In the soon-to-be-universally-applied smoking policy, one is no longer allowed to smoke in his or her room, even in a single or with his or her roommate’s consent.

I myself am not attached to smoking in my room, but vehemently against being told what to do and think by people who elevate themselves above me via standards to which I don’t subscribe, upheld by an army of guilty, beaten-down smokers and the politically-correct elite.

I know people who have made real contributions to student health on campus, and they did not make the front page of the CT, with a harrowing tale of grassroots campaigning against all adversity. I am horrified by the attention that it gets, but not at all surprised, as it feeds parasitically off the latest fashion from New York City.

I have had to read three times in various pieces this tragedy, all opinions positive, and the appropriately-named SCAT at the center. It’s “progressive” to hold freedom of choice as the highest of virtues, and then instigate measures to alienate, stigmatize and control.

In my opinion, the only way that I should have known they exist is in the scandal resulting from their betrayal of the academic ideals upon which this institution was based. It takes all of the odious wit of the various “save the children” campaigns, but taking college students to be children, not individual-minded adults. Most of the student body as it stands is eerily compliant to such measures.

In the letter I received at my home and their proposal, they stated that this is reasonable because other people are doing it. In the proposal, they have a list of institutions, including Harvard and Stanford. I fail to see why other institutions doing something like this makes it the right thing to do, but I think the fact that it is touted as such is very telling about academia, indeed.

By the way, according to their Web sites, you can still smoke in your room at Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology if no one complains, and at Cal Tech one can smoke in one’s room and various halls when meals are not being served there and designated areas of the Rathskellar Bar.

“But that doesn’t make it right!” they screech. I consider this overstepping boundaries and violating civil liberties all to make smug, over-privileged people feel safer and their reality more palatable.

They “convince” the administration to ban smoking from within all rooms, against stiff opposition, I’m sure. The 30- feet rule is not new – it was here as long as I remember, but usually just got the attention it deserved – none. I want four people to campaign to allow the frats to have kegs and permanent fall freshman rush and see how far that goes.

Let’s take every idiot who has ever been offended by tobacco smoke, who is all of a sudden “bothered” but did not confront the Residential Adviser or students themselves, and give him a soapbox. People will hate what it is popular to hate.

Actually, I was surprised that smoking was allowed in rooms where candles and incense were strictly banned due to fire code, but as with all things concerning “progressive people” and tobacco, we have to take it beyond reason and into the cosmos, via the phenomenon of the “danger” that was always there but all of a sudden matters – of having someone smoking on the floor above or just next door, combined with the mental anguish of knowing that someone somewhere is enjoying a cigarette in comfortable and dignified surroundings.

They say in their proposal that 30 minutes of secondhand smoke a day is equivalent in heart damage to that in a habitual smoker.

Therefore, if I smoke half a pack a day, and 5 minutes per cigarette, then whoever is around will have five-thirds the damage – maybe, if we take it upon ourselves to protect whoever walks up to me while I’m smoking and sucks on the burning end of my cigarette.

But this figure does not take into account those little things like distance and air current, and, oh yes, walls. When asked about indoor areas where one can smoke, I believe the response was “we prefer to support students in stopping smoking.” Gee, thanks.

As the proposal drags on, it becomes apparent that its central emphasis is behavioral control programs to have people quit smoking or never start, which, to the naked New England ear might sound good, until one realizes that it is not the school’s place to impose such a moral standard on us.

I came here to study physics, not to suffer the coercion and hate propaganda of people who have not proven themselves worthy of my trust or respect and seemingly never will. If no one smokes, then it’s good, but if someone does, it’s bad. Black and white and oversimplified all over, like all cult thinking. On this point, it becomes dangerous.

It would be fine to just have certain buildings prohibit smoking, for people who are allergic and feel it’s everyone else’s problem and the 76 percent who “would live in non-smoking housing if it were available” – how many signed up for the substance-free floors upon arrival? – but that, of course, misses the point completely. We need to make smokers as uncomfortable as possible and impose “education” programs that do nothing but create hatred and prejudice.

This is to be enforced. How? By encouraging mutual spying? Is that what we’re reduced to? So that I don’t receive a flood of e-mail, this is not about smoking or health, it is about individuality, freedom and truth.

If you feel that this does not apply to you or you emphasize your “victim” status because you smell smoke walking into buildings while the rest of us accept that there are annoying and offensive things out there, then all I can say is that eventually they will attack your little “addictions,” and you could either timidly follow or be second-class.

Don’t think so? You’re in for a treat. You had better just fall in line, think what authority figures tell you to think, and sleep the blissful sleep of compliance, because that’s what academics, and indeed life, is all about, isn’t it?

Bruhn can be reached at gbruhn@campustimes.org.



Notes by Nadia: The importance of being a good listener

I hope that more people can value the act of listening attentively and positively responding to conversations.

SageFest’s Total Preclipse

April 5 marked the 14th annual SageFest, an event organized by the Sage Art Center, UR’s studio arts building, and…

Looking beyond the scope of campus: what we should do with our eclipse glasses

Receiving glasses for free was a privilege that not everyone in the path of totality had.