University Senate                                                                                             

Proposed:December 3, 2010                                                                                                         

Adopted: 31 yes, 13 no, 2 abstentions




WHEREAS                a working group on tobacco policy was created by Vice President for Campus Services Scott Wright in 2008 and charged to review Columbia’s many smoking policies and to make its own policy recommendations for review by the University Senate, and

WHEREAS                the Tobacco Work Group, a broadly representative panel of students and staff drawn from a dozen Columbia schools and administrative departments, has conducted a thorough review over the last two years, studying local laws, policies of peer institutions, and current scholarly literature on tobacco and its long-term effects, and

WHEREAS                the Work Group solicited the opinion of the Columbia community both electronically and in a series of live forums, including the Senate plenary meeting of November 13, 2009, and two subsequent meetings of the Senate External Relations Committee, and

WHEREAS                the Work Group gave serious consideration to policies ranging from the status quo to a campus-wide ban on all smoking, indoors and outdoors, of the kind adopted by the Columbia University Medical Center in 2009, and

WHEREAS                the Work Group, seeking an equitable balance between the rights and interests of smokers and non-smokers, has ultimately recommended a “consistent distance” rule, and

WHEREAS                following due deliberation with the University Senate, Vice President Wright has recommended 20 feet as an appropriate application of the “consistent distance” rule, and

WHEREAS                the Senate External Relations Committee, having satisfied itself that the Work Group’s main Policy recommendation is sound, has forwarded it to the Senate for action;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED              that the University Senate approve a new policy for Columbia’s Morningside campus allowing smoking no closer than 20 feet from all campus buildings;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED                   that the University Senate reaffirm the importance of providing smoking cessation education and resources to the Columbia community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED                   that a designated authority shall be empowered to enforce this resolution through appropriate action; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED                   that the Senate External Relations Committee will review the new policy within two years, with particular attention to possible enforcement issues, to the idea of building designated sheltered smoking areas, and to the continuing need to provide positive reinforcement for the struggle to quit smoking.


External Relations Committee