Almost Extinct


ROAR - Cigarette Wild Art


Credit to: Hailey Macias

Endangered species on Finlandia’s campus–soon to be extinct.

 Story by Alissa Pietila

Do you ever wonder how much control a college has over its students, faculty and staff? Sometimes policies formed have a larger campus impact than just on the student.

Finlandia’s proposed smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy could even have an impact on the Hancock community. According to Karen Johnson, Finlandia’s Executive Director of Communication, and the leader of the smoke- and tobacco-free task force, the entire decision to form this new regulation is, “much bigger than Finlandia. It’s supported by society.”

According to a November 2012 story by The Washington Post, proposed on-campus smoking bans have not been received positively around the United States and many have raised protest. Even Finlandia’s proposed policy has been attacked. In a statement received from the comment page on Finlandia’s website, one smoking student said, “This is getting quite ridiculous. One cannot smoke in THEIR OWN CAR while on campus? Absolutely absurd.” Many other comments, from smokers and non-smokers, have reflected this concept for a designated smoking area, especially in vehicles. Although, some respondents were completely against the concept of a smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy ever being in place.

Even with all the opposition, these bans are still gaining ground around the country. The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation said that as of January 2013, there are “at least 1,129 100% smoke-free campuses with no exemptions” across the entire United States. Finlandia is next in line.

The first sentence of the proposed policy states, “Finlandia University is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all members of our campus community.” The university will become smoke and tobacco free beginning on August 1, 2013. The policy includes allowing individuals to smoke in their personal vehicles, addressing the concern many had over a smoking spot. Also, it states that this ban pertains to all forms of tobacco products, and applies to all individuals on campus.

The Post also says that the hardest part about adding these new rules and regulations to college campuses is enforcing them. Johnson knows that enforcement will be difficult, but said that they, “don’t want to have to patrol campus” in order to maintain the policies, but will develop rules for it if an issue arises.

The process to develop this smoke- and tobacco-free policy has been long, and Johnson knows the adjustment will not be easy. Just like any other major change, she said, “It will take time.”

If you have any questions regarding the new ban, please contact Karen Johnson, Finlandia’s Executive Director of Communication, and the leader of the smoke- and tobacco-free task force, by e-mail at, or by telephone at (906) 487-7348.

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4 Responses to Almost Extinct

  1. Anonymous Student Reply

    April 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm


  2. Anonymous Student Reply

    April 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    “The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation said that as of January 2013, there are “’at least 1,129 100% smoke-free campuses with no exemptions’ across the entire United States. Finlandia is next in line.”

    This is erroneous and untrue. In truth, as of April, 2013, there are only 783 institutions with a 100% tobacco-free policy in the U.S. which is about 17% of the total number of schools. The number above represents that (what is now) 1,159 schools that claim to be tobacco-free (and that number includes the 783 mentioned previously) but allow chewing still. (

    Another point worth consideration is the fact that the street in front of Finlandia is not owned by Finlandia, it is owned by the City of Hancock. Therefore, if a student wants to enjoy a cigarette on the street, it is their right to do so.

    Finlandia’s new tobacco-free policy won’t be enforced and, even if there is a patrol, half of the people working there smoke anyway. It is a singling out of one particular group’s habits while neglecting the bigger issues of alcohol consumption, marijuana, and, a far more disgusting tobacco-related habit than smoking, chewing.

    Why punish only one group, especially when it is the group that is least destructive and illegal? If people would simply ask smokers to move if the smoke is bothering them, they would and there would be no problem. Congrats on strong-arming your students, Finlandia.

  3. Ashleigh Hardy Reply

    October 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    There are some adults who have to take their children to classes with them, smoking on campus not only is a threat to adults, but also to those kids.

    The street right on front of Finlandia might be owned by Hancock, but it is also still part of Campus. Not smoking or using ANY tobacco products for a few hours out of the day should not be a big deal. Complaining about not be able to smoke in your car or on campus is, quite frankly, self-centered and rude to non-smokers.

    It is not that hard to go to a side street to smoke that badly. For the illegal use: marijuana, alcohol, and drugs; Finlandia is cracking down on all that. No university it perfect.

    I am completely for this policy. I have asked smokers to move but most of them (not all) have made a few comments and will continue to just stand there. I have had someone blow smoke right into my face after asking politely if they could move away from where a few of us were sitting. Finlandia is not “attacking” one group of people, they’re trying to make campus a safer place for not only students and faculty, but also to our community.

  4. Liz Gundlach Reply

    October 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    First of all, I would like to say that I agree with Ashleigh but to the anonymous comment, what Alissa said was “100% smoke free” not “100% tobacco free.” Also, how are smokers the least destructive? When I walk by someone who is smoking it makes it so I can’t breathe since I have asthma. With the policy now being in place, I just wish it was enforced. Although the streets that bisect the university are city property, they are still part of the campus which means smokers can’t smoke there either. And since this is a tobacco-free policy that includes chewing, which even though it is worse for you, it doesn’t affect the lives of the people around you. I’ve also asked them to move and they didn’t do anything, just kept smoking, so I just gave up.

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