At the beginning of the new year, the University of South Florida implemented a tobacco ban across campus. After nearly two months, however, the university is having trouble enforcing it.
“Any time you change policy, or you change anything, you’re gonna’ have a few people that are maybe resistant to change, or are not ready to change just yet,” said Adam Freeman, USF Media/Public Affairs manager.
There is no law enforcement involved or surveillance used. Instead, the policy is peer enforced. The idea is that students and faculty hold each other accountable.
“If you see somebody on campus smoking using tobacco, if you feel comfortable, you can approach them and simply tell them this is a tobacco and smoke free campus and politely ask them to stop,” Freeman said.
Students and staff at USF have not exactly jumped on board with this concept yet. Instead, smokers have been gathering in the places that were designated smoking areas and sparking up just as they have in the past.
For a student who wishes to peer enforce, the process involves first asking the smoker to stop. If that doesn’t work, then reporting the smoker to the nearest building manager is the next step. The building manager then could turn them in, subjecting the smoker to either the student code of conduct or disciplinary action, which depends on the position of the offender.
A protest was held Wednesday by several smokers, but USF is not budging on its tobacco policy.