Our Opinion: Scratching our heads at campus smoking ‘policy’

The Chart

This week, The Chart attempted to publish an article on the long-controversial smoking “policy” here at Missouri Southern.

Yes, it’s been done before, but our understanding is that it’s been brought up in conversation yet again.

And yet again, we aren’t surprised.

Our attempts to open a dialogue on the issue weren’t reciprocated before we left for Chicago this week, so the story didn’t get to you, our readers. 

Just so we’re all clear, that isn’t anybody’s fault in particular. Time just wasn’t our friend this week.

What we found out in the late email we received, however, was that Southern’s smoking policy is, shall we say, not real.

Sure, the rule that you can’t smoke inside University buildings is on the books. This makes total sense.

What doesn’t make sense is all the signage and organized efforts against smoking near buildings when a policy on the matter isn’t officially on the books?

It’s simply “preferred” that students, faculty and others smoke further away from buildings.

We don’t necessarily have a dog in the fight here, and even if we did, our opinion on smoking on campus probably wouldn’t matter much anyway.

But when signage and other efforts go into keeping smokers away from the immediate vicinity of buildings and their entrances, shouldn’t there be some sort of rule on that? After all, wouldn’t that shut up both the smokers and the non-smokers? At least to the extent of the little arguments we witness outside on what seems to be a weekly basis?

And how does that happen, anyway? Was there supposed to be some big vote, then the issue got tabled, never to be spoken of again?

Did we get some grant specifically for smoking signage but never followed through with our end of the deal by banning smoking on campus?

We’re sure neither of those are the case. In fact, if we were betting, we’d say it’s another one of those things at Southern that just doesn’t seem to make sense, you know, like the staircase to nowhere at the football stadium or anything to do with the financial aid office.

Perhaps it isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. We were simply thrown for a bit of a loop at the idea that no such policy on outdoor smoking officially exists, and we wanted to pass it on to you. Roll it around in your heads for a while and see if it makes sense to you, because it certainly doesn’t to us.

It doesn’t matter to us which way the rule goes, but either put it on the books or take the signs down.

Settle the argument once and for all.