February 27, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Students shouldn’t give up their right to use tobacco on campus

Print More

To the Editor:

Listen up Cornell students… did you hear that whooshing sound?  It was the sound of another one of your fundamental rights being flushed down the toilet. That’s right, the bureaucratic, administrative state known as Cornell is considering banning tobacco, if a campus-wide referendum passes. There are so many problems with the idea of banning tobacco, but, don’t be fooled, this is an issue that’s much bigger than tobacco.  I believe that our “deep state” (consciously or unconsciously) is using tobacco as a front to control more of our lives. Today it’s tobacco and tomorrow it’s a woman’s “right to choose” or access to contraceptives.  Today we are governed by the liberal elite but tomorrow it could be different.  It’s very, very important that we unite against this so-called ban; our individual liberties are stake.

I don’t use tobacco. I don’t Juul, I don’t smoke cigarettes or cigars and I don’t chew tobacco. I understand the health risks, and I choose not to do it. With that in mind, I found it interesting to read the letter to the editor from Henry Garrison of District 3 from the City of Ithaca and I found his argument regarding the development of the mind, particularly before the age of 25, especially fascinating.  It is true that tobacco and nicotine have negative effects on the minds of young people, but why stop there? Drinks with too much sugar can negatively affect young minds and can be addictive so we should ban those too.

Similarly, foods with pesticides can have negative impacts on young minds as well, so they shouldn’t be allowed on campus. And if our minds are not fully developed, we should not be able to consent to sex, so sex should be banned on campus. And the rates for car accidents are higher for people under 25 years of age, so anyone under 25 should not be allowed to drive on campus. While we’re at it, let’s ban all books and movies that reference tobacco, because that could negatively impact our underdeveloped minds.

I want a safe campus, where students are protected from anything bad, so we should make the decision to keep bad things away from students, right? But I don’t think we should stop with students, because I don’t want more negative influences getting in the way of our underdeveloped minds. I don’t want any professors who use drugs to be teaching at this school, so we should drug test all professors to make sure their drug-infested opinions aren’t negatively affecting the precious minds of the young people on this campus. I just want this community to be as safe as possible.

And another thing, how is this ban going to be administered?  Are the campus police going to go door-to-door arresting folks or giving us tickets? (I’m still waiting for the campus police to figure out who threw a brick through a window in my house.)  Is the judicial board going to have more hearings putting marks on students’ records for code violations? (How is the prelaw student going to explain to the dean of admissions of the Cornell Law School that he or she was fined for doing something that’s perfectly legal in this country?)  I can’t wait to see how the University’s general counsel will codify the ban with pages and pages of  regulations that will trip us up with legal jargon.  Blah, blah, blah, blah….

Listen folks: apathy is the main weapon of the autocratic state.  Cornell students, let’s not be apathetic.  Let’s send a message to the community that our rights are important. So-called “bans” are the enemy of our individual right to choose.  Vote “no” on a ban and vote “yes” for individual liberty.

Xander Furman ’19

College of Arts and Sciences