Victoria College board votes for campuswide smoking ban

The Victoria College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a campuswide smoking ban Monday.

The ban goes into effect Aug. 16 and applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors on the campus.

The decision comes after complaints were made throughout the year about smoking on campus. The administration worked with student government to come up with the idea.

"While this sort of thing was new and unusual at one time, it no longer is," VC President Tom Butler said. "And I believe that smokers know how to accommodate to those existing policies."

While the campus has two designated smoking areas, complaints were made that smokers would not stay in their designated areas and that smoke would enter buildings, Butler said.

The board voted to add the ban to the student handbook.

Ashtrays in the two designated smoking areas will be removed and the campus will install new signage to make the change clear, Butler said.

Campus police will enforce the ban. People caught smoking will be reprimanded and could face a fine after multiple offenses.

"We're not looking to create a confrontation with our students," Butler said. "We want to work with them so that everybody's happy with the policy."

The board also voted to increase tuition costs for six continuing education programs and establish tuition for two new programs.

Welding one and two continuing education classes will increase by $550 and $800 respectively. The classes will cost $950 and $1,250 respectively. An advanced electrical class will increase by $400 and cost $800.

The increases are to cover increased certification changes and materials costs, said Jennifer Yancey, vice president for college advancement and external affairs.

The board also set tuition for new pipe fitting classes at $650 and $875 for millwright courses.

Butler also noted in his report that the college received an improved bond rating from Standard and Poor's rating services. The service raised the Victoria Junior College District from an "AA" to an "A+" because of the area's stable economic base anchored in the petrochemical industry and ability to raise revenue. The rating means future college bonds are lower risk.

"It's a feather in our cap," Butler said. "It's someone saying we're doing a good job."