Students at the University of Georgia are protesting a new smoking ban by, well, smoking. The ban, which starts Oct. 1, covers all forms of smoking, including the new types of smokeless tobacco such as e-cigarettes, despite the new cigarettes only producing water vapor.
Students at the university’s conservative publication, The Arch Conservative, are protesting the campus-wide ban the day before it takes effect by gathering and smoking together. The editor of the Conservative, Blake Seitz, spoke to The Daily Caller about the protest, called the UGA Smoking Prohibition Protest, attacking the board of regents decision.
“This protest is named after Lamar Dodd, a famous professor at UGA, of whom the school of art is named after. If you look at old pictures and portraits of Dodd, almost all of them have him smoking. He would have been against this ban,” Seitz stated. “We hope this protests brings together all liberty-minded individuals from those who love both pipes and e-cigs, which are both being banned. We expect to have a large crowd and all are welcome to attend,” he concluded.
Seitz claimed that the policy passed with little debate in the board and with little outside input from students and faculty.
Several Regents have been outspoken on their support for the ban.“This is about behavior modification. That is what we’re all about in higher education,” Regent Larry Ellis told the Athens Banner-Herald in a January interview.
Chairman Phillip Wilheit has also spoken out. Talking to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he said, “I personally feel a great responsibility to protect our students from their own devices and also to protect the students from secondhand smoke.”
Neither Ellis not Wiheit replied to TheDC’s repeated requests for comment.
The protest is taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Tate Plaza according to the group’s Facebook page.