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September 12, 2011

Bans spark fervor on campus

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Written by: Arturo Garcia Sierra

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Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

As the new semester commenced, notable changes were immediately spotted by returning students. The former Aztec Center construction created longer walking distances and new paths to class. A bike lane, now maroon, stretches out further across campus. Additionally, skateboarding is now outlawed and smoking is prohibited in most areas, ticking off some students.

 

No Skateboarding

For students, a significant change has been the ban of skateboards from campus. Bikes are still allowed in the bike-lane; skateboards, rollerblades and scooters are not.

Skater discontent was not held back. Three days into the semester, an online campaign had already been created.

The Facebook event titled “We wanna SKATE to class,” created by television, film and new media junior Nadir Zriouel, invites students and others opposed to the new policy to join a “flash-mob-skate” down Campanile Walkway on Oct. 12. Only a week after the creation of the event, more than 500 people have responded that they will attend.

The Environment, Health and Safety Committee in the University Senate decided to ban skateboards from the entire campus last spring, according to A.S. Vice President of External Affairs Krista Parker. According to her, after seeing a high number of “near misses and accidents” caused by an increase in skateboarding both inside and outside of the bike-lane, the University Senate finalized its decision.

“It cannot be ignored that some of our skaters are not conscious about the speed they skate,” President of SDSU’s Enviro-business Society (e3) Berenice Rodriguez said.

The fine for skateboarding averages $180, according to Zriouel’s Facebook event.

The rationale of the policy, as stated in a newsletter to the University Senate, includes serious injuries reported to SDSU police and an increase in citations of skateboard operators since implementation of the bike-lane last fall.

Also noted was that skateboards do not represent a legal commuting option for students as they’re not permitted on city streets. Lastly, the University Senate claimed there would be a better learning environment through noise reduction with a skateboard ban.

“We’re disappointed that the new policy excludes skateboarders, because we know many people commute to campus on their boards,” e3 Vice President Patrick Murphy said. “The whole purpose of the bike-lane is to encourage different and more sustainable forms of transportation to campus. Excluding skateboards limits the capability of the lanes.”

 

No smoking, for the most part

Starting this semester, plans for having designated smoking zones throughout SDSU substantialized after a two-year development. The policy, suggested by the Senate Environment and Safety Committee, was approved in fall 2009. According to Dr. Penelope Quintana, chair of the committee and associate professor of the Environmental Health Graduate School of Public Health, former President Stephen L. Weber appointed a task force in spring 2010 to investigate the developing idea, implement the policy and decide on the designated smoking areas.

During the summer, Viejas Arena noted smoking would be prohibited inside it and the at Open Air Theatre starting Aug. 22.

The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation reports more than 530 colleges have 100 percent smoke-free campus policies since 2003. CNN’s “Colleges tell smokers, ‘You’re not welcome here’” highlighted that some expect smoking bans to spread to all college campuses.

Nearby campus, Grossmont Community College has had a smoke-free campus since 2009. San Diego City College, located in downtown San Diego, approved its smoke-free campus policy this year as well. Cuyamaca College, about 20 minutes east from SDSU, has had a designated-smoking policy since 2007.

Among the 12 selected zones for smoking at San Diego State is a small area at Viejas Arena near a fire hydrant, an area on the west side of Parking Structure 4’s top floor, and an area in Lot Q near the pay station, presumably to serve international students.

“The policy will improve public health at San Diego State,” Dr. Quintana said. “Second-hand smoke has been designated a toxic air contaminant by the state of California and has no safe exposure level. Ideally this campus would be completely smoke-free, but this is an important first step.”

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About the Author

Arturo Garcia Sierra
Arturo Garcia Sierra is a biliterate journalism student at San Diego State. He is the assistant news editor at The Daily Aztec and managing editor of Mundo Azteca, the organization's Spanish-language content.




 
 

 
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3 Comments


  1. Philip D.

    First, I am not a skateboarder, I take issue with the ban and the enforcement for a number of reasons.

    While I can understand the concerns of some uninformed, there is not as of yet any proof or reliable statistics to prove that skateboarders are a danger anymore than bikes, and in fact, they may be less than bikes.

    I for one have had more bikes ride infront of me when they did not have right of way, or actually run me off the sidewalk. We don’t respond by banning bikes. If we are going to be a green campus, we have to find solutions – not just make a ban.

    This past week, as I was walking back from my Anthropology class, I was able to witness the skateboarding situation. As I was walking down the pedestrian sidewalk, a police office on his motorcycle came by running people off the sidewalk. It turned out he was chasing someone on the other sidewalk that was carrying a skateboard. In his haste to “protect” us from the guy carrying the skateboard, he put the lives of over a hundred students in danger as he ran us off the sidewalk. I was shocked. I was angered. I come from an area where police brutality is the norm. I had began to grow a respect for the police department on campus. However, with these actions and then again being run off the sidewalk a second time by an officer on his motorcycle, I’m beginning to believe that our safety is less important than revenue collected from tickets. I then watched another officer chase a pedestrian across a crosswalk on his motorcycle.

    Having enough, I decided to express my feelings to the last officer that ran me off the sidewalk. I told him that running me off the sidewalk was more dangerous than the person who was carrying a skateboard and that I did not appreciate it. I’ve called my city reps and the police about it. We’ll see what we hear.


  2. studentforfreedom

    hey smarts (guy who wrote this article) thanks for bringing attention to the issue at hand, but next time please use your brain and dont PUBLISH in the freakin school newspaper that there is a flash mob being planned!

    facebook is one thing. but now you have put everyone involved in the flash mob on blast in a form of media which school administrators/police can actually read. i guess you missed the memo that only people involved in flashmobs are supposed to know they are happening. its a SURPRISE.

    luckily the date is not finalized so they will probably still never find out when we are doing it but jeez have some common sense next time!!


  3. Bill Crotty

    Phillip D.

    I would love to speak with you about what you wrote in the near future if you are able to talk “on the record.” We will be publishing additional follow up stories (I wrote one for tomorrow to clarify a couple concerns from SDSU administrators and leaders). Hearing from students who have had experiences like the one you describe would be very helpful for a future article which I plan to publish in October.

    Mrs. StudentForFreedom,

    Although I can see where you’re coming from, please realize the Facebook event you feel we are blowing the cover of is a PUBLIC event which university officials were most definitely aware of weeks ago. If you are really terrified of being in trouble, you might want to not respond to the event – I for one am listed as attending and will definitely be there if I am able when the time comes.
    Regardless of what our opinions are on the ban, I hope you know that those in charge are not unintelligent people and they will respond in some way. Having an idea that it is coming may even allow them to respond less harshly, or at least more evenly, than they may have done were it a surprise (although they probably knew about it before we did).
    Also, if you are concerned about being implicated, I would suggest you remove the picture of yourself that I see above your story. Unless that is not you, then bravo.
    ———–

    If Anyone has additional questions, concerns or input on this matter, please feel free to email me at News@Thedailyaztec.com.

    Bill Crotty
    The Daily Aztec,
    News Editor



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