Skateboarding and Smoking Issues Linked by Inadequate Signage

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John Higgins media studies  adjunct professor.
John Higgins media studies
adjunct professor.

The new Lo Schiavo Center is a stunning addition to the campus and a testimony to the tireless efforts of dedicated folks across campus over the years.

The plaza area is also an enticing beacon to anyone who has even considered skateboarding.

As the beautiful design became apparent over the past months, the discussion among faculty and staff usually included the question: when will the metal decorative brackets go up to prevent skateboarding?  Or signage that would at least state a policy and hopefully discourage the act?

Late Friday afternoon after the Foghorn’s article appeared that described skateboard damage to the concrete benches, I ran into a friendly guy in the plaza.  He was in his late teens/early 20s…with a skateboard, politely waiting for people to clear before he began his run — at the very benches mentioned in the Foghorn article.  He said he was French, not a student, and not aware of any issues regarding skateboarding in the plaza.  From the discussion, I concluded that damage to property in the plaza was more likely due to oblivious boarding enthusiasts than malicious vandals.  But, without a sign, how would one know that skateboarding was prohibited in one of the greatest skateboard venues in the avenues?

The problem of no public notification is also reflected in the so-called “smoke free campus” policy in effect since 2008. Smoking is supposedly banned from campus with the exception of one smoking area on the lower campus and another on Lone Mountain.  The objectives: “To promote a safe and healthy learning and work environment for students, staff, faculty and visitors by reducing the health risks associated with tobacco smoke,”  and “to protect the rights of the non-smoking community to breathe tobacco smoke-free air.”

Yet, many of us are aware of an increase in the amount of smoking on campus recently.  Just count the number of discarded cigarette butts in the plaza — or try walking into Gleeson Library, Kalmanovitz, Harney, University Center, or the lower entrances of Cowell and Kalmanovitz without having your health threatened by second hand smoke.  Faculty, staff and students, who apparently are responsible for enforcing the ban on their own initiative, would be aided by having signs posted that gently remind smokers of the policy — and to smoke at the curb on Fulton or Golden Gate.

Members of the campus community usually do not internalize or even remember institutional policies.  Campus visitors certainly are not aware of policies related to smoking or skateboarding.

Perhaps the addition of visible, simple reminders might be of help in promoting a congenial and safe campus for everyone in our community?

4 COMMENTS

  1. I am extremely impressed along with your writing talents as smartly as with the layout to your weblog.

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  2. Signage is an unfortunate necessity; required for those who ignore laws, procedures, and property. Skateboards like taggers and smokers do not think their vice or ‘privilege’ is covered under property damage, health risks to others, or creating blight and littering. Despite best efforts, unless there is an expected large fine or cost associated with these people exercising their personal rights above or in spite of laws and statutes, we have to live with their selfish behaviors.

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