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Gonzaga students draw gun on intruder, face expulsion

Two Gonzaga University students face expulsion after they used a gun to scare an intruder from their off-campus housing unit.

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SPOKANE — Gonzaga University will review whether or not to allow permitted weapons in off-campus housing after two students faced disciplinary action for using a gun to defend themselves when a burglar broke into their apartment.

Gonzaga’s President Thayne McCulloh said it was in the “best interest” of the university to review weapons policy following a break-in last month.

guyTwo Gonzaga students could be suspended or even expelled after using a handgun to defend themselves from an intruder in their university-owned apartment, an act which the university says violates the school’s weapons policy.

A man tried to break into two student’s apartment, but ran away when he noticed one student had a gun drawn. The man was arrested a short time later. Later in the evening, campus security officers returned to Fagan and McIntosh’s apartment and confiscated a pistol and a shotgun from the apartment.  The students faced a disciplinary hearing for breaking school policy that banned guns, and were found guilty of two infractions, facing suspension or even expulsion.

However, once the students’ story was broadcast on local television, many came to defend the students’ actions. Now, Gonzaga is reviewing policy.

“In light of the specific circumstances reported in the Gonzaga Bulletin and the press, there have been calls for a re-examination of the University’s policies relating to firearms,” McCulloh said. “As a Jesuit institution dedicated to the thoughtful evaluation of complex social issues, I believe this to be an opportunity to do some important work, as a community: to objectively re-examine our firearms policy and openly debate perspectives and contextual issues with an eye towards an honest and open review of the same.”

It was unclear if the students will still face punishment.

Below is the Gonzaga president’s full release:

During the past forty-eight hours, there has been a significant amount of communication regarding a recent neighborhood incident involving two of our students, the institution’s policies as regards possession of firearms in campus housing, and concerns about the University’s response to this incident under its Code of Conduct.  I believe it is in the best interests of our Community to utilize this set of circumstances to address several of the key issues that have arisen.

First, the University takes seriously its responsibilities under its own policies and the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA) to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of our students.  This protection includes their right to privacy as regards disciplinary proceedings and outcomes.  While the specific outcome of the disciplinary hearing that took place yesterday is confidential, it is my understanding that the outcome itself was communicated to the students yesterday afternoon.

A primary obligation of Gonzaga University is to work to ensure the safety and security of its students, faculty, staff and local community.  To this end, Gonzaga hires its own Campus Security and Public Safety officers, who work in close concert with the Spokane Police Department.  It also employs a number of individuals, including students (e.g., Residence Hall Staff) who are designated as responsible for working with students and staff to ensure compliance with University Policies — all of which are published, readily available, and exist to protect the health, safety, and welfare of everyone at the University.

Many of the policies promulgated by Gonzaga University exist either as a function of (a) our Mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university, (b) federal, state, or local regulations, or (c) the need to create framework in response to actual incidents which have occurred at the institution over time.  Gonzaga is very similar to many other schools, colleges and universities around the country which prohibit students’ possession of firearms in campus housing facilities; the overarching objective of these is to minimize the potential for intentional or unintentional harm.

In light of the specific circumstances reported in the Gonzaga Bulletin and the press, there have been calls for a re-examination of the University’s policies relating to firearms.  As a Jesuit institution dedicated to the thoughtful evaluation of complex social issues, I believe this to be an opportunity to do some important work, as a community: to objectively re-examine our firearms policy and openly debate perspectives and contextual issues with an eye towards an honest and open review of the same.  Therefore, I have asked our Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Biggs Garbuio, to work in conjunction with GSBA and RHA to facilitate a campus dialogue focused on this issue.  In the meantime, the Student Handbook and its Code of Conduct are in effect and all students are obligated to know their rights and acknowledge their responsibilities as established within them.

Finally, I do wish to make a point which I believe to be both relevant and important at this time.  Gonzaga University is itself part and parcel of a larger community — which includes the Logan Neighborhood, Mission Park, the University District and Downtown.  A significant number of Gonzaga students live side-by-side with families and long-time residents of these areas.  Just as students have a right to feel safe and secure in their residences, so too do the non-student members of the community — a point which obligates us all to recognize that everything we do affects others.  The families and long-time members of the Logan Neighborhood and Gonzaga University are important partners in the shared goal of working towards a safe living environment for all — one we will continue to work hard at creating, every day.

SPOKANE (CNN) — Two Gonzaga University students could be suspended or even expelled after using a handgun to defend themselves from an intruder in their university-owned apartment, an act which the university says violates the school’s weapons policy.

On the night of October 24, students Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh were in their apartment when there was a knock on the door. Fagan told KXLY in Spokane that he opened the

gonzaga students

Photo courtesy: myfoxspokane.com

door and a stranger, who said he’d just gotten out of jail, asked for $15. Fagan told KXLY he offered the man a blanket and a can of food, but “didn’t feel comfortable” giving the man money because he was a stranger.

“My gut instinct was telling me I wasn’t going to be able to get that door closed before he came through,” Fagan told KXLY.

As the man started coming through the door, Fagan said, he yelled for his roommate, Daniel McIntosh.

McIntosh said he came to the door with his pistol drawn, and the students said the man turned and ran away.

Because the apartments are owned by Gonzaga, both police and campus security responded when Fagan and McIntosh called 911.

According to the Gonzaga’s Executive Vice President Earl Martin, all university housing is patrolled at regular intervals by campus security, though this particular apartment complex isn’t gated and secured key cards or codes aren’t required for entrance.

A short while after the incident, police captured the man, whom they identified as a six-time convicted felon.

At about 2 a.m., campus security officers returned to Fagan and McIntosh’s apartment and confiscated a pistol and a shotgun from the apartment.

Dean Chuang, attorney for Fagan and McIntosh, said the shotgun is owned by Fagan, who uses it to hunt periodically, and it wasn’t used in the incident.

He added that the pistol that was used in the incident belonged to McIntosh, and was a gift to him from his grandfather several years ago. McIntosh has a state-issued permit to carry a concealed handgun, Chuang said. In Washington state, gun owners are not required to register their weapons.

In a disciplinary board hearing on Friday, the board, made up of three faculty members and two students, found Fagan and McIntosh guilty of two infractions — possessing weapons on school grounds and putting others in danger by the use of weapons, according to Chuang.

The students expect to hear later this week what disciplinary action will be taken by the board.

Read more from CNN here.

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