The daily emails from the UMToday continue to inform its readers that the university is going to get serious about the smoking ban.
According to the email, “the University of Mississippi will strictly enforce our smoke free campus policy. Warnings will not be issued to those found smoking on campus; all violators, including faculty, staff, students, visitors, and contractors, are instead subject to a $25 per violation fine.”
How enforcement will be accomplished effeciently is unknown, but they’re using a harsh tone so they must not be messing around.
Last semester was supposed to mark the beginning of the policy, but instead of tickets UPD officers and others were supposed to hand out “Smoker Info Cards.” I have not met a single person who has received one.
I myself have smoked on campus and never been given a card.
At first, I hid in the darkest corners of campus. Locked doorways, bushes, secret and lonely patches of desolate land became my hangout spots on particularly stressful afternoons, but soon I realized that no one seemed to care. People were smoking on the steps of the library, outside of the union, up and down Fraternity Row. If these people had the cojones to walk around campus flaunting their life choices, then so could I. I stayed away from heavily populated areas and disposed of my butts responsibly, but I smoked out in the open and never faced trouble.
If last semester was a test, it was a failure.
The university’s noncommital attitude is irritating. On game days, it’s fine to smoke wherever you want. On regular days, we’re told that smoking will cause you to be tossed into a basement dungeon of Kinard (this is an exaggeration), but we have no evidence to show that this is true. There has been limited to no enforcement of the policy (yet we are told by UMToday that they will have no mercy for smokers) and the website, olemiss.edu/smokefree, does not seem to have been updated since last semester.
Has the university lost the passion to ban smoking?
If so, they should begin a discussion with community members and find a resolution that will work.
Phil McCausland is an English senior from Carlisle, Pa. Follow him on Twitter @PhillMcCausland.