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Smoking ban fails

A resolution that would have banned tobacco on all North Dakota state university campuses failed to get a second motion at the State Board of Higher Education meeting held Thursday in Bismarck.

The decision as to whether or not all tobacco, including smokeless, would be banned from college campuses should be left up to individual campuses the board determined.

"I think there was a very good discussion," said board member and Dickinson resident Pam Kostelecky. "Some of the board members felt it should be up to the individual institution to make up the policy. There was also discussion about health issues, so it was a very thorough discussion."

The nine-member board sets policy for all the universities in the North Dakota University System.

William Goetz, chancellor of the NDUS, said campuses have been addressing the issue for some time already and he believes it will work itself out in time.

"Much of this issue has been student generated, it's a health issue and as a society we're moving more and more into the direction towards this concern relative to the use of tobacco products," Goetz said. "I think campuses will pretty much take care of this on their own."

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and Minot State University each have tobacco bans currently in place and other universities have considered them in the past.

Haylee Cripe, a UND student and student representative on the higher board of education, said she personally likes the ban on her campus but understands how it is an emotional topic.

"I know there are a lot of students that enjoy it and I think there are some students that see it more as a violation of their rights. So you have to tread lightly with that," Cripe said.

"Like Williston has its own niche in the system and they have a different environment than say NDSU does."

Hal Haynes, the Vice President of Student Development at Dickinson State University, said DSU's Student Senate considered a campus-wide ban in 2007, but determined they should see what the NDUS decided.

Haynes said DSU has a smoking ban in all of its campus buildings and added he supported the resolution in concept in an interview prior to the board's Thursday meeting.

"In the interest of student health and community health and safety I'm a staunch supporter of this move," Haynes said. "I think going tobacco free is indeed in the right direction towards ensuring an environment that is conducive to learning without compromising anyone's health."

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