Campus News

Cabinet updates campus smoking policy

Cabinet revised policy at its March 24 meeting that bans smoking in all UGA buildings by mandating that smokers be at least 35 feet away from any doorways or air intake units. The revision also prohibits smoking under outdoor covered walkways and prohibits any tobacco use on the new health sciences campus.

“The smoking policy is an emotional thing,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “You have people who argue that it’s another indication of the long, ever-extending arm of government, or in this case, the administration. We’re sensitive to that, but we also believe that a university ought to set some examples and people ought not have to breathe second-hand smoke. They ought not to have to go through areas to get into buildings that are smoke infested. And we offer smoking cessation classes in our health center. We want people not to smoke. There may come a day when we can rule out smoking on any part of campus, but we have to temper that with we how we ‘police’ that. We don’t want our officers, especially given the problems we’ve had [recently], going around and arresting smokers.”

The cabinet also voted to loosen game day rules on North Campus and approved a new policy regarding service animals.

Next year, football fans will be able to start tailgating five hours before kickoff, up from four. In addition, tailgaters on North Campus will have the option to bring tents with them and use tables that are up to 6-feet long, an extension to the 4-foot limit imposed last year.

Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the changes reflect new ways to allow fans to enjoy the university’s historic grounds without causing harm to campus.

“We have a game day committee that, after each football season, sits down and discusses the experiences we’ve had that year and suggests ways to move forward,” he said. “Our changes last year were not in any way intended to say that we do not want tailgating on North Campus. It was never part of the discussion the committee had. The essence of the changes we instituted last year were really to change the level of behavior and create a different level of experience for tailgating on North Campus.”

In addition, the cabinet approved a new policy regarding service animals on campus. The move was designed to ensure that university members stay in accordance with federal and state laws as well as protect both the community and the animals from harm. Certain areas, such as the University Health Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine expressed concerned about limiting access for fear that service dogs-in-training could be exposed to diseases or expose other animals and people to disease.

Under the new rules, students who socialize guide-dogs-to-be must be sure that both they and their dog wear special indicators. This way the university can be sure that the animals and their trainers are registered and understand the policy, said Steve Shi, director of UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office.

“We’ve seen a proliferation of puppies on campus. This is a result of a state law that equates dogs in training with service animals,” he said. “The goal of this policy is for us to register these animals and know that they’re here legitimately and make sure we’re complying with the law at the same time.”