University students face expulsion for self defense with handgun

Unless a misguided weapons policy gets overhauled, two Gonzaga University students are facing possible expulsion because one of them drew a gun on a man trying to force his way into their university-owned apartment while demanding money.

According to, student Erik Fagan was accosted on Oct. 24 in the doorway of the apartment he shares with roommate Dan McIntosh.

gonzaga1110When Fagan refused money, the man, later identified as a convicted felon named John Tyler, tried to force his way inside. Fagan called to McIntosh, who drew his weapon.

Tyler fled.

He was arrested later by Spokane police on a Department of Corrections warrant, MyFoxSpokane reported. But Fagan and McIntosh were in trouble too.

That’s because Gonzaga has a policy against weapons possession on university-owned property, which McIntosh was violating with his firearm.
On Friday, a Gonzaga disciplinary board decided there were grounds to punish the students for violating the policy, which could include expulsion. They will learn their punishment this week, multiple news sources report.

Now, Gonzaga is a private university, and private property is private property, so it might seem like Gonzaga has every right to call the shots.

But when it comes to the right of self-defense, in a case where a young man with a legal license to carry a weapon uses it to defend his roommate, himself and his home against a criminal predator, even a university policy should have to give. In fact, there shouldn’t be a policy against defending yourself at all.

In the aftermath of the disciplinary board’s findings, university President Thayne McCulloh issued a statement saying the university would review the policy, a development the expulsion-facing Fagan cheered.

“I am very happy to see that they are looking to have a conversation about policies,” he told local NBC affiliate KHQ. “Because as of now they are making us decide either to protect ourselves and face punishment from the school or follow the policy and not be able to defend ourselves.”

For a university founded by Jesuits, that’s a pretty dumb choice.

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