Union complaint delays UH smoking ban

The signs are there, but the ban is not.

“I smoked back in my late teen years and boy I’m glad I quit,” University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple said.

Chancellor Apple wanted the campus-wide smoking ban to begin Jan. 1, but the faculty’s union filed a complaint about it late last year.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) says school administrators went directly to the faculty senate about the smoking ban before speaking to the union.

According to associate executive director Kristeen Hanselman, that’s a no-no because UHPA is supposed to be the exclusive bargaining unit for the faculty.

“We clearly need to communicate more with UHPA on proper consultation on this and any other issues,” Chancellor Apple said.

That complaint put the brakes on the new rules, which would also ban electronic cigarettes. But students believe it doesn’t matter what happens.

“People are going to smoke no matter what because there’s no security everywhere, so it doesn’t really matter,” student Lauren Chang said.

“Nobody’s here to reinforce that rule,” student Kim Matsunaga said.

“It would have to be a joint collaboration between everyone,” student Austen Dabboul said.

The chancellor says that’s exactly what it would be. There wouldn’t be any consequence if someone is caught breaking the rule. Chancellor Apple hopes the ban would serve as a social policy.

“You’re perfectly welcome to give them dirty looks,” Chancellor Apple said. “You could certainly feel validated in approaching the person and saying, ‘Excuse me, will you put that out? Smoking’s not permitted on this campus.’”

The school is trying to get the union’s complaint dismissed and a hearing on the issue will be held on Wednesday. If it is dismissed, the school hopes to get the ban implemented soon.

KHON2 contacted another union for UH employees, HGEA.

A union spokesperson says members have not expressed concern at this time but the union continues to monitor this issue.

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