Smoking, parking policies confuse

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By Monte Ashqar

There has been some confusion among the district’s department of public safety officers, security personnel and college officials regarding the enforcement of the smoking and parking policies at this college.
Business management sophomore Amanda Dekay, 27, got a ticket for smoking on campus Nov. 1, while she was sitting on a brick wall under a tree about 6 feet away from the sidewalk between Candler Physical Education Center and Gonzales Hall near San Pedro Avenue.
“He drove his patrol car to McCreless, parked it there, then came over and gave me a ticket for smoking on campus although he never saw me smoking,” Dekay said. “He said we couldn’t smoke there, and if we wanted to smoke, we had to go across the street where the public library is.
“He said I was on campus property, therefore, I couldn’t smoke there,” Dekay added.
“Five days later, a homeless man was bothering us at the same spot so Meagan (Fromer) called the police,” Dekay said.
“The responding officer was (Cpl. Michael) Nemcic, and we asked him if we could smoke there, and he said we were fine,” Dekay said.
That day, Dekay and Fromer, liberal arts sophomore, went to the office of President Robert Zeigler to get a map of smoking areas on campus.
“His secretary told us he was not available that day,” Fromer said. “She told us that there was no such map because smoking was prohibited on campus.
“She told us if there was a question about smoking somewhere on campus, then we should not do it,” Fromer said.
Robin Collett, administrative secretary to the president, said Nov. 15 she told them that all Alamo Community College District campuses are smoke-free and if there is an area that someone is not sure about, then that person should not smoke there.
“That was my personal advice,” Collett added.
Cpl. Leonardo Nieves, former campus coordinator with the department of public safety, said in a story published in The Ranger Sept. 7, that as long as the person smoking was standing on the sidewalk of a public street, then that person was not in violation of the district’s no-smoking policy.
The only exception is the sidewalk of Dewey Place from the loading dock of Loftin Student Center west to San Pedro Avenue because that street is owned by the college, Nieves said.
The same confusion exists for parking on campus.
On Nov. 13, this reporter found a ticket on his vehicle for parking in a visitor’s space in student Lot 21 between Candler Physical Education and Nail Technical centers.
The time of the citation was 6:52 p.m.
In a phone interview Nov.14, Nemcic, campus coordinator with the department of public safety, said students still need to park in their designated areas even after 5 p.m.
In a story published in The Ranger Sept. 7, Nieves said after 5 p.m. the lots were open to everyone without designation.
Dean Tim Rockey, who is also the chairman of the Parking Committee, said Nov. 14 that after 5 p.m. students and faculty can park anywhere, including the visitor parking spaces.
“As a matter of fact, beginning next semester, the lots will become open to all after 3 p.m.,” Rockey said. “The only exception would be the faculty lot behind Fletcher.”
On Nemcic saying students still need to park in their designated areas, Rockey said, “That is lame. We should be making it easier for students , not imposing more rules and restrictions.”
That day, Javier Patron, adjunct faculty employment coordinator with the office of evening, weekend and distance education, which decides whether to dismiss appealed traffic citations, said students should still park in their designated areas even after 5 p.m., according to the department of public safety.
On Nov. 19, Rockey said he was going to make it an agenda issue in the next meeting to talk to all departments and people concerned.
That day Sgt. Ben Peña, of the department of public safety, said all decisions regarding parking at this college have been left up to the Parking Committee.
“Keep in mind that Cpl. Nemcic is still new as the campus coordinator,” Peña added.
On Monday, Nemcic said the parking policy now is that students might still get a citation if they park in a visitor or faculty space.
On the smoking policy, Nemcic said the officers will not direct smokers to where they can smoke, but if an officer is asked whether a smoker is in violation of the policy, then the officer will answer.


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