As of September 1st, UO campus and all University owned property are now tobacco and smoke-free. In my previous post, I wrote that DPS will not be issuing tickets or fines to enforce this ridiculous, hot-air, self-back-patting policy. I cited an old Commentator post as having this information. The policy must have been updated since that post, however, because upon actually reading the policy’s representative website and Oregon Administrative Rule 571-050-0005, I have realized that the policy is exceptionally vague. According to OAR, emphasis my own:
(2) Prohibitions. [...] An employee who violates this rule may be subject to discipline. A student who violates this rule may be subject to sanction under the Student Conduct Code.
(3) Citation and Appeals. Anyone else who violates this rule may be issued a citation for thirty dollars ($30). Any complaints about citations issued or appeal of an issued citation may be directed to the Vice President for Finance and Administration or that person’s designee. [...]
So there are the luke-warm, mushy facts. I find a lot of things wrong with this smoking ban. However, new concerns have risen in my mind regarding the inconsistent treatment of violators. Why is it not simply a $30 fine for any and all offenders? Employees are subject to “discipline”, students to “sanction” and “anyone else” to a monetary citation. A ban on personal choice is dangerous enough in itself, but when offenders are divided into categories and issued varying forms of punishment according to their place in society, where do we draw the line of that healthy dosage of discrimination?
Does anybody else find it hard to appreciate vaguely defined rules and regulations? It must be so inherently difficult to regulate the personal choices of an individual that do not affect others in any direct way, that the law must be made to be just as difficult to comprehend, so that police officers can be as vague as possible in their interpretation and enforcement of the law.
As I am told, people who aren’t students don’t need to pay University parking tickets issued on or around campus if the ticket was written by a DPS officer. I am not sure if it is true, but it seems that they only have jurisdiction those who need to have their term grades issued. If this is indeed true, then we can safely assume that if approached by a DPS officer when smoking tobacco on campus, one has no inclination or obligation to give their name, nor accept a citation of any kind from the officer. In such a situation, I would politely deny knowledge of the policy and simply walk away.
Let us not allow this culture of non-acceptance to take hold. Let us peacefully protest this ridiculous policy by continuing to smoke in the open air, where particles are free to dissipate into the atmosphere at the will of their own, not that of the Administration and the back-patting little campus personalities that find it necessary to protect and educate us. “Healthier campus”, my ass.
I appreciate any updates, clarifications or comments from readers.