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Weapons in dorms leads to eviction

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wolfgang Landkamer, an undeclared freshman, sits in the courtyard outside Cochise Hall Monday, the same place he was cited by UAPD for practicing with nun-chucks.
By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
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Atlas Trieu had no idea he was committing a weapons violation before he was kicked out of Yuma residence hall for having a pair of Pei Wei chopsticks in his room.

Trieu returned from dinner to find police sitting in his room waiting to ask him about the "sharpened sticks" stuck in a piece of cardboard in his room.

Trieu is not the only student who has been cited and evicted from a residence hall for unknowingly violating the Residence Life weapons policy.

Joseph Fu, a molecular and cellular biology sophomore, ASUA senator and Flinn Scholar, was cited and evicted from Yuma with Trieu, an architecture and mechanical engineering junior and former honors student, on Dead Day last semester.

Trieu and Fu are both members of WuShu, a campus martial arts club.

Wolfgang Landkamer, an undeclared freshman and Cochise resident, was giving a warning by police Sept. 30 for using nunchucks in the courtyard behind Cochise residence hall.

Landkamer is a member of the Aikido club at the Student Recreation Center, but the group uses wooden swords, not nunchucks. He said he didn't have any of the wooden swords in his possession.

The Residence Life weapons policy states anyone caught with a weapon faces eviction and nothing less, said Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life.

According to the policy, "weapons includes but are not limited to firearms, simulated firearms, dangerous chemicals, any explosive device, nunchucks, brass knuckles, butterfly knives, paintball guns."

After his eviction, Trieu, who was an honors student before the incident, was forced to GRO two of his classes last semester and is no longer in the honors program.

"It was mainly a hassle because it was the week of finals, I was a nomad for the last week," Trieu said.

Fu and Trieu were given two days to move out and neither had a car or family in town so they had to fend for themselves.

Fu stayed with a friend off campus while Trieu stayed with the coach of the WuShu club.

Both said they spent most of finals week camped out in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.

Van Arsdel said although he knows the move was inconvenient for the students, he could not change the policy.

"We will not treat someone differently the first day of classes or the last day of classes," Van Arsdel said.

Van Arsdel said just because a club on campus might allow weapons in practice, he couldn't allow students to keep things in their rooms that might harm another person.

"If there's a hunting club on campus, should people be able to have guns in their rooms?" Van Arsdel said.

Fu said his nunchucks were wrapped in foam so they would not be dangerous to anyone.

If there's a hunting club on campus, should people be able to have guns in their rooms?
Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life

Another resident had borrowed Fu's nunchucks and left them in a study lounge in Yuma. A janitor found the nunchucks and gave them to Van Arsdel, Fu said.

Police arrested Fu and asked him if there was anyone else in the hall who belonged to a martial arts club.

Fu told police Trieu was also in the club with a few other people that lived in Yuma.

Members of the fencing club also lived in Yuma at the time, Fu told police.

Trieu's roommate let police into the room where they waited for Trieu to return. When police questioned Trieu about the "sharpened sticks" in his room he asked if they meant the chopsticks, Trieu said.

Trieu said police responded, "If that's what you want to call them."

The weapons policy also states any other items used to intimidate, threaten or endanger others is not allowed on campus and those found possessing the items will be subject to eviction from the residence halls as well as expulsion from the UA.

Van Arsdel said even items not commonly considered weapons have the potential to be dangerous to others.

"Because there are so many people at risk, we simplify things. Anything made to be a weapon will be considered a weapon," Van Arsdel said.

Charges against Fu and Trieu were dropped and Residence Life decided to handle it through the Dean of Students Office. The police confiscated the weapons.

Fu and Trieu said they tried to appeal the decision twice but were ultimately evicted on the day before Spring 2004 finals began.

There were 80 evictions from residence halls last year and the majority of them were for marijuana or other drugs. Nine of the evictions were for weapons policy violations.

Van Arsdel said his role is to keep everyone safe and said by strictly enforcing policies, he intends to keep students informed before they make a bad decision.

"(This particular) threat may not be as much a violent act as shooting someone of course, but it is nonetheless a violent act in and of itself," Van Arsdel said.

After being evicted, Fu and Trieu, who had either considered or were already placed in a residence hall for this year, were not allowed to return to the halls.

Landkamer, a Flagstaff native, said when police arrived he was outside Cochise with a pair of homemade nunchucks.

He said he made his nunchucks out of two wooden dowel rods strapped together with his father's bootlaces and taped around for grip.

Police told them someone in the hall had called them and they questioned Landkamer.

"I wasn't aware that (nunchucks) were weapons, but they are according to the paper I signed the first day, and that makes me liable for (the situation)," Landkamer said.

Landkamer has appealed Residence Life's decision to evict him and is awaiting a response.

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