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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Recent incidents not too alarming for campus police

University officials have not made any immediate plans to increase campus security as a result of a weapon found in Anderson Hall earlier this semester.

On Jan. 29, police received information that Brent Arnold, a University senior, had a gun in his Harshman-Anderson dormitory. Authorities later escorted Arnold to his room where he turned over a shotgun and ammunition.

Despite a state law passed last year permitting Ohio citizens to carry firearms with a license, the policy has never been applied to the University, said police Chief James Wiegand.

“Here at Bowling Green State University, our policy is firearms and weapons of that type are not allowed on campus,” he said. “Even licensed individuals are not allowed to carry firearms on college campuses.”

Wiegand, who has worked at the University for almost eight years, has never seen an incident like this.

The last time a firearm was found in a residence hall at the University was more than a decade ago in 1994, leading University officials to believe this recent incident was isolated.

According to University authorities, Arnold was suffering from depression at the time of the incident. It’s not unusual for the police force to talk with students who are suffering from depression and who are believed may hurt themselves or others, Wiegand said.

“Throughout the academic year, we receive information from a variety of sources about individuals who may have made comments about injuring or harming themselves,” he said. “It’s not a tremendous number, but it’s not one or two either.”

Because every situation is different, it’s impossible to write policies around each incident, said Wanda Overland, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students.

“You do the best you can, but you can’t control the behaviors of everyone,” she said. “You set expectations, outline what those expectations are, and when incidents happen you deal with them and address them.”

Crime statistics over the past few years reflect that level of security at the University is in good standing, Wiegand said.

The most recent numbers available show only eight weapons were found on campus from 2001 to 2003, and none of these were firearms, he said.

Almost 20,000 students attend the University — of those, 7,500 live on campus. The majority of students abide by the student code of conduct and rules and regulations of residence halls, Wiegand said.

“The University is a microcosm of society,” he said. “We’re basically a small city and we have people from all over the world here. Our purpose of being here is to try to keep that crime to an absolute minimum.”

However, the public does have easy access to the campus and people are constantly coming and going, so it’s only logical to assume that the University will have some types of crimes, Wiegand said.

Currently there are 22 officers employed by the campus police department with a minimum of three officers working per eight-hour shift, he said.

Under current practices, there’s no way for University officials to tell how many other weapons are out there. Resident advisors conduct room searches, but they usually check rooms for items that could potentially cause fire hazards like hot plates, Wiegand said.

“Residence Life is generally not looking for contraband,” he said. “They’re looking to make sure everything is in place and the students are basically following the rules and regulations required.”

Because you can’t prevent people from making decisions, safety is something University officials are always concerned with, Overland said. The number of RAs has increased, and RAs and hall directors work very hard to get to know their residents, she said.

“We are doing what we need to do to be aware of what’s happening within the residence hall communities and what’s happening on campus,” she said.

But some responsibility falls on students when it comes to safety because University officials do not have the ability to know everything that is happening on campus.

“We’re only as good as what our information is,” Overland said. “We certainly don’t know if there are other weapons on campus, but if somebody knows something, they should tell us.”

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