After an absence, I had to take time out to blog once again. The impetus? A local color story by San Jose Mercury News columnist Patty Fisher published on Friday, January 16, Fisher: Student cut through the smoke.
Students returning to San Jose City College for spring classes will notice a couple of changes: cleaner air and a bunch of new “No Smoking” signs.
For those changes, they can thank fellow student Teresa Van Devere, an ex-smoker who got sick of breathing secondhand smoke and pushed the administration to ban all smoking on campus.
Fisher’s article exposes Van Devere’s motivation:
There’s no denying Van Devere is a pushy person.
“I’ve always been a fighter,” she said. “I’m very comfortable being disagreeable.”
Even if she hadn’t been born a fighter, her tough childhood would have strengthened her backbone. Homeless most of her life, in and out of foster care as a teenager, she learned that the only way to get what she needed was to demand it.
So, the premise is that just because a formerly homeless, foster-care raised woman decides she wants what she wants when she wants it, everyone else must comply? Mach snell!
Who is Teresa Van Devere to dictate to me or you how we live our lives?
When her daughter was 4 months old, Van Devere enrolled in a nursing program [emphasis mine] at San Jose City College. Unfortunately, she often found herself engulfed in clouds of smoke.
Even scarier is the idea of the future Ms. Van Devere as Nurse Ratched. San Jose City College is apparently in the business of producing pushy, autocratic nurses whose personal preferences dictate the behavior of their patients and the population in general.
So she sent letters and photos to college officials and, with encouragement from a couple of her professors, took her campaign for a smoke-free campus to the Academic Senate, the Associated Students and eventually to the district’s top brass. Finally the new policy, which goes into effect Jan. 31, was approved.
Students at San Jose City College, please remember to thank Nurse Ratched for the healthy lifestyle she has imposed upon you. Take your meds. Don’t ask questions. Don’t question your masters, the decision makers.
The campus smoking policy is not the only change Van Devere has engineered in the past three years. It all began when she got pregnant at 25. She was homeless, hadn’t finished high school and had a two-pack-a-day habit. She was determined to take charge of her life.
“First thing I did was quit smoking,” she said. “My thinking was that if I was going to keep my child, I had to live right by her and give up habits that were not beneficial to her.”
She moved into a shelter for pregnant women. Counselors there helped her complete her GED and get a driver’s license. When her daughter was 4 months old, Van Devere enrolled in a nursing program at San Jose City College. Unfortunately, she often found herself engulfed in clouds of smoke.
“Everyone would walk outside after class and light up,” she said. “I realized how much the secondhand smoke was affecting me.
What qualifies Van Devere to make your health decisions for you? According to Patty Fisher, Van Devere is qualified because she belongs to two pre-approved liberal victim groups: formerly homeless and single mother. She has lived on the street and in shelters. Therefore, she knows more about life than you, especially if you grew up in an intact home (be it apartment, house, or trailer), stayed in high school (even though you despised it), used birth control or kept your legs closed, graduated, got a job or went to college, and made a career and life for yourself. Now you, who strove to make reasonably intelligent and mature decisions about your life, are to be told how to behave by someone who herself made poor life decisions.
Professors David Yancey and Peter D’Eliscu encouraged her uphill effort to declare the entire campus smoke-free.
“She came into my political science class and was really excited about this,” Yancey told me. “I showed her the political pathway she needed to follow.”
While helping Van Devere work her way through the college bureaucracy, Yancey was impressed with the young woman’s determination and her obvious passion for advocacy.
“She’s a real fireball,” he said. “A lot of people have these ideas, but every now and then you get someone like Teresa who comes along and has the energy and the effort to pull it off.”
This is proof of how low Political Science education has sunk over the years. Political Science no longer seeks to educate students on the history and civics of the United States. Political Science no longer tries to instill in students the nation’s founders’ ideas of freedom and liberty, ideas that drove them to rebel and throw off the rule of the King’s taxes and regulations. Political Science is now focused on training liberal partisan activists, pre-programmed to attain power and force their policies on the rest of the population.