There was more to the smoking story

Jason Stratton, Associate Professor


I always appreciate the overall quality of the articles in The Renegade Rip. From having taught at multiple colleges, I can see the professionalism that is being developed with your paper.

I read the most recent edition with my normal interest and read one article that seemed to have missed an important component, whether by intent or accident. Specifically, I am referring to the article “Then there were two: BC’s smoking options narrow.”

Overall, I thought the article was well done. The one aspect that seemed to be missing, or understated, dealt with the decision-making process of narrowing the election. The article does identify that the last time there was a three-way ballot, and no specific option received a majority of votes cast. Then the article ends with “why”, “where was the choice to leave it alone?”

The answer is that this most recent election was a run-off of the top two vote earning options from the last election. This issue took a lot of discussion and debate before the re-vote was had.

SGA originally was poised to declare victory for no-smoking from last year’s vote, despite that fact that it had not received a majority of the votes cast. Instead, it had received a plurality.

Concerns about the democratic principle led SGA to decide that a re-vote on the two top options would be more fair to the electorates expressed desires from the last election than would be earned by accepting the plurality winning [but non-majority] vote for non-smoking. Unfortunately your article didn’t seem to recognize this ‘run-off’ aspect, or give credit to SGA for providing the public with a final choice to decide the outcome in a clear fashion.

I give them credit for not claiming a plurality was a majority, and ignoring the will expressed last time. And this recent election had around 5,000 votes cast, instead of the last elections total of less than 900 who actually voted on the smoking issue. Thus, this vote is more representative of the will of the campus than last time.

I appreciate the staffs’ contributions, but wanted to provide this viewpoint for you to consider.

SGA took a difficult decision to try to be transparent and gain a clean decision that reflects the will of the masses.

When you end your article on “where was the choice to leave it alone,” it gives the impression that the will of 81% of the last election [who voted for some form of change] should be ignored this time around, so that 19% can prevent the masses from engaging in a change they believe in.

In an election, someone always loses. The question that should be asked is whether it was fair. As a “run-off” ballot vote this January, I believe the process was fair. I just wanted your staff to consider these points. I could write four more pages to describe the process in detail, but won’t. However, I would be happy to explain if desired at a later time.

Thank you again for your diligent work and the quality of your paper.


Jason Stratton

Associate Professor

Social Science