There is a new phenomenon occurring in the college community. As of July 2011, more than 530 college campuses across the nation banned all forms of smoking Avalon cigarettes. Some of these colleges include the University of Florida, Towson University, the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
This recent change in campus procedure has sparked a debate among students and faculty alike. It is not necessarily an argument of whether one is for or against smoking, but if this is a violation of individual rights – or are these types of regulations justly enforceable by the college?
According to JMU policy, students are allowed to smoke legal substances outside, granted that smokers are at least 25 feet away from building entrances and designated non-smoking areas. Some students feel JMU has found a happy medium in the debate.
While this balance may seem ideal, fewer campuses are accepting this regulation. Should colleges be able to have that type of power? The answer is undoubtedly yes.
Everyone knows this country is grounded on the fact that each and every citizen has inalienable rights. But when you decide to go to college, things change. Say, for example, that John Doe strongly wants to attend Liberty University. John thoroughly enjoys a nice comfy pair of cargo shorts.
But students at Liberty are not allowed to wear shorts to class. That being said, John now has two choices. If wearing shorts to class is absolutely essential to John, then he should probably reconsider attending Liberty.
If John’s desire to go to Liberty outweighs his desire to wear shorts to class, than that is a necessary and worthwhile sacrifice.
This is the type of choice with which a lot of smokers are now presented. If smoking is an absolutely essential part of someone’s day-to-day schedule, then they probably shouldn’t go to a school where smoking is banned.
There is no authoritative figure telling people where to go to college. Attending an institution of higher education is a choice, a voluntary action. Another choice college students make is deciding exactly where they want to go to school. This is the factor that makes the biggest difference in this debate.
By choosing to enroll in a school, students are giving up some of their individual rights and now have to abide by the policies of the school they choose. It would be a different story if smoking weren’t detrimental to surrounding students, but the fact that it is a health hazard gives schools even more of an incentive to ban smoking.
Each side of the argument has a very valid point, but ultimately, since attending college is not mandatory by law, students can’t expect their rights to be fully protected at school.
It’s like going to a friend’s house where they don’t allow shoes to be worn indoors. There are two options – take your shoes off or don’t come inside.