By David deHaas
The beginning of this fall’s semester has been tainted with an injustice. As human beings, we endure life, it is a complicated and fascinating experience, yet we have no real choice in the matter. We strive for happiness, but our existence is all there is, regardless of an individual’s happiness one still must endure. An infringement on life is not only atrocious, but artificial and meaningless; for in the words of Jean Paul Sartre, “We are condemned to be free.”
It has been announced through e-mail that a policy restricting tobacco use is in effect. There are currently four designated areas on campus where students and faculty are allowed to smoke.
The intent behind this policy is to provide a healthier environment for students, but how effective will this policy be towards achieving such honorable goals? Will the students directly benefit from such restrictions? The air quality on campus will certainly improve, resulting in a fresher experience while walking to and from classes. But what is the extent of this improvement? I am no scientist, but a quick venture into the realm of reason leads me to conclude that, due to the vastness of the outdoors, an absence of burning tobacco will only result in a small impact to air quality, only those with a keen sense of smell will be able to notice a difference.
Another hefty issue is the displeasure associated with tobacco use. First one must ask themselves, how common were such unpleasant encounters to begin with? A tobacco-smoking friend would naturally respect the wishes of a health-conscious individual — walking by tobacco smokers might cause displeasure, but only for a few moments.
A smoker is no less a human being then someone who does not smoke; the issue, it seems, is that non-smokers are bothered by the act of smoking. This constant worrying for one’s health can result in obscure thinking, distracting one from their goals and dreams. To worry about smokers and their potential impact on the health of the people around them is a far worse deficiency then smoking itself. One must keep their thoughts within the rational realm, or fall victim to the obscurity of pettiness. A certain level of acceptance between both parties must be obliged.
Tobacco is neither a good nor bad thing. It is merely a plant that the human race has historically used for recreational purposes. It is not an activity that will unravel the fabric of our university, or provide substantive distractions to students. The issue is simply insignificant, one masquerading its own tyranny.
The stigma our society has against tobacco use is caused by heavy-weight tobacco industries. If the nature of the industry was not so grotesque, if useless chemicals and additives were not included in a majority of tobacco products, the map-receptivity would not be as amplified as it is.
The issue is not one of smoking, but of freedom. Regardless of what anyone has to say about tobacco use, it is never proper course to force particular behaviors upon a population. The noblest intentions could be at the heart of such tyranny, but in order to achieve authentic harmony, the people must reach these conclusions naturally. They must cohere within the bounds of proper conduct and respect, and instead of being forced to behave in such a way, it should be the result of such freedom.
Constraints, even trivial, are dangerous endeavors. To show complete compliance supports the notion to our administrators that their reach of influence has no bounds. What will they do next? Imagine the restriction of all outside food on campus; would you comply with such a silly idea? Enforcing this current change seems to be a rigorous task; imagine the extra funding needed to compel our campus police to go out of their way to find these smoking delinquents. The purpose of law enforcement is to protect the people, but now they have an added responsibility — that of harassment.
Another issue to contemplate is of the student body, the patrons of this institution. Without the presence and tuition of the student body, there is no institution; the people are products of the functionality of the university. Treating intelligent adults in this way is beyond my scope of thinking, it’s so incomprehensible the only action I find suitable is to smoke even more tobacco then I am accustomed to, and smoking in one of the four designated areas is not the only option. Regardless of consequences, I still have the freedom to make decisions, and nothing can change that.
Fundamentally, our sense of self is synonymous with freedom. There is nothing that will change this. A fascist government’s incarceration, even death does not change the nature of our being. In order for civilization to actualize it must be done naturally, we should look at the chaos throughout our history in order to rationalize this way of thinking.
I now open the discussion to the students and faculty of CCSU. In order to understand the nature of these issues, we must partake in active dialogue with each other. I encourage everyone to question my thoughts and to give counter arguments to my reasoning. This does not mean that any of us should ever attack each other as human beings; we must only attack ideas. Chivalry is key. Arguments are not only meant to be civil, but there occurrence is entirely natural. Despite these wonders, passion tends to overwhelm reasoning, but the cure for such brutal thinking is simple enough.
Conflict is the result of misunderstandings, and I feel that the people can find solutions through their own wills by discussion — as a result, these regulations will be seen as unnecessary and a waste of efforts that could have gone towards more useful ventures.