Current location a potential health hazard to the Children’s Centre
EMILIANNA PETERS // CONTRIBUTOR
Two Capilano University instructors are petitioning to have the location of the smoking zones on campus relocated. Located in the Cedar courtyard, the smoking zone is in a central feature, which is convenient for many seeing as it is at the heart of the community. Others, however, are concerned about the health risks that come from second hand smoke and the fact that the placement of the smoking area makes it almost impossible to avoid.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) instructor Dr. Annabella Cant started the petition to have the smoking area relocated because it is her expressed belief that the solution to the location of the smoking zones is for students and faculty to work together and support the needs of everyone at CapU. “I see a solution in collaboration and togetherness,” said Cant. “I believe that defines the core of Capilano’s values; finding friendly solutions which make everyone feel like they are being heard.”
Cant said that she would like the smoking area to be relocated in the interest of the little ones at the Children’s Center who often play in the Cedar courtyard and are at risk of inhaling second-hand smoke. Her petition, which aims to get 500 signatures, has reached just under half its goal in the last five months with support from both students and faculty. Although she believes everyone, including smokers, should feel comfortable on campus. “Banning and punishment do not work, they only create conflict,” said Cant.
Cant doesn’t support banning smoking on campus, but others feel that CapU would be better off as a smoke-free university and that more should be done to prevent smoking on campus all together. Motion Picture Arts (MOPA) instructor David Geary signed the petition to have the smoking zones relocated, and was very clear about his stance on the issue. “I personally would love the campus to be smoke-free,” he said. “We have a duty of care to all employees and students, we all deserve to be safe here.”
Geary complained that smoke comes into the offices and classrooms in the Cedar building, and said that if a smoke-free campus was not possible, then he would advocate for a smoke- free courtyard at least. He sees the smoking area’s current location as both a distraction and a health risk. Geary suggested the possibility of moving the smoking area to the edge of campus. “If [smokers] want a cigarette that badly they’ll go there,” he said, although he did acknowledge that the possibility of increasing the risk of forest fires during the summer is a serious concern. Ultimately, Geary’s main goal is to start a conversation with Capilano’s students and faculty.
While the push to relocate the smoking area seems to be gaining traction, some students worry that the community they have built in the smoking area will be disrupted or even destroyed if Capilano goes smoke-free. “The smoke pit is a community, this area is important to us. The people that gather here are willing to strike up a conversation with anyone because we all have something in common,” said student Jesse Missio, “It’s where we come to relax, meet new people, and make connections.” Many other students also expressed concern about the loss of community as well as the risk of forest fires if the smoking area were to be moved.
Though there are many different opinions on the issue, one thing everyone seems to agree on is the fact that the thoughts and input of everyone at CapU need to be heard in order to make policies or changes that accurately reflect the best interests of the community.