ASG to bring back the vote?

Cristo De Guzman

Besides the tuition fee hike, there is no more controversial topic facing the Associated Student Government as the policy that prohibits cigarette smoking on campus.

Some non-smoking students are satisfied with the anti-smoking policy either because they don’t want to breathe in secondhand smoke or they are suffering or recovering from a health condition.

“I think the ban is great,” said Melanie Stuart, former officer of health, safety, and environment. “I’m just recovering from a respiratory disease. I think there should be a non-smoking ordinance throughout the county of San Diego.”

For some, it is the implementation of the policy that’s far more controversial because it undermines the will of the student electorate. According to Josef Shannon, director of public relations of the Student Senate, It was a former student trustee who implemented the ban without students’ input.

“It was done back door,” Shannon said. “It didn’t go through the proper channels. There was no environmental impact study done.” The environment, in this case, being the campus grounds, of which smoking and non-smoking students say have been littered with butts due to the removal of ashtrays.

Shannon said that he is going to bring the smoking ban up for a student vote.

“If the students vote ‘yes’, I will feel better because students actually made the policy. It was the students who decided on the issue,” said Shannon.

The ban brings up the issue of balancing the rights of one group with those of others. “It’s unfortunate because we’re taking away the rights of others,” said Stuart. “But smokers are in the minority.”

“I don’t want to tell anybody they can’t smoke,” said David Campbell, ASG president. “I feel there should be designated areas.”

Although the ban prohibits smoking on campus, there are two designated areas that allow smoking, one is the parking lot by the campus police office, and the other is the lawn in front of the cosmetology department. But that is not enough to keep some student smokers happy.

“I think to regulate it to certain areas is a waste of campus resources,” Diana Van Rooy, a cosmetology student, said. “We have limited resources, and to patrol smokers is not the best use of time and resources.”

“You’ll end up with more litter,” said cosmetology classmate Megan Greene, referring to the removal of ashtrays around campus. She said the ban creates additional work for the janitor, because he is constantly stopping student smokers to remind them where they can smoke and to pick up cigarette butts.

“I’ve seen zero police officers enforce the smoking ban,” said Josh McMahon, vice-president of the peace dialogue group. “I’ve seen more non-smokers enforce the ban. I’ve seen them say, ‘Stop doing that.'”

“They should just walk away,” Greene said, concerning irritated non-smoking students who complain about inhaling secondhand smoke.