When the smoke clears, what will be left in BC’s new smoking policy?

Graham C Wheat, Editor in Chief

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The perpetual carousel that is the smoking issue has once again entered the spotlight of school administrators and the student body. This turn of the gears promises to have a resolution by next semester, whether it will be an outright ban or designated areas, remains to be seen. Most likely, due to union difficulties, designated areas will emerge soon.

This action is nothing new to the campus of BC, and anyone interested in the history and chronology of events can find the story easily with a bit of informed searching.

It has been an embroiled topic for some time, and this round of administrative bouts will result in the same outcome. Nothing.

This dedication to the smoking issue, that already has specific laws in place (20 feet from doors and windows as mandated by the state of California), is merely inflated posturing by the school government. Both SGA and administration are to blame.

Yes, there was a vote by (some) students to take action on the topic last semester. However, this wholly unrepresentative informal poll does not accurately paint the picture for the majority of students at Bakersfield College. The poll itself was a loaded one, with options being geared toward administrative feelings, and not student sentiments.

In the rapidly changing landscape that is junior college, how can one set of rules be expected to represent the ebb and flow of constant new students? At this level, a single semester can change a campus drastically.

This policy has no consideration for all those incoming students. A policy that was passed two semesters ago, a lifetime in junior college, couldn’t possibly hope to be indicative of students who are new to the college.

The most unnerving aspect of this whole issue is the unfeasibility of enforcement. With the manpower and monetary concerns, there is no possible way the school could police smoking. Look at how many public safety officers are on the campus and imagine how many smokers are on campus. On this front, it is purely a numbers game. Yes, a precedent could be set on the matter, but constant enforcement of the policy would be daunting. Smokers will light up whenever they want, and the small force of campus security will be hard pressed to police every puff; and what about people who are not students here? Will they to be expected to pay a ticket for smoking in their car while waiting to pick up a family member or friend? Good luck enforcing that in Bakersfield.

So what is the moral to this cloudy story? Leave well enough alone. Let the laws that are here remain. A semester of over-zealous SGA and administration should not dictate a concrete law that has to do with personal choice, and the administration should have enough foresight to anticipate later outcomes.

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