Gun advocate shoots down faculty union's attempt at deterring would-be attackers

Grace Gottschling
Investigative Reporter

  • A gun advocate shot down the reasoning behind an Oakland University faculty union's decision to purchase and distribute hockey pucks to fight back in the event of an active gunman.
  • The gun advocate blasted the effort, which is being used as a fundraiser for electronic locks on doors, as "completely out of touch."
  • A faculty union at Oakland University in Michigan purchased and distributed hockey pucks to faculty and students for defense in the event of an active shooter. The pucks are also being used to raise money for new electronic locks on classroom doors.

    The move comes even as, per state law, Michigan colleges may opt-in to allow students to carry personal firearms on campus, provided they are legally owned with permits. The law was pioneered by campus gun advocates who believe that allowing law-abiding students to be armed on campus is the best way to deter potential school shooters.

    "My first reaction was: You are talking about facing an assault weapon and asking us to fight back with hockey pucks? It sounded silly."   

    Tyler Yzaguirre, president of the Second Amendment Institute holds that view. 

    "OU Police Chief Gordon and the OU faculty union have to be completely out of touch with reality to believe that throwing hockey pucks at an active shooter will stop them. Students and teachers have been armed with similar heavy objects, such as books, in active shooter situations, and that hasn't stopped the shooter. So why would a hockey puck?" Yzaguirre told Campus Reform on Wednesday. 

    The Oakland University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) spent $2,500 on the hockey pucks. The chapter has distributed 800 pucks to faculty members and approximately 1,700 pucks to students since Nov. 9, according to the Detroit News

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    "My first reaction was: You are talking about facing an assault weapon and asking us to fight back with hockey pucks? It sounded silly," Oakland faculty member Gary J. Gilbert told the Detroit News. “Then I went through the training session [in June], and it all made sense. None of us want to face an armed assailant. Students will look to us for leadership in a situation like that.”

    Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon told reporters that the concept of throwing nearby items, specifically hockey pucks, “was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment idea that seemed to have some merit to it and it kind of caught on,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

    Tom Discenna, president of the Oakland University chapter of the AAUP, explained that the hockey puck effort is supposed to be “a last line of defense in the case of an emergency.” 

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    “Faculty who have been through the training are taught run if you can, hide if you have to, and if none of those options are available, fight with whatever you have at hand,” he said, referencing the online active shooter guide distributed by Oakland University police.

    Discenna also explained to Campus Reform that the pucks, which bear the union’s logo, are meant to spread awareness of the AAUP’s campaign to raise money for new locks to be installed in classrooms on campus. 

    Asked about criticism of the fundraising effort, specifically with regard to accsations that the union was belittling students' safety, Discenna said, "I don't think that we are belittling this issue at all.  Quite the opposite." 

    "I think that our union is taking a proactive approach to insure that our faculty is properly trained.  Again, the puck is a last line of defense when everything else has failed. Our first line of defense is awareness which we also hope that this initiative generates and the puck is being used to generate funds for the All University Fund Drive so that we can buy appropriate locks for classroom doors," Discenna added.

    The Oakland AAUP chapter has already donated $5,000 for the new locks and is hoping the hockey pucks, which also have the number of a donation website imprinted on them, will help with the fundraising efforts, according to the Free Press.

    Oakland University did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication. 

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    Grace Gottschling

    Grace Gottschling

    Investigative Reporter

    Grace Gottschling is the Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She is a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey and has experience traveling across the country to engage and train others in pro-life apologetics. Grace manages research and Freedom of Information Act records requests for Campus Reform.

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