Malvern banned all tobacco and e-cigarette products – including cigars on graduation day.
As of September 1 this year, Malvern became a tobacco free campus.
“Under the new Tobacco Free policy, no smoking of any kind (including e-cigarettes), chewing tobacco, or other tobacco products are allowed on campus at any time,” said Head of School Christian Talbot in an email sent to the Malvern community.
According to Director of Strategic Initiatives Mrs. Carrie Snyder, the tradition of new graduates smoking cigars in St. Augustine’s circle after graduation will come to an end.
Snyder said it was the teachers who pushed for Malvern to become tobacco free when the school refreshed its employee handbook two years ago.
According to Snyder, Malvern has gotten negative feedback from faculty and staff, parents, graduation guests and even the press about the cigar smoking at graduation.
While some teachers were in favor of the move, not everyone is in favor of ending the tradition.
“They’re not going to escort students off campus for lighting cigars after graduating high school,” Jack Marchesani ’15 said. “I don’t think that smoking cigars on graduation day has much to do with the fact that Malvern is going tobacco free.” Marchesani smoked a cigar after his graduation last May.
Matt Magargee ’14 acknowledges that cigar are part of graduation tradition, but supports the change.
“Cigars are smoked at graduation parties off campus, so really the change doesn’t matter to any extent,” Magargee said. “It is the correct move by Malvern.”
Director of Christian Service Mr. Larry Legner said that the move to a make Malvern tobacco free was not made to intentionally stop seniors from smoking cigars after graduation. Legner said there is no tradition, because seniors began smoking cigars after graduation sometime in the last five years.
Not every senior wants to be a part of the cigar smoking. “I would not have been partaking in the smoking, so I think [Malvern’s move to a tobacco free campus] is a good thing,” senior Kevin Munyan said.
Last year, campus was mostly tobacco free except in designated sections. “One of the designated areas for smoking, was right next to the Health Room,” Snyder said. “From a modeling standpoint, that probably wasn’t the best option.”
Malvern created a task force of teachers to review the handbook. The task force wanted to eliminate all tobacco use on campus, even though the handbook originally said smoking will still be permitted in designated areas, Snyder said.
The task force consisted of Equipment Manager and Swim Coach Mr. Jay Schiller, Director of Finance and Facilities Mr. Ted Caniglia, Science Teacher Mr. Bob Boyce, Bookkeeper Mrs. Lorri Wallauer, Spanish Teacher Dr. Joan Dlugos, and School Nurse Mrs. Kit McGettigan. They wanted to make the change so that the students would not have role models that they would see smoking, according to Snyder.
Although the task force met last year, Malvern decided to wait until the beginning of this year before implementing the change so that they would have more time to assess the situation, according to Snyder.
Snyder said feedback from alumni was predominantly in favor of the move, except for a few older alumni.
Snyder expects that if someone is on campus smoking, campus security or another faculty member will confront them and ask them to put it out. She believes that while enforcing the decision will be difficult, it will be successful as long as they get the word out to everyone including those who come on campus for sports events and to see plays.
Signs indicating that Malvern is a tobacco free campus will be added across campus but when or where the signs will be placed has not been determined, Snyder said.