The Associated Students of Citrus College hosts an open forum on April 7 to gauge student support of smoking bans and restrictions on campus and offer students a survey to gather feedback. In spite of a survey hold up from Citrus, ASCC has presented a smoking resolution based off the feedback from the forum. (Evan Solano/Clarion)
The Associated Students of Citrus College executive board voted 6-2 in favor of a resolution banning smoking on campus with the exception of parking lots and other recommended zones.
A vote in favor to postpone the vote of the resolution failed 2-5.
The resolution states the ASCC executive board “recommends the on-campus smoking policies be expanded to respect to non-smoking community members, while considering the right of smoking community members, completely banning smoking of any substance on the Citrus College campus property, with the exception of Citrus College parking lots, or other zones as recommended by the District.”
The resolution also stated the ASCC executive board recommended “that related committees including but not limited to Student Services, Student Equity and Physical Resources, in complete collaboration with ASCC, begin the consideration and implementation of smoking zones as early as Fall 2016.”
The resolution concluded with a statement that ASCC executive board insists the Citrus College Community District takes these steps to prepare the college for a possible full ban as a result of Assembly Bill 1594.
Students attending the May 17 meeting shared sentiments of denial or postponement of the smoking resolution before the board made their decision.
One student, Andrew DiGiovanna, said the board should consider postponing the resolution until more information and light could be shed on this issue.
Commissioner of Equity and smoking committee head Juniper Cordova-Goff presented the smoking resolution and also defended the actions of the board to move forward.
“This resolution does not go into action when passed,” she said. “This is just a proposal to the Board of Trustees, potentially they will say what is fit for the college.”
Dean of students Maryann Tolano-Leveque, who oversees student life, reminded the board that a resolution is essentially something a board approves when they do not have actual jurisdiction over a policy but rather recommendations to “the powers that be.”
Tolano-Leveque said as soon as she heard students did not receive the survey she emailed Information Technology to find out what was happening. She also said she made a recommendation two weeks ago to pursue the resolution to move forward because she was not certain if the survey would come out soon if at all.
“The college was not comfortable sending out a survey immediately,” she said. “For those reasons I will take responsibility of saying to move forward with your recommendation and opinion, not necessarily a policy that will be enacted.”
At an open forum on April 7, ASCC gauged initial student feedback on a smoking ban and the student body was assured they would receive a survey gauging further feedback via email.
Cordova-Goff said the survey must be distributed through the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness and was held back to “avoid survey fatigue.”
“We do acknowledge that we as a board said we were coming out with a survey and never did,” she said,”but the board did everything in its power to send the survey out got before it was caught in the chain of command.”
In an article previously published in the Clarion covering the open forum, Cordova-Goff was reported saying “in addition to the forum, ASCC will send out a survey to all students via email asking if they are for, against, have no comment or do not care about the smoking ban within a week.”
In addition to this, Student Life Supervisor Adrienne Thompson followed up the remark with reassurance the survey would be sent out within weeks following the forum.
“This process has been kind of messy,” Cordova-Goff said. “At the beginning of the semester we made a smoking committee and drafted a timeline of our plan and everything was going as planned until the survey had to be submitted through the school.”
She said the intention was to include faculty and staff in addition to student feedback with the survey.
Citrus faculty received the questionnaire this morning, May 17, from the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. Jody Barrass, administrative assistant in the Office of Institutional Reasearch, Planning and Effectiveness, said the questionnaire was sent to 13, 489 students at 2:51 p.m on May 17.
Cordova-Goff also said the resolution itself is based off the student feedback received at the open forum since data from a survey would not be collected before the end of the semester.
The smoking resolution does not restrict smoking to parking lots but rather suggests this solution to the Citrus College Board of Trustees when they discuss smoking restrictions on campus.
“ASCC does not have the power to make policy and procedure change,” Thompson said, “but they advocate on behalf of student interest.”
Student body president Cameron Wisdom said he believes the executive board will be taking action on a resolution today that speaks for the students without their input.
Despite feeling this issue is not as vital to student success as other issues students have approached Wisdom with such as WiFi connectivity, trouble with Library computers and more, he feels students should be involved.
“If we are going to take action on issues that affect the entire campus community,” he said, “it should be done the right way.”
This resolution follows California legislation passed on May 4 raising the smoking age limit from 18 to 21, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. This bill is effective across California June 9.
A measure to ban the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes on all California State University and California Community College campuses passed in the California State Assembly on April 25 with a 41-24 vote.
The California Legislature website said AB 1594 would allow governing bodies of CSUs and CCC districts to set standards for the enforcement of the tobacco ban with full enforcement by January 2018.
AB 1594 will be heard next in the California State Senate.
UPDATE: 5:16 p.m. This story has been updated with the results of the vote on the smoking resolution and quotes from the ASCC executive board meeting as well as direct quotes from the smoking resolution statement.
UPDATE: 1: 28 p.m. This story has been updated with quotes from the former Student Trustee and the Student Life Supervisor clarifying the reason survey’s were not sent to the student body. It also includes information on the smoking resolution and the suggestions being made based off the open forum feedback from April 7.
UPDATE: This story has been updated with information on the faculty questionnaire sent out May 17.