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Written Up With Paul: Smoking Can be Made Safe Again

smokingSomething lit off a crime spree in the Fenway this fall (maybe the real culprit is anxiety, and ironically no one can enjoy their menthols on campus for relief.) Armed robberies of students hanging out after dark, veiled neither by their discretion or puffing smoke. Eventually, community alerts amount to as much as the Surgeon General’s warning, but what are we to do?

In August, Emmanuel College pledged to become smoke free, upholding the desires of our gentry to breathe recklessly and unconstrained. It was a purging of those considered likely deviant, for sure, but also a surrender to the climate of the neighborhood and world-class hospitals that have similar policies. Nowhere else in the city is care and concern as urgent as Longwood. For this reason, the ban on smoking was an appropriate concession; reasonable, if inconvenient for some. There’s a loosely established smoker’s bench across from the Administration Building along the Muddy River. People have also taken to lighting up outside the fence by the library; in case you weren’t sure, this is fine. (Unless you have asthma, please spare us your unwarranted fears about succumbing to an ill end from secondhand smoke on the way to class. You’ll get a nosebleed, and you sound like an Ebola fanatic.)

But this new designation (degradation?) of area students to smoke off-campus requires more thought. As instances of violence in the area and Boston at large occur to a greater degree, should students endanger themselves to observe a policy that isn’t being enforced?

To date, has there been any disciplinary action on the behalf of the school to curtail smoking? From all observations, those affected by the prohibition have graciously respected the policy, a fact that should be highlighted by both faculty and the student body. An occasion where compliance becomes mutual reciprocity is rare, indeed, and worthy of note. But yet, while we are each to take personal responsibility and exercise caution at all times, it seems remarkably cruel to force a choice on smokers: kick the habit or go somewhere else at the risk of getting robbed. The judicial ambiguity of smoking on campus this fall (consequences that may include a write-up, a bad reputation, a rejected Orientation Leader application, Catholic guilt) is intended to set a precedent.  If the culture surrounding the policy and its victims remains agreeable, one day, smoking in public may no longer be considered such a crime.

And in this spirit, a proposal: students of Emmanuel who smoke could – perhaps temporarily, until the threat level is comfortable with all – utilize a designated area in the parking lot outside of the library for their needs. Removed far enough from both academic and residential buildings while still existing within the secure confines of the school, we can have our carcinogens and be safer about it, too. Fair is only fair when it’s the same for everybody.

Paul Rowley ’16 is a columnist and staff writer for The Hub. Follow him on twitter @almanacalism.

Posted by on October 30, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,Opinions & Editorials,Written Up with Paul. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Written Up With Paul: Smoking Can be Made Safe Again

  1. Paul Rowley

    December 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Almanacalism .