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Widener U. quits the habit

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Lots of “No Smoking” signs have been popping up at Widener University. The school’s total ban began this month.

University officials say you’re welcome to come and stroll the grounds, but don’t light up while you’re on school property.

Violators will get a warning for a first offense. There’s a $25 fine for a second offense, then $50. The fourth offense could escalate to dismissal from school or firing.

Spokesman Dan Hanson says smoking is banned both indoors and out.

We’ve had a few students on campus who have expressed their opposition to the initiative but we’ve had a number of students on campus who also support the initiative, we haven’t had any organized opposition.

When Pennsylvania’s state college and university system tried a total smoking ban in 2008, teachers got the rule thrown out.

Union officials says the ban changed working conditions and that made it an issue that had to be negotiated with the teachers association.

Hanson says there are no unions at Widener but the school has been preparing for the switch for a year. He says, in that time, many students and faculty have signed up for quit smoking programs and counseling.

Widener has campuses in Chester, Harrisburg, Exton as well as Wilmington, Del.

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