ASI looks to update, enforce campus smoking policy

ASI looks to update, enforce campus smoking policy

Maikalina Madali

Members of the Associated Students Inc. board are hoping to crack down on the on-campus smoking policy by advocating for a task force to enforce the current policy.

“I created legislation brought to the board that recommends President Gonzalez to create a task force to review the current smoking policy, improve clarity of the policy, further assist compliance with the policy and minimize exposure to secondhand smoke,” said ASI Vice President of Academic Affairs Monica Cortez.

Cortez, who was elected as the future ASI president, is determined to follow through with the points they focused on.

Sacramento State’s smoking policy was last updated in November 2008. Cortez said one of the factors poorly enforced is the prohibition of smoking on major walkways throughout campus and within 20 feet of any building.

“After we passed it, several of our board members (started) working with students, faculty and the administration to make sure that this task force is filled and to ensure that we have student representation,” Cortez said.

As of now, the main goal is to first accurately enforce the current policy and, later, implement a new task force completely dedicated to the practice.

The policy also states the university will clearly display signs at the appropriate locations to notify students smoking is prohibited. However, it also installed ashtrays and other smoking litter appliances beyond 20 feet of the buildings.

“I like the smoking policy on campus right now,” said Alan Vang, senior business major. “I think it’s pretty reasonable and isn’t too harsh.”

There has been talk of eventually revising the policy to establish a smoke-free campus.

Cortez said she has sat on the faculty senate and has actively interacted in discussions with faculty about making this hope a reality.

Though Cortez and her team are advocating for the idea, there are many that disagree with the proposal.

“Yes, they have pitched the idea of making campus completely tobacco free. I don’t understand it,” said ASI Vice President of University Affairs Liz Redford, graduate psychology. “If I were to walk around with a smokeless cigarette or have chew in my mouth, that wouldn’t be acceptable even though it isn’t doing harm to anyone around me.”

Redford said she believes implementing that policy would be unfair and unreasonable.

Vang agreed, saying he would not support having a smoke-free campus and knows a number of students who think the same.

“I think that it’s not going to work. People just aren’t going to listen to it,” said Katie Brewer, a junior history major. “I don’t like smoking and it really used to bother me walking through people’s clouds of smoke. I don’t think they should allow it on campus, but then again it is a public campus.”

Although there is talk of it, the idea of a smoke-free campus is not set in stone. For now, the task force will continue to be responsible for keeping people accountable according to the current policy.

“Once I am sworn into office, I plan to stay informed of the decisions that arise from this

task force and bring them to the board as well as keep our student population informed,” Cortez said.

Maikalina Madali can be reached at [email protected].