Methodist Student Center brings concern to student government and Dr. Vela

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Dr. Vela walks with smokers as they show ideal spots for smoking areas

By Kyle R. Cotton

With the recent news of the unintended side-effects of a non-smoking campus policy and building concerns of his own, anthropology sophomore and United Methodist Student Organization president Alex Ruiz attended the Nov. 17 Student Government Association meeting in the craft room of the Loftin Student Center.

Once the meeting was open to general discussion, Ruiz brought up the ”smokers’ corner” and added to the possible extreme solutions they could pursue at great expense to themselves by tearing up the outside of the center.

This would eliminate the small, public area next to their property.

“We obviously don’t want to do that and would much rather work with the school to find a possible solution,” Ruiz said.

American Sign Language sophomore and SGA President Karen Elliot asked if the Methodist Student Center had reached out to the smokers or had a sit down in a lunch-type setting.

“We’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work,” Ruiz said.

He said that there are smokers in the group who understand where the center is coming from, but they can only do so much.

Elliot said because the property does not fall under campus jurisdiction, Ruiz and the center should take this issue up with the city.

Ruiz responded the city wouldn’t allocate the funding for something like that.

He said it takes about two trash bags to clean up the litter left by the smokers, so the cost of designating a smoker’s area would be minimal.

Elliot said, “There is nothing we can do at this time,”

This sentiment is accentuated by what former SGA president and liberal arts sophomore Andrew Hubbard said in a previous meeting on the subject, “Any change to the smoking policy would be difficult because it’s a districtwide policy, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”

On Nov. 18 at the center Ruiz, smokers, and other students attended the ‘Hot Potato’ meeting where President Robert Vela led a presentation about this college’s future.

According to Ruiz, the meeting went Ok and Vela would bring up the concerns of both the smokers and the center in his meeting with SGA Wednesday.

Ruiz said the smokers in attendance voiced their concerns after Vela’s presentation; he addressed the smokers’ request for an area of their own in a low-pedestrian traffic area.

Vela’s response was because this is a non-smoking campus they could not designate a smokers’ area; however, afterwards Vela walked with a couple of the smokers to see the areas they suggested, according to Ruiz.

Vela said he would look into it.

For more information on the Methodist Student Center, call the Rev. Johnny Silva at 210-733-1441, or visit the center at 102 Belknap Place.

SGA’s next meeting will be at noon Dec. 1 in the craft room of Loftin Student Center.

For more information on SGA, call 210-486-0113.


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