Editorial - Speak up on important campus issues
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 00:06
Beginning July 2013, West Virginia University will be a tobacco-free campus. With this new policy, WVU will be joining hundreds of its peer institutions across the country that already have similar policies in place seeking to create a healthier environment for students.
Although this change is good for the health of WVU students and faculty, many are concerned that it infringes upon the freedoms of tobacco users.
Critics argue that individuals should have the freedom to make unhealthy decisions regarding their own lives, as long as they aren’t harming anyone else.
For this reason, many are upset the new ban goes beyond banning smoking and includes a prohibition on smokeless tobacco.
Students who are upset by this new regulation should have made an effort to speak up sooner. There have been multiple forums on the topic of a campuswide smoking ban, most of which had very low turnouts.
It wasn’t until after the ban passed that many students began voicing their opinions on it. Obviously, at this point in the process, it is too late.
The reality is, the new policy was instituted because a vocal group of students raised awareness about the harmful nature of tobacco and second-hand smoke and they ultimately were able to win over a majority of people to agree with them.
However, most of the students who disagreed with the policy were quiet about the issue and did not show concern.
The forums held on campus regarding this issue lacked adequate participation and produced little information for those creating the policy. This highlights the need for students to be more proactive in shaping decisions made for the WVU community.
While the ban has already passed and will go into effect next year, let this serve as a lesson to the student body. If you want your voice heard on a particular issue, take advantage of the opportunities to speak up when they arise. If you don’t and you disagree with policies that are ultimately adopted, you have no right to complain.