Ole Miss: A Not-So-Smoke-Free Campus

By: Taylor Lewis & Rebecca DeLuna

“I’ve been known to smoke a cigarette or two on campus. I’m actually undefeated for smoking citations,” Clayton Russell said.

Smoking cigarettes on The University of Mississippi campus has been banned since Russell, a senior from Texas, was a freshman. Yet the Smoke Free Policy seemed to have no effect on his daily habit.

Russell is one of many student smokers who have been able to slip through the cracks by smoking in the areas of campus that are unofficially deemed as “smoke spots”.

UM faculty and staff, like Shannon Richardson, are not blind to these smoke spots.

“I know that smoking still happens on campus, and I’ve seen it myself around buildings such as the Library, Martindale, and the Intensive English/Global Engagement building. I’m sure there are others,” Richardson, the assistant director of campus recreation, said.

Russell also mentioned the Library as one of his main “smoke spots”.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 2.33.04 PM.png

Map of campus “smoke spots”, according to students, faculty & staff.

Victoria Hutton, an Integrated Marketing Communications major, also added Holman Hall and the art building to the  favorite “smoke spot” list.

Although Smoke Free Policy is said to be strictly enforced on the UM campus and there are several health issues associated with the habit, students continue to smoke on campus.


Student at “smoke spot” next to library, stops for a smoke between classes.

According to Erin Murphy Cromeans, assistant director of Health Promotion, “the majority of lifelong smokers begin smoking habits before the age of 24, which makes the college years a critical time for prevention efforts.”

Richardson also elaborated on why she believes students continue to smoke.

“Honestly? (Student’s smoke) because they are either addicted or they don’t care about others.”

Despite the students that violate the policy, Richardson feels the policy has done its job at the university.

“I believe the policy has helped reduce the amount of smoking on campus, but has not eliminated it.  I believe the policy’s goal has been a success, which is to reduce harmful second hand smoke on campus,” Richardson said.

However, students, like Hutton, still feel that the Smoke Free Policy has been ineffective and has led to an epidemic of “smoke spots” around campus.

“No I think being “smoke free” just means people hide it better and students don’t just walk around blasting cigarettes. Ole miss is just trying to keep it classy,” Victoria Hutton, a senior Integrated Marketing Communications major, said.

The University of Mississippi is one of several southeastern universities with a “Smoke Free Policy” on campus, yet students claim that the current policies are ineffective due to a lack of enforcement.


Left over cigarette buds in “smoke spot” near library.

According to the Smoke Free Policy’s website , The University of Mississippi introduced the
Smoke Free Campus Policy in August of 2012 and began to strictly enforce it on Jan. 1, 2013.

As stated on the website, “smoking is prohibited at all times and at all locations of the University of Mississippi Oxford campus, including university-owned facilities, properties and grounds.”

UM had previously allowed smoking on campus in designated areas, yet “the ban was a result of students not abiding by those policies,” said university officials, in an article by Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Despite the policy being implemented almost five years ago, there have only been 25 smoking violations cited on the university’s crime reports since 2012

As far as citations, “those who are found smoking on campus may be subject to a $25 fine,” as The Smoke Free Policy website states.

According to Erin Murphy Cromeans, the assistant director of Health Promotions, “the responsibility for the enforcement and communication of this policy rests with all members of the University community and the University Police Department.”


Victoria Hutton

(901) 238-5267

Clayton Russell

(502) 439-5292

Erin Murphy Cromeans

(662) 915-5055


Shannon Richardson

(662) 915-6736



What Works Assignment #5

For this week’s What Works Assignment, I decided to find an article that was a little peculiar, but also hard news. When scrolling through the New York Times website, as I do every week, I found an article that grabbed my attention: “100 Headstones Toppled at a Jewish Cemetery in Philadelphia”. The article definitely appealed to my attraction to the absurd and out-of-ordinary style of news. I also noticed that the article had a fair amount of SEO appeal because of keywords like “Jewish”, “Cemetery”, “Philadelphia”, and “Headstones”. In fact, when typing in a few of those keywords, the article appeared in the top five search results.

The title itself worked for this hard news story, but the content was overall lacking due to the writer’s dependence on aggregated sources. There were several sources that were aggregated and linked, but there were absolutely no personal interviews conducted by the writer. By not conducting any interviews, I believe the story lacked the emotional appeal that would be associated with the desecration of the tombstones of loved ones. Also, by not having any interviews I believe that the story lost reader interest and some credibility because the writer didn’t tell the reader anything that they couldn’t have found on social media. However, you could tell that the author spent a fair amount of time gathering these sources and researching what all had happened, as well as similar happenings across the country.

Adding another note on aggregated sources, I found some of the sources that the writer chose were kind of random and some were necessary. For instance, I felt President Trump’s comments were irrelevant to the story as the issue of headstone toppling hasn’t become a national epidemic yet. I felt the use of the governor’s tweets was a better authoritative figure to quote as he is more related to the proximity of the story. There were overall too many authoritative sources and I would’ve liked to have heard from a “man on the street” or someone personally effected.

In conclusion, if I were given free will with this article then I would’ve have tried to appeal more to ethos and pathos. By doing so, I feel like I would’ve enhanced the story and abled the reader to identify with the tragedy of those effected. Also, I would have taken out some of the authoritative sources and incorporated some “man on the street” perspectives, as well as some quote from those who were effected by the other headstone desecration earlier this week. The story worked with what it had, was well written, and incorporated a fair amount of images and links to social media. It was an easy read and the topic had a fair amount of SEO appeal, but I was expecting a little more reporting from the New York Times.


What Works Assignment #4

From exploring Timeline and the versatility of them within news stories, I have found that they can either be really effective or really irrelevant. In the story “Police seek Houston teacher impregnated by student, 13”, I found the use of the timeline to be ineffective and not used well. The timeline in this story had several faults, including: lack of a strong chronological narrative, didn’t relate back to a larger narrative, and it didn’t really have any events that built up to the major occurrence. However, I think the article was also lacking, which played into the timeline being weak.

I had first clicked on this article because of the “tabloid-like” appeal. When looking for news, I tend to be draw to articles that are weird or absurd or “defy the norm”. So, when I saw a headline that mentioned that a teacher was pregnant by a 13-year-old I was drawn to the absurdity and the scandal. However, upon reading the story, I was highly disappointed with the reporting or lack thereof.

The lead did grab my attention, but it didn’t provide me with the timeliness of the news; which I felt was necessary when including a timeline. The author tried to pull me in with the absurdity and in some ways it worked, but in some ways it didn’t. I would’ve appreciated if the author would’ve explained why the story was relevant to me or if the story related to a larger epidemic of teachers having sexual relationships with students in the Houston area.

There was a semi-nutgraph in the sixth paragraph, but it really didn’t add anything new to the story that hadn’t already been mentioned. The nut graph would’ve been a great place for the author to add larger context to the story or to relate the story to the timeline, but unfortunately this didn’t happen. If I were to re-write this story, I would’ve utilized the nut-graph to tie this story to the timeline used or at least to the larger epidemic of sexual relationships between teachers and students in recent years.

Overall, I felt like this story could’ve been very interesting and, perhaps, pointed towards a larger epidemic. Unfortunately, it fell short and didn’t really work in a timeline format. If I would’ve been given the opportunity to re-do this article then I would’ve utilized the timeline to show a trend in sexual relationships between teachers and students, quoted more people than just a bystander from the school, and I would’ve tried to make the story relatable to my audience in the nut graph.

DeVos’ Appointment: A Call to Action for UM Students

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the new Secretary of Education, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, created mass controversy among those directly impacted by public education and those involved with non-profit organizations, like Teach For America.

DeVos’ confirmation also sparked an innumerous amount of public outcry and a stream of social media posts in support of public education, which these posts were easily identified using #productofpublic.

Coinciding with the public’s uproar, Teach for America, a non-profit organization that works to strengthen the movement of educational equity and excellence, issued a statement following the appointment of Betsy DeVos.

The original statement release by Teach For America, has since been altered. However, the original statement began as follows:

“We call on the secretary designee and president-elect to uphold these values in pursuit of an excellent and equitable public education for all.”

The statement then moved on to highlight what Teach For America stands for and how their stance on public education will not falter with the incoming administration.

“We will continue to fiercely advocate and defend policies that are core to our mission and that increase opportunity for our students,” the statement read.

To several Ole Miss students, who are involved with Teach For America, the statement reflected their perspectives and seemed like a call to action.

Dylan Lewis, a senior journalism major at Ole Miss and a 2017 Teach For America Houston Corp Member, stated his own personal concerns with DeVos.

“Teach For America deals with a lot of low-income areas and, as we have heard countless times, DeVos is not really interested in public education and has had no experience in public education,” Lewis said.

Lewis decided to apply to be a 2017 Teach For America Corp Member because of his personal experience in public schools.

“When I was growing up, school was always a safe place for me and, as I progressed in school and got into college, I found that the feeling of safety never changed,” Lewis said.

Yet, as of late, the field of education has had a different, droning tone.

“It’s really scary to know that DeVos may or may not fight for Teach for America and low income areas,” Lewis, reflecting on his personal concerns with the new education administration, said.

Yet, despite his concerns, Lewis seems more inspired to enter into education since DeVos’ confirmation.

“I’m fueled. I’m fueled to keep fighting inequality in education,” Lewis said.

Since DeVos’ confirmation, Lewis is one of several students that feel more inspired to enter into education and the Teach for America program.

Emily Hoffman, a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major, interned with Teach For America in summer of 2016 and plans to intern there again this upcoming summer.

Reflecting on her previous internship experience with Teach For America, Hoffman said, “It really changed my perspective on things. Growing up I had always wanted to be a teacher and my mom was a teacher for my entire life. I really looked up to my mom and I saw teachers as the most powerful people in the world, which they are, but as I got older I realized they were underpaid and under-appreciated.”

Hoffman, like Lewis, also has reservations regarding DeVos’ administration.

“Under DeVos administration there will be less of a focus on the children who actually need our help, but don’t have the necessary resources,” which Hoffman accredits to DeVos’ lack of experience with public education.

Hoffman, like Lewis, feels fueled by DeVos’ confirmation and it has further incited her desire to be involved in education.

“DeVos’ appointment has definitely made me come to terms with the fact that I need to do this (Teach For America) because focusing on education and educational equity has become very important to me,” Hoffman said.

Lewis highlighted one of the biggest takeaways from this past week for those involved in public education.

“I think that educators are beginning to realize that the future could be a scary thing. But I’m not scared to go into a field that is facing a lot of uncertainty and fight for the kids that need to know that they have opportunities out there,” Lewis said.



Emily Hoffman (in-person interview)

(530) 852-1544


Dylan Lewis (in-person interview)

(662) 296-8515



Teach For America (aggregated sources & press release)





What Works Assignment #3

For this week’s What Works Assignment, I decided to focus on news outside of the US and went to the New York Time’s website to search for a story under the “World” tab. When scrolling through several stories, I stumbled across a headline that really caught my attention due to the recent controversy surrounding immigration. The story was titled “Migrating North, but to Mexico, Not the U.S.”, which was shocking because immigration usually only discusses hispanic immigrants coming to the U.S., not migrating to another country. I think that the headline itself, speaks to the idea that the U.S. tends to view itself as the “end all, be all” as far as immigration destinations, but for some hispanic countries, Mexico has become a more plausible option.

This story is more of a soft news story, which can be easily seen through the narrative lead that is used. The article opens with a woman named Wendy and her family, whom are migrating from Honduras to Mexico in order to flee the crime and harsh gang life. I think the lead worked because it made me want to know more about Wendy and why she is so relevant. I was pulled into the story by the lead and the nut graph gave Wendy’s story background  and context. The nut graph was located in the fourth paragraph and showed that the larger context of the story is that immigrants are beginning to lean more towards migrating to Mexico as opposed the U.S., despite popular belief.

The story was backed up by three sources, including an immigrant from Honduras, a lawyer at Casa del Migrante, and the Mexico representative for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These sources were effective in telling each side of the story as both the sides of Mexico and the immigrants was told. What worked about these sources was that they weren’t the absolute highest governing officials, but instead the second or third official that provided the story with new perspectives.

I thought this story really worked and I could tell that the writer spent a lot of time constructing this story, but I would have also liked to see this story turned into a feature by focusing more on Wendy’s family. I felt that Wendy was supposed to be a lot more important because she started off the whole article, but she wasn’t really mentioned nor focused on. So I would’ve left Wendy out of the article and saved her own personal immigration story for a feature or a series.

What Works Assignment #2

This week I was feeling a little more political and thought I would challenge myself to find an article that didn’t criticize President Trump, although I love watching the media’s war on Trump most of the time. I tend to use CNN for the most part and really prefer to read feature stories over hard news, which is how I came across the article, “Trump gives America’s ‘poorest white town’ hope”. It’s a little crazy to see the word “hope” associated with Trump during today’s current economic strife, so this story was shocking to me in a sense.

Right from the beginning, I noticed that this article was SEO friendly by the use of Trump in the headline and the links to aggregated sources ghout. I also argue that anytime Trump’s name is used in a headline, the story immediately becomes SEO friendly. However, this story is more of a feature and less hard news, which is why it didn’t show up when I was first looking for a story about the President.

For me, this story really worked and was easy to read, yet informative. The journalist had divided the article into several sub-sections, which were designated by sub-heads. What really worked for this article, is that every section introduced you to a knew character that added depth to the story and the journalist wrote in such a way that made these people relatable to the reader. Despite the article being so personable, I felt that the lead was weak and almost none existent. I wasn’t drawn into the story as I was hoping, but I was drawn in by the use of multimedia on the website and the links to aggregated sources throughout. In my opinion, I tend to not like when a story, both news or feature, starts off with a quote because I like to have background on the person who is being quoted so that I can picture that person in my mind and relate to them.

Another thing that worked for me was the use of many sources throughout each section. In total, the write used atleast seven sources and was able to integrate each throughout and relate each section back to another. I could really tell that amount of work the writer put into this story and the dedication to making sure that each person’s story or point of view was told effectively. Yet one thing that didn’t work was the lack of a set nut graph. The whole first section, titled “Donald Trump is already a hero to most in eastern Kentucky”, is basically one big nut graph. I found that if you take out the quotes, the sentences in between would make a fairly decent nut graph. So in this case, I suppose the nut graph is spaced out, but I was still able to grasp what the story would be about.

The larger context, as pointed out in the scattered nut graph, is that Trump is the perfect ticket for small towns that are highly dependent upon jobs and natural resource industries. Many residents of Beattyville, KY find Trump appealing to his “no bullshit” attitude and ability to bring jobs to the region that was distinguished as the “poorest white town”.

If I were writing this story I would’ve given it a better lead because it deserved something better to draw the reader in and hear the stories of these people. When dealing with an emotion-tugging story I feel like a delayed lead would be ideal and would set the tone of the story better than a quote from a character the reader doesn’t know yet. Also, I would’ve turned the story into a series because I felt myself, as the reader, wanting to know more about these individual people. However, because there were so many sources, I found myself getting characters confused and being unable to keep the story straight. Overall, I thought this story worked because I could tell the amount of time and effort the writer put into the story, but I wish the author would’ve spent more time on the lead and perhaps broken-up the story to give each character their own space to share their views.