By Crystal Harrell
It has been requested that The Chaparral staff acknowledge the existing rules and policies College of the Desert has developed regarding smoking on campus. This request came about as a result of the number of students found smoking outside of the designated smoking areas. A series of guidelines regarding smoking on campus is referenced in the Administrative Procedure of the Desert Community College District, found in Government Code section 7596, 7597, 7597.1, 7598, Title 5 Section 5148, and Labor Code Section 6404.5.
The policies state that “smoking of any form of tobacco or non-tobacco products is prohibited inside any college facility on the campuses” and that “the sale of tobacco products on the campuses… is prohibited.”
The only two exceptions to the smoking policy are for approved theatre rehearsals and performances where smoking is deemed an essential part of the play, and staying within the boundaries of a designated smoking area.
There are six designated smoking areas located at the COD campus in Palm Desert, all of which are labeled on the official campus guide map. Each area features a “Designated Smoking Area” sign, boundary lines marked on the ground, and a cigarette waste receptacle. Designated smoking areas on the campus map can be viewed in the College Catalog, the COD website, and other handouts.
“Another rule is that [students] have to be approximately 25 feet away from any open classroom. It could be the Hilb Building, the Communication Building–any room with an open door, they need to be away from it if they want to smoke,” explained COD security officer Andres Moreno.
If any smoking policies are violated, the campus security officers refer the offending students to campus administrators for disciplinary action, as highlighted in the Student Code of Conduct.
The student reaction to these policies are mixed, as some feel as though the designated smoking areas are too small to accommodate smokers and the lingering odor of cigarettes, while others feel that smoking should not be allowed on campus at all, citing public health concerns for their reasons. Regardless of each viewpoint, it is essential that every student and faculty member abide by the smoking rules on campus for the sake of being courteous and respecting the code of ethics established by College of the Desert.