Student organization tries to ban smoking on campus

Senators Amanda Flavin and Melinda Hambrick during Tuesday’s A.S. senate meeting in the Thousands Oaks Room. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato / Assistant Photo Editor

A student organization concerned with the effects of second-hand smoke  presented A.S. with a petition to ban smoking on campus.

The petition presented during Tuesday’s meeting by Campuses Organized and United for Good Health (COUGH) stated CSUN should be a smoke-free campus with the exception of parking areas.

“We’re a student organization that formed on campus in 2008,” COUGH Vice President Marlene Eguizabal said. “We are working towards the same goal (as other health-conscious organizations), a healthier environment.”

According to COUGH President Charleen Mikail, 53,000 non-smokers are killed annually due to second hand smoke and banning smoking on campus would help to reduce this number.

A survey of 191 students, faculty and staff was conducted at CSUN over the summer to test how people would receive the ban on smoking on campus. The survey found 107 in support of no smoking regulations.

Although Mikail did not know how many of those surveyed were smokers, she estimated that at least 50 of them indicated they smoke (cigarettes, hookah or chewing tobacco) at least once a week.

The biggest problem with the current smoking policy, according to Eguizabal, is that it is not enforced and many students do not CSUN has a smoking policy. Mikail said she found many smokers supporting the ban on smoking on campus because it would encourage them to not smoke near the buildings. CSUN student Michael Dilley spoke in favor of the ban, even though he smokes. Dilley compared smoking in public to driving recklessly, saying that if he chooses to risk his life, others should not be forced to be affected by his decision.

COUGH asked A.S. to consider implementing the ban starting in the Fall 2011. They do not know how much this ban would cost, including posting ‘no smoking’ signs around campus.

Petition to reinstate football team presented to A.S.

A petition with 4,000 signatures was also given to A.S. in support of reinstating a university football team by CSUN student Jeffrey Benson.

Many of the signatures were collected during the March 2 protest of the budget cuts. Benson said  this shows students do not mind tuition increases when new organizations and classes are made available to them, but do mind tuition increases when they are met with fewer opportunities.

A.S. President Conor Landsdale said he was not in support of the reinstatement of a campus football team because the swim team was cut last year due to budget cuts, and should have priority if new sports are considered.

Trevor Hotline now on campus

A.S. passed the introduction of the Trevor Hotline on campus.

The Trevor Hotline is a national organization that helps prevent suicide among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community. CSUN counseling services now incorporates  it into help-line materials and counseling brochures, as well as posting links to the Trevor Hotline website.

VPAC parking resolution causes debate

When there is an event at VPAC, the G3 parking structure is often closed for attendees to park. The resolution acknowledged that the A.S. recognizes efforts made by the police department at CSUN and parking and transportation services,  giving students warning about the closures 24 hours before it takes place, and that A.S. encourages that the warnings continue.

Senator Amanda Flavin proposed a change of wording in the resolution because it could infer that CSUN designates G3 as the official parking structure for VPAC events. Although the proposal did not pass, it sparked debate. Flavin suggested that attendees of VPAC events suffer the same parking struggles that students face daily, and priority be given back to the students.