Residence Services should butt out

Editorial Board

Our View

Smokers, the current lepers of society, need to take their smoking elsewhere.

Apparently, sending smokers outside like dogs isn’t good enough. Residence Services is now designating specific doors that smokers can smoke near. After a six-week grace period, if smokers don’t abide by the new rule, they face punishment.

People need to just butt out of a person’s right to smoke.

Students were originally permitted to smoke in residence halls and classrooms where professors regularly lit up while teaching. But the specter of secondhand smoke eventually restricted the dirty deed to outside classrooms and to specific residence halls.

Yes, it has consistently been found that secondhand smoke causes a whole host of health problems, but there is a limit to the restrictions we can place on smokers to avoid the fumes. Herding smokers up like cattle and penalizing them when they smoke in the wrong outside location isn’t right.

It will be interesting to see what kind of punishment Residence Services administers. According to an article in last fall’s Stater, Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services, said, “Security aides and resident assistants are to address this policy violation as any other rule.”

It’s difficult to imagine anyone enforcing such a strict and pointless rule, handing blue and white slips out to the rebels choosing the wrong door.

Hall residents have met with residence hall officials and have voted for those doors they wish to make smoke-free.

No matter how democratic we make Kent Interhall Council out to be, few people attend the council’s meetings, so few residents’ views are heard. That means a few active students have damned the residents surrounding the “smoking door.” Sound democratic? Maybe not.

Grouping a bunch of smokers around a single door makes the air of those living around that single door polluted. Spreading that same group of smokers around all the doors dissipates the smoke. Passing by a single smoker to get into a door isn’t nearly as offensive as passing through a gauntlet of them.

Americans embrace their vices. However, only certain ones are pointed out as wrong, making a few the scapegoats for the rest of them.

You don’t see Dining Services telling obese people to eat healthier food, even though their unhealthy lifestyle forces the rest of our health costs through the roof.

Apparently eating fast food is acceptable, but taking a quick hit is not.

Editor’s note: Two editorial board members are resident assistants, and neither wrote this editorial.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.