STAFF EDITORIALAnti-solicitation

Ryan Knaggs

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Bakersfield College is about learning, reading, writing and oh, yeah, money. BC generates money through many entities, such as the bookstore, food sales and soda machines. But why does BC allow vendors to set up shop within our hallways in orders to make money for themselves?

We’ve all seen the guys selling incense by the Fireside Room or the people selling pictures in the quad area. How do these vendors get permission to sell on the BC campus?

“We pay a $50 daily fee to Student Activities and they give us a one day parking permit,” said Eric Stanley of Cingular Wireless, who had a stand set up on campus.

This sets up a great scenario for both the vendors and Bakersfield College. Having vendors at BC gives the vendors a place to advertise and it helps the school by receiving funds that can help the students.

But do vendors pose more of a distraction on campus rather than a service?

A number of students asked about vendors at BC said they pose no problems. Sumeet Batth, ASBC president, supports the idea of vendors at BC because they make services easily available for students.

Vendors do not pose a threat as a distraction in any way. Unlike money-hungry solicitors who aggressively seek out easy prey on campus and who pressure people on a regular basis, vendors let the customer come to them. Furthermore, vendors let customers make decisions on their own terms without pressure tactics. These reasons alone prove that vendors cannot be labeled a distraction.

However, one student, Seth Winter, 20, said he found some sale merchandise offensive.

“I don’t have a problem with the vendors at BC, but I do find it offensive for them to sell things endorsing illegal activities such as the picture of Bob Marley smoking reefer marijuana cigarettes,” he said.

Winter’s statement does carry some weight. When vendors display such pictures as illegal drug use, this material is open for all to see.

So what? Here is what’s wrong with this. As any BC student can attest to, this campus is often subject to field trips by elementary school kids.

Kids tour the campus at ages as young as 6 years old. Do we want young children seeing this kind of balderdash? Do we want a bunch of kiddie bud smoking hippies running around BC?

Except for displaying offensive material in public, vendors serve a great purpose and are a great addition to BC. They give us the convenience of services at school and they allow us to take our minds off of school work and focus on the not so stressful aspects of life.

How else can you buy a dozen sticks of incense, a framed picture and sign up for a cellular phone plan all within 100 feet? Vendors are part of campus life and won’t be going away any time soon.