Graham C Wheat, Features Editor

The vote for a tobacco free campus has taken place and the next step is a stance from the Academic Senate, an organization that serves as the voice of the faculty of the community colleges in matters of statewide concern.

The student vote on the smoking policy at Bakersfield College is official with 2,680 students voted for a tobacco free campus, 2,190 voted for designated-smoking areas. 154 staff members voted for a tobacco free campus. 67 staff members voted for the designated-smoking areas. These results were made public on the InsideBC portal on Jan. 30.

As head of the Academic Senate, Corny Rodriguez illuminated that part of the process.

“The policy, however it is drawn out, they will bring it to the [academic] senate and that would be considered first reading, and it won’t be voted on until the following senate meeting, if they decide to take it up at all,” said Rodriguez.

He was confident however that the matter would be resolved rather quickly on the academic senates part.

“My feeling is that there are those in the senate who are going to say ‘yes we need to take a position on this policy’,” he said.

The Senate will have its first reading of the policy on Feb. 13 and then have a decision at their next subsequent meeting, two weeks from that date said Rodriguez.

He gave some insight into the senate’s feelings on the policy saying that some were for a tobacco free campus while others supported the idea of designated areas. Rodriguez also said that the academic senate does give suggestions to the policy proposed, the senate does not have the power to outright change it.

“I don’t know about power, but influence. The senate may say, ‘we are willing to support this if…’ or ‘our concerns regarding the policy are as follows.’” Rodriguez acknowledged that this does happen often. Rodriguez also see’s no bars from holding the policy being implemented.

“If the senate takes a position, and the students support it, and students have taken it to administration, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be implemented,” said Rodriguez.

As head of the Senate, he also gave his personal feelings on the policy.

“I think what’s crucial is that this whole issue regarding smoking is an individual choice, but that’s not to say that the senate will not take a position,” said Rodriguez.

“As a faculty member, and a non smoker, I still feel a policy on smoking needs to be considered by all who are impacted. I feel that those who do smoke should have a designated area.”

Rodriguez briefly outlined the next phase after the senate has made a decision. BC’s Board of Trustees would be the next entity to consider the policy and the earliest possibility for their approval would be in April because of a monthly meeting schedule. However, the board of trustees likewise may make suggestions prolonging the policy making process.