Mar 102011
 
Authors: Taylor Jackson

After reading Courtney Stuard’s article titled “Possible policy banning burning butts,” I was appalled at the complete disregard for the facts that Ms. Stuard demonstrated. The article was riddled with misinterpretations and information that was simply contrary to fact. As someone who grew up with a journalist for a parent, I know that the most important task as a journalist is fact-checking. Had Ms. Stuard taken the time to check her information before writing her article, she would have realized that the situation is not as she portrays it.

As the author of the resolution that Ms. Stuard attacked, I am in disbelief at the way she portrayed what ASCSU is attempting to do. She was correct in her statement that Resolution 4016 –– which is readily available to the public to review on the ASCSU website –– formed a committee to investigate the effectiveness of smoking policies at CSU. This is about where the accuracy of her accusations ends.

Back in November, a student voice survey was sent out to ask students their opinions on the current smoking policies, enforcement and possible changes on the CSU campus. After hearing complaints from a number of my constituents, I wanted to do my job as a senator and investigate further. In addition to the other questions asked in the survey, I proposed the idea of a dismount zone ban on smoking because these areas had already been deemed by the university as high-traffic, congested areas.

Ms. Stuard also brings up in her article that “just” 44 percent of students surveyed said that secondhand smoke affected their daily life on campus. As a representative of the student body, I am insulted by the implication that just because this is not a majority, it is an issue that should be ignored. Also, Ms. Stuard’s supposition that properly enforcing current smoking policies “would eliminate smoke from areas frequented by nonsmokers” is simply ridiculous. One of the biggest issues facing the enforcement of smoking policies on campus today is that while smoking is required to occur a minimum of 20 feet from any door, window, or ventilation system, all of the cigarette receptacles are located attached to buildings, typically directly adjacent to doorways.

As for the assumption that interest groups on campus, like CSUPD, will not have a chance to vote on the matter, this is simply incorrect. If Ms. Stuard had taken the time to read the legislation in its entirety, she would know that it does not once say that these people don’t get votes; in fact, Senate came to the conclusion that, while the committee does need to be a majority of students, these groups do still deserve votes on the committee.

For the benefit of the students, faculty and staff of this campus, I would like to outline exactly what the intention of the Campus Smoking Ordinance Review Committee is. Taken verbatim from the legislation, the committee’s “job will be to evaluate the current smoking ordinances on campus and determine if changes need to be made, while soliciting student input.” While we all may have our personal opinions on how the ordinances should look, the intention of this committee is to take an objective look into the policies and involve smokers and non-smokers alike to come to a diplomatic compromise. In fact, the Senate-elected chair of the committee is someone who has seen both sides, as a former smoker himself. He has indicated that he will make every effort to balance the committee and turn away no ideas. The legislation also indicates that at least five members on the committee will be non-ASCSU members, so contrary to what Ms. Stuard would have you believe, ASCSU is not trying to shove some new policy into effect without student input.

It is important that before people like Ms. Stuard jump to conclusions about everything that ASCSU is doing wrong, they take time to check their facts and recognize that ASCSU just might be trying to do what’s right for students and represent their opinions and concerns.

Taylor Jackson is a college of engineering senator.

 Posted by at 4:00 pm

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