HARRISBURG - Smokers fuming over a three-month-old outdoor campus smoking ban at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities may soon get a reprieve.

Administrators at the State System of Higher Education are proposing to relax parts of the ban after recent discussions with three employee unions that have opposed it, system spokesman Kenn Marshall said Wednesday. The proposal would let employees smoke inside their cars with the windows up and permit smoking on sidewalks along public roads that pass through the campuses, Marshall said.

Kevin Kodish, a spokesman for the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, said the union was in "confidential talks" with the system about the outdoor smoking ban. If the discussions yield no resolution, the union will go ahead with a Dec. 23 unfair labor practice hearing before the state Labor Relations Board, Kodish said.

- AP