Despite more than 40 “no smoking” signs posted at the Sierra Center, the smoking policy continues to be largely ignored by many smokers there and in other areas, including near building entrances.
“There’s nobody here to enforce the rule, and nobody seems to care,” said Dave Perry, junior political science major.
Perry said that if anyone ever came up to him and asked him to stop smoking in the area, he would, but such a scenario has never occurred.
According to Rick Evans, administrative services manager for the University Corporation, several of the signs are strategically placed on light posts facing away from the area so that those entering the outdoor Sierra Center dining area will see them before coming in.
Every Sierra Center outdoor table also has a no-smoking warning lining the perimeter of the umbrella-pole slot, which is used by some smokers as ashtrays.
“Some people put their (cigarette) butts in the hole when there’s no pole in there,” said Eric Bainz, sophomore biology major.
Evans said the table warnings are easy to miss, which is why the University Corporation has considered using more conventional signs at each table to get the point across. There are also small signs on the walls and pillars in the area, he said.
CSUN’s smoking policy states that “deans, directors, department chairs, and heads of other administrative units” are responsible for enforcing the rule, but there currently is not much enforcement.
According to university policy, smoking is not allowed within 20 feet of building entrances and exits, nor in areas designated as smoke free.
Evans said he has not found it necessary to make a big deal out of students ignoring the smoking policies, and has been hoping the problem will take care of itself over time. When he leaves his office, which is located near the Sierra Center, he, along with other University Corporation faculty members, remind those who are found smoking in the non-smoking zones that there are areas nearby where smoking is allowed, Evans said.
Ashtrays are placed in some of the areas where smoking is allowed. Evans said the reason for the rule is so non-smokers can enjoy a smoke-free environment outside, if they choose to eat outdoors.
“It’s easier to implement (no-smoking rules) indoors, but (stopping) smoking outdoors is new territory,” Evans said. “We didn’t want to be heavy-handed about it. We put out the signs hoping people would see them and self-regulate themselves. The next step may be to increase the (number of signs) to let people know that we do take it seriously.”
“Cops come by and they say nothing,” said David Maris, junior physical science major. “Since it’s an open area, you should be allowed to smoke. I love to have a cigarette after I eat.”
Evans acknowledged that even if a greater quantity of larger signs is put up, the problem “isn’t going to go away overnight.”
“We want to see how it evolves over time, and see if we can make it the no-smoking zone that it’s intended to be,” Evans said.