Council supports smoking ban, trustees to vote May 23

Council supports smoking ban, trustees to vote May 23

08 11:11:14

Erick Pirayesh, News Editor

After a month of heavy debate, the College Planning Council voted in favor of a proposal to ban all smoking on campus.

This 13-3 vote on Tuesday came after the Academic Senate and the Associated Student Senate also voted to support the proposal. The student senate’s was a split decision, the first in the last three years, and  Student Senate President Geneva Sherman broke with her “yes” vote .

The final decision will now go to the Board of Trustees, who will vote on the proposal at its May 23 meeting. If approved, the campus would be completely smoke-free when students return in the fall semester.

“I think that this is a progressive policy, and it’s one that sets us in a leadership role among academic institutions,” said Library Director Kenley Neufeld.

“This is just good policy. It’s a good direction for our society. It’s a good direction for our campus. It’s a good direction for our employees, and most especially it’s a good direction for our students.”

Some councilors voiced concern with how to enforce the smoking ban. Liz Auchincloss, president of the Classified Staff Employees Association, voted against the ban and  suggested an alternative solution.

“We should just move the smoking areas to some place that isn’t right in the traffic patterns,” she said. “Not to have any places… I think is kind of hard.”

Academic Senator Kathy O’Connor said she would like to see the security department come up with a friendly approach for potential smokers that would help ease the transition to a completely smoke-free campus.

“I think there’s a way we can actually do it in an educational framework that’s non-threatening, and I think people will eventually comply,” O’Connor said. “I don’t think non-enforcement is a reason to not pass something that is a positive policy.”

The council has also vowed to increase awareness about the college’s Tobacco Cessation program offered in Health Services that helps students who are trying to quit smoking or chewing.

Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, pointed out that all Universities of California and California State campuses will be going smoke-free by 2014.  City College can prepare prospective transfer students with this smoking ban, he said.

“We have to give it a try,”  Sullivan said. “It’s kind of the wave of the future.”

The four designated smoking areas have been a part of campus for the past nine years. Smokers would only be allowed to smoke off-campus or in their cars if the board passes the proposal.

Superintendent-President Dr. Lori Gaskin said she is extremely supportive of the smoking ban and was excited to see the council support it.

“We’re sensitive to the notion of educating the whole student,” she said after the meeting. “… If we’re not a champion of that as an academic institution then I think were falling short of our responsibility.”

“Frankly, I’m delighted.”