Procedure 118: Smudging and Pipe Ceremonies

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University Procedure #118

Section 1. Purpose

Metropolitan State University is committed to diversity, inclusion, and creating an open and respectful campus climate for all. The University recognizes tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar as traditional American Indian medicines and essential elements of purification and sacred ceremony.

Students, faculty, staff, elders and cultural teachers all of whom are members of an American Indian tribe are free to use tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar to conduct individual or group traditional practices including but not limited to Opening/Closing prayers, Individual or Group Smudging, Feasts, Pipe Ceremonies, Pow Wows, and Drumming/Singing.

This procedure is meant to provide direction to the University community in engaging in these traditions while respecting everyone on campus.

Section 2. Authority

This procedure is established in accordance with Minnesota’s Clean Air Act (Minnesota Statutes 1997, §144.4167 and §144.4165), the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), and Metropolitan State University Policy #1070

Section 3.  Effective Date

This procedure shall become effective upon signature by the president.

Section 4. Responsibility

The support of diversity and this procedure is a shared responsibility at all levels of the University.  The responsibility for implementing this procedure is assigned to the Associate Vice President for Facilities Management.

Section 5. Procedure

Metropolitan State University is committed to creating an inclusive, open, and respectful campus climate for our diverse community members and guests. There are many types or forms of ceremony: individual; as part of engagement with Indigenous pedagogies in a classroom; and for community engagement.   Notification requirements to the Director of Facilities vary and are based upon the size of the space in which the use of tobacco, sage, sweetgrass or cedar takes place.  It is assumed that very small quantities are used for individual offices or workstations while a larger amount is used in classrooms with the largest amount in event spaces.  Guidance on process, preapproved locations, and notifications is provided below:

5.A.  Locations and Notifications

Pre-Approved Event Spaces:  The following indoor event spaces have been pre-evaluated and are approved for smudging or pipe ceremonies given three (3) business days prior notice to Facilities:

  • New Main, Great Hall. Saint Paul Campus
  • Founders Hall Reception Area and Auditorium. Saint Paul Campus
  • Library Ecolab (Room 302). Saint Paul Campus
  • Educated Palate, New Main Lower Level, Saint Paul Campus

To conduct smudging or pipe ceremonies in these locations, the event sponsors shall:

  • Reserve the event space through the Educational Services and Special Events office.
  • Specify in event advertising and publicity that the event will include the intention to use tobacco, sage, sweetgrass or cedar
  • Notify the campus by sending an email at least 24 hours in advance, noting the building, specific area and time.

Outdoor Spaces:  Smudging/pipe ceremonies are permitted in all outdoor spaces on campus.  Events hosted on the campus grounds must be registered and approved through the Educational Services and Special Events office, including notice that the event may include the use of tobacco, sage, sweetgrass or cedar.

Individual Office and Work Spaces:  An American Indian member of the University community may conduct smudging in an individual office or work space without prior approval provided that he/she:

  • Posts a notice on the door(s) of offices or office suites 24 hours in advance.
  • Makes sure doors are closed.
  • Notifies occupants of neighboring offices or classrooms.

Classrooms and Meeting Rooms:   An American Indian member of the University community who plans to conduct smudging or pipe ceremony in a classroom or meeting room shall:

  • Ensure the room is reserved through the Educational Services and Special Events office.
  • Inform participants/meeting attendees of the intention to use tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and/or cedar in the space.
  • Post notices on the door(s).
  • Make sure door(s) is (are) closed.
  • Provide notice to neighboring classrooms and other spaces.
  • Provide the Director of Facilities and the Director of Educational Services and Special Events with six (6) business days’ notice. 

Upon receiving notice, the Director of Facilities and the Educational Services and Special Events Director shall:

  • Evaluate the fire and ventilation systems in the requested space.
  • Inform Campus Security and other relevant support staff.

In addition, if the smudging or pipe ceremony is part of an official course presentation:

  • The date of the ceremony must be indicated in the syllabus, distributed at the beginning of the semester, or
  •  In the event the smudging or pipe ceremony is added to the course after the start of the term, students must receive at least two weeks’ advance notice of the event.
  • In either case, students who claim physical sensitivities to smoke or scent will be allowed to make alternate arrangements with the instructor for course participation.

Other Spaces: All other spaces must be evaluated for approval at least six (6) business days in advance of the event by the Facilities Director. 

5.B  Other Considerations:

Facilities will work with the organizers to ensure fire alarm issues will not disrupt the  possible; however, it is possible that some building occupants may smell the smoke or odor from the lighted tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar

Technical support for smudging ceremonies is a core Facilities service; no financial charges will apply during normal building services hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm).  However, large gatherings during evening or weekend hours may require additional staffing that would be charged back to the organizing group as is the case with other campus events; the Educational Services and Special Events Director will determine whether such additional will apply.

Section 6. Review

This procedure shall be reviewed every five (5) years or as needed.

Section 7. Signature

Issued on this date:    June 18, 2014

 

Sue K. Hammersmith, President