Thursday, November 17, 2011

ASPLU clarifies tobacco-ban involvement

By Emily Bishop, ASPLU Public Relations Officer

ASPLU would like to clarify confusion regarding the Student Senate’s role in the tobacco-use debate. Last year, students from the School of Nursing requested ASPLU’s support for a draft resolution calling for a “smoke-free campus.” Senators spent two weeks gathering feedback from students via the Internet and in person before making a decision. This feedback showed that students were generally opposed to such a ban, and as such the resolution received no sponsorship from any Senator and was effectively dead.

Instead, students voiced their concerns that Washington state laws prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of doorways and windows were not being upheld on campus. The Senate created and passed Resolution 18, requesting that the university evaluate what procedures were in place for enforcing such laws. These resolutions are available now on MyLuteLife and will soon be available via www.plu.edu/asplu.

The resolutions passed by ASPLU do not have an immediate effect on student life. Resolutions are only passed when the Senators feel the resolutions accurately represent what the student body wants and are then presented to university administrators.

ASPLU is advocating that the student body’s voice always be heard. If any student feels as though ASPLU is not doing an adequate job representing students, we ask you to email your concerns to senate@plu.edu or stop by the office to share your comments. We are not an organization that exists to make students listen to the administration. We are an organization that exists to make the administration listen to students. Without the student body, PLU would not exist, and ASPLU believes wholeheartedly in the power of the student voice.

After the ASPLU-sponsored tobacco-free forum Nov. 9, it is clear that members of the student body are upset with how this new policy was handled. In the coming weeks, ASPLU will explore why the student body was not included in this decision prior to its announcement. While ASPLU understands that policy decisions are the responsibility of senior administrators, it strongly advocates that students are included in the dialogue before decisions are decided upon.