In what may go down as one of the most egregious communication errors in UNL’s history, Chancellor Ronnie Green accidentally told university officials to write “tobacco-free” instead of “free tobacco” on signs all across campus.
The mistake has gone even further as the artists making signs and posters took the “tobacco-free” message to heart, with images of cigarettes and vape pens with slashes through them when there was supposed to be smiling star stickers and two thumbs up.
The public controversy started when a few students were walking back from labs late Wednesday night and noticed huge industrial-sized Marlboro boxes labeled “cigs for the kiddos” being loaded into the Nebraska Union. Word quickly spread of the incident and forced Chancellor Green to make an official statement the next morning.
“I had no idea people thought this was a movement to get tobacco off campus, I thought the signs were perfectly clear!” Green exclaimed. “I was just trying to improve campus morale after the historically bad football season we had.”
Campus confusion and anger has been high as students and faculty alike have learned of Chancellor Green’s untimely correction of the error. On the whole, the university population had been behind the idea of a tobacco-free campus, but now some students aren’t so sure.
Chad Bremmer, an undeclared freshman from Milwaukee, said, “I told my parents I would never smoke when I came to college, but heck, free shit is free shit.”
Now the university may never know what a “free tobacco” campus would look like. A public outcry from parents across the nation has arisen, decrying that Green was essentially going to give the entire student body lung cancer. The chances of the free tobacco dream are faded and clouded at best.
Anonymous sources from inside the office of the Chancellor have reported that Green has taken this particular embarrassment very personally, smoking the 26,079 Marlboro packs (worth around $200,000, 1% of the overall budget cuts) he bought for the students all himself.