Bridgewater State University welcomed back 11,000 students last week to a smoke-free campus where there are stiff penalties, under the school’s fledgling policy, for those who continue to indulge.
The university joins the ranks of 530 institutions of higher learning nationwide that have banned the use of all tobacco products everywhere on campus, both indoors and outside.
Smoking had been prohibited in Bridgewater State’s buildings for several years by state law, and smokers were not allowed to light up any closer than 25 feet from campus buildings. On Sept. 1, university administrators, along with university president Dana Mohler-Faria, adopted a full ban.
The new policy affects not just students but also faculty, staff, outside vendors, and visitors to campus. Chronic violators will be dealt with harshly, the university warns, adding it “reserves the right to initiate disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination for employees or expulsion for students.’’