Campus Sets Non-Smoking Zones for Students

Tamara Baskin

After an overwhelming number of complaints from students, the college will be initiating no-smoking zones during the upcoming summer sessions.

According to the Vice President of Administrative Services Larry Serot the non-smoking areas will allow students to eat in smoke-free areas.

“The benefit of these non-smoking areas will be for the students, faculty, and staff who want to eat without the intrusion of smoke and who are tired of fighting with smokers over the issue,” said Serot.

Although the campus had already set some limitations on smoking, he said that students do not always follow the warning of not smoking within 20 feet of doors or windows.

Astronomy instructor Poghos Kazarian said that he has dealt with students smoking near his classroom and believes that it is important for the campus to take an initiative in order for the policy to truly be enforced.

“They [smoking students] believe no one will enforce the law,” said Kazarian. “I think some students just don’t understand that smoking is a health issue.”

With the arrival of these non-smoking areas, the college can not ensure that it would always be followed, but do promise that they will do their best to enforce it as best as possible.

In order to avoid the issue of students not following the new smoking regulations, Police Captain Nidal Kobaissi said that there will be an educational campaign which would educate students of the zones where they are not permitted to smoke.

“If students continue to smoke in a ‘No Smoking’ designated area, they may be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs [Paul Schlossman],” said Kobaissi.

Serot said, “We cannot expect our limited police force to go around constantly talking to students about smoking in no smoking areas, but we have to make an effort, particularly at the beginning of the semesters.”

By creating “no smoking” zones, the campus hopes to implement some type of agreement between those who do and
do not smoke.

“I think this [the designated smoking areas] will help everyone,” said Kabaissi. “This makes it very easy for people to know where smoking is and isn’t allowed.”

The Administrative Services committee, which decides on issues such as smoking, discussed the option of banning smoking on campus. It could be a possible solution, but members found that no smoking on campus could limit some students’ educational privileges.

Serot said that the Committee felt that students have the right to smoke unless they are infringing on other students. Our campus consists of a large amount of students who come from diverse countries where smoking is a casual social element.

“We are not yet at the point of denying these students access to education.” he said.
Although the Committee does argue that no smoking on campus could interfere with the education of students that do smoke, Kazarian argued that smoking has already turned off some non-smoking prospective students from attending our campus.
“Students pay to study, not to get second hand smoke,” he said.

Anet Aleksandryan, a non-smoker, feels that smoking is a personal choice and if the school bans smoking then the school would be depriving students of their personal rights.

“I am allergic to cigarette smoke,” said Aleksandryan. “It bothers me, [so] I just stay away from areas in which I know a lot of cigarette smokers will be.”
Despite of the mixed feelings about students smoking on campus, Serot said that unless smokers take the initiative to cooperate with the new regulations, the college will have to take drastic measures.

“With all that said, there are people willing to impose the smoking ban and if our students don’t cooperate with our restrictions the next step may very well be a ban on smoking.” said Serot.

To learn more about this issue as well as the non-smoking zones, contact Nidal Kobaissi at (818)240-1000, ext. 3047 or [email protected] or Larry Serot at [email protected]