Tobacco ban sacrifices campus cleanliness

Letter to Editor by Joseph Wood

Us Wildcats figured we’d make a big decision, a bold statement.

We’re progressive, health-conscious folks, so we went and banned tobacco on campus. That’s the sort of thing progressive, health-conscious people are supposed to do — or perhaps that’s the sort of thing top-20 universities do.

Either way, somewhere in all this self-congratulation we went and did a very myopic and unrealistic thing. We started removing ashtrays from campus.

In doing so we took the leap from making a statement about the merits and morality of smoking, and we actually expected students to stop smoking because of it.

The university is here to equip us to make better decisions. It’s not here to make those decisions for us, nor does it have the power to do so.

The leaders of the leaders of tomorrow need to model for us the kind of vision that grounds itself in an appreciation for what is reasonable, what is necessary and what is doable.

We are sacrificing the beauty of our campus on the altar of unrealistic expectations. Maybe we should fix that.

Joseph Wood

social work master’s student