The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Butts rekindle debate

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

Although all campuses are smoke-free, an assistant professor of geology says his campus has a problem with cigarette butts.

On a recent Friday, Chris Baack said he picked up a half-gallon trash bag full of butts on SE Campus. He had allowed his class to work outside in the patio area between the two main buildings when he noticed the discarded cigarettes. Baack called it “disgusting,” and a student suggested they pick up the butts weekly.

The following morning after Baack’s cleanup, more than a dozen butts were spotted in the same area and along the east side of the main building. The offending butts lay mostly in the mulch and dirt of the decorative landscape.

The campus’ main entrance had no visible evidence of smokers. However, several butts littered the sidewalk around the concrete benches at the E-wing entrance, and one butt rested brazenly on the mat directly in front of the door.

Former SE student Ricky Pender attended before it became smoke-free.

“Yeah that sucks,” Pender said about the smoking ban. “You used to be able to smoke over there.”

Previously, SE Campus had designated smoking areas and ashtrays available at the entrances. Now, students are supposed to smoke only inside their vehicles.

Students or staff who want to smoke to relieve stress between classes don’t have enough time if they have a bad parking spot, he said.

Pender admits he smoked between the buildings after the ban took effect. He said campus police issued him a warning for having a lighted cigarette in the parking lot.

One SE freshman said she agreed with the smoking ban because breathing secondhand smoke is unhealthy.

“I think it [smoke-free] is a good idea,” Joritza Hernandez said.

James Rogers, a SE carpenter, said he noticed students dumping their ashtrays in the parking lot and others walking up to campus with a cigarette in their hand.

“I guess they forget,” he said.

Rogers does not think butts are that much of a problem because the maintenance crew “does a pretty good job,” he said.

Before the ban, Rogers said, it was hard to enter through one doorway between the buildings because smokers would huddle there when it was cold.

“I quit [smoking] about 10 or 15 years ago, so I’m probably one of the ones who bitches about it the most,” he said.

SE Campus police Lt. Chanissa Dietrich said when the ban first went into effect, notices were sent out with the parking permits.

“It is a good policy,” she said.

Officers will issue verbal or written warnings to violators. In extreme cases, citations are issued, Dietrich said. Some staff members smoke and have to go out to their cars as well, she said.

“It’s not that you can’t smoke at all,” she said. “You just can’t smoke up here by the building.”

Dietrich said officers cannot be everywhere, but anyone who sees a smoker can call, and officers will certainly respond.

“It may just be someone that doesn’t know,” she said.

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