Letter to the Editor

The Plenum seeks tobacco solution

Dear President Dorman,

In response to the statewide smoking ban due to take effect Oct. 1, The Plenum conducted a series of open discussions every Monday and Wednesday on Front Campus. With a democratic spirit, these discussions included as many voices as possible. We quickly found that there is widespread disagreement concerning the ban, even among those students who support a smoke-free campus.
Virtually every student who gave us their opinion disagreed with the heavy-handed, bureaucratic nature of the Board of Regents’ decision, which left students feeling as though their opinions are of little concern to those in power. A majority of students believe the tobacco policy already in place is fair and functioning.
The ban will undo the careful planning and investment this University has already put into coming up with a fair solution to smoking on campus. The overall effect of the ban will be counter-productive to public health, as the ban includes e-cigarettes, which some smokers use to quit altogether, and without designated smoking shelters there may be a higher prevalence of smoking in other, less ideal areas.
In light of the highly unpopular nature of the ban, we suggest the University conduct official meetings in order to register student and faculty opinion before implementing drastic changes to tobacco policy. These meetings should be well-publicized, in order to ensure popular participation.
According to the resolution passed, the president of each university holds the power to make exceptions to the ban. As The Plenum is an organization which supports a truly democratic process, as well as an equitable distribution of power, we can only support such a ban after it has been subject to public scrutiny. Any other solution is a violation of individual freedom and cannot be considered fair, no matter how well-meaning its intent.

Signed,
The Plenum

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