SPOKANE, Wash.--Two Gonzaga students are looking into whether Gonzaga actually owns the apartment they had a gun in. The university has decided not to expel the two students at the center of a gun controversy. The students were put on probation instead.
Erik Fagan and Dan McIntosh used a gun to scare away a man who came to their apartment asking for money and would not leave. Gonzaga officials said the students violated school policy by having a firearm on Gonzaga property.
The students said Gonzaga might not actually own the apartment though. They are looking into what difference that would make if they appeal their probation. They do not want the probation on their academic record.
"We don't feel like we should have to carry that around with us, and be punished for something as simple as defending ourselves,” said Fagan.
Fagan and McIntosh stand by their decision to hold a gun and scare off a man in late October at their front door.
"Technically it's not University owned property, so the policy may not apply in that situation,” said the students’ attorney Dean Chuang.
The apartment is owned by another company but Gonzaga has a 99-year lease on the building according to the University.
School leaders said they are allowed to enforce their weapons policy at the apartment.
"I am very confident that we are fully within our rights and responsibilities to manage this property appropriately for our students,” said Gonzaga University’s Executive Vice President Earl Martin.
The students are also upset about how their weapons were taken. Campus security used a master key to get into their apartment and came into their bedrooms in the middle of the night.
"The raid on our apartment at 2 a.m., regardless of whether Gonzaga owns the apartment or not, is in my opinion a clear violation of our rights,” said Fagan.
The university stood by that decision Monday. They said their officer was not sure of the policy when the students reported what happened. Hours later campus security could not get a hold of Fagan or McIntosh but believed the guns were a security risk.
"The director of our campus security was concerned for the safety of the occupants and others and he made the appropriate decision to collect the weapons that night,” said Martin.
Both sides agree on the need to talk about the policy. The university is working on a plan to discuss if changes are needed. The students are eager for the conversation to start,
"I hope that one our names are cleared and two, that there is a constructive conversation between students and staff and administration and security at universities,” said McIntosh.
The students have ten days to file their appeal. Their current punishment is probation for the rest of their time at Gonzaga.
The students could be suspended or expelled if they violate any university policy.