For immediate release: Feb. 1, 2005
Media contact: Eric Quiñones, (609) 258-5748, email@example.com
Health concerns prompt smoking ban in undergrad dorms
PRINCETON, N.J -- Concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke and following peer institutions, Vice President for Campus Life Janet S. Dickerson announced today that she has accepted student recommendations to prohibit smoking in undergraduate dormitories. Dickerson also has asked the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and Office of Housing to involve students in formulating regulations for implementing the new policy, which becomes effective in the fall.
"This has been an issue under consideration for many years due to the concerns about both second-hand smoke and fire hazards," Dickerson said. "The work of the Undergraduate Life Committee (ULC) determined that a vast number of Princeton undergraduates strongly support smoke-free housing. The ULC also noted its respect for individual rights to smoke but found this right did not outweigh the rights of others to be free of second-hand smoke."
The ULC began focusing more intently on smoke-free housing at the start of the 2004-05 academic year upon reviewing policies related to substance-free dorms, Dickerson said. The process, co-chaired by senior Juan Lessing, included extensive student involvement through surveys and discussions. The ULC cited several factors for recommending the new policy including:
Currently, smoking is prohibited in all common areas of Princeton's undergraduate dormitories and residential colleges. Smoking is permitted in private residential rooms, but rights of nonsmokers prevail over those of smokers. Smoking also is prohibited in classrooms and offices on campus.
Dickerson noted that while the strongest argument against smoke-free housing relates to individual rights, the American Civil Liberties Union -- while supporting the individual's right to smoke -- also has supported the right of institutions to protect individuals from second-hand smoke. She said the Undergraduate Student Government has asked for students to be involved in the formation of regulations and that she is confident students will help develop well-conceived recommendations for implementing the new policy.