For the fifth or tenth or maybe even twentieth year in a row, hundreds of students gathered on Foss Hill at 4:20 on April 20 to submerge the Middletown skyline in a sea of smoke as potent as any since the Grateful Dead serenaded Foss in 1970. Only this time Dean Rick Culliton gave the practice a name. He called it “protesting existing marijuana laws.” Did you have a civically engaged weekend?
Leave it to students to give it a hashtag:
Once again, the weather was quite a bit friendlier to 4/20 than it’s been to Spring Fling in recent years, and members of Public Safety harshed some students’ mellow by tramping around with video cameras and stamping out joints left and right.
Have strong opinions on the tobacco resolution? Get ready to get polled.
Smokers, rejoice: Judgment Day hath been delayed. After much ado, ballyhoo, and brouhaha over a proposed resolution to ban the sale of tobacco on University-owned properties (read: Neon), the Wesleyan Student Assembly decided on Sunday night to table the
sequester cuts vote until polling the student body. No, this doesn’t mean the resolution is going away for good. It does mean that it’s postponed.
“We tabled the vote in order to poll the student body and engage more with the owners of Neon Deli,” explained Student Affairs Committee Chair Nicole Updegrove ’14, who first proposed the resolution, via email. “Many of us, myself included, weren’t willing to vote without more opinions from the student body.”
The proposal quickly sparked some loud, impassioned, and occasionally bizarre arguments in the Wesleying comments section (my favorite one notes that “addiction is the gift that keeps on giving—if we start selling cigarettes at Weshop, Pi, and Usdan, it’ll be a big help to the University’s endowment”), and Updegrove has been quick to respond to some of the angrier voices.
“This proposal has me questioning what it really means to attend a university committed to diversity.”
T-minus one hour until the WSA commences its discussion of a proposed ban on the sale of tobacco products on University-owned property. As promised, here’s a counterpoint opinion against the proposed resolution courtesy of Charlie Smith ’15, founder of Wes Students for a Free Society:
Tonight the WSA will vote on a potential ban on the sale of tobacco products by Wesleyan tenants. In other words, the WSA will vote as to whether or not you should be able to buy cigarettes from Neon Deli.
This proposal has me confused. It has me questioning what it really means to attend a university committed to diversity. I would think that “Diversity University” entails the celebration or at least the acceptance of any lifestyles that students may have as long as they do not hurt others. Whether we agree with their choices or not, we cherish their right to make them and accept that what is right for one may not be for another. Many of us hope to see our commitment to diversity embodied in our classes, in our clubs, and, yes, in our stores.
“The document is about aligning the commercial decisions of the University with the values it espouses.”
Well, should they? That’s the subject of a WSA General Assembly meeting tonight in Usdan 108, where President Roth ’78 will make a not-so-surprise appearance and is willing “to talk about anything you want.” (Including Hegel.) (And Freud.) The meeting is at 7 p.m., and maybe I’ll see you there, because it just occurred to me I’ve never been to a WSA meeting before in my life.
According to the Argus, the WSA’s Student Affairs Committee recently proposed to ban the sale of tobacco products on all University-owned properties, a category that most notably includes popular cigarette supplier Neon Deli. In fact it was committee chair Nicole Updegrove ’14, not the committee itself, who proposed the resolution (update: The Argus has amended their article to reflect this distinction), and in a brief email interview with Wesleying, Updegrove defends her controversial resolution against opponents.
Have opinions of your own about the resolution? Good. Consider going to the meeting tonight, where the Assembly will be asembling in a most assembly-like fashion. We’ll highlight a counterpoint from a student against the proposal later today. Here’s our interview with Updegrove:
More news from neighbor schools, and this isn’t quite as festive: Yale has formed an administrative committee, the “Tobacco Free Yale Workplace,” in order to weigh the pros and cons of making the campus officially smoke-free. The TFYW, which includes students in addition to faculty, staff, and health officials, plans to gauge how prevalent smoking is on campus and how apocalyptic feasible the proposed ban would be. (Major issue number one: Yale’s campus, like Wesleyan’s, is significantly physically integrated with its city, New Haven; what becomes of smoke-happy New Haven residents who traverse the campus everyday?)
Yale would not, of course, be the first to go all out. “According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation,” the Yale Daily News writes, “at least 466 colleges and universities nationwide have entirely smoke-free campuses as of January 2011.” The University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis are included on this list. Wesleyan is not. Thankfully, I guess, our prospective students seem to have different smoke-related concerns . . .
In case you somehow missed it, smoking is banned within 25 feet of all campus buildings as of last week – a change spearheaded by the Human Resources department. This expands on the already existing policy banning smoking inside all buildings and within 25 feet of all student housing.
The Argus clarified what this actually means:
It appears, however, that the policy will not be strictly enforced by Campus Public Safety (PSafe). Dave Meyer, Director of Public Safety, stated that he did not see the enforcement of the new anti-smoking policy as a priority for Psafe.
“It’s a regulation that PSafe won’t really enforce,” Meyer said. “I don’t see PSafe as the main enforcer. That will be peers, supervisors, Res Life, and RAs.”
So not too much is different. If you want a quick smoke outside Olin, you probably won’t be bothered by much more than the looks you’re already used to. Maybe be prepared for scolding by vigilant members of the community if you’re a repeat offender.
Argus: Waiting to Inhale