Students returning to MCC for the spring 2008 session are coming back to a more smoke-free campus than ever before. In addition to prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of any enclosed building entrance or exit, a new standard has been implemented on campus restricting students to smoking in designated areas only.
According to the MCC Occupational Health Director Shirley Henderson, installing these specific areas has been a controversial issue for years, butwas not taken into serious consideration until Smoke Free Arizona came to campus about 6 months ago and recommended that designated smoking areas became part of the MCC landscape.
These 30 areas across campus were chosen by their proximity to buildings as well as their convenience to students.
They were specifically designed to keep both MCC’s smoking and non-smoking student body happy.
Henderson explained that the objective of the new rule is not to stop students or staff from smoking all together,but to more strictly enforce basic protocol to make a better environment for all MCC attendees.
“The designated smoking areas will be enforced the same as all other rules such as students are not to bring unattended children or any pets on campus,” she said.
In addition to adding a section into the student handbook reiterating that students are to only smoke in specific smoking spots, MCC safety will be reminding rule-breakers that they are to light up only in areas that have been specified that they may do so.
Additionally, large signs will be placed in the parking lots stating that smoking is to be done only in assigned smoking regions.
Although word hasn’t caught on to every student who smokes on campus, those who are aware of the new restrictions have mixed feelings about it.
Mike Lightcap, who recently returned to MCC after taking a few years off, feels that limiting where a student can smoke is unfair.
“I believe you should be able to smoke anywhere as long as you’re therequired 25 feet away from a building. I would understand if it was enclosed campus or something but it’s open so I think I should be able to smoke wherever I want,” Lightcap said.
Victoria Pena who recently transferred from Northern Arizona University believes the rule is fair to both MCC’s smoking and non-smoking populations.
“I’m a little annoyed because people should have the right to smoke wherever they want, but at the same time I guess people have the right to breathe fresh air.” She said.
Mesa is the not the first community college to instate designated smoking areas. Scottsdale Community College as well as Chandler-Gilbert Community College already uses these areas as a way to keep their campus more smoke-free.
MCCD is said to be working on a district-wide policy that would unify smoking policies for all 10 schools.