Words at War 09.07.11

I don’t smoke, but I do stand up for rights

College campuses are littered with students, citizens of the community, visitors, and faculty members, all people with their own right to decide to smoke or not.

But more and more universities across the country have decided people don’t have the privilege to light up a cigarette or tobacco product on their campus.

I understand a private institution may establish such a rule. It is their private property that they can dictate as they please. Public universities and colleges do not own the same justification.

Public universities cannot dictate public property and expect to still receive government funding. Once a public university decides what its visitors, faculty, and students can do on the free to walk public property, the institution should be considered a private company who forfeits all government benefits and government affiliation.

Universities should not have sovereignty over students’ personal habits because universities do not represent students. A university’s range of responsibilities should not include whether it is their decision if adults should engage in smoking or not.

Smoking bans are ludicrous ventures that only answer the whimpers of the already over privileged. If someone wants to do something, regardless of a ban, they will continue to do it. A smoking ban simply facilitates disrespect for authority.

Imagine every college campus instantly becoming a dry-campus overnight. Talk about one hell of a farcical idea that would cause community uproar. The same principles are broken when a smoking ban is put in place.

A smoking ban at Ferris State would be costly. The only way Ferris could cover a smoking ban would be an increase in tuition. A smoking ban would only push away current and prospective students, costing Ferris much more than allowing people to smoke on campus.

Students already struggle to pay their tuition, there’s no reason we should cry about smoking so we can pay more for an illusion of a cleaner campus and healthier students. Drinking causes more damage than smoking, and plenty of us here binge drink. The exhaust from idle vehicles and every car or truck that drives on campus is deadlier to a bystander than a cigarette.

Policing the ban would be damn near impossible and an absurd idea in itself.

People reserve the right to ask a smoker to put their cigarette out just as much as a smoker reserves the right to light up a cigarette.

So if you have a problem with tobacco smoke, instead of supporting an abolishment of human rights, politely ask the smoker who’s disrupting your space to just put it out. n