Policies at CC that strictly prohibit the possession and use of weapons on campus are rarely questioned, and are more often misunderstood. There are no exceptions for anyone but police, and the need for such a strict policy is outlined in the policy itself. The Pathfinder warns of “potential for personal injury, theft, unauthorized use of such items, and disruptive impact on the campus community.”
In his first year at CC, Director of Campus Safety, Pat Cunningham, has not yet seen this policy enforced.
“One caution I’d have for students on any campus is to be aware that some items they might not initially think of as being included under this policy can be both hazardous and illegal,” Cunningham said.
The policy “includes but is not limited to firearms, ammunition, pellet guns, air guns, paintball guns, stun guns/tasers, smoke devices, bows/arrows, swords, large knives, explosives, and fireworks.”
Cunningham warned of students at other schools who did not realize the potential danger of homemade explosives and never imagined they were committing a serious criminal offense.
“This issue is typically one of education rather than enforcement,” Cunningham said.
It is important for students and parents to understand the policy in the Pathfinder, and to ask questions if it is not clear enough. The weapons question that Campus Safety hears most often is whether there is a place to store a weapon on campus. There is not a place for weapon storage at CC, as transport to and from storage would be inherently problematic.
“The key is always effective communication – making sure students, faculty, and staff know and understand the policy, are comfortable reporting any concerns that arise, and are familiar with the preparedness plan,” Cunningham said.
This policy is very inclusive and strict, as is standard for most higher-education institutions. Emergency preparedness strategies are essential to most college safety plans as well. CC has awareness placards in each building, in addition to emergency preparedness guides online. The only way to strengthen the gun control policy is to ensure that the message is clearly communicated to everyone on campus.
An important clause to the policy states that any threat indicative of a weapon or explosive will be taken as seriously as the existence of an actual weapon. This extends the severity of the policy, as it is clear that weapon control is not something to be taken lightly on campus.