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Smoking in Yard Dorms Banned

By Andrew S. Chang

The Freshman Dean's office (FDO) has a message for members of the class of 2001 who may want to smoke in their first-year dorm rooms: take it elsewhere.

The new policy makes all areas in first-year dorms smoke-free starting next year. The regulation also applies to suites occupied by proctors and assistant deans of first-years.

Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth S. Nathans cited student complaints about second-hand smoke inhalation by non-smokers as the major reason for the FDO's decision. She also said requests for smoking rooms from incoming first-years have been on the decline ion recent years.

"There have been fewer than a dozen [students who indicate that they smoke on their rooming applications] for the last several years," she said.

In previous years, students were asked on the rooming application whether they smoke, and if they do not, whether they object to rooming with someone who does. Students had been permitted to smoke in private rooms and suites as long as it does not bother others.

Straus Hall proctor Kyriel K. Muhammad, who said he believes he is the only proctor who smokes, said the new policy will be "an inconvenience."

"I suppose I'll be smoking out-side," said Muhammad, who will begin his third year as a proctor next fall.

Muhammad said he was particularly annoyed by an addendum to the rule that bans smoking within 100 feet of any University building.

"[The rule] will be very difficult to enforce," he said. "People just walking through the Yard won't know about it."

Muhammad also said he believes application forms underreport the true number of first-years who smoke.

"The housing forms are filled out when the students are high school seniors," he said. "I think there are a great number of students who smoke who aren't willing to admit it on their housing forms."

Harvard Summer School has banned smoking inside Yard dorms, classrooms and other buildings for the past several years.

But the Summer School banned smoking everywhere in the Yard last summer after complaints about smokers littering the Yard with cigarette butts.

Nathans said she does not expect littering to be a problem.

"If it does [become a problem], we have a weekly meeting with Facilities Maintenance Operations, and the issue will be addressed," she said.

Muhammad said he believes littering could be a problem, but he expects most smokers to be good citizens.

"A lot of students who are smokers are pretty conscientious about it," he said.

Vincent G. Levy '00, who said that he smokes regularly, said he and other Straus Hall residents put an empty flower pot next to the stairs to their entryway to serve as an ashtray after people complained about cigarette butts on the steps.

Levy said that maintenance workers cooperated and emptied the flower pot often.

He also suggested that the College should provide ashtrays outside Yard buildings, such as the one outside of Loker. Commons.

A. Maximo Cuellar '00, who said he is an avid cigar smoker, said he believes that Harvard should provide alternative indoor locations where students can smoke.

"It would be nice if there are places inside where we could smoke, especially in the winter months," he said.

Incoming first-years will be notified of the smoking ban in the acceptance packets that the FDO will mail early this month.

Current proctors were notified of the decision last month, and new proctors will be reminded of the new policy as they are selected

"The housing forms are filled out when the students are high school seniors," he said. "I think there are a great number of students who smoke who aren't willing to admit it on their housing forms."

Harvard Summer School has banned smoking inside Yard dorms, classrooms and other buildings for the past several years.

But the Summer School banned smoking everywhere in the Yard last summer after complaints about smokers littering the Yard with cigarette butts.

Nathans said she does not expect littering to be a problem.

"If it does [become a problem], we have a weekly meeting with Facilities Maintenance Operations, and the issue will be addressed," she said.

Muhammad said he believes littering could be a problem, but he expects most smokers to be good citizens.

"A lot of students who are smokers are pretty conscientious about it," he said.

Vincent G. Levy '00, who said that he smokes regularly, said he and other Straus Hall residents put an empty flower pot next to the stairs to their entryway to serve as an ashtray after people complained about cigarette butts on the steps.

Levy said that maintenance workers cooperated and emptied the flower pot often.

He also suggested that the College should provide ashtrays outside Yard buildings, such as the one outside of Loker. Commons.

A. Maximo Cuellar '00, who said he is an avid cigar smoker, said he believes that Harvard should provide alternative indoor locations where students can smoke.

"It would be nice if there are places inside where we could smoke, especially in the winter months," he said.

Incoming first-years will be notified of the smoking ban in the acceptance packets that the FDO will mail early this month.

Current proctors were notified of the decision last month, and new proctors will be reminded of the new policy as they are selected

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