By Tyler Mickelson
Smokers on Riverside campus are fighting for space to smoke, and many are frustrated that the smoking area has been moved to right outside B building, a spot that is congested.
“People are being pushed into the street from lack of room,” said Jerry Tinsley, an RCC student who is a smoker.
A new smoking policy was implemented July 1. Smoking is prohibited, except in designated sections and no smoking within 20 feet of any door on campus.
“The smoking section was fine where it was at,” Tinsley said, about the previous section which was located right behind the G building at the picnic tables. “People had a choice, to either walk around us or through us. Now nonsmokers have no choice.”
With the new school rules in affect many nonsmokers find themselves walking through a cloud of smoke to get to class.
“I find it disrespectful to the nonsmokers that have to walk through all us smokers,” said Richard Pascali Martinez an RCC student. “There are small children and pregnant woman that walk though here.”
Although most students follow the rules and are respectful to other students, there are a few who don’t adhere to the rules.
On several occasions the Byline has witnessed students smoking outside the designated smoking section.
The Byline asked Dean of Students Kori Bieber about the policy for punishing students that don’t adhere to the rules.
“Students that don’t adhere to the rules will not be punished, just asked to respectfully go back to the designated smoking area.,” Bieber said “However if rules are not met the school is at risk of becoming a nonsmoking campus.”
But not everyone has an issue with the change, some smokers like the fact that they can just run out and light up without having to walk around the block.
“It’s convenient for me,” said Jason O’Berry an RCC student. “I just have one class and I can walk right out of class and grab a smoke.”
Most students find the lack of shelter from the elements their biggest concern. Unlike the old section, the new area has no canopy.
“With winter coming it’s going to be cold and wet standing out here,” said Keith Sheyt an RCC student.
“They are breaching my rights as a smoker not providing adequate shelter from the elements” said Tinsley “If I get sick from not having a cover to smoke under I am suing RCC.”
RCC administration intended that a cover was part of the plan. “When the new smoking policy took affect the plan included a cover to be up by the rainy season, but here it is October and coming up on November and the rainy season is here,” Bieber said. “The cover and lack of room are on the agenda for discussion at the next board meeting.”
Tinsley, O’Berry, and Moore feel that it’s unfair to move all the smokers to an uncovered area. However some don’t have an issue with the lack of shelter.
“It’s going to help me cut back and quit smoking if I don’t have a place to stand under,” said Martinez.
Jerry Potts an RCC Student said, “They aren’t cleaning out the ash trays and they are catching on fire.” “With the amount of smokers we have the ash trays should be cleaned out at least every day if not more.”
“It stinks over there and it’s dirty” Shawnee Anderson an RCC Student said “But there aren’t any cigarette butts on the ground like there was at the old section”
The aministration is investigating the issue. Bieber said “The administration is hearing from all campuses that students don’t have enough room and people are being forced outside of the designated areas.”
She urges students who have issues or concerns with the new smoking section to voice their opinions to the student government.