On This Day in IUPUI History: December 3, 1987

December 3, 1987. 

On this day, the IUPUI Faculty Council voted unanimously to adopt a policy prohibiting smoking on campus except in designated places in campus buildings. The exceptions were large, however, and afforded opportunities for smokers to continue to smoke in well ventilated offices and in designated smoking rooms. Indeed, the Sagamore, the IUPUI student newspaper, reported that the policy gave designated "building officials" authority to allow, for example, smoking in classrooms during exams.

The verbatim minutes of the IUPUI Faculty Council allow a detailed look at the discussion among members of the Faculty Council. Chancellor Gerald L. Bepko, who convened the meeting, introduced the agenda item as a potentially "exciting" one. He noted that "deep feelings" existed on the issue, from a person wearing a button reading "Don't Smoke Around Me" to a sign in a faculty member's office that read: "Smoking Required In This Office." 

Professor Kathleen Warfel of the Indiana University School of Medicine, chair of the committee who drafted the policy, introduced the issues involved. They involved noting the known health issues related to smoking and to breathing second-hand smoke ("passive smoking") that killed thousands of Americans yearly to balancing the rights of smokers. A debate ensued with many questions asked about the impacts of the policy on smoking on campus. Readers of this blog are encouraged to read the Faculty Council minutes in our eArchives.

The issue of smoking on the IUPUI campus has a long history. The presence of the IU Medical Center, which dealt with the deadly toll of smoking on human health, loomed large in the debate. Many clinicians saw the need to reduce smoking and advocated bans on smoking. But others were themselves addicted to nicotine found in tobacco and fought  any restriction on smoking.

Anyone who wishes to see the omnipresence of tobacco and tobacco smoke on the IUPUI campus in the past should browse through campus photos. There one can find people with cigarettes, cigars, or pipes in their mouths or hands. Ashtrays occupied prominent places on every desk or table. Smoke filled the air almost everywhere.

Since 2006, IUPUI has been a tobacco-free campus. In 2015 the policy added vaping devices.

Dr. Rolla Harger at his 80th birthday party, 1970 UA24-000356

To learn about smoking on the IUPUI campus, consult IUPUI Special Collections and Archives speccoll@iupui.edu

Updated Dec 03, 2018 by Editor Name Missing