Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Post-holiday blues

Coming back home and getting back into work has been very strange this time. It is always difficult but somehow this year the irritations have been more irritating than usual, the tiredness set in almost as soon as I got back and I seem to be very much aware of the pointlessness of some of the things that I am required to do as part of life and work. The first major annoyance at work concerned the newly identified smoking areas. Over the summer it seems that a few people in the University were given the job of identifying suitable outdoor areas where it was permissible to smoke. It seems that suitable areas are supposed to be pleasant for the smokers and those taking on this role took this to heart, with little consideration of the effect of these decisions on the non-smokers in the vicinity. The 'therapy garden' which has been carefully created by students for the benefit of all, was chosen as one such site and without any consultation an enormous sign and a tiny ash tray was erected in the middle of it! Now, we use this area as a teaching space and I have to say we all took this decision very personally. There followed a barrage of emails (excerpts below) but as yet we have not had a response, not even a 'thank you for your comments but bugger off' type! You will notice from the emails that another smoking site is 'Leaf Hospital - area of rear lawn (hospice side)! Now, I know the hospice residents are not going to notice any long term effects from the smoke but I did think it was rather cruel to encourage smoking in front of the very people who may now be regretting the day they smoked their first fag!

"From: Bridge Kevin
Sent: 13 September 2007 10:16
To: uni info
Subject:Designated smoking areas
Dear colleague

Further to recent changes to the smoking law, the university has provided a designated smoking area close to most buildings. Smokers are politely asked to use these areas with immediate effect. Smoking is no longer permitted elsewhere on the university's premises.

The location of each designated smoking area is as follows:
Hillbrow and Sports Centre - grass triangle adjacent to Gaudick, Denton and Carlisle crossroad
Trevin Towers - Rose garden at rear of building
Welkin and Bishopsbourne - Bishopsbourne barbecue lawn
Aldro - Aldro therapy garden
Robert Dodd and Greynore - H block garden
Leaf Hospital - area of rear lawn (hospice side)
Queenwood - area of Ward Hall lawn

University Centre Hastings - not possible

As you can see, it has not been possible to provide a designated smoking area near to some buildings and where this is the case, smokers are able to access the public street easily.

Thank you for your co-operation.


From: Jim Jones (Health Professions)
Sent: 14 September 2007 12:19
To: h health professions staff;
Subject: FW: Designated smoking areas
Ironic that the Aldro smoking area is the Therapy garden! Does this have to be the case?

From: Lovely
Sent: 14 September 2007 12:35
To: h health professions staff; Bridge Kevin
Subject: RE: Designated smoking areas
no... I feel quite strongly that the Therapy garden should not be a smoking area! Whilst you might be able to make a perfectly good fertilizer from cigarette butts I don't think it is fair that those studying horticulture in the therapy garden should have to pick them out of the flower beds!

From: Bridge Kevin
Sent: 14 September 2007 12:51
To: h health professions staff
Subject: RE: Designated smoking areas
Dear all

The Therapy garden is the closest place to Aldro that provides a pleasant space for socialising (as specified by the university), whilst keeping smoke away from buildings.

An ashtray has been provided for cigarette ends.


From: Jim Jones (Health Professions)
Sent: 14 September 2007 13.02
To: h health professions staff;
Subject: FW: Designated smoking areas
But surely as a teaching area there should not be smoking in it? - Is smoking allowed on sports fields which are also pleasant areas away from buildings?
Could this be reviewed?


From: Patsy Mcbride (Health Professions)
Sent: 21 September 2007 13.29
To: h health professions staff;
Subject: FW: Designated smoking areas
Dear Viviene and Kevin

Last week you informed us of the university's designated areas for smoking. On the same day, it was surprising to find an extremely conspicuous sign for the smoking area firmly in place in the 'Therapy Garden'. It would have been good to have some prior notice of this intention and an opportunity for discussion.

I would like to add to my colleagues' comments that this is an environment where students are taught and therefore not one where smoking should be sanctioned. Also on a practical level, I think it unrealistic to expect people to walk in wet weather across a lawn where there's no path, in order to use an ash tray. I believe it is far more likely that they will remain on the tarmac near the students' greenhouse.

Finally, while I would not condemn people to smoke around bins or in car parks, I see no reason why they should be encouraged into an area that has been painstakingly made into an amenity for all.

I hope there can be accommodation on this matter although I note the concrete fixing!

Best wishes



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