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Opinion: Clearing the Air About Unenforceable Policies

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Opinion: Clearing the Air About Unenforceable Policies

by Kristina Victoreen
Is a policy without enforcement really a policy, or is it just an aspiration? That question has been on my mind lately, in two different contexts, both related to the air we breathe. First, there’s Penn’s new “Tobacco-free Campus” policy. I first noticed the signs in November, when they quietly popped up here and there around campus. As someone who has spent many a lunch hour going from bench to bench all around campus in an often-vain attempt to find a place to sit and eat my lunch without having to breathe second-hand smoke, I was really excited to see those signs. But I confess I was much less excited when I went online and read the actual policy, particularly the section on enforcement. You can read it here.

What it seems to say is that there is no enforcement, and if you have any questions, ask the person you report to or your Dean. In other words, Penn wants you to not smoke but if you do, probabl…