Student Government: Smokers get the boot at UC arbor
The Student Government Association passed legislation to ban smoking, beginning this month, in the University Center Arbor
Last spring, SGA also attempted to ban smoking in the UC. SGA Vice President Samuel Dike said the idea for the smoking ban came from student complaints over the years, but that nothing could be done because the UC Arbor was declared by the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors to be a free-flowing area in 2000, meaning that the air in the Arbor was not blocked by anything. MAPPS, an organization dedicated to mapping and surveying, deemed the Arbor as a nonsmoking area during an inspection for 2008.
Since the construction of the information booth and lockers, Dike said, the Arbor doesn’t have much airflow, which can lead to health problems for some students.
"A number of students have health issues related to the quality of air," Dike said. "(The smoking ban) has been attempted at five different occasions."
The University Center Policy Board that is made up of faculty, staff and students, Dike said, had been working to get the administration to designate the Arbor as an area not fit for smoking since 2000.
"It was a great partnership between the UC, the UCPB and SGA," Dike said.
Biology freshman Seemab Jamil said she’s supportive of the smoking ban.
"I’m glad that they banned smoking in the UC because I’m not a big fan of secondhand smoke," Jamil said.
Dike said that another benefit of the smoking ban is that the UC will look nicer because students won’t leave any cigarette butts on the ground.
"Because it’s not very welcoming to new students," Dike said.
SGA also announced that, in accordance with legislation passed in October, parking lot 4A near Bayou Oaks on Calhoun Road and Wheeler Avenue is in the process of being partially repaved.
SGA President David Rosen said that there have been numerous complaints, ranging from poor lighting to unsafe gravel, from students since the parking lot opened in fall 2003.
"(Lot 4A) is an eyesore on our school, especially with the parking permit prices increasing," Rosen said.
Dike announced that there will also be a five-minute grace period for parking meters, a goal that was made into a bill in October to help improve campus parking since lot 19A closed in September.
Students returning books have often been given tickets because they returned to the parking meter five minutes late, Dike said, and students can’t help it if the line in the bookstore is too long.
Biology freshman Diana Rico said the grace period is a great idea.
"Sometimes you’re busy and you can’t run over there in five minutes and you really need time to pay. It’ll be less stressful for students who park in those areas," Rico said.
Dike also said that a student’s first two parking tickets for failure to display parking decals will be dismissed upon appeal.
"This was created in recognition that certain mishaps happen," Dike said.