One of the major changes to Bemidji State University within the last year has been the ban on tobacco use, initiated by the student senate. Since it started, the university has done a great deal to promote the effort. “No smoking” signs were set up, informational posters were displayed and outdoor cigarette bins were removed. One member of the senate, however, has chosen to ignore the ban and smoke on campus anyway.
It is important to remember that the ban affects the whole campus and all who enter it, not just students. Therefore, faculty and staff members are also obliged to walk to a different location if they choose to smoke.
This is not to say that banning tobacco use on campus was either the right or wrong decision. It is to say, however, that if the student senate is going to create laws that affect the entire campus population, it should be the first one to step up and take those laws seriously.
According to its website, the senate is the “voice of the students,” meaning it represents the entire student body. Having hypocritical representatives not only portrays a negative image for BSU, it also weakens the rest of the students’ trust in their leadership.
It even has ramifications beyond this campus. Although the student senate may not have a reach farther than the boundaries of BSU, today’s college students will become the future leaders in society. This is especially important to remember in the midst of an election year.
If our leaders are going to make rules, they need to commit to them and follow them. If they do not do that in college, they do not deserve the opportunity to be in leadership after graduation.