Academic Senate unanimously votes smoke-free campus

In Campus News, News

The Academic Senate, in a unanimous 39-0 vote, decided that Cal State Fullerton will be a smoke-free campus, beginning Aug. 1, 2013.

Anibal Ortiz / Daily Titan

The decision stems off from the last Academic Senate meeting, during which the Academic Senate voted to implement a ban on smoking. The executive committee then drafted a final resolution, based on the prior total ban vote, which states that CSUF will be a smoke-free campus.

“I don’t see this as anything radical other than movement towards a healthier workplace and a healthier environment for the students,” said Kenneth Walicki, Academic Senate vice chair, on the move of a smoke-free campus.

Walicki also addressed some concerns from those opposing the ban that came up during the last Academic Senate meeting; that the rights of the smokers were being violated.

“It has been addressed that (the ban) is limiting the freedom of smokers, which is true, but freedom always has responsibilities and there is freedom for the other side of people who don’t smoke and we have to balance that out,” Walicki said. “Nothing in here says that people who do smoke have to stop … It’s just (that) they can’t smoke on the campus. Just the same as most restaurants: you can’t smoke, but you can walk outside.”

The rationale behind the total smoking ban is that many faculty and students don’t follow the current smoking policy. The Senate found that the current policy and any stemming policies are difficult to enforce, so a total ban was necessary.

The policy also states that students coming to CSUF are generally transitioning from high schools and community colleges where smoking is not allowed, so the ban will be nothing new to them. Many on the Senate said students are already conditioned to non-smoking campuses and hope there will be a smooth transition in which smoking will never become a habit.

According to the written resolution, the bill will give the university administration an 18-month window starting Aug. 1, 2013, “to create awareness and education programs as part of changing the campus culture.” As more campuses around the country institute smoking bans, the focus of the education will be geared toward foreign students who are not used to smoking regulations.

The Academic Senate also discussed the potential loopholes smokers might find in the policy, such as students or faculty smoking in their vehicles. The concern was that because vehicles are private property, smokers can smoke in their cars with the windows up, making cars sovereign to the regulation.

Interim President Willie Hagan assured the Senate that when he signs the bill, the policy will address vehicles and therefore, will not be exempt.

“If they’re in their car and the windows are down, it is the same thing as if they’re not in their car,” Hagan said. “My perspective would be that it doesn’t matter. Smoke-free is smoke-free. You cannot isolate the car because on general principle someone is going to roll down the window just to test it out.”

Hagan admitted that the underlining issue of the ban will be its enforcement.

Academic Senator Lynda Randall was worried that the car situation would derail the policy, but was glad that an agreement was made.

“… Because of this long process, that I worried (that) we might go back to the drawing board,” said Randall. “That we might have to sort of reinvent this policy and in the process lose this momentum that seems to be the students are for it … the campus in general is for it. I was glad we were able to resolve that because if we worry too much how we are going to enforce that we are going to worry ourselves out of a policy.”

UC schools are banning smoking by 2014. Jack Bedell, Academic Senate president, is looking forward to CSUF being the first CSU to be smoke-free.

Other unanimously approved proposals include two new programs: one for a masters of science in statistics (online) and the other for a certificate in clinical trials project management (online).

Both programs will be implemented for the 2012-2013 academic year. The programs are aimed to supplement the demand of each respective field’s job market. The M.S in statistics will be a 30 unit program and the certificate in clinical trials will be a four-course certificate program.

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