The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Editorial

Oops, we did it again. We played with the rules. Got lost in the game. Oh, baby. While we didn’t fall in love with some overly romantic teenybopper, we have definitely put ourselves into an equally uncomfortable situation. After months of students smoking in Cleveland and their simultaneous ignoring of efforts to stop smoking in Cleveland—once again—security will now be patrolling in the Cleveland lounges to make sure that no one is smoking in Cleveland.

And before your hands get caught above your head, there are a few things that we should keep in mind. By smoking on campus, we are breaking state law and there is nothing that we can do about it beyond petitioning Governor Chuck Culver or holding an overly reactionary and time wasting protest. It also means that the college can do nothing about it on our behalf. Secondly, we have to remember that as a result of breaking the law constantly, we are constantly penalized when we do smoke in Cleveland. Some students discovered this when FM sent Jamaland a bill, and the College discovered this when the state sent them a hefty fine. And you thought the taxes on your soft pack of Marlboro cancer sticks was steep.

Finally, this situation is like Déjà vu. Students went through this last year and perhaps out of shock, perhaps out of understanding and empathy, the students curbed their smoking habits. In other words, given the proper motivation we can act the way the college needs us to act, it is simply a matter of which motivation works.

The point is we’re not that innocent. Britney Spears knew it, and we can’t deny it. We need to take some responsibility into our own hands and if we don’t want to get caught, that means some moderation. So peel yourself off the lounge furniture and be practical. Take care of your cigarette butts and if you’re going to smoke make sure that you’re not bothering anyone, fair enough? Sure, the College has to send these patrols, but that doesn’t mean that they are out to get anyone. They don’t want to anger their students by infringing on our personal rights and they definitely don’t want to fight the state. They want to look good because—as Spears clearly demonstrates—it pays to look good.

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