A Lesson in Hypocrisy

Winthrop is a relatively smoke free campus. University policy states this here. Tour guides tell prospective students this. Everyone seems to know this fact. Everyone that is, except Winthrop University. A good step was taken with the implementation of smoking benches, but it fell far short of what needed to be done.

One of the many complaints heard is about the placement of these benches. The smoking side argues that there are not enough of these benches and that the ones that do exist are tucked away where they won’t ruin the image of the university, and thus can’t be as easily used. The nonsmokers counter that some of the more popular spots on campus have been taken and turned into a smoke filled wasteland.

Along with this comes the identification of these benches, something that both groups can agree with. The only discernible difference between the smoking and nonsmoking benches is the presence or absence of an ashtray. This can be impossible to see if a large group of people are sitting or standing around a bench.

Another oversight in the building of these benches is the absence of any sort of covered structure. Which means that if it rains people can’t smoke.

But the biggest problem is that Winthrop has no intention of enforcing this policy, and there is evidence that they never intended to enforce it and thus made the announcement for no other reason that good public relations.

When asked what Winthrop intended to do about this problem, certain school officials said that they would not become the smoking police and that it was up to the students to enforce this policy.

WHAT!?

What is the point of making a policy that won’t be enforced? Last year most students followed this policy relatively well. But now there are Resident Assistants who start their cigarette the second they step out of the door. The Leitner Wall was created to be a smoke free environment; now it is one of the worst spots on campus for clean air and not helped at all by the lack of an approved smoking area in a place where two major buildings come together and is (for right now) one of the central areas in campus life.

So what needs to be done? There are really only two choices.

The first option is to rescind the policy and hope for the best. Since the policy is not being enforced anyway this shouldn’t change much in campus activity.

The second is to step up and enforce the policy. Winthrop will have to accept the fact that they could pick up a smoking police image. Fines or other punishments would have to be introduced. But to go along with this, more accommodations would have to be made for the smokers. Enclosed buildings could be used to both provide a warm and dry place for smoking and to keep the smoke from effecting everyone else.

This second option would be the better route for Winthrop to wake, while the first is still acceptable. But both are infinitely better than having and marketing an attractive policy that will not be enforced.

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Published in: on 26 October 2007 at 10:27 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As a smoker, it’s nice to see that there are people that think we shouldn’t be thrown out to the wolves. Part of giving people the choice in smoking is actually allowing people to smoke.

  2. […] was said here and it will be said again. If Winthrop wants to become a smoke free campus then the least they can […]


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