Dunster Officials Ban Smoking

Students May No Longer Light Up in House Dining Hall

The last refuge of mealtime smokers went up in smoke yesterday when Dunster House officials informed students that their practice was banned, effective today.

The decision, which was announced in a letter from Dunster Masters Karel and Hetty Liem and Senior Tutor Henriette L. Power, prompted objections by some house residents, who argued that student input should have been sought on the subject.

Dunster was the only remaining undergraduate house to maintain a smoking area in its dining hall.

The letter, which was delivered to house residents yesterday, listed the discomfort caused to non-smokers and the hazards of secondary smoke as reasons for the ban.

It also cited a 1987 Cambridge City Council ordinance that defined smoking as "a public nuisance and a hazard to public health" and prohibited smoking in public places.


Dunster resident Sam G. Summerlin '95 smoked a cigar last night in the dining hall to protest the ban.

"I don't smoke, but this is a little drastic. [Students] never heard any thing until after they made the deci- sion," said Summerlin.

Jonathan E. Schrag '92-'93, also a resident ofDunster, said he objects to the ruling because ofthe way the issue was decided.

"They said they were doing it in the bestinterest of students, but frankly that's apaternalistic attitude which is inappropriate fora community of adults," Schrag said.

Several students angered by the decisionconfronted Power, the senior tutor, at the DunsterHouse Committee meeting late last night.

"The decision was made completely withoutregard to how we felt," said Olivia D. Williams'93.

While acknowledging that a discussion beforethe ban might have been preferable, Power said shestood by the original decision.

"We're talking about something that issomebody's choice, and there's no question butthat choice hurts the other people sitting in thatroom breathing that air," she said.

Carol A. Finn, assistant to the Dunstermasters, said that the Liems and Power made thedecision after receiving complaints about smoke inthe dining hall. "The problem is that there was noway of segregating that area, and everyone has towalk through the smoking area," Finn said.

The Liems could not be reached for commentyesterday.

House resident T. Cage Hall '95 said thatthough he believes students should have beenconsulted prior to the decision, he agrees withthe ban