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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published February 09 2010

NDSU to go smoke-free on March 1

North Dakota State University will become a smoke-free campus on March 1.

President Dick Hanson has signed a new smoking policy that was recommended to him by the University Senate.

The new policy prohibits smoking on all university property, including outdoor areas of campus. Smoking is currently banned within 50 feet of buildings.

Students initiated discussion on a new policy last spring when they put the issue to a vote of the students, said student body president Amber Altstadt.

More than 60 percent of students who participated supported a smoking ban.

“We have been advocating for this for quite some time, so we’re all pretty pleased,” Altstadt said.

NDSU’s Staff Senate also supported the policy.

The University Senate, which consists of faculty, staff and students, approved the policy 35-24. Many who opposed it had concerns about how it will be enforced.

Hanson was out of town Monday and unavailable for comment.

In December, Hanson said the policy would need to be self-enforced. Campus police will not be involved with enforcing the policy.

Altstadt said the new policy will change the norm on campus and improve the environment.

“There will never be 100 percent compliance with this, but I think it’s just moving in the right direction to be decreasing smoking and cigarette butts on campus,” Altstadt said.

The policy has exemptions for private companies in the Research and Technology Park, the Northern Crops Institute and Newman Outdoor Field.

Outdoor smoking will be permitted at North Dakota Research and Extension Centers around the state.

Minnesota State University Moorhead implemented a tobacco-free policy in January 2008.

Concordia College prohibits smoking within 20 feet of building entrances.

The Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College restricts smoking to designated areas.

“We just think it would be terribly difficult to enforce a total ban,” said Provost Jerry Migler.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590