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Student Body President Nora McConnell-Johnson Addresses Smoking on Campus

Though I feel like I really connect to the student body through my (amazing) biweekly SB Info links, I’ve decided that it may be time to take the conversation in a more serious direction. At this week’s Senate meeting, we began a discussion about smoking on campus. While it was our best-attended meeting of the semester, I’d like to get the 1,000+ students who couldn’t make it involved in the conversation. Though this has obviously been a constant debate on campus, Senate’s discussion on the matter this week was prompted by an email from a faculty member. This faculty member asked us to do something about the covered areas around the library, and the fact that, especially when it’s raining, smokers tend to congregate under them. This persists despite signs designating the area as non-smoking (it’s a thoroughfare).

If our community members are uncomfortable (and yes, it’s more than just one person) something clearly needs to change. Senate has started a discussion that I’m hoping will focus on a systemic change, but in the meantime our community needs to step up and make sure that everyone feels comfortable on this campus. I think these kinds of conversations can quickly devolve into a non-smoker vs. smoker argument, and I urge us to avoid that route.  Framing the conversation under the Honor Principle allows us to all be on the same side. Every person in this community deserves comfort and respect. With that in mind, I’d like to propose two short-term solutions to a very nuanced problem:

- If someone’s smoking makes you uncomfortable, please respectfully ask them to move somewhere else.

- If someone asks you to take your smoking elsewhere, please do so.

I know these points seem painfully obvious, yet I rarely witness either of them occurring. If we as a community are going to come together and solve this in a way that is beneficial to all of us, we need to start talking and listening to one another.

If you’d like to get involved in the conversation, come to our Senate meeting next week! They’re on Mondays at 5 PM in the Student Union. All are welcome! Also, please feel free to email me with comments or questions – noramcjo@reed.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Student Body President Nora McConnell-Johnson Addresses Smoking on Campus”
  1. As a matter of equity, since there are more areas for non-smokers to congregate than their are for smokers, shouldn’t the smoker ask the non-smoker to depart? And, on a more global level, would we extend this rule to all minorities, or just smokers?

    • Anon says:

      Are smokers really a minority on campus? I have a sensitive respiratory system and have to hold my breath everytime I cross campus… Also, I’m not sure that smokers are really equatable with minorities, given that secondhand smoke damages other people’s health. Seems like a pretty different issue.

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