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Carrying a Knife at College

Discussion in 'Knives' started by Nikx, Aug 31, 2008.

    Nikx Empty Pockets

    There's rarely a day they goes by that I'm not presented with a situation that would be made easier if I had a knife. The thing that pops into my mind first would be opening various packaging, the tool that gets used the most at the moment is my teeth (bad habit, i know).

    However I've run into a bit of a speed bump with campus police. I'm a college student at WPI in Mass. After sending an e-mail to the police department without response, I decided to give them a call on their non-emergency line.

    At first I was told by the dispatcher they I "probably couldn't" carry a knife, but she would check with an officer. She came back after about a min and told me that knives are considered weapons, and that they aren't allowed. Well I started to try to explain that I'm not talking about a large knife, but a small pocket knife that is legal to carry in both the state of MA and the city of Worcester. She must have given some kind of look to the officer, because he then picked up the phone, and asked me to explain why I wanted to carry a knife, in a tone that said "I already know the only reason you want to carry a knife is to hurt people". :rolleyes:

    When I said that I would just be carrying a small knife as a general purpose tool, like to open things and cut up an apple maybe, he told me to call back on X or Y days and speak to the Captain.

    So it sounds like to me that they have already made up their minds that a knife of any size is a WEAPON and cannot be carried. I'm trying to decide now if I should even bother calling to talk to the Captain or not. Most likely I'll get more of the same. :shrug:

    parnass Loaded Pockets

    It may be better to make an appointment with the captain and meet with him in person. Bring a photo of the knife you want to carry.

    I carried a large lockback knife at WPI, but never thought about checking with campus police. That was back in the Nixonian era. :)

    c22m22c Loaded Pockets

    call the captain. You might be surprised.

    maybe tell the captain of all the incidents where you need something sharp, and before you tuck a swiss army knife in your bag, you want to make sure you're ok?

    At best, captain says a small knife in your pocket is cool as long as its not used stupidly. The middle of the road response allows a small knife in your bag. At worst, you're back where you started.

    but you can't win if you don't play. :)
    • Administrator

    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    The world has changed a huge amount in my lifetime. I never think of knives as weapons and always had one in school.

    Pshrynk Empty Pockets

    If it's legal in your city/state. I'd just go ahead and do it and not make a big deal of it.

    Perhaps carry a SAK that is in a red, blue or yellow colour to make it less threatening?

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    I carry a knife at University. The unofficial rule seems to be "don't be stupid, and you won't get in trouble." I have never been questioned about my knife/knives but I can be seen walking across campus peeling apples with my Victorinox Farmer.

    Seeing as I don't know your campus I cannot recommend you carry, but mine (including RA's) seems to have no problem with knives as long as you aren't being stupid. Discretion is well advised, of course. It sounds like you present yourself in a responsible manner, and places that have common sense will usually just focus on real troublemakers.
    • Administrator

    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    Agrees with Carrot. And that is rare :lolhammer:

    Nikx Empty Pockets

    That's kind of what I was considering doing before I had contacted the police. But then I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Chances are I could have just gotten one and it never would have been a problem. I've never even talked to a cop walking around campus, much less been approached and asked whats in my pockets.

    Edit: Do you guys think I should go for a SAK? I was planning on getting one of the smaller Benchmades, probably a mini-grip.

    jujigatame Loaded Pockets

    If you're going to bring a knife to campus police to show them what you may carry, I'd take an SAK or a small/medium multitool. Perhaps you can borrow one from a friend rather than have to buy one yourself first. From the perspective of campus police I think that they'll see a knife as weapon first and tool second. If you present them an SAK or multitool, something that has other obvious functions than just a blade to cut things, it may be more to their liking, or maybe just less to their disliking. Either way, I think you have a better chance at a positive and constructive response from them if you do this rather than bring them a mini Grip.

    That said, I'd personally choose to carry whatever I wanted that was considered legal in Worcester and just be discreet about it. I carried an SE Endura for 3 years at college. Had they ever seen it, public safety probably would have taken a dim view of it. Syracuse police department even more so, but such situations never came about.

    It wouldn't hurt to consider having a small keychain knife like a Spyderco Ladybug as well. It will handle a lot of incidental cutting needs like mail, food packages, tape, etc., and it won't draw much notice. The larger knife can be saved for times when you really need it or are using it in a place where you're not worried about someone seeing it.

    El Verbo Empty Pockets

    If you follow carrot's lead you should be fine. A couple of points: a) there was no definitive answer by campus security. AND b) you plan to use it respectfully and you have a right to carry it.

    VT-aroo Loaded Pockets

    How much of what you need to do, could be done with a SA classic or ladybug? I just can not see them causing you trouble for a small blade.

    carrot Loaded Pockets

    I am sure I may have plenty of things that I shouldn't have at university but another thing is you should be wary around your roommate/suitemates. If you have one that is uncomfortable around your toys, you may find yourself in trouble sooner or later. So even in your room or suite be discreet and never screw around with your gear. It is of course very tempting to show off your toys and flip them around and do things that guys (and gals) like to do with sharps, but remember how important discretion is in a potentially legally loaded situation. Plenty of people show interest in knives and you will very likely meet them in time. Show good friends knives, and good friends only.

    I was lucky, my first year roommate caught the knife bug when he saw my BM Mini Grip. I have since moved onto usually carrying more gentlemanly and less tactical looking knives such as the Small Sebenza, Spyderco Dragonfly, Victorinox Farmer, and Spyderco Caly3/UKPK.

    Remember that choice vocabulary have a very profound effect on people, especially NKP's. Pocketknife sounds better than knife... Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman tool sounds "handy"... you get the picture.

    For example, I carry a small pocketknife because I find it very handy on a daily basis for opening packages and minor food prep. Once you have that mindset down it becomes only natural to present your knife as a harmless tool that you find very handy, and that it never even occurred to you that it might be something to use on (god forbid!) another human being.

    I'm hardly one to give advice like this seeing as I don't necessarily follow it myself but you should consider slipjoints like Case or Queen knives, smaller 91mm and 84mm Swiss Army Knives, or Leatherman multitools. In most cases these types of knives fall under the radar as inoffensive tools and if you are really worried about having problems they are the most NKP-friendly you can get and still have an edge. Anything you can put on a keychain, like a Spyderco Ladybug or Benchmade Benchmite is likely to be quite acceptable too.

    Small knives like the Spyderco Cricket, Spin, and Dragonfly are ideal if you need a locking, one hand folder and still want to stay below the radar. They are nearly as capable as a larger folder (mostly except for food prep) and so inconspicuous they will hardly get a second glance. Myself, my usual carry is a Small Sebenza and a red Victorinox Farmer -- the Farmer is for potentially "explosive" situations and the Sebenza for more private usage, although I do half-open the Sebenza to slit open packages when no one is paying attention. Because I am moving in with complete strangers into my suite next week (tomorrow, actually), I have been adjusting myself to carrying the very small but capable Spyderco Dragonfly to test the waters.

    shrap Loaded Pockets

    Cops aren't lawyers. Don't ask them for legal advice.

    Carrot speaks truth: you will be surrounded by many peers who do not share your view. Discretion is advised.
    • Administrator

    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    I have a feeling those in Fly Over Country will find things a little easier. I have always hated that phrase.

    bartsdad Loaded Pockets

    Being a Minnesotan, I have no problem with it. It keeps the Rif-Raf out of the Midwest. :lolhammer: They might see what they're missing and want to stay and screw it up. Keep flying over, nothing to see here. :crackup:

    :topic: Discretion, I believe is still the bottom line.

    eldahjack Empty Pockets

    on my campus, i didnt bother checking with campus police, but checked the honor code and whatever else is considered "the law." plus idaho is probably the most lenient with knife laws. and a private college gives me a little more freedom. i cant have a "large knife" but i can have just about anything else. and thats just on campus or in the "approved housing."

    technically, nobody has said "no" but i would make an appointment, as suggested, with el kapitan and see what he/she thinks. bring a picture and "be polite, be professional, but always have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

    actually, that latter part you probably shouldnt follow...

    ajacobs Loaded Pockets

    I went to a forestry school and I think you could get in trouble for not having a knife. We did have to keep our firearms at the campus police lock up if we lived in the dorm. I think you are doing the right thing by checking into it first. Who knows what laws and rules are like after things like Virginia Tech. I might have went a different route and gust checked all the rules first and never asked an officer if it was me. I would still go the route of seeing what you can find written first before you call the captain.

    Ging Empty Pockets

    When I was in my first year I carried my Kick and for some reason or other I got it out of my pocket in a Hall mates room. My Hall mate then said why do you carry that? I replied its a useful tool and then she asked if I could screw up a loose screw in her chair..... :highfive:

    I would go with a SAK/multitool, it will be your safest best, I used to carry a Spyderco UKPK but that got unwanted attention from people (mainly due to people seeing the clip). Also make sure you're not carrying it of you go to a bar etc, don't think the Police would like that!

    Hoodoo Empty Pockets

    Campus policy about knives and guns should be in writing and available to the campus community and to the public if it's a state campus. If it isn't in writing, and it's legal in the state, then I would not worry about it. You might want to check with the Provost's office for policy statements. Campus cops enforce campus rules. Nowadays, most of that stuff is on the web.

    Nikx Empty Pockets

    Thanks for the replys everyone :)

    I did check all over the website before contacting the police. The only thing I found (in multiple places) was "weapons possession", taken verbatim from the website:

    There is absolutely nothing anywhere classifying what a "deadly weapon" is.

    Perhaps I should contact the provost office?

    Or just go ahead and carry something with a 99% chance nothing will happen :idiot2: