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NDSU group endorses smoking policy

FARGO -- A proposed smoking policy at North Dakota State University is now in the hands of the president. NDSU's student government endorsed Sunday night a new policy that would prohibit smoking within 50 feet of doorways. The group rejected the ...

FARGO -- A proposed smoking policy at North Dakota State University is now in the hands of the president.

NDSU's student government endorsed Sunday night a new policy that would prohibit smoking within 50 feet of doorways.

The group rejected the policy two weeks ago, but senators brought it back for reconsideration.

Student senators emphasized in their motion that they want the new policy to be advertised on campus and they want it to be enforced.

NDSU's university senate and staff senate also have approved the policy.

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President Joseph Chapman will make the final decision based on those recommendations.

A committee would discuss when the new policy would take effect.

Josh Reimnitz, student body president, said possible dates would be July 1 or the beginning of fall semester.

Support for the smoking policy was split, although the student government did not take a roll call vote to determine how many voted against it. NDSU student senator Wyatt Brossart said he opposes the smoking policy because it is unenforceable and it violates the rights of smokers.

Others raised questions about how students would determine a distance of 50 feet.

Student senator Joe Heilman said the purpose of the 50-foot rule is to make it clear to people that smoking is absolutely not tolerated near doors and entrances.

A more restrictive smoking ban may be put to a student vote this spring. Some student senators are drafting legislation to ask students in the April election if they'd support a campuswide tobacco ban, Reimnitz said.

The results of that vote would be advisory and would not set a policy, he said.

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A campuswide smoking ban at Minnesota State University Moorhead started in January. It prohibits smoking and use of chewing tobacco on university property, including outdoor areas.

A similar policy took effect at the University of North Dakota last fall.

Concordia College prohibits smoking within 20 feet of buildings.

The new Moorhead facility of Rasmussen College opened this spring as a smoke-free campus.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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