Letters to the Editor

Burden of making a case for war falls on Bush’s shoulders

Wednesday’s guest column both confuses and misses the point. The question is not, “Should the United States go to war with Iraq?” but rather, “Do we support President Bush’s plans for war against Iraq?”

Making war — sending soldiers to kill and die — always must be the last option a government considers, and the burden of justification must rest entirely with those who will be administering it.

President Bush has made an argument for war to the world community. If that argument is found to be faulty — a lie or a sham — then the default must be peace. The stance that Bush’s war is good for Seeskin’s reasons frees the President of his fundamental responsibility as commander in chief and demonstrates a terrifying moral immaturity on the part of the writer.

Seeskin, you say you don’t support our President. Then how could you dare let him send American men our age to die?

Adam Smith

Weinberg senior

Allowing smoking in rooms is also good for nonsmokers

I am writing in response to Laura Zellman’s Thursday letter. I am a nonsmoker and a strong advocate against public smoking. But not only do I live in Lindgren Residential College of Science and Engineering, the one and only dorm to allow smoking in rooms, but also I proudly voted in favor of allowing smoking.

The current policy says if the residents of a dorm vote to allow smoking, then a person may smoke in his or her room with the door closed if his or her roommate agrees to it.

Not allowing smoking in rooms will not convince people to quit smoking. Instead, if the smokers cannot smoke in their rooms in private, they will smoke outside in public. When they are in their rooms, I can avoid them and their smoke. When they are right next to the entrance to the dorm, I cannot. Allowing smokers to smoke in their room not only protects their right to smoke, it helps the nonsmokers avoid the smoke. Everybody wins.

In regards to the statement that the policy is unfair to nonsmokers, remember that the new policy gives the residents the ability to vote. Previous years, this vote did not occur; smokers could smoke as long as their roommate agreed, and their door was closed. The new policy, if anything, is unfair to smokers, who should have the right to smoke in the privacy of their own rooms.

Christopher W. Morse

Weinberg sophomore

New policy on smoking is a step in the right direction

The smoking policy in the residence halls may be unfair to nonsmoking students. As a nonsmoker, I understand that students with physiological or psychological aversions to smoking may be forced into a situation where they are in a smoking environment.

But the new policy was designed as a reaction to the previously existing policy. In the past, there was only one smoke-free residence hall on campus, the Healthy Living Unit, and all others were by default smoking halls. Student government could hold a referenda to have that status changed but, by default, students were allowed to smoke in the rooms.

I’m not sure how the change could possibly be regarded as negative. Last year the Housing Committee — and it is indeed a Housing Committee policy, not a Residence Hall Association policy as stated in the article — examined the status quo and found it inappropriate. All residence halls are now nonsmoking by default, and must have a majority vote to change that status — which is clearly a step toward better health among students.

Regardless of a student’s stance on smoking, being forced into an uncomfortable living situation is unfortunate. But it is the feeling of RHA that this policy is a step in the right direction. Rather than discriminate on the side of practices of questionable health, we now place the burden of executing such practices on the halls and the residents within.

Matthew Turk

Weinberg senior

president, Residence Hall Association