60% favor no smoke in lounge

By Tammy Sholer

About 60 percent of NIU students polled Wednesday voted to ban smoking in Founders Memorial Library’s lower lounge.

Of the 1,496 students polled, 938 voted to convert the lounge to non-smoking, opposed to 558 who wanted to keep the lounge as is, half smoking and half non-smoking, said David Baum, Student Association Academic Affairs adviser.

The poll was conducted by the SA Academic Affairs Committee as a public opinion survey and was not a survey to change the lounge, Baum said. He also said the poll was conducted because the Academic Affairs committee received student complaints about smoke in the lounge.

e said, “I am just representing the students (and) there was a good representation of people. I do not know if the poll was fair because we (SA) only did it one day, (but) I do not feel that it (the results) was skewed to one side.”

“The poll shows a slight preference, (but) it is not conclusive one way or the other. It gives me a sense of what the students want. I encourage people to send in their opinions in writing,” said Beth Titus, University Libraries’ associate professor.

The results will be reviewed, but the issue still needs to be looked into, she said. “Nothing will change overnight,” Titus said, adding if the lounge is to be changed it will take place in the fall of 1987.

Baum said the poll results will be presented to the Library Advisory Committee at its next meeting later this month. Titus said she will review the results and look at other factors to determine the lounge’s fate.

Several factors to be considered are students’ opinions, as well as the results of the NIU’s Internal Facilities Environmental Committee’s findings of the possible banning of public smoking, she said.

Before any action is taken, all factors will be added up and reviewed by the Library Advisory Committee and the library’s policy committee because the issue affects students, Titus said.

One possible solution the SA has suggested to solve the smoking problem is to have two lounges, one smoking and one non-smoking. Although the lounge is half non-smoking, smoke still fills the entire room, Baum said.

Instead of the library administration fulfilling its plan to convert the graduate lounge, located in the library’s lower lounge, into a film library, that room should be used as a smoking lounge, Baum said.

This also would solve the seating problem because the lounge is crowded with groups meeting there to work on projects, he said.