Board of trustees gets first read at updated policy to ban smoking


The controversial proposed policy to ban the use of “cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco product” campus-wide was the most talked about topic at Thursday’s board of trustee meeting.

The board was given a first read of the updated ban. The board members received a different version of the policy in December 2013, Vice President of Administrative Services Jo Ann Higdon said. After that read through, it was sent back to College Council to include e-cigarettes and has been talked about at both College Council and Academic Senate meetings since.

During public comment, Angela Simon, a psychology professor, expressed her opposition for the ban. She said she’s not a smoker and never has been, but said people should be able to do what they want to do.

“I was really kind of angry about this policy,” Simon said. “I think it’s way too far reaching. I don’t think it’s our mission to stop people from smoking.”

Luukia Smith, president of the El Camino Classified Employees, spoke next and echoed Simon’s comments.

Smith said she’s recently seen placards at EC that say the college is a smoke-free campus, adding the signs are premature because the updated policy was reviewed by the board for the first time tonight.

Trustee Cliff Numark asked President Tom Fallo what the consequences would be if someone, either a faculty member or a student, were caught smoking if the ban goes into place. “I don’t know,” Fallo said.

Higdon later said, “Our police department does not have the authority to issue a ticket with a cost involved.”

The policy reads, as of now, in part, “Enforcement will be primarily educational, with an emphasis on cessation resources. It will be the responsibility of all members of the District to observe and follow established guidelines.”

Higdon said the policy has been adopted from one most UC schools use. The only law in place is one in accordance with state law, not one EC has put forth itself. According to state law, smokers cannot be “within 20 feet of a main exit, entrance, or operable window of a public building.”

The board decided on taking two paragraphs of the proposed policy out and it’ll return at next month’s board meeting for a second read.

The full proposed policy as the board reviewed it tonight can be found here on page AS 8. The next board of trustee meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 17.