St. Cloud State bans smoking in dorms
ST. CLOUD -- Next fall, Jeff Foster won't be allowed to smoke in his dormitory room at St. Cloud State University.
The school will ban smoking in all of its residence halls starting with fall semester, as will Minnesota State University, Mankato. Minnesota State University Moorhead is making the change this summer.
On top of that, the rest of the St. Cloud State community and any visitors to campus will have to comply with new campus-wide curbs on smoking that take effect this fall, which will restrict smoking outdoors to designated areas, said Steve Ludwig, interim vice president for administrative affairs.
``It will (make) entrances available to people who don't want to go through an atmosphere of smoke when they enter a building,'' Ludwig said.
Smoke is easily drawn into buildings from outdoor places where people tend gather to smoke, such as near air intakes or building entrances, Ludwig said. ``We want to keep those areas nonsmoking,'' he said.
Although the change takes effect this fall, the specifics haven't been determined, Ludwig said.
Currently, St. Cloud State doesn't restrict smoking outdoors. Most buildings on campus are smoke-free. One room in the student union is designated for smoking and has its own air handling system, Ludwig said. Two residence halls are smoke-free and the other five have designated floors or rooms where smoking is allowed.
Foster lives on a floor where smoking is allowed. His roommate, Brian Hughes, doesn't smoke.
``I dislike (the ban),'' Foster said. ``It's cold in the winter. I'd rather stay here (and smoke).''
Sharing a room with a smoker doesn't bother Hughes too much.
``We keep the door and window open, and we have a fan going,'' Foster said.
But other smokers don't mind the change.
``I thought a smoking room would be cool, but the smell lingers a lot,'' said Josh Wendorf, a freshman smoker who lives on a floor where smoking is allowed but who supports the ban. ``There's also a lot of people coming up here and secondhand smoke is an issue. It's not a good place to live.''
Laura Miller, a freshman, said she enjoys the convenience of smoking in her bedroom, but it also leads her to smoke more.
``All our stuff reeks of smoke, but we're adults and should be treated like adults,'' Miller said. ``We're paying to stay here.''
Almost 3,000 of the university's 15,000 students live in the seven residence halls, said Mike Hayman, director of the residential life office. While smoking floors will be eliminated, he said, officials will look with students at the possibility of designating a couple areas for smoking.
More effective air handling systems could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per room or lounge area, Ludwig said.
And it's still unknown whether it is feasible to fit each residence hall with new ventilation systems, Hayman said.
St. Cloud State and the schools in Mankato and Moorhead are part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. MnSCU spokeswoman Nancy Conner said the three schools apparently decided to enact their bans independently of each other.
Among other schools in the MsSCU system with student housing, Winona State has not allowed smoking in its dorms for some time, Conner said, and this winter prohibited smoking within 25 feet of buildings. Bemidji State and Southwest State both offer a mix of areas with smoking and nonsmoking rooms, she said.
In the separate University of Minnesota system, smoking was banned in all residence halls on the Twin Cities campus starting last fall, and smoking outside them was restricted to designated areas away from entrances and rooms. Smoking is not allowed in any buildings on the Duluth campus, including its residence halls. Smoking is allowed in some student housing on the Morris campus. The Crookston campus currently allows smoking in students' rooms, but not in common areas. Crookston campus officials on Wednesday will review a survey on the issue and may make changes for next fall, said Gary Willhite, director of residential life.