By George Verity
SELDEN- The Student Government Association failed to convey any plan of action on new initiatives at a meeting held at the Mildred Room in the Babylon Student Center on Thursday, Feb 22.
Elected SGA leaders, from 3:30 pm to 5 pm, proposed new initiatives in respect to a failing budget, senator applications, lap tops offered on campus through the library and most controversially a smoke-free campus initiative. To combat these proposals, in front of an audience of 13 students, statements were offered with little research; ending each claim with its just a thought and more research needs to be done.
Statements regarding the smoke-free campus initiative, supported the idea of strictly enforcing the 50-foot-rule; which states no individual can smoke within 50 feet of a building on campus. Possible designated smoking areas were mentioned as well which could lead to the overall goal of having a smoke-free campus.
“Currently this is just a thought brought up by some members of SGA. We still need to do more research and planning,” said Arthur Yeung, an elected senator leading the project. “We cannot give you anything right now.”
With no proper committee formed to head the project, the SGA has teased its student governing. Student leaders and student senators failed to express how the project would commence and who would actively aid the project. In addition to the project’s unclear future, the SGA failed to reveal any projected short term or long term goals.
As a governance body, this organization must represent the constitutional bylaw stating: student body and should promote democracy by supporting the goals and objectives identified by the student body. It is stated that the SGA will serve to define, defend, and protect all student rights, responsibilities, freedoms, and the general welfare of the Ammerman Campus students. In such cases aforementioned, little has been planned to take action. On the surface the SGA appears to be carrying out its duties.
Suffolk County’s population, according to the Suffolk County Census Bureau, has increased by 9.2 percent within the last 10 years. The population of individuals under 18 years of age in Suffolk County, increased by 18.2 percent over that same period of time. At the end of the day more traffic exists in Suffolk County; leading to more individuals attending Colleges locally.
In a study completed by Stony Brook University in 2001, a survey revealed that prevalence of smoking in Suffolk County is 20.8 percent and prevalence of smoking in regards to college students is 25.4 percent.
In response, other four-year universities and two-year community colleges have at least made up their mind whether or not to take action in respect to the smoke-free campus imitative. According to the American Nonsmokers Right Foundation, 466 U.S. Colleges are 100 percent smoke-free. Other institutions have some exceptions to the smoke-free campus initiative and are not entirely smoke-free but have certain policies that compromise for both non-smokers and smokers by setting aside areas, boundaries and regulations on where one can or cannot smoke on campus.
The SGA at Ammerman campus has failed to take action where other colleges have. They are only entertaining the thought of action and not carrying out their duties to represent what the majority of the student body wants; avoiding a divide in controversy and debate amongst smokers and non-smokers.
Since this growing topic affects all students on campus, the SGA duty is to addressed these concerns made by the general public but in actuality they have done little to oblige.