EDITORIAL: Housing should bring back smoking floors

Housing and Residence Life strives to create a sense of community and belonging in its halls, a highly idealized version of real life. This is clear in the events the halls sponsors, the "themes" applied to move-in days and HRL's deep aversion to the term "dorm."

This environment is not necessarily a bad thing. But it also causes an environment that is hostile to one very large group of hall-dwellers: Smokers.

First, there were only certain smoking floors in the residence halls. Then certain floors could vote on whether they would be smoke-free or not. Now, the Residence Hall Association wants to ban all smoking within a certain distance of residence hall doors.

Is this plan a good one? Perhaps. There are strong arguments to be made for either side.

The DAILY NEWS, then, is not disturbed by RHA's initiative. What does disturb us -- especially if this initiative passes -- is Housing and Residence Life's increasing hostility toward hall-dwelling smokers.

Only allowing certain halls to even vote on whether they are smoking or not has all but eliminated smoking floors from Ball State's housing complexes. If RHA's initiative passes, smokers would find no place to smoke either inside the halls or outside their doors.

The majority of students may want smoke-free halls, but the halls are homes to smokers too, and they pay just as much money as their non-smoking brethren.

The solution is simple: HRL needs to bring back the smoking floor. In the past, non-smokers have sometimes been "stuck" on a smoking floor. To solve this problem, HRL could simply make the supply smaller than the demand. That is, create less room on smoking floors than there are smokers who want to use them. Priority housing could be the same as it is for any other students.

This would leave some smokers in non-smoking halls, but that is a better solution than the opposite.

Smokers are paying residents of the halls as well. It's time to start treating them as such.


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