EDITORIAL: SA?s anti-smoking crusade assaults the individual


Issue: The Students’ Association passed a resolution Nov. 29 that will put a campus-wide smoking ban up for a student vote.

The right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins, and the Students’ Association just punched students’ rights directly in the face.

SA passed a resolution that states they will put a campus-wide smoking ban up for a student and employee vote. If this policy is implemented by the SDSU administration 8212; where the final decision ultimately rests 8212; then smoking would not be allowed anywhere at SDSU, inside or out. The current policy states that smokers must light-up at least 20 feet from a building’s entrance.

The resolution cites a few reasons for such a ban. One of them is second-hand smoke. It’s hard to imagine this is actually a problem, unless one is within a few feet of a smoker. Even so, in a wide-open space, we are capable of moving away from a smoker.

Another faulty reason for the ban is the current 20-foot rule not being enforced. If this is an issue, why not propose legislation beefing up enforcement or harsher fines for those who break the policy? If the policy is enforced, or perhaps even broadened to a larger perimeter, second-hand smoke exposure would be perfectly avoidable.

The reason these incredibly flawed arguments don’t hold up is because they are not the real reason behind a campus-wide smoking ban. The real reason for the ban is control 8212; control over your personal choices and your body.

Sen. Hassan Ali, who sponsored this ghastly piece of legislation, freely admits in our front-page story the resolution’s real purpose.

“The whole end goal is to get students to quit smoking,” Ali said. “Right now it’s convenient to smoke. If that was taken away people are more likely to quit, which will benefit their health in the long run.”

No one argues that smoking isn’t unhealthy, but so are a myriad of other personal choices that people make every day. SA believes they should make these choices for you 8212; that they know better than you.

More than 3,000 students are required to live on campus. This is their home, and this ban would deny them the right to smoke in their backyard.

Ali’s argument is that SA isn’t making this decision and that it’s ultimately up for a campus-wide vote.

Ali also said, “We knew it (the campus-wide smoking ban) was going to pass if it was left to the students to votes on.”

Ali and the rest of the senators who voted for this have apparently never heard of the tyranny of the majority. What happens when a majority is allowed an up or down vote on granting rights to a majority? It’s not hard to guess, and one need look no further than California’s 2008 Proposition 8. The failed ballot proposition would have allowed same-sex marriages in the state and is a clear of example of the majority denying personal rights to a minority.

Just because something is put to a democratic, majority rule vote does not make it good. Individual rights should never be subjected to a public vote because the choices of the individual are not a public concern.

Electing representatives is one way to avoid such mob discrimination, and SA was elected to represent the students 8212; all students, including minority voices.

Unfortunately, rather than defending the minority, SA is actively working against a group of individuals who are not harming anyone else.

Don’t let them get away with it.

The ultimate goal of this resolution is to legislate and regulate personal choices. It is an insult to students’ intellect and dignity, and the principle of the matter is offensive.

Stance: SA senators who voted for this resolution, who do you think you are? SA is elected to represent all students’ interests, not throw students’ personal decisions to a simple majority vote.