By Victoria NeelyColumnist
The smoking ban that was put into effect on the South Side of our campus last semester has been constantly debated and hardly enforced. Every single day, I watch numerous people light up and walk to their next class with a cigarette in their hand and not a second thought about the aforesaid “ban.” The rumors about creating a similar ban on the residential side of campus have caused a lot of chatter, but the real question remains: what’s the point?
The ashtrays that were once spread across the academic side of our campus disappeared when the new rule came into effect, leaving us with grounds covered in cigarette butts and their potentially hazardous disposal into trash cans. While some smokers do take the ban to heart and go out onto the public sidewalks to smoke, it appears as if a large number of them do not. If Hofstra does not have the capacity to defend and enforce such a monumental ban, then there seems to be no point in having one at all.
We all saw this same issue arise with the “20 foot rule.” There were signs posted on every door telling people to smoke at least twenty feet away from any building. Did it work? Not really, so they decided to ban smoking altogether. I am sure that this ban has deterred some smokers from enjoying a cigarette between classes; however, somehow I still find myself stuck walking through clouds of poisonous secondhand smoke every day.
The talk of potentially instituting a smoking ban on the residential side of campus strikes me as utterly outrageous. If one smoking ban is blatantly ignored every day, it makes no sense to place the same one somewhere else where it will undoubtedly be ignored, as well.
Hofstra’s creation of laws and its lack of enforcement show the student body that the University’s rules are not meant to be taken seriously. It seems to me that the only solution to this problem is to take baby steps. Before enacting another extremely unpopular ban, let us work on the one already in place.
My last point is important to a lot of students and faculty: where should the smokers smoke? Everyone knows that the area that surrounds our campus is not exactly safe or hospitable. If students cannot step twenty feet outside of their dorm rooms to smoke a cigarette, that means that they must do so somewhere else, in a potentially unsafe area. Unless Hofstra decides to create some type of smoking section, another ban will be ineffective and significantly put smokers at a disadvantage.
While the merits for these decisions are understandable, the actual logistics of them are not. Overall, the student body should have a voice in making these decisions that could affect a large population of students.