Student is concerned with recent Residence Services’ decisions

Dear Editor:

I am deeply concerned with decisions that have been made in the Residence Services department. I believe the department is infringing upon students’ rights in an effort to appease a few. Most notably, since coming back to Kent this semester, six security guards have been fired. Their actions, which consisted of homosexual activity, caused the security department to fire them with a lame excuse. Had those involved been “making out” with members of the opposite sex — even topless — would the same thing have happened? While the actions these students took may seem to be “out of control,” it is certainly not worth jeopardizing the security of the students on campus. Had these employees been caught doing something truly reckless — fighting, doing drugs or vandalizing property — I would understand the department’s position. However, these students were acting in a way that was appropriate for their lifestyle — and they do not deserve to be fired for that.

I am also deeply disturbed that the department found it necessary to restrict smoking on campus outside of the residence halls. I’m not going to bring poll statistics into account here — it’s ridiculous when people do because their samples of the population are certainly not representative of the whole. While I’m sure this is a fruitless endeavor on my part, I feel an ethical responsibility to voice my concern that the restriction is unfounded, unwarranted and completely unfair. Smoking is a legal right, a social activity and a personal decision that students have. Second-hand smoke may be an issue, but there are other ways to address this beyond scaling back the civil liberties of the students.

Had I not had the opportunity to socialize outside of Wright Hall on the now infamous picnic tables, I would not have half the friends I currently have — friends that I never met through any daft social event that the department has planned. Also, don’t they see how restricting all smokers to a given area is potentially dangerous? Sometimes people smoke in separate areas because there are personal issues with other students that need not be brought up during a cigarette break. I’m sure they are certainly aware of the occasional violence that takes place on weekends at night at Tri-Towers. Is it a good idea to force residents together who perhaps have a problem with each other and could react violently?

I’m sure the department had some reasons for the actions it took. I’m sure it considered many alternatives before making its decisions, such as addressing its concerns with the security guards personally or supplying staff affected by second-hand smoke with an air-conditioner so their windows wouldn’t let as much smoke in. Not to mention, I’m sure it also addressed the fact that it is currently winter, and that anyone with his or her window open for a long enough period of time to be personally damaged by second-hand smoke should have his or her furnace checked out. I’m sure it took every possible scenario into consideration before it placed restrictions on smokers and fired six security guards — who, if unionized, could have questioned why they were fired for activity that seems totally unrelated to their position. I’m sure the department acted based on the recommendations of Kent Interhall Council — which effectively represents probably about 10 percent or less of all students living on campus.

This is college. Perhaps they don’t realize some students are smart enough to realize organizations like this are simply a puppet created to appease the simple-minded who fail to see the strings the Residence Services department controls.

Greg Cieslik

Junior computer information systems major