Senate discussing smoking ban

By Cecilia Ornelas

An initiative recommending Cal Poly consider a smoke-free campus
had a first reading at the Academic Senate meeting on May 14, but
no decision will be made until fall at the earliest.

Douglas Freer, vice president of Student Affairs, said the
primary concern was habitual smokers on campus violating the policy
that requires smokers to be at least 25 feet from a building.

Reyes Luna, interim director of Judicial Affairs, has received
complaints about the smokers on campus and the butts that are left
behind.

“The complaints have come from all levels. Not just the smoke,
but the trash that is thrown on the grounds after smoking,” said
Luna. “I have only received complaints when the students refused to
move beyond 25 feet or were smoking inside a building. In other
words, not many complaints referred to my office.”

One possible solution would be to designate smoking and
non-smoking areas among the campus, but with budget cuts this
suggestion is not a priority.

“To establish smoking areas with appropriate signage, seating
and cigarette disposal receptacles would require a sizeable
investment by the university,” said Freer. “While it certainly
makes sense to go in this direction, the current budget crisis will
likely make it difficult for this to be a funding priority.”

Regulating smokers on campus can be difficult. Freer said
smoking violations and complaints should be addressed to Judicial
Affairs, who will address the issue immediately.

One student smoker believes the proposal is ridiculous.

“I don’t see what the big deal is about smoking as long as we
throw the cigarette butt away,” said Johnny Recinos, a fifth-year
civil engineering student. “I would not be in favor of making our
campus smoke-free. If it were to be implemented I would like the
students to take a vote on it. I pay for my tuition, and I should
be allowed to smoke if I want to.”

Silvia Perez, a third-year biology student, said making Cal Poly
a smoke-free campus would be an extreme measure.

“If smoking is banned from our campus then bike riding and
skating should also be banned,” said Perez. “I understand some
students may be violating the smoking policy, but for those of us
who aren’t it would not be fair to take that right away from us
completely.”

While some faculty and students may be bothered by smokers,
others are not.

“Smokers don’t bother me at all unless they are blowing their
smoke in front of me,” said Juan Ortega, a fourth-year Spanish
student. “I don’t think banning smoking would be fair, because it
is something that every individual has a right to.”

Regina Orono, a senior Spanish student, does not have a problem
with smokers unless they are violating the campus policy.

“I don’t have a problem with people who are smoking. I just have
a problem with people smoking at the entrance of a building,” she
said.

Both Freer and Luna agree that a smoking ban is not
feasible.

“While I’m personally very concerned about the health risks
associated with smoking, I am not in favor of a campus-wide smoking
ban,” said Freer. “The recommendation is also impractical because
we have more than 3,000 people who live on campus, some of whom
choose to smoke. It is not appropriate to tell residents who smoke
that they either need to live off campus or completely leave the
campus each time they wish to smoke.”

If the senate decides to continue this dispute, it will be
addressed in fall quarter 2008.

“I do not think that a smoke-free campus is feasible on our
campus,” said Luna. “I think that students, faculty and staff would
be upset if the campus went to a smoke-free campus.”

Senate discussing smoking ban

Senate discussing smoking ban

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