Dear incoming freshman,

Welcome to the College of Charleston! We are so excited that you have chosen our beautiful, historic campus as the next stop on your journey of learning.

We hope that the following four years (or five, six, even seven - there's no hurry) will be a pleasant and rewarding experience.

A college education is what you make of it, and you will be responsible for getting to class and doing the assigned work. Many of you are living on your own for the first time, and you will be happy to know that, at the College of Charleston, you will not be treated like a baby.

Congratulations, you are now an adult.

Please note that the college has recently enacted a smoking ban, which means that you are no longer allowed to smoke inside or outside of any building on campus (that includes dorms!).

Frankly, it's a shame for non-smokers to have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to biology class; it inhibits their ability to smell the fragrant aroma of formaldehyde.

Only about 13 percent of students at the College of Charleston smoke regularly. Even though that is about 10 times as many students who actually protested the hiring of our new president, we didn't think the opinion of "smokers" mattered as much as those who subscribe to a more liberal way of thinking.

Yes, liberal politics and restricting the rights of others may not seem to jibe, but that's something you'll figure out in your philosophy and political science classes! That's why it's called higher learning.

We take the health of our campus very seriously. We may ask the city to also ban smoking on the sidewalks, and they will surely comply - they've done it just about everywhere else downtown.

But since you are an adult - with rights! - please know that it is still OK to smoke, if you absolutely must, so long as you do it in your car. With the windows rolled up.

And keep a blanket over your head. For goodness sakes, don't let anyone see.

While we are on the subject, there are a few other things of which you should be aware.

As an urban campus, we must be mindful of our neighbors. Even if you live in a private residence miles away, please refrain from loud music and parties. Our neighbors tend to frown upon mid-week block parties at 3 a.m. Even though many of you won't shake a stick at work for years, some people have to get up in the mornings around here.

The city asks that you also refrain from riding your bicycles, skateboards or Big Wheels on the sidewalk. Always ride with the traffic, but don't get in the way of cars - there are people trying to get to cruise ships, and you don't want to slow them down.

Oh, and please feel free to soak up Charleston's wonderful history and culture. It's one of those things that makes an educational experience at the College so great. But if you get a part-time job as a rickshaw driver, please do not share your new knowledge of local history. We have laws against unauthorized tour guiding here.

Also, our state legislators ask that you do not look at porn, even if some wayward professor with delusions of academic freedom assigns you some smut like "Fun Home."

No level of maturity will ever prepare you for the shock of being exposed to line drawings of bare breasts.

Finally, the city would prefer you not frequent bars or be out roaming the streets after midnight. It's best to just "go to bed" - preferably alone. Just because bars stay open until 2 a.m. that doesn't mean you have to go to them (you can't smoke there, either).

We know this won't be a problem, as many of you will have early classes and don't want to be late!

These stipulations may seem at odds with being an adult, but everyone has rules and the College of Charleston just wants to ensure your health and safety.

To that end, please know that in South Carolina you are permitted to carry a gun darn near anywhere. We wouldn't want to take away your rights as adults!


The College of Charleston administration

Reach Brian Hicks at