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Campus smoking policy has students divided

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Since the beginning of the semester, students who light up have been asked to move into designated smoking zones.

The new smoking policy was put into place by the Smoking Guidelines Implementation Task Group. The rule for smoking 30 feet from any building has been changed to allow smoking in designated areas only, according to the Cosumnes River College website. Designated areas can be found on the campus map.

The policy was put into place due to “a lot of health issue complaints,” said Emergency Medical Technician instructor Matthew McHugh, who is the chair of the Health and Facilities Committee.

“There was a lot of push for a smoke-free campus,” McHugh said. “But the administration didn’t want to limit access to students and staff.”

Vice President for Administrative Services and Student Support Donald Wallace, facilitator of the task group, commented on what would be done if students were caught violating the policy.

“People not following the policy may be approached by faculty, staff, and campus patrol officers with information about the new policy,” Wallace said in an interview via email. “Maps and other literature may be handed to them describing the new policy and pointing out the smoking areas. Campus Patrol Officers, in particular, have the authority to refer students who repeatedly disregard the new policy to the Student Discipline Officer for further action.

“The new smoking policy is just that—a campus policy—and students and staff alike are expected to comply with all campus and district policies.”

CRC Police Capt. Cheryl Sears said one of the biggest problems with smokers smoking outside of designated areas is littering.

While the CRC police department gives people chances to clean up their cigarette butts, after a couple warnings the police will cite them. They don’t cite for discarded cigarette butts immediately because the force doesn’t want to come across as “too heavy handed,” Sears said.

CRC nurse Michelle Barkley said that it shouldn’t be up to just faculty to enforce the policy, and that it shouldn’t have to escalate to campus police being involved.

“The goal is not to get to that point,” Barkley said. “The goal is that people are dealing with a nicotine addictions, and as a community we need to let them know that there are policies about where to smoke.”

Barkley added that while the signage around campus may not be effective, that the task group is working on improving upon them.

She said that some things that are being discussed are postcards to educate people on the policy, improved signage and maps around campus and better markings in designated smoking areas.

Carolyn Wantz, a 43-year-old business major and a smoker, said that she tries not to smoke at school because it is too much trouble around other people.

“Everybody has rights. You can go ahead and smoke, that’s your business,” Wantz said. “But you don’t have to inflict it upon people who don’t want it.”

CORRECTION:
The Sept. 15 article on the smoking policy incorrectly stated that smoking was permitted 30 feet from buildings and that smokers would be cited for not adhering to the new policy.

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Stephan Starnes, Former Staff

For seven semesters Stephan served on the staff of The Connection in various capacities, holding almost every title possible during that time. Everything...

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Campus smoking policy has students divided