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Smoking on campus, a freedom of expression

Radioactive gas, rocket fuel, banned insecticide and rat poison. What do these four things have in common? They are all active chemicals in cigarettes and the smoke they produce. Secondhand smoke has been somewhat of a large debate in the U.S. in the past few years and now it has become an issue on our campus. On March 30, TJC Student Senate unanimously passed a proposal to section off designated smoking areas for students and faculty.

Faculty Senate took a vote on April 6 and with a majority in favor of making TJC a smoke free campus all together. President Metke and the Board of Trustees will make the final decision after reviewing both Faculty and Student Senate votes. I can see how the non-smokers on campus would appreciate this decision, but what about the freedom of the students who do smoke?

Some smokers feel that if their freedom to smoke virtually anywhere outdoors on campus is taken away, it is only a matter of time before smoking on campus will be banned completely. Although I do not smoke often enough to call myself a smoker, I do have to wonder if taking this right away from one group of students will result in other rights being taken away from other students.

College is meant to be a place where we can express ourselves freely: some students smoke, some wear their pants to their knees and some, like myself, enjoy playing their ipods as loud as their ears can stand. If these freedoms are taken away or even limited, how are we supposed to express ourselves? Now, I’m not condoning smoking or dressing with your pants to the ground, but I do think that all students should be given equal rights and be able to express themselves with equal freedom.

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