‘Redneck Alley’ resents new smoker reputation

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A group of traditional “Redneck Alley” commuters lounge around the alley before class.

Tyler Dunlap

A group of traditional “Redneck Alley” commuters lounge around the alley before class. Photo by Aniqa Rahman
Flannel shirts, big belt buckles, cowboy boots and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes — the throwback John Wayne look.

According to senior Jack Clark, there is a familiar section of parking lot in the North lot (dubbed “Redneck Alley”) where a majority of the “country students” park and hang out.

“Redneck Alley has been known as a place for students to go to smoke cigarettes on campus without chastisement,” senior Wesley Crawford said.

But because the administration usually overlooks the sub culture in the lot, smokers outside of the group have begun to congregate at the spot. Principal Mark Maus said smoking on school property is against the law, and the administration does not approve of it.

“There are other places you can go [to smoke],” Maus said. “We do not want that occurring on campus … but it’s not always our highest priority.”

Crawford said typically, those who gather at Redneck Alley are put into three groups: “The rednecks that just park there and hang out with friends; the rednecks who also smoke; and the majority of people who just come out to light up because they know it’s a safe haven for cigarette smoking.”

Clark said Redneck Alley is more than just a smoking spot. It is important to him because it is a place at school he can comfortably hang out with friends with the same interests.

Students like junior Casey Parker turn their head in disgust at Redneck Alley. Because of the smoke often hovering above the that section of the North parking lot, “country” people undeservedly get poor reputations.

“I hate when I’m in the North Commons, and people ask me if I have a cigarette. I’m like, ‘No, I don’t smoke, for the tenth time,’” he said.

The smoke also offends the old group, Wesley said, as the smokers become lumped into the same category as theirs.

“Not only does this upset the people who get asked to bum a cig,” Wesley said, “but it also upsets the homegrown North Lot population as well for giving ‘Redneck Alley’ a bad image.”

Wesley defends his friends by pointing out that the country group and the out-of-place cigarette smokers share very different values. He resents the smoker presence in Redneck Alley because the smokers don’t share a bond with the others.

“It’s not about where you live. It’s how you’re brought up,” Wesley said. “Your morals and values are what being country is all about.”
By Tyler Dunlap