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Trustees Ponder Tobacco Ban

October 14, 2010 by admin

By Charles W. Kim

      The Board of Trustees will take about 30 days to decide if smoking will be banned on all Brookdale campuses.

     Board members unanimously voted Oct. 14 to “lodge” college President Peter F. Burnham’s plan to eliminate the “consumption or use” of all tobacco products at the school.  A final vote on the ban will take place during a public meeting of the board scheduled for Nov. 11.

   “(The smoking issue) was looked at pretty closely,” Board member Gene J. Mulroy said supporting the move. “(The Governance decision to ban smoking) was a significant vote to carry out this ban.”

   A Governance Forum last spring narrowly voted to implement the ban.

     Burnham brought the proposal to the board during a special Sept. 24 meeting. Under the plan, smoking would only be allowed in an individuals’ private vehicle and no longer in the gazebos around the campus.

    In preparation of the board’s approval, the college is starting a massive education campaign to make everyone aware of the ban, effective Jan. 1, according to the proposal.  Burnham is also working with College Nurse Gwen Evans to develop a smoking cessation campaign to help tobacco users kick the habit, according to Burnham’s report to the board.

     “As president, I have decided a ban is needed; and have orchestrated efforts to ensure its success,” Burnham said in the report. “Brookdale will not be the first New Jersey community college to become a smoke-free institution.”

   Most other board members remained silent during a brief discussion of the issue as part of a workshop for the body.

  Member Joan Raymond, however, said she would not support the ban.

   “I’m not for banning (smoking) campus wide,” Raymond said. “There is a reason it has come to this. Smokers are not adhering to the rules that were set.”

   Raymond said she sees the effects of this kind of a ban at an insurance business down the road from the school.

   “(Employees) have to get in their cars and drive off the campus and they park on the side of the road and put out a picnic blanket so they can smoke,” Raymond said. “I am not a smoker, but I feel for them.”

   Burnham said that employees will be able to do what they want to during their scheduled breaks, but would also be “held accountable” if they took liberties with their time to include returning from breaks late due to smoking off campus.

  “We will hold all employees accountable for their time on the job,” Burnham said.

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