Smoking ban leads to art censorship

By William R. Toler

In trying to keep in line with a tobacco-free policy, administrators at Craven Community College removed a decorated auto hood from the student center because it featured a caricature of auto-body instructor Bob Hall smoking a cigar in January, according to the New Bern Sun Journal.

The hood was airbrushed by students of the autobody program for Hall’s drag racing car. Hall told NewsChannel 12 that the students were disappointed. “They’re hurt,” he said, “because the students that worked on it wanted to show their project.”

In a standard public relations move, college flack Sandy Wall said that while the display was a postive project for the students, “I think the depiction of a faculty member or anyone else smoking sends a message that we don’t want to send.”

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Less tar, less nicotine, less freedom

By Corey Friedman

Sometimes, explained Sigmund Freud, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes, it’s the First Amendment.

Craven Community College sneaked an unconstitutional prior restraint rule in its tobacco-free campus policy in spring 2009, and administrators appear unwilling to revise the problematic provision.

Included with the college’s ban on cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco on campus property is a declaration that student publications may not publish ads for tobacco products and student groups can’t accept money or gifts from tobacco companies. While this arrangement may sound palatable to some antismoking advocates, it violates students’ First Amendment right to free speech and free association.

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