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LAW STUDENT SENATE PROPOSES ALTERNATIVE TO SMOKING BAN

The University’s Law School Student Body Senate passed a proposal regarding alternative measures for the new smoking ban.
Thomas Graning

The Law School Student Body (LSSB) Senate of The University of Mississippi’s School of Law has passed a proposal regarding the university’s new smoke-free campus policy.
With the new smoking policy taking effect in January 2013, the Senate’s goal is to stop the implementation of the ban.
“We are confident there are better solutions than an outright ban,” said Cory Ferraez, second-year law student and LSSB senator.
The new proposal consists of alternatives such as enforcing the previously designated smoking areas and increasing signage that warns others of the designated smoking areas.
The finalized proposal will be sent to the Associated Student Body, the implementation committee and the university administration.
The proposal was first introduced in the LSSB Senate during its Sept. 18 session and received a favorable vote in the Oct. 29 session. The new proposal is not a flat opposition to the ban, but an alternative measure that the university can take, according to Ferraez.
Ferraez said that the Senate understands the good intentions of the new policy; however, the policy infringes upon a person’s right or ability to engage in a legal activity.
“The LSSB Senate wants one point to be clear; this is not just an opposition to the ban,” Ferraez said. “We are offering alternative solutions that can accommodate all parties involved.”
Dean of the School of Law Richard Gershon said the smoking policy on campus is a university policy.
“I support our law students’ right to exercise free speech on this issue, but any change in the policy will have to be adopted by the university,” Gershon said.
With the new proposal circulating throughout campus, there has been some negative reaction.
“Apathy is our main reaction,” Ferraez said. “People feel there is nothing we can do about the ban.”
The LSSB Senate plans to have surveys and hold more forums to discuss the proposal.
As of now, the proposal was passed in the LSSB Senate 6 to 1 in the amendment stages, and the LSSB Senate is working on a formal letter to go with it. Accompanying the proposal will be a petition for students to sign.
Ferraez said the LSSB Senate recognizes the health implications of smoking.
“The alternatives advocated in the proposal should aid in helping nonsmokers avoid the smoke and smokers,” he said.
The proposal’s intentions are to represent a broad approach for students, according to Ferraez.
“This proposal not only presented specific solutions,” he said. “It was intended to represent the freedom to conduct or engage in a legal activity and discourages an overly paternalistic mentality by our university.”