Oakland University Gives Professors Hockey Pucks to Defend Against Campus Shooters

hockey pucks
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty

Oakland University in Michigan is arming its instructors with hockey pucks to defend against active shooters, according to local reports. The plan was devised by the campus police chief, a former hockey coach.

At Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, professors are now expected to defend themselves and their classes against active shooters with a hockey puck. Yes, the small rubber cylinder used to play ice hockey.

Professors at the university were told that they should throw the hockey pucks at active shooters when they barge into their classroom. The plan was introduced by Oakland University Police Chief Mark Gordon, a former youth hockey coach. He says that he came up with the idea after thinking about a time that he was struck in the head with a puck.

Although the university has already spent $2,500 on hockey pucks for professors and students, Gordon is already having some second thoughts. “It was not a well-thought-out strategy,” Gordon told local reporters. “It was a spur-of-the-moment-thing that had merit to it and kind of caught on.”

Despite Gordon’s change of heart, others at the university support the initiative.

Garry J. Gilbert, director of the journalism program at Oakland University, said that the hockey puck training session convinced him that the idea could work “My first reaction was: You are talking about facing an assault weapon and asking us to fight back with hockey pucks? It sounded silly,” Gilbert said in a comment. “Then I went through the training session, 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.”

“If we have to do that (fight), Chief Gordon has shown us you can surprise or disarm an assailant with an object. Grab anything you’ve got … a stapler or book … anything you’ve got and be prepared and charge him,” Gilbert added. “Maybe he can be distracted by having things thrown at him, and you can limit injuries and loss of life. It won me over.”

Tom Discenna, president of the American Association of University Professors, said that the hockey pucks could serve as a symbol to students that they are not powerless. “As far as the hockey pucks are concerned, I expect eventually we’ll run out of money to give them to people,” Discenna said in a comment. “Maybe students will buy their own. It’s just the idea of having something, a reminder that you are not powerless and you are not helpless in the classroom.”

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