Revised Smoking Policy Draws Faculty Response

On Oct.29, Dr. Gillooly sent an email to GCC faculty and staff about smoking on campus. The email drew a myriad of support. On Nov 1., Executive Vice President of Administrative Services Ron Nakasone sent a reply.

Dr. Gillooly’s email:

How bad does it have to get before our current Administration understands that enforcing “GCC Board of Trustees’ Policy of Smoking in Designated Areas Only” is a priority?

It has gotten increasingly worse with students and employees smoking all over the campus. In fact last week when I informed a mature woman that she was smoking in a non-smoking area, she told me in no uncertain terms to F-OFF. I explained that our police officers might come around and ticket her. She informed me that our “GCC Police are a joke.” She then blew smoke in my face. I walked away.

Today, October 29, 2012, I walked to the top of 3rd floor INSIDE stairwell of San Rafael to find an older man SMOKING. He tried to hide it from me. I walked into the Social Science Division Office to tell Kit Crawford what I thought I saw, because I couldn’t believe it. She quickly walked out and found him smoking. She told him he couldn’t smoke inside and he said he knew it. He did not put out his cigarette, but instead walked outside to continue smoking by the door.

In spite of the non-smokers on campus best efforts to work with and be patient with our current Administration’s lack of desire to control the situation, our Administrators continue to be willing to subject us to a cancer causing, life threatening environment.

Here is some history which I think is of importance for us who want to work and have our students learn in an healthy and safe environment:

On Wednesday, October 3, 2012, The El Vaquero newspaper published an article entitled, “New Signs Planned for Smoking Areas” by Chris Rodd. When I read the article stating that our Administration had decided once again to not enforce our Smoking Policy, I thought this cannot be happening. Is this a bad joke, a Halloween prank, but no, it has turned in a disgraceful and deadly failed GCC Policy.

Over two years ago, the El Vaquero published on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 in a big two column spread with red ink entitled, “Campus Smoking Policy CHANGED” that:

“A new smoking policy went into effect on July 13 at Glendale Community College, making it a violation of district policy to smoke in any area not officially designated as a smoking area. The decision, according to the board of trustees, aims to maintain a learning and working environment that contributes to the health and safety of the students and employees of the district.”

During these two ensuing years when neither the former nor the current Superintend/President has figured out how to enforce this Board of Trusteepolicy, the situation has gotten worse on campus.

Two years ago, in fall 2010, I contacted Mr. Ron Nakasone, Vice-President of Administrative Services, in charge of implementing the Smoking Policy and asked him to begin implementing the Smoking Policy. I have in writing from fall 2010, a statement that he would not have the Smoking Policy enforced until he had signs purchased to show designated Smoking Area. (Does this sound familiar to what was said in the October 3, 2012 El Vaquero article quoted above?) We already spend money on signs and where is this new money in the budget? Do we need to spend more $$$$ when the previous signs did not help?

Health conscious members of this campus waited for the signs which finally came in spring semester,2011. Unfortunately, Mr. Nakasone had another reason why GCC was not enforcing its Smoking Policy. Nakasone told me “ the GCC Police had to get new ticket books with the correct ticket codes to issue warning and tickets for smoking in non-smoking areas and for littering”!? Despite Mr. Nakasone’s bizarre statement, a member of the GCC Police Department came to my office at the end of Spring 2011 to show me that we do in fact have new ticket books for citations. Yet no citations have been issued. I asked why? The response was that our Administrators could not decide how much to charge for the smoking violations. You can read in the October 3, 2012 El Vaquero that even though “Universities and colleges were authorized to issues citations for violating smoking policies by AB 795.” The leadership team at GCC has not figured out how to implement such a simple and straightforward policy at GCC.

Our Administrators do not know how much to charge or where the money will go? Really! Go back and read the El Vaquero dated September 15, 2012. I quote, “The board of trustees authorized the college police to begin issuing warnings and citations, resulting in a possible fine of $35. To further enforce the policy, additional sanctions may be given through the Student Code of Conduct of Administrative Regulations as shown in campus policies and procedures.”

And now history is repeating. We are spending money we do not have on signs that will not work, if we have no enforcement. Next we will have to spend more money for more ticket books, and who know what else will be required.

Two years later, the ASGCC survey reporting that our student population wanted a total Non-Smoking Campus has been eviscerated by the administration’s decision to ignore the ASGCC survey and to disregard the GCC Board of Trustees policy of July 13, 2010.

As employees of this campus we are working in an environment that is not safe. Working at GCC is hazardous to our health from the second and third hand smoke (how many more cigarette butts do we have to walk through on this campus?) which research shows does more health harm to non smokers than smokers.

Working at GCC is hazardous to our well being because students and people on this campus understand that our Administration is not effective in enforcing the Smoking Policy and therefore there is a climate of defiance for authority on this campus. This Administration is putting all of us at risk!

I am embarrassed to have colleagues from the city of Glendale, other colleges and universities, or guest speakers come to our campus because I subject them to second hand smoke and the embarrassment of facing their questions about GCC allowing smoking on our campus.

If you support this email, let our trustees and administrators hear from you.

 

Sincerely,

Jessica Gillooly

 

Ron Nakasone’s response:

There are three changes in smoking areas:

• The area by the AA building has been eliminated.

• The area by the Planetarium has been eliminated.

• The area on the east side of CR has been added.

The Smoking Policy at GCC has been a long process for this particular attempt to balance smoking and non-smoking areas for students and staff. As you know, governance, board polices and administrative regulations play a large part in establishing parameters for what we do. For those of you who are interested, here is a brief history on the evolution of the current smoking policy up to today, based on the minutes of Administrative Affairs and Safety Committee. Your representatives can verify the lengthy discussions that took place.

The issue of smoking on campus was brought back to Administrative Affairs on Sept. 8, 2009 as a revision of AR 2610 Tobacco Sales which was last revised 3/14/06. This was revised as AR 3570 Policy on Smoking on Campus and approved by Campus Executive on July 13, 2010. This policy established “designated smoking areas” on campus. Board Policy 2600 had already been revised on 12/15/08 as BP 3570 Smoking Policy. Discussions on the smoking policy took place from 2009 through 2012.

While Government Code 7597 restricted smoking in buildings and within 20 feet of an entrance or operable window, it did not provide for fining violators. Assembly Bill 795 addressed that issue and was signed by the Governor on Oct. 8, 2011 and codified as 7597.1. This gave community colleges, the UCs and Cal States the authority to set enforcement standards and fines for their local campuses. Part of the provision to issue citations is that signs must be posted. Unfortunately, the process was never defined.

The next hurdle was processing the citations. The Campus Police contacted the Superior Court for direction on how to proceed. This took a very long time for them to answer and the result was that the District Attorney would not accept processing of our smoking citations. The Campus Police also contacted the City of Glendale to request processing. After review by the City Attorney’s office, we were informed that the City would not process citations for violations of the Glendale Municipal Code (GMC).

Other arrangements had to be made and are now almost completed with an approved, outside company. For your information, when a citation for a smoking violation is issued in the near future, the violator will be required to pay the amount of the ticket. The person has the right to due process and can appeal a smoking citation following a similar format to the appeal of a parking citation. If, after the appeal, the person is determined to have violated the regulations against smoking, the amount of the citation will stand and the person will be required to pay that amount. If the violator chooses not to pay the citation amount, after 90-days, the matter will be referred to collections.

While signs have been posted in the designated areas, they have been removed by unknown persons. New signs have been ordered and will be installed as soon as possible. The new smoking areas were approved by Administrative Affairs as it was realized that some of the original areas were not be suitable. Some of the considerations for the sites were compliance with government and fire codes.

At the May 21, 2012 Administrative Affairs Committee meeting it was approved to remove the AA smoking area and ASGCC was asked to develop a survey for students and staff on the smoking policy.

If you are interested in this issue or other issues that affect our campus, you are welcome to attend any governance meeting and provide your input, however only appointed members can vote. Your voice and involvement in governance is important in addressing the issues that affect us all.

Minutes of Administrative Affairs can be accessed at the Governance Committee Minutes webpage or by request from the recording secretary of the committee. For Administrative Affairs minutes not posted to the website and audio recordings of the meetings, please contact Merrilee Ahaus at Ext. 5112 or by email at [email protected]

Thank you for your patience and input on this important topic that affects us all.

 

Ron Nakasone

Executive Vice President

Administrative Services