‘Share the air’ or discrimination?

I am writing because it has been one month since the Twin Cities campus has been a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. However, I am a bit disturbed and dismayed at the logic behind the reasoning.

According to the administrative policy, the University of Minnesota is “committed to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of all campus community members.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is common, serious and costly:

“More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9 percent) are obese.

“Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

“The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.”

Along the same lines that the University is using, cookies, donuts, candy and soda should also be banned on the campus if the University is so committed to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of all campus community members. Doesn’t that just make sense?

I don’t really know what the answer is. I realize that in every situation, there are going to be a few that are never going to be happy; that not everyone will get their perfect world; that no matter how hard we try, there will still be those with objections.

However, the definition of discrimination, according to Wikipedia, is still “action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice. This includes treatment of an individual or group based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, ‘in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated.’ It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual’s actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.”

The Twin Cities campus is quite diverse — right, wrong or indifferent. Shouldn’t we really make it fair, too?