Letter to the editor

IUS Horizon

Dear HORIZON editor,

A recent issue of your publication had a letter in which a student complained about a section of the campus smoking policy that would punish all members of a campus organization if any member of that group violated the policy.

This recalls that practice that I endured more than 50 years ago during my years as a Marine.

This is group- or unit-punishment. In my experience, it worked well.   

Any individual who got his squad in trouble would find himself subject to all kinds of sanctions by his fellow Marines. 

On occasion, this could be extremely painful to the miscreant.

Now that there are shower facilities in the residence lodges, steel wool and wire brushes could be made available for corrective showers to be administered to group deviants.

If the policy is implemented at IUS, it should provide many opportunities for nursing majors to practice their healing skills.  

Although I have never smoked cigarettes, this anticipated policy strikes me as inappropriate for an institution of higher education.

If one were to consider a ban on behavior that may jeopardize educational processes, the cell phone would be a better target.

I expect there are few faculty who have not a class session disrupted by a cell phone ringing.

One cannot traverse the campus without having thought or conversation disrupted by someone talking on a cell phone.

Recently, the local media reported that IU Southeast intends to enact a policy by which anyone found smoking on campus would be initially warned and then fined.

Perhaps this is a portent of even wider sanctions on student behavior.

For example, a university in Pennsylvania has denied the opportunity to participate in commencement ceremonies for graduates that have not met campus standards for body weight.  

All and all, this trend of controlling student lives recalls a commentary on the Third Reich, which I paraphrase here:
“They came for the cigarette smokers, and I did nothing.

They came for the cigar smokers, and I did nothing.

They came for the pipe smokers, and I did nothing.

They came for the weight-challenged, and I did nothing.

They came for those that drank coffee in class and I did nothing,

They came for the cell phone users and I did nothing.

Ultimately, they came for the short old retired faculty guys.

Then it was too late for me to do anything.”

With apologies to the late Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

Thomas P. Wolf,
emeritus professor of political science