Friday, August 23, 2013

New Campus Smoking Policy

This fall marks the beginning of a major change in UC San Diego's smoking and tobacco policy. UC San Diego's previous smoking policy mirrored California state law- smoking was not permitted in any indoors spaces, nor within 20 feet of public buildings.

However, on September 1, 2013, UC San Diego will become a completely smoke-free and tobacco-free campus. This means no smoking will be permitted on any campus property, regardless of how far you are from a building. Even smoking in the middle of the Regents parking lot violates the new policy!

This policy affects both students and staff alike. It will even extend to guests of the university. This means that students or organizations holding any events on the UC San Diego campus must communicate to their guests that smoking is prohibited on campus.

Under the ban, even the on campus use of e-cigarettes will be prohibited. Readers should note that marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, has never been permitted on UC San Diego property.

UC San Diego officials have indicated the University has a right to issue citations and fines to individuals who violate the tobacco and smoking ban. However, at this time the University has not indicated that it will immediately begin to exercise its right to issue these citations. UC San Diego students who repeatedly violate the smoking ban may face chargers under the Student Conduct Code.

For UC San Diego students with the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), Student Health Services offers special smoking cessation programs. Additional information for UC San Diego students and staff to quit tobacco products can be found on the Smoke Free UCSD website.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

California Law Highlight: Employer Use of Social Media

California became one of the first states in the country to enact a law prohibiting employers and universities from demanding a person's social media username and password.

What is known as the Social Media Privacy Act is actually comprised of two different laws signed by Governor Brown in 2012 and enacted on January 1, 2013

Employers: California Assembly Bill 1844 prohibits a private employer from requiring or even requesting an employee or job applicant's social media usernames and passwords.  This is meant to protect your privacy from snooping employers (or prospective employers!) who may be looking for information about you beyond your resume.

Additionally, the law prohibits an employer from firing, disciplining, threatening to fire or discipline, or otherwise retaliating against an employee who asserts their rights under this law.

Please note! Any information a person has on a social media website that is viewable by the general public is still fair game. Employers may still use whatever information they can find about a person by just searching them on the internet. This law is meant to only stop employers from requesting access to private accounts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Illegal Downloading & File Sharing

Peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as LimeWire, FrostWire, uTorrent, or eMule are awfully tempting. Students are known for living on shoestring budgets, so who wouldn't want free music, movies, or software?

However, if you do not have the copyright owner's permission to copy or share the file you could be charged with a federal crime and/or sued in civil court.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has specifically targeted college students in expensive lawsuits for alleged copyright violations.

Here at UC San Diego, university officials routinely receive "Cease and Desist" letters based on UC San Diego students' illegal fire sharing via the university's networks. In fact, within the last few years over 100 UC San Diego students have been sued for copyright violations, even when the alleged illegal download was the student's first ever.