A proposed amendment for a Smoke-Free Maricopa, which would prohibit smoking on all district and college property including parking lots, is being reviewed by the district wellness committee for the open comments submitted on April 3, 2010.”Let’s look at this as a viable option to keep our employees and students healthy,” said Michelle Hamm, the wellness coordinator for Gateway Community College, who submitted the proposal on behalf of the wellness committee.
Michelle and Gregory Trone, of Chandler-Gilbert Community College, initially voiced their opinion to the council to make get out important issue for students and staff in the Maricopa district regarding the smoking areas.
“The health and well being of our community, whether it is our faculty and staff, students or visitors are very important. With tobacco being the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and our organization being a self insured organization, it really made sense (to have the Smoke-Free Initiative),” said Hamm.
The dispatch supervisor of the Dobson and Southern campus public safety, Veronica Padilla said she doesn’t know how the district or this campus is going to enforce the new policy.
“(At this point) if the students are not compliant with the rules or become difficult with the officers, we’re referring them to the Dean of Students regarding their conduct,” said Padilla.
No citations have been given to students during this semester, however there were 435 verbal warnings given to individuals smoking in a non-smoking area.
“The student input that is being collected (from the April 3 open discussion) would be part of the overall feedback that we’re collecting from employees as well so we would want to put that all together, in terms of process,” said Teresa Toney, The Office of Public Stewardship manager.
March 31 was the initial deadline but, more than likely next fall would be when the chancellor’s executive council will determine whether or not to adopt the smoke-free initiative explained Toney.
“We’re going to need some time to compile all of the comments as well look at what other colleges and universities are doing nationwide; how they addressed the issues that are being presented as part of the debate. It’s not anything that’s being rushed through, in terms,” Toney said.
Those students that were unable to submit feedback to the committee should get in contact with student government for the appropriate steps to be heard.
“It isn’t for or against (students who use tobacco) it’s all about the impact of the college. This is a behavior that does kill people and it does cost million, if not billions of dollars annually.
“We want people to give us feedback on impact, what type of impact it’s going to have on their experience at the college,” Hamm said.