by Suanna Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
Entering the fall quarter, patrons and students of CSUSB are to maintain a smoke-free campus.
The new imposition of the campus smoking policies not only provokes awareness to a healthy lifestyle but also to the privilege of individual rights as patrons of the campus.
The honest issue at hand is not based on an ethical opinion of smoking, but fundamentally on an individual’s right to be given the opportunity to voice an opinion and make personal lifestyle choices.
The change in campus policy was posted as an online announcement early this fall explaining that the new policy is intended to promote a “pleasant environment for our entire campus community, so people can learn and work in a healthy environment free from second-hand smoke.”
Cigarettes are medically proven to be harmful to the health of both the user and people in contact with its smoke.
Smoking is also known to significantly increase the risk of cancer and other life threatening diseases.
However, upon entering a campus with no knowledge of change in conduct expectations beyond a sudden announcement, no opportunity to provide individual input, and no room to proactively challenge the behavioral adaptation, it becomes a matter of regulation of individual rights.
The new conduct expectation of students, faculty and patrons of the CSUSB campus was not implemented by a democratic vote of the student body or faculty.
The lifestyle being promoted by the designated smoking areas is aimed at prioritizing campus health.
Though this subtle regulation is based off a health ideology and may be well intentioned, not every individual may agree with it.
Students and faculty on a public campus are entitled to express individual viewpoints on issues that directly affect patrons and the conduct expected of them.
An opportunity to participate in a democratic vote on student issues is not an option, but a highly regarded right.
The opportunity for students to speak on issues through a democratic vote gives motivation for discussion, raises awareness of student and campus issues, and gives an opportunity for them to take proactive measures instead of reactive ones.
It’s safe to say that the general public at least understands the effects of smoking – especially an educated body of college students.
CSUSB’s assumption that a general approval of a personal healthy lifestyle is present among the student body doesn’t take place of knowing. Through democratic vote students are entitled to make that approval or disapproval known.