Amid all the tragedy that has surrounded the past week, especially the realization that the university had discovered graffiti threatening to recreate the horrific Columbine shooting on its 14-year anniversary, it was excusable for students to take to social media to comment on a loaded magazine – but no gun – being found in a backpack in Weiss Hall on April 17.
As tweets rushed in, the potential connection to that original graffiti threat from March and the additional one found last week seemed ominous. But while university officials were helpful in separating the truth from the rumors propagated by tweeting students and unofficial Temple-related accounts when asked, no massive update on the situation was sent out to the entire student body.
In many ways, this is understandable. Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone referred to the incident as accidental and it seemingly did not pose a threat to anyone. The male student possessed a concealed carry permit, and so he did not violate any laws, but did break the Student Code of Conduct.
Temple may not have been under any obligation to release any information, but the university should have done so to stem the flow of misinformation that flooded in.
It also should have taken the opportunity to stress to the student body the importance of knowing and complying with the SCC – which, arguably, most students aren’t intimately familiar with.
As was previously mentioned, this student was not in any way violating current state or federal law by carrying this loaded magazine. No criminal charges are pending. But the student violated a contractual agreement he has with the university to uphold a certain set of rules, rules that are notably very strict in regards to firearms. An SCC investigation will occur, and the punishment could be severe. Had the student been carrying the gun, he would have faced immediate suspension.
It is impossible to say that the entire situation could have been avoided had the student simply known the rules and the stakes. But it certainly could not have hurt.