The OCCC Board of Regents voted June 21 in favor of banning smoking on campus. It did so to stop smokers from lighting up next to doorways and to help make OCCC a healthier campus.
While on the surface this may seem like a positive move in the direction of a healthier campus, the Board should have made a different choice.
The choice it made to ban smoking from OCCC property unfairly punishes smokers rather than seeking out a solution that is fair to both sides.
Rather than banning smoking, there are other solutions the college should consider that will allow campus smokers and nonsmokers to live peacefully. For example, the college could designate smoking areas that are away from the entrances and sidewalks. This would allow nonsmokers to enter the building without breathing secondhand smoke.
The college also could allow smokers to smoke but implement a cleanup policy that requires those caught smoking in entranceways or those throwing cigarette butts on the grounds to clean up the campus for one hour a day for a week. This could dissuade smokers from smoking near entrance ways or from throwing cigarette butts on the ground.
This policy would require students who violate the rules to help grounds workers clean the drains and landscape.
There are several approaches the college could try if it wants to be fair. We need to rescind the ban and give smokers another chance to snuff their bad habits.
Smokers should petition the college, pledge to put their butts in the ashtrays and smoke away from the buildings. The college should reconsider allowing smoking to continue. OCCC is a campus for everyone.
Discrimination shouldn’t be tolerated regardless of the face the public places on it.