UCC Mainstream Online

Security deals with knife concerns

Knives with blades longer than 4 inches are prohibited on campus.
Jesse Proctor / Mainstream
Knives with blades longer than 4" are prohibited on campus.

Questions regarding the UCC policy on concealed weapons and/or knives on campus have been raised following recent events on campus, such as students expressing concerns over how knives are being used on campus.

Director of Safety, Security and Custodial Steve Buchko addressed these concerns, saying that the incidences would have been recorded on the security cameras that have been recently placed around campus, in places such as the library, so if there is an incident, security guards will check it out.

Campus policy states that possession, use or threatened use of any sort of firearm is prohibited, as well as the brandishing of weapons or misuse of personal defensive weapons such as pepper spray.

The possession of knives with a blade longer than 4” is also prohibited.

Buchko discourages weapons of any kind on campus, though he believes that in cases of concealed weapon permits, state law would supersede UCC policy.

In accordance to state law, any length of knife may be carried visibly, but only knives with blades that fold manually, such as pocket knives, may be concealed, regardless of the length.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin specified that any knife that opens through spring force, centrifugal force, or swings open without manual opening, is illegal to carry concealed and is a class B misdemeanor.

Unlike firearm regulations, knife regulations state that a citizen of any age may carry a knife. 

Any form of intimidation with a knife or other weapon, however, is illegal and is referred to as “menacing.” Hanlin defines menacing as speaking or conducting yourself in any threatening way towards another person.

If any student at UCC is a victim of menacing, or wishes to report another crime, they can do so by calling 541-440-7777 or, if calling from any campus extension, just 7777. The security office is in the back of the Warehouse next to Lockwood Hall.

Buchko assured that everything told to him by a student regarding a security complaint or concern is under confidentiality through FERPA laws. Statements are only shared if he feels a student’s life is in danger.

In a campus complaint, any student who is the source of a complaint would be brought to the security office to talk to Buchko about the situation in order to get their side of the story and verify the credibility of the complaint. If verified, the situation would then be dealt with.

For example, in the case of a knife complaint, 911 may be called if one student is threatening another person with the knife.  If the case only concerned one student showing their knife off to friends, they would be asked not to bring their knife out on campus.

These events have raised many questions as to how to ensure that UCC is a safe campus. Buchko has made a few changes to improve the security we have.

“I was extremely lucky to have a Board of Directors recognize issues and allow me money each year to make improvements; the Board and the President have been very supportive,” Buchko said.

Current updates include the communication system Alertist, which will be on all of the computers on campus and will pop up a notification on the computers in case of an emergency. The system is presently in the testing stages.

There is a communication system already in place, Blackboard Connect, which notifies students and faculty through emails, telephone calls and text messages. Buchko says that there are periodic tests of the system, and that the system is working well.

The phones in each of the classrooms are also being updated to ensure that they work correctly if there is the need to call and notify teachers in an emergency situation.

Buchko has also had security participate in a number of walks through the campus with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to look for areas of improvement.

 “The Sheriff’s office only had a few suggestions; they seemed impressed [with our level of security], and said that we seemed ahead of the curve,” Buchko said.

Buchko has also been to a number of security conferences, one of which included about 40 other colleges, and reported that we were among the top of the list for emergency preparedness.