In the ever-expanding police state of a country we live in, it’s easy to wonder if this is, indeed, the land of the free. Theoretically, the people who live and work in the land of the free are free to do what they please, when they please. This includes smoking.
Despite the turmoil and protests of the 99% all across the country and the uprising of peoples all around the globe, UT has fallen right in line with the oppressors of the world. They are now telling you when and where you can and cannot smoke.
As usual, these laws and regulations are passed under the assumption that it’s “for our own good” or as a part of a new, healthy wave of positivism. However you slice it, they are telling you how to live your live as well as implying that you don’t know how to govern yourself.
Follow the money
The University of Texas isn’t just a learning institution, it’s also a research facility crawling with lab rats. One way they fund and sustain their research efforts is to take money from your tuition and put it towards their experiments and studies. The other way is to apply for grants. This leaves a lot of power to the grantors of this magical money.
UT’s recent decision proves that no matter how big you are or how far up you go on the food chain, whoever has the gold still makes the rules.
The Cancer Research Institute of Texas announced in February that they would continue funding to UT contingent upon tobacco-free policies through the campus. In other words, UT has to make its campus a tobacco-free area in order to pocket the $88 million it’s expecting to receive from the institution annually.
Shit, for $88 million, who wouldn’t infringe upon the rights of others?
Phillip Hebert of the Charles A. Dana Center disagrees with the policy and associates it with the need for researchers and university staff and administration officials to keep the shirts on their backs.
“We are dealing with a lot of high stress factors that are keeping people on edge about their own job security, the different things that are going on at the university, the priorities of the university and I just think this is the wrong priority for the wrong time,” said Herbert.
That still doesn’t change the fact that the students of UT are paying an administration that feels it has the right to police students who aren’t breaking the law. Since UT isn’t a legislative body, it technically can’t pass any laws. It can only enforce its own policies, as there is a difference between breaking the law and disregarding a public institution’s policies. Learn the difference, as this affects all of us, smokers or not.
So what does this mean for all you who have a pack of American Spirits rolled up their shirt sleeve? Since UT isn’t a completely private campus, and since parts of UT are either public property or privately owned, there are still spots on campus to light one up before class. You can always duck into The Local for a quick drag on their back porch or you can light up on any one of the public sidewalks your (or your parents’) tax dollars paid for.
Much like “free speech zones” are to protestors, “smoking areas” are to tobacco users. UT’s expected to post “No Smoking” signs soon as well as designating smoking areas for the nicotine addicts.
Since this policy isn’t said to go into effect for another seven years, there’s plenty of time left for all the activist-minded smokers out there to forge ahead with their cancerous agendas. It’s also important to note that there will be no fines for those who break the policy, for now.