MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State University police officers have started ticketing students for littering at what’s become a busy off-campus smoking spot.
The university banned smoking on the Muncie campus this summer, which has sent smokers looking for nearby spots where they can light up. One place is along a city street on the western edge of campus about a block from the College of Architecture and Planning building.
Residents have complained about people trespassing on private property, being loud and standing on the narrow street without sidewalks, Ball State spokeswoman Joan Todd told The Star Press (http://tspne.ws/15xbiQd).
“People congregating in that area creates a hazard – a potential vehicle-pedestrian accident or a pile up with traffic coming to a stop to avoid hitting people standing along the roadway,” Todd said.
Officers on regular patrols have written at least three tickets after seeing cigarette butts get tossed and groundskeepers pick up cigarette butts and other trash in the area daily, she said.
Ball State banned smoking from all buildings in 1998, and extended that ban to within 30 feet of building entrances in 2004. University officials estimated last spring about 15 percent of its 18,000 students and 24 percent of its employees are smokers.
A “no trespassing” sign posted on a tree stump near the street-side gathering spot says, “Smoking is not Permissible.”
“Basically, they transferred all the litter and everything here,” student smoker Chris Cutting said. “They set up trash cans for it, but at the same time that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to use them.”
Kevin Krauter said many student smokers also go to The Village business area near campus, where smoking is allowed in at some outdoor seating areas.