Keep your nunchucks and butcher knives off campus

Simon Husted

KSU bans certain weapons. Find out what you are allowed to bring to campus.

KSU bans certain weapons

Carrying weapons to keep the bad guys at bay can be a tricky situation on campus.

Crime prevention specialist Alice Ickes of the Kent State Police Department said that although conventional self-defense weapons like pepper spray and pocketknives are allowed on campus, any weapon that’s defined purpose is to inflict life-threatening injuries is banned.

“You don’t need a machete here, you don’t need a bowing knife, you don’t need a six-inch hunters knife,” Ickes said. “Those are the kind of things that’d be a policy violation.”

Ickes added that any weapon firing a projectile, like a BB gun, is also in violation.

“If I’m in fear for my life and I pick up this coffee mug and use it as a weapon, that’s OK,” Ickes said. “But if I have a lethal weapon, I’m in violation of university policy.”

In the instance of a defender using a prohibited weapon, like a Taser, Ickes said the defender would likely be referred to Judicial Affairs.

Prohibited weapons are confiscated and brought to the Kent State Police Department, she said. From there, they are either sent back home or kept at the department until the student leaves campus.

Judicial Affairs may also get involved when suspicious weapons like handguns are found in residence halls, said Brian Hellwig, security manager of Residence Services. However, he said most citations for weapon violations in residence halls usually lead to a meeting with the resident’s Residence Hall Director.

“It’s more of an educational type of meeting,” Hellwig said. “Most of the time it’s just miscommunication with an international student or a student new to the university.”

Ickes said the existing initiatives informing students of banned weapons are in no need of adjustment.

“They do a pretty good job with that already because it’s present in the residence hall manual,” Ickes said, adding that the information is also included in the new orientation program for incoming freshmen, Destination Kent State. “Plus, Kent State is still a school, and I think it’s pretty commonly known that schools are ‘no-weapon zones.’”

Students’ perception of what’s banned on campus varies as well. Residence hall residents disagree, however, if more should be done to promote awareness of the policy.

Elizabeth Henderson, freshman health sciences major and resident of Olson Hall, said the banned weapons should be obvious enough to students. She added that the university, police department and Residence Services shouldn’t need to inform students more than what they already do.

“It’s not the police responsibility to tell you not to carry a meat cleaver around your belt,” Henderson said.

Daniel Gardner, freshman geology major and resident of Fletcher Hall, said resident advisers should try to include weapons when they go over banned appliances and drug and alcohol policies. He also suggested placing informational fliers around residence halls.

“They’ve talked about drugs and alcohol before, but nothing about weapons,” he said.

Another concern of carrying weapons is the risk of the offender turning it on you, Ickes said.

“You have to remember,” she said. “If you pull out your pepper spray and you plan to spray the bad guy but he gets it and sprays you — you’ve endangered yourself more.”

Not only have weapons been turned against defenders, Ickes said, but police have also experienced the same turnaround.

“We just want people to kind of think it through — think of all aspects of it — not just, ‘Hey, I will buy this and I will be more safe than I used to be.’”

Contact safety reporter Simon Husted at [email protected].