Photo by Brandon Richardson/Viking - Students gather in the small smoking area between the D and A buildings at the LAC, unaware that they could be facing fines for smoking outside of the designated areas, Monday, March 23.
Photo by Brandon Richardson/Viking – Students gather in the small smoking area between the D and A buildings at the LAC, unaware that they could be facing fines for smoking outside of the designated areas, Monday, March 23.

By Brandon Richardson / Editor in Chief

A change in smoking policy enforcement will mean fines for smokers who light up outside designated smoking areas.

Originally adopted by the college July 12, 1983 and last revised Jan. 18, 2011, the policy states, “It is the policy of the LBCC District to prohibit smoking in all areas including district-owned, rented or leased properties and vehicles, except in clearly marked designated smoking areas.”

After the last revision, the Board of Trustees tasked the Associated Student Body to determine a plan of action to enforce a smoke-free campus according to district policy 7002 and recommend it to the Board for further deliberation.

Alex Velasquez, 21, a psychology major and smoker, said Monday, March 23, “I can understand that it is disrespectful if someone is just chilling at school and studying or something and someone is smoking. Maybe just tell them to put it out or give them a warning. But to enforce it to pay money, I think that’s a little ridiculous.”

The policy that is to be adhered to by students, employees, and all visitors has not been enforced and the ASB has yet to recommend a plan. However, the current ASB Cabinet is looking at two methods of enforcement.

The first option is to have Student Life enforce the policy. With this option, campus police would issue citations and deliver them to the Office of Student Life, who would then notify the offender of the fine amount.

Student Life would track the number of citations a person receives and determine the dollar amount of each infraction. The offender might receive a warning for the first offense and fines would not exceed $100 for repeat offenders, according to the option plan.

Money collected by Student Life “will be allocated to the cost for time and effort for the Office of Student Life, marketing of the tobacco-free policy and tobacco cessation treatment options through Student Health Services. ASB Cabinet could have input into the use of the remaining portion of the fines collected.”

If not paid, Student Life would put a hold on students’ accounts, blocking them from registering for classes and requesting transcripts until paid in full.

Option two would leave the process to Campus Police and would be treated like a parking violation. The citation would be sent to the city as a Municipal Code violation. The city would set the fine amount and no money would come back to the district.

With this option, a student’s ability to register or request transcripts would not be blocked, but, if not paid, the infraction could become a misdemeanor.

During recent meetings, several members of the ASB Cabinet, including Student Trustee Gus Orozco, said option two would be the best course, due to the already demanding tasks Student Life oversees.

LAC Club Senate President Benny Carrillo voiced his concern on the absence of any mention of vaporizers. He said students smoke with their devices wherever they please, sometimes even inside the Fishbowl in the E Building. The Cabinet plans to add vaporizers to fall under policy 7002.

To help decide which option to recommend, the Cabinet is conducting a sample survey of students to determine what they think would be the better option. The survey’s results are to be presented at the Cabinet meeting at the PCC Friday, April 17 at 8 a.m.

ASB secretary Samwell Favela said, “The survey we had from last year is so biased, we have to conduct a whole new one to ask unbiased questions to students on campus.”

Students who want to participate in the survey may visit the Office of Student Life in E119 at the LAC or EE102 at the PCC or email studentlife@lbcc.edu.

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