Council Discusses Smoke-Free Policy and Spending Limits

     

    Following end-of-the-term goofing off — council did not reach quorum until late into the evening — this week’s meeting essentially became a heated debate surrounding the impending UCSD smoke-free policy.

    Public input lasted a glorious two minutes, and after a quick presentation by The Zone to advertise its Good Life Festival, I realized that I might be able to go back in time to eat at a dining hall.

    However, my hopes ended with the beginning of a Smoke-Free UCSD presentation by AVP Environmental and Social Justice Vanessa Garcia and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Wellness Karen Calfas, which sparked input from almost every single councilmember present.

    I have to say that I rather enjoyed seeing council unite in agreement that the UCOP-mandated smoke-free policy was unfair and not transparent. Members, including Bryan Casella and Garcia, were especially concerned with repercussions for the General Store, which is the only institution on campus that sells tobacco-related products.

    With the implementation of the smoke-free policy on Sept. 1, the General Store would lose approximately $100,000 in revenue from tobacco-related sales, according to representatives from the store.

    “I really think that it’s up to us to really reach out to our constituents to make up for this loss of revenue that will occur to [the General Store],” Garcia said. “We need to really support them through this change.”

    Many of the policy disagreements were directed toward Calfas and included objections to the lack of knowledge about the policy until very recently as well as concerns about discrimination against international students, for whom smoking may hold a cultural aspect. MVP speaker of the night was Social Sciences Senator Emma Berdugo, who vehemently rallied against the policy and may have been a little too harsh on poor Calfas.

    After reaching quorum, council redirected to reports of committees, passing a resolution about AVP resolutions and then tabling a campaign finance rule resolution regarding mandatory spending limits after approximately 45 minutes of discussion.

    Then, as happens often when a group of people thinks too much, council engaged in a short, random outburst, not unlike an outburst I let out when I found out that I had to write the column this week.

    Council then ended on a light note with the introduction of various college events, which, at that point, was probably all they could handle.

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