The Academic Senate unanimously approved a resolution Feb. 23 to ban all smoking on Cal State Fullerton’s campus. According to the current policy, smoking is prohibited inside as well as within 20 feet of any building on the university area. The rationale behind the ban is that the current policy was not working, so a total ban was necessary.
If signed by Interim President Willie Hagan, the ban is expected to extend to smoking in your own vehicle with the windows down on campus. The ban would go into effect Aug. 1, 2013.
According to its website, the Academic Senate consists of faculty members whose objective is to be the representative legislative body of the university to and speak on behalf of the university community on matters within its purview.
While the Academic Senate may think they are acting in the interests of students on this matter, we think the ban is against student freedom. Smoking is unhealthy, but it is a personal choice. We think the current policy protects students from secondhand smoke while not trampling on the liberties of others. While it may not have been 100 percent effective, it did not violate a person’s rights. Anyone who wanted to smoke could do so. Those who did not want to deal with secondhand smoke would not have to in front of buildings, and we had a personal choice to walk away.
While we disagree with the new rules, we feel the students who violated the current policy are part of the reason it was brought up. It’s unfortunate that students who acted responsibly and followed the current rules will have to deal with this new ban.
Most likely, the ban will not cause students to quit smoking. Instead, they will be forced to leave campus to smoke. If smoking is a health concern, then we should be directing our focus to smoking cessation programs instead of creating rules that are going to be difficult to enforce. The current policy is only ineffective because of the lack of enforcement on campus. The problems with enforcement will not go away with this new ban. If the purpose was to mitigate problems, then the ban is going to make them worse. Students will still try to get away with smoking on campus. We’re wasting resources trying to stop it from happening.
We would much rather see the Academic Senate address issues that are not only in our interest, but also based on what students actually want to see changed. We think a greater concern for student health is the availability of healthy food on campus. There’s a plethora of fast food options at Cal State Fullerton, but hardly any healthy choices. This is a problem for current and incoming students that can be fixed by the same people who are supposed to speak on behalf of students.