Editors, the Gauntlet,
RE: Is it the SU's responsibility to support your habit?, SLC View, 01.13.2000
You've all heard the plan to close the Black Lounge, it was in the Gauntlet last week and for most of you it's not news. The Student's Union defends their decision, and bases it on the lack of money available, and that some students don't care about it. Each student pays SU fees; therefore they say that it is unfair for the non-smokers to pay for a smoking lounge. Do we not, as students, all pay for things that we don't use? We are all forced to pay a campus recreation fee, but do we all use the Campus Rec? No. Some will say that we have the opportunity to use it, but then, don't the non-smokers also have the opportunity to use our smoking lounge? Yes. It is apparent that there is definitely a bias towards athletics and an opposition towards smoking.
I don't think many people noticed the du Marier ad on page 14 of last week's Gauntlet. On the back of that page was the SLC's defense against the Black Lounge closure. How ironic is that? Telling university students they can't smoke indoors, then having a cigarette sponsored ad on the next page which they received money from. (See Ed. note.)
If the true issue is lack of funding for an indoor smoking room, why not try to get a cigarette company to sponsor such a place? If du Maurier can print an ad in our newspaper, why can't they help all their smokers be comfortable? Pepsi gave money to our school for their pop machines to be here, is it too much to ask for a similar deal with a cigarette company?
I am not sure if everyone realizes that people do productive things in the Black Lounge. People are always studying, relaxing from the pressure of tough classes, and even taking the occasional nap. This is the last place for students to smoke while they study indoors. I think we should all take it into our own hands to help these people preserve what is left. After all, if everyone helps just a little, writes a letter, convinces others, anything, then perhaps we can feel the joy of saving someone's resting place, even if it is not your own.
(Ed. note: The Gauntlet is a completely autonomous organization. The U of C SU does not have control over, or profit from, the advertising within.)