EOUís clear-cut weapons policy

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 20, 2013 10:14 am


La Grande school does not allow guns in university-owned student housing

Weapons policies at universities and colleges throughout the United States, including Eastern Oregon University, are getting a second look after a recent incident at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.


Two Gonzaga students were recently disciplined after pointing a pistol at a man they suspected of attempting to force his way into their school-owned housing earlier this month. The students, who succeeded in scaring the burglar away, were disciplined because the university’s weapons policy prohibits firearms in Gonzaga-owned housing. The students will be on university probation for the remainder of their time at Gonzaga. 

EOU also has off-campus housing at its Eocene Court on 12th Street. Firearms are not allowed in Eocene Court, said Colleen Dunne-Cascio, director of student relations for Eastern. Eocene Court provides student family housing. 

Firearms are also prohibited in residence halls and throughout the EOU campus. Any student caught with a firearm in university-owned housing or on campus will face disciplinary measures.

“One of our chief responsibilities is the safety and security of all students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus. We have policies and procedures which reflect that,” said EOU President Bob Davies.

The policies and procedures also accommodate the needs of students living in residence halls or the Eocene Court who have firearms, Davies said. Students are able to store them at a secured facility on the EOU campus. The guns are secured with three locks, their triggering mechanism is locked, the locker they are stored in is locked as is the door to storage facility, Dunne-Cascio said.

This storage option is available to accommodate the needs of the significant number of EOU students who are hunters, Davies said.

The president said it is important that the needs of these students are respected because Eastern has many students who are drawn to this area because they enjoy hunting and other outdoor activities.


A clause in the Oregon University System’s weapons policy, which took effect in 2011, permits all OUS universities to allow students to store weapons on campuses in secure facilities. Davies said Eastern pushed to have this clause included in the OUS weapons policy when it was being formulated.

“We specifically discussed putting this language in,” Davies said.

Members of the State Board of Higher Education were receptive to Eastern’s recommendation.

“They were realistic and responsive to our situation,” he said.

Gonzaga University announced shortly after the episode that it would re-examine its weapons policy after public outcry over the incident.

Seniors Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh were found in violation of the school’s policy prohibiting weapons in university-owned housing following the Oct. 24 incident.

University security guards confiscated Daniel McIntosh’s 10-mm Glock pistol after the incident, as well as a hunting shotgun belonging to Erik Fagan. The incident opened the door to “thoughtful evaluation” of the policy, Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said in a statement.

Vice President for Student Development Judi Biggs Garbuio will work with the Gonzaga Student Body Association and the Residence Hall Association to “facilitate a campus dialogue,” McCulloh said.

In the meantime, McCulloh added, GU’s Student Handbook and its Code of Conduct will remain in effect for all Gonzaga students.