According to a Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Campus police report, on Nov. 12, 2019, campus police were asked by the dean of student affairs to escort student Matthew Marting, 19, to the office. The dean needed to speak to the student regarding an alleged incident that took place days prior in which Marting may have displayed a knife in class. When Marting was removed from class by campus officers, it was discovered that he was in possession of both a loaded 9 mm handgun and one magazine clip. He did not have a permit to carry the weapon. It is worth noting that Tri-C, according to the concealed carry statement, “prohibits possession of weapons…by its students, staff
Following the discovery of the firearm, Marting was promptly arrested and mirandized. According to the report, when asked why he brought a loaded weapon to school he responded, “I do not know I guess I forgot about it.” Marting was also asked, upon his arrest, if he was in the possession of any other weapons. Marting responded by informing the officer he had a small box cutter on his keychain. When contacted, Marting was unavailable for comments. Following his arrest, Marting was then transported to the city of Bedford jail where his bond was set at $10,000.
This incident just leads to more questions that need answers. One of those questions being what actions should we take if we suspect that someone has a weapon? When speaking with the Eastern Campus police chief, he stated that the best course of action to take is to first contact campus police using the non-emergency phone number. Unless you feel there is imminent danger, in which you should then contact campus police using the emergency phone number. The police chief also stated that they “will not ignore any concerns.”
In conjunction with that, there is the question of what is considered to be a weapon according to the college? You would tend to think of a weapon as a firearm or something extremely out of the ordinary like a crowbar. However, the chief noted that a weapon is “anything that can harm anyone at all.” So that means any common self-defense equipment, such as mace and Tasers, also qualify as weapons and are prohibited. Tri-C has a zero-tolerance policy as it pertains to violence on college property.
With the understanding of what the college’s definition of a weapon is and that they are prohibited, there is still the question of if there should be some type of amendment to the policy? It is known that Tri-C does everything in their power to protect students, faculty and staff while on campus. In fact, violent crimes are not the most reported. According to the college’s 2019 Annual Safety Report, theft was the most reported crime at 75%. But what about the time when commuting to and from campus? We all know there is a constant threat of violence on innocent people every day, such as car jackings and muggings. There are then those individuals who don’t have the luxury of leaving their weapons in a vehicle because they take public transportation to and from campus. They have the right to have a sense of comfort when making their commute.
Undoubtedly, there are people that stand on both sides of the argument as it pertains to weapons on campus. There are those who believe that they have the right to protect themselves. Then there are those who believe that they have the right to be on campus and not worry about the “wrong person” having a weapon. This may be the time to have an open discussion about the issue at hand. Potentially, an open forum with administrators to help both sides voice their concerns. When trying to retrieve a statement, President Alex Johnson, Ph.D.,was unavailable for comments.