hand smoke is "care for the whole person". Rather, the University should take the lead on providing students with a smoke-free environment to enjoy food, sports, and perhaps a few drinks with friends.

The Annex is currently an underused resource by Marquette students, perhaps making it smoke-free will give it a niche among students that will make it not only thrive, but eventually lead to "smoke-free"nights or self-imposed smoking bans by the other campus-area bars and restaurants as they see that being "smoke-free" is not only good for students but good business as well.