Gonzaga University to rethink stance on student gun ownership
In the wake of public outcry over two Gonzaga University students facing expulsion after they chased an aggressive intruder from their home at gunpoint, the university announced Saturday that it will re-examine its weapons policy.
Seniors Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh face suspension and possible expulsion after they were found in violation of the school’s policy prohibiting weapons in university-owned housing. McIntosh chased a man demanding money from the doorstep of their Logan Neighborhood apartment Oct. 24.
University security guards confiscated McIntosh’s 10 mm Glock pistol after the incident, as well as a hunting shotgun belonging to Fagan. Students are not allowed to have guns in their homes if they live on campus or in a university-owned apartment.
Though Gonzaga’s policy is in line with many other universities across the country, the incident opens the door to “thoughtful evaluation” of the policy, Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said in a statement Saturday.
“I believe this to be an opportunity to do some important work as a community,” McCulloh said. “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.”
Fagan said he’s glad the incident is prompting a discussion about gun ownership rights at the university.
“Regardless of what the outcome of that discussion is, just the fact that there is a discussion in the wind makes us happy,” he said.
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.
Dean Chuang, Fagan and McIntosh’s attorney, said the university needs to consider student safety above all else as officials are examining its policies.
“We’re glad that it didn’t have to end in tragedy for them to consider changing the policy there,” Chuang said. “Our boys were armed and stopped a home invasion here.”