New Signs Planned for Smoking Areas

New+Signs+Planned+for+Smoking+Areas

Allan Beglarian

DESIGNATED SMOKING AREA: Heon Wanha, a 24-year-old business major, is enjoying a cigarette between classes. Smoking is allowed only in marked areas near the parking lots.

Chris Rodd, Staff Writer

More signs will mark smoking areas on campus if the Safety Committee’s recent unanimous recommendation is followed.

The Safety Committee on Sept. 19 unanimously approved a recommendation to Administrative Affairs requesting more signs indicating where designated smoking areas are located.

This comes in response to growing complaints that students are openly flouting campus policy and smoking in prohibited areas.

“I am constantly talking to kids, saying you can’t smoke here. They just look at me like, ‘what are you going to do about it?’” said Mark Poore, a member of the Safety Committee.

Ron Nakasone, vice president of administrative services, said GCC is considered a non-smoking campus with designated smoking areas. There are six of these smoking areas. A seventh one, in front of the AA building, was recently removed and is now off-limits to smokers.

The policy was devised in 2010 as a compromise between the needs of smokers and non-smokers, permitting some places for people to light up while leaving most of the campus smoke-free.

“The college’s original policy was that smoking was allowed anywhere on campus except 20 feet from a door or window. Employees and students were not happy with the policy, so a survey was conducted by the students,” said Nakasone.

The majority of the responses in this survey supported a non-smoking campus. However, administrators preferred designated smoking areas to an outright ban due to a number of responses supporting smoking .

Universities and colleges were authorized to issue citations for violating smoking policies by AB 795, which went into effect Jan. 1. However, campus law enforcement has had a number of difficulties enforcing the policy, from confusion from students as to where the smoking areas are to administrative complications with issuing citations.

“When we approached the city of Glendale and the county of Los Angeles through the DA’s office, they were certainly supportive of the legal requirements, but would not allow us to actually issue a citation based upon their respective code sections,” said GCC Police Chief Gary Montecuollo.

“Even if we issued a citation, where would the money go? How would the person pay? That is really the issue we are trying to address,” said Montecuollo.

Montecuollo said that the Safety Committee and Administrative Affairs are the appropriate channels for such policy change, and is working with them to devise an enforcement method that could include either an administrative sanction or a fine. In the meantime, a policy of warnings and informal enforcement has been pursued.

“It’s bad for our health, and I don’t appreciate people smoking where it’s not designated to smoke and where I can smell it,” said freshman Ana Padlan. “I would support a ban on smoking on campus.”

Sophomore Tacey Clover, expressed distaste for a smoking ban on campus, saying the current policy is more than sufficient.

“We are all adults, there should be at least one place to go on campus where we can smoke,” said Clover.

Despite the hiccups, ASGCC representatives expressed support for enforcing the current policy over an outright ban on smoking.

“I’m not a smoker, but I think it’s a student’s right to smoke, and we shouldn’t take that away, from the minority of students on campus who smoke,” said Davit Avagyan, senator of campus organizations and voting member of the Safety Committee.

Administrative Affairs is expected to address the request at its next meeting on Oct. 9.