Lighting a fire under the administration’s ass

The Mac Weekly

I’ve been a smoker for the past nine years. I’ve gone through Marlboro Reds, Marlboro Red 100’s, Marlboro 27’s and now I’m all about Marlboro Menthol Lights. And as a smoker, you can imagine my fury in response to the “New task force to investigate possible smoking ban” article featured in the February Nineteenth edition of the Mac Weekly. According to the Macalester Mission Statement, “We believe that the benefit of the educational experience at Macalester is the development of individuals who make informed judgments and interpretations of the broader world around them and choose actions or beliefs for which they are willing to be held accountable.” If this is the case, then why are our personal choices being criminalized? I understand the administration is very interested in keeping us healthy because healthy alumni live longer and there is a better chance that we will eventually donate money to the school-not to mention the $47 million that was granted to health departments in Ramsey County working to decrease preventable illness-but there are other ways to do this that don’t trample over students’ rights. Reduce the sodium content in the food Macalester serves to it’s students. Make Physical Education mandatory. Host a weight-loss program to reduce the possibility of obesity.

The proposal of this “Tobacco Task Force” is particularly disturbing to me, partly because there is not a single smoker on said “task force,” partly because we don’t live in Stalinist Russia where secret police can criminalize private behavior. Imagine it’s the week before finals and you’re holed up in the link after 1a.m. (as I often am) and you’re really stressed out (also a frequent occurrence) and you can’t get your thoughts straight so you decide to take a break, go downstairs and smoke a cigarette and take a few minutes to clear your head. According to this new ban, this act would be a violation for which you would receive punishment.

What? Really? If Macalester is really interested in the welfare of students’ health, then I propose the following-if you have a communicable disease, you should be quarantined in a special facility off campus. Why not? If you go outside, you’re putting other students at risk. If I have herpes, can Macalester stop me from being sexually active? No, that would be a violation of my individual rights. Imposing a smoking ban would achieve the same effect-it violates personal rights and criminalizes one’s personal choices. By this logic, Macalester should stop admitting Jewish students because they can carry the Tay-Sachs gene. Where will it end? So here is my final message to Tobacco Task Force-you’re on, bitches.