Fullerton College is a smoke-free campus, but this policy is only being applied to students and guests. Faculty and staff member are exempt from this restriction, which can be confusing for guests and can leave students feeling ostracized.
It should be the same rule for everyone on campus. If a faculty or staff member is smoking on campus then it is sending the message that it is okay to do so. But, being a student or guest you are reprimanded for it.
It could be confusing for guests coming on to campus being told that they are not allowed to smoke when others are smoking without punishment. Students are taking time out of their day to walk off campus to get their nicotine fix so everyone should have to do so.
In the school catalog the only regulation stating that FC is a smoke-free campus is Government Code Section 7697.
This states, “Each Campus President, Provost, and/or Administration shall establish a campus smoking procedure that does conflict with the District employee contracts and state laws.”
The district aligning with state policy states there to be no smoking indoors, inside any enclosed areas, outside within 20 feet of a door or a window. The college presidents are free to adopt and implement stricter rules as long as they don’t conflict with district or state laws.
FC’s smoking policy was a student initiative. In 2007, the current policy of the smoke-free campus was agreed on by the president at the time, Kathie Hodge, the unions and AS. When it was approved it became a board policy. Since then, the attempt in 2010 to implement designated smoking areas was rejected.
If students can’t smoke on campus, why can faculty and staff? Students here are adults and should be given equal opportunity and rights. Whether that is implementing designated smoking areas or banning smoking altogether for everyone.
According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights 24.8 percent of full-time college students aged 18-22 years old were current smokers in 2010.
That is a significant number of students being affected by this “not so universal rule.” The campus is smoke-free because there are children on campus and there’s always the risk of second hand smoke. But, it does not make sense that students are being alienated.
The ANR also reports that as of July 2013, over 11,000 college campuses across the U.S. have adopted a 100 percent smoke-free campus policy and FC is one of them. But, is it really a 100 percent smoke-free campus if the law only pertains to students and the general public?
According to campus safety when a student is found smoking on campus they are told to put it out or to take it off campus to a city sidewalk. If the student does not comply campus safety creates an incident report and gives it to the dean of student services.
What about vapes? As of now, administration has ruled that vaping is not allowed on campus either.
The district policy is that college presidents can establish campus smoking procedure, so they should be focusing on making it equal for everyone and truly becoming a smoke-free campus.
It is understood that tobacco companies market to young adults to help promote use. This is one of the reasons for having a smoke-free campus, but even if students aren’t allowed to smoke on campus, they see staff and faculty members doing it. How is this really helping? It only shows that certain people are being allowed to do something that others are not and putting a greater barrier between staff and students.
Smoker or not, this goes deeper than just the issue of smoking on campus. If students are being singled out for rules like this, what’s next? The rules should apply the same across the board for everyone.