Ban singles-out minority population
As I stroll through campus, I study the sea of unfamiliar faces moving past me.
Each one of these countless students carries a personal set of experiences, outlooks and aspirations. In these beginning years of adulthood, we find ourselves attempting to form a definition of self and in choosing CU, we have established a community in which we join from our individual sense of self-actualization.
A community is simply a group of individuals, who by sharing an environment, form social agreements to live in accordance with each other. We live in an exceptional community. While we are simultaneously cohesive as one, we have also established a culture of respect and encouragement of the varying internal self-identities of everyone.
So we all received the e-mail, and you know the results are in.
Regent Michael Carrigan’s proposed smoking ban has been narrowly approved by an e-mail response survey conducted by CU officials in the previous weeks.
Carrigan’s proposed ban violates personal rights to self-jurisdiction in an attempt to assimilate a minority student population at CU to the majority.
I know that Carrigan’s intentions are not to form an assault on our personal liberties. He solely desires the cessation of an unhealthy habit among the CU student body, but he does not fully recognize the repercussions and the violation of personal rights this ban would incur.
Other means exist to deter smoking on campus. One such measure that would not infringe upon any civil liberties of the student body would be increased littering fines and enforcement, targeting the smokers. Yes, when smokers litter they cause a burden to the community and so should be rightly reprimanded.
“Campus wide smoking regulations are not intended to deny smokers their prerogatives, but rather to limit the potential adverse effects of smoking on others” according to the current CU smoking policy website (http://www.colorado.edu/policies/smoking.html)
So the proposed ban would reverse previous smoking policy.
“Everyone’s rights are involved and we need to respect the rights of the majority who are not smoking,” Carrigan said.
But what majority right do the outdoor smokers infringe upon? Carrigan claims the ban would protect all non-smokers from the dangers of second hand smoke. Well I don’t know about that.
No evidence stands verifying that while outdoors, a few intermittent instances of highly diluted carcinogens from the second hand cigarette smoke causes any long term health consequences.
In reality, many proponents of the ban simply see an opportunity to rid the campus of a “nasty odor” on campus.
Does this mild olfactory discomfort warrant the maltreatment and rejection of an entire minority population at CU?
In the beginning years of the Nazi German State, thousands of some of the most gifted thinkers and inventors of the times, facing increasing prosecution, left Germany in search for a more hospitable environment. Many settled here in America, where they found a society that not only accepted but also protected their personal rights as both individuals and a minority.
To sustain a vibrant and productive community at CU, we must continue our tradition of respect and protection of personal rights.
What if a brilliant prospective student chooses CSU over CU because he does not want to face persecution as a smoker at our university?
More than likely, if we establish ourselves as a community of intolerance to the smoking minority, many gifted and talented prospective students will look towards other, more tolerant, schools.
A few geniuses have been known to smoke cigarettes. Can we afford to send these prospective students away simply because they identify with a minority group by holding a different set of prerogatives than the majority of students at CU?