This is an open letter to the students of the University of South Dakota in opposition to the campus smoking ban as proposed by the Student Government Association.
I am not a regular smoker myself, but I encourage you to join the College Libertarians in the deliberation against a ban on student rights at USD.
Glaring holes exist in the implementation and enforcement of this policy if a ban passes. The first, and probably most important, dilemma is that SGA has no inherent power to enact this policy. SGA would write and pass a resolution or position statement and then have to work with campus law enforcement to implement a ban.
Further, SGA stands for the advancement of the student body’s interests and beliefs. However, a ban on smoking and the curtailing of student rights goes against this practice.
Another problem arises when looking at enforcement of a ban, and we can turn to the current campus smoking policy for guidance.
Currently, regulations state that a smoker must be no less than 25 feet from the entrance of a building. However, one walk through campus shows that some smokers do not follow this policy and UPD does not enforce it.
In order to enforce a total ban, UPD officers would essentially have to have foot patrol officers policing campus to monitor student activity, especially in passing time between regular class hours.
Enforcement at this level would produce unnecessary suspicion of students and is quite over-the-top for an otherwise legal activity when done off campus.
Another issue worth addressing is the health aspect when looking at second-hand smoke. Yes, smoking is a health detriment, and it is rather unpleasant to walk through a cloud of smoke after a test and so on. Many people complain about the smell — not the health aspect of walking through smoke.
If SGA has the power to ban smells — and they don’t — why don’t they ban passing gas on campus too? It’s safe to say that you’ve walked unscathed through a few smelly emissions on your way to class, and don’t even get me started on those dorm bathrooms.
Is it really too much to ask to let a smoker enjoy his quick fix while you enjoy your break between classes, too?
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I encourage you to join the deliberation of this ban whether it is on my side or the other, because a ban of this nature can truly affect the daily habits and routines of the average student. But most importantly, take the time to enjoy and stand up for your daily habits and routines, because someone might be looking to interrupt them. In liberty and lighters,