In the final weeks of the semester before Ball State's strict new smoking policy goes into effect, campus police are proving they'll enforce the rules.
A University Police Department officer was dispatched to Bracken Library this afternoon on a report of people lighting up in a nonsmoking area.
The officer went to the south side of the building, at the bottom of the Bracken steps near the back of Emens Auditorium, where at least three people were smoking.
One male student received a $50 citation. The man declined to give his name but said two other female students were smoking nearby but were not ticketed.
The two women said they disagreed with even the current policy, which allows smoking in designated areas on campus.
"I'm trying to quit smoking," said one of the women. "But that's no easy feat.
"What if you have a stressful day, one of your professors gets on your nerves, and you really need a smoke?"
The officer declined to be interviewed, referring questions to her supervisors. But in response to a question from a student about the smoking policy, she said police were under orders to enforce the regulations.
"We've been getting complaints about this for a long time," she said. "We've been told to write as many citations as we can."
The Board of Trustees is considering a proposal to ban all tobacco use on campus, effective Aug. 1.
School officials say the ban would help lower health care costs. A 2007 campus survey found that two-thirds of students and faculty would prefer a smoke-free campus.
About 16 percent of students and 24 percent of staff are smokers, the school has said.