Smoke-free UNO updates continue controversy

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Letter to the Editor

I recently received an email detailing a potential change to the University’s smoking policies. The email said that student government workers have recently brought forth a proposal to set up a planning committee to eliminate smoking from the University. There are several reasons why this should not happen.

Universities are places where people become students to learn. It is different from a trade school or community college in the sense that learning is intuitive, meaning that it allows students to reflect critically upon the world and their place in it and comprehension of it. Students learn more than just a trade—they learn how to be members of their world and learn how to become themselves.

This university is no exception to this application of learning, and many bright, well-rounded minds are developed through its educational process. Student bodies of government, then, should be concerned with how to make this place a better learning environment for everyone.

Smoking has nothing to do with learning. People who smoke do not perform the act of learning better or worse based on their smoking habits, and those that do not smoke do not learn in a more complete fashion because of their decision not to smoke. Unless student reports centered on scientific studies concerned with testing learning abilities related to smoking, there is no connection between smoking and the purpose this university serves.

If this institution supports a ban on smoking on these grounds, one has serious reasons to question their motivation for putting students first. Irrespective of personal smoking habits, the university’s main function is to allow students to learn in the best way possible. Ifa student body concerns itself with something irrelevant to learning, they are using precious time and resources that could be allocated in a much more focused and purposeful way.
Unless it can be shown that smoking interferes directly with learning,then the proposal is groundless.
Ethan Ray, UNO student

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