Board of Visitors amends policies regarding weapons, open flames Feb. 8

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The Board of Visitors met Feb. 7-9 to discuss and pass 18 resolutions. SARAH SMITH / THE FLAT HAT

When the College of William and Mary’s Board of Visitors convened in November 2017, members of the Administration, Buildings and Grounds Committee decided to defer further discussion on two resolutions that would amend campus regulations on weapons and open flames. During the Feb. 8 meeting of the committee, members voted to approve these deferred resolutions.

In 2011, the BOV first adopted a policy prohibiting weapons in campus buildings at College events. The amended policy expands the existing prohibition to cover all university buildings, all athletic, academic, social, recreational and educational events on campus, vehicles and outdoor activities on campus.

In this policy, weapons are defined as instruments of combat or those instruments carried for the purpose of inflicting or threatening injury. For College purposes, weapons include things like firearms, knives, razors, blackjacks, crossbows, throwing stars, stun guns and explosives. Domestic knives and razors, folding knives with blades less than three inches long and pepper spray are not considered weapons.

One of the largest differences between the two policies is found in the consequences for being found to have a prohibited weapon. The 2011 policy said that someone caught with a weapon will be “asked to remove it immediately” and will face “disciplinary action.” Now, someone in violation of this policy may also be subject to arrest for trespassing.

The Board also addressed campus policies on open flames. Open flames include candles, tiki torches, oil lanterns, butane burners, incense, campfires, bonfires, fire pits and grills.

In this new resolution, open flames are prohibited on all university property except for activities that fall under the scope of academic coursework or flames that are created for the purpose of lighting smoking devices in an authorized location. For individuals interested in creating an open flame for a one-time event, the Environmental Health and Safety Office will issue permits, but individuals must apply at least five days in advance.

Those who fail to obtain a permit or to comply with the university’s new policy are subject to arrest and prosecution. Students who do so may also be subject to disciplinary action including termination or expulsion.

Both resolutions will be considered for final adoption when the Board convenes in April.