Upon the opening of the MacEwan Hall Expansion last January, the Students' Union clearly stated that the new concert hall would be designated a non-smoking facility. This was a reasonable decision as while not only posing a health hazard to non-smoking patrons and staff, smoking poses fire risks, damages flooring (as seen in the old ballroom) and produces a disgusting mess of butts and ashes to be cleaned up by U of C janitorial and SU event staff.
The SU's policy was successfully upheld by providing concertgoers with an outdoor area to smoke, even at adult-only events. However, at the show on the evening of November 11th, smoking was permitted within the facility as the concert was sponsored by Benson and Hedges, who not only had product promoters present at the concert, but also sold tabacco products on the premises. The concert was classified as an adult show; identification was required for entry so concert and city smoking bylaws were not broken. However, it remains that the SU ignored its own regulation in order to placate a corporate sponsor.
I am not only disappointed that the SU's decision has set a precedent to allow what is, in my opinion, a dangerous and disgusting activity in their facility; I am also disturbed by the fact that had Benson and Hedges not been sponsoring the November 11th show, the non-smoking policy would have remained in effect. The SU has shown very little integrity by abandoning a set policy in order to allow a corporation to advertise and sell their product in its facility.