Written by: Joe Adgie
If the University System of Georgia passes the tobacco-free proposal at their next meeting, they will do it against the wishes of the majority of students at VSU, the results of an SGA survey reveals.
The results were finalized Tuesday, and a majority of students that took the survey–53 percent, to be exact, either “opposed” or “strongly opposed” the proposed ban. Forty-three percent either “supported” or “strongly supported” the ban, while 4 percent were neutral.
These results were supposed to be sent to the USG for this week’s meeting, but the meeting was cancelled due to the huge ice storm that has crippled the Atlanta area.
“It’s our job to advocate on behalf of our university to the board, which we did send our results to,” SGA President Will Jimerson said. “But ultimately, there’s a group of 10 to 12 people that could decide the fate of this in a matter of five minutes.”
Jimerson also relayed a message from USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who said if the proposal is approved, VSU would have to hire a liaison between USG and VSU to handle the tobacco ban and the punishments for violating the tobacco ban.
Jimerson also mentioned that Huckaby was asked why the ban was going along so fast and why designated smoking areas were not an option.
“His answer was designated areas do not change the quality of life, which is our aim−to make it educational for our students to stop smoking, not to give them an alternative measure to go smoke,” Jimerson said. “Take it as you would like.”
Jimerson also mentioned that the idea of a moderate phasing-in of the ban was “respectfully shot down.”
Students at VSU have not reacted well to the proposed ban, and sounded off during the survey.
“I feel as though someone is attempting to trick me,” one respondent wrote. “I am in agreement that secondhand smoke [affects] other people’s health and, as such, a ban is acceptable. However, this policy is not about that. It is about another protectionist policy that allows for those that seek to impress their opinion onto others with no justification outside of political correctness.”
“This is appalling and tyrannical,” another respondent wrote. “This is a move by control freaks to use aggressive force against people whose habits they disagree with. We should ban fried foods and soda by this reasoning. And to ban e-cigarettes is not only absurd…it is evil. People who have quit smoking are going to be punished and ostracized as well? Unbelievable.”