Blowing Smoke: A look at OU’s Non-Smoking Policy


OUPD does not enforce Policy 475 because it is not a law or an ordinance.

OU’s smoking ban, Policy 475, began Sept. 1, but smokers can still be spotted puffing away throughout campus. Smoke typically wafts through the air outside of South Foundation Hall and outside of the Oakland Center, where small groups of tobacco devotees often congregate.

The no-smoking policy was implemented to make OU a smoke-free campus and support the Michigan Smoke Free Air Law, which requires public places to put forth a good faith effort to limit smoking to certain areas and to keep users informed of the policy. 

While the policy has been well-publicized on campus, obviously not everyone is complying.

“We pay a lot to go here,” said Savanna Polimeni, a senior criminal justice major who was enjoying a full-flavored cigarette Tuesday morning outside of South Foundation Hall. 

Neither Polemeni, or any of the other 15-or-so smokers who joined her, expressed any concern about getting into trouble for taking a smoke break.  

And there is no known documentation that describes a specific university penalty for ignoring the rule. According to the policy copy, “the Dean of Students, supervisor, dean or director will investigate and take any needed action to resolve the issue.”

Cora Hanson, OU’s Environmental Health and Life Safety Manager, said she has not heard of any students requiring discipline. And if there are such violations, the penalty is not specified.

“Employee violations of policy are handled in a variety of ways from a simple conversation with the employee to a formal process through University Human Resources,” Hanson said.

As for reporting violations, just as with the Michigan Law, members of the general public are obligated to enforce the policy themselves, by reporting transgressors.

Individuals can also call the MDCH (Michigan Department of Community Health) phone number to report smoking violations and file for an injunctive relief within 60 days.