Fencing Club Kicked off College Campus — For Having Weapons

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 11:38 PM

By Jason Devaney

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A fencing team in North Dakota has been barred from practicing on campus — because the sport violates the school's weapons policy.

Students at North Dakota State University recently formed the club since the sport had not been on the school's list of varsity offerings. But the club has now found it has to take its practices elsewhere.

Editor's Note: CIA Global Forecast: Is America Slipping Away?

"The current interpretation of the non-weapon policy in NDSU … understands our fencing equipment as weapons," the club's coach Enrique Alvarez told Valley News Live.

But fencing swords are not considered dangerous. Two of them — the foil and the épée — are thrusting weapons with a spring-loaded tip. When the tip of the sword strikes an opponent, the spring depresses and a point is awarded. The third sword in fencing is the sabre, which is used in a slashing motion. But sabers for fencing are dulled and not sharp.

The university's police and safety office director Ray Boyer said the school's handbook regarding fencing swords is clear.

"They are deemed weapons, and as such, possession or use on University owned or controlled property is prohibited," Boyer said.

Winfield Brand, the club's president, compared an epee to a baseball bat.

"In fact, I think [the epee is] less dangerous," he said. "If you look up like statistics, fencing is an incredibly safe sport."

Club members say the policy is hurting attendance at practices. Other colleges and universities in the area, according to the Valley News Live report, allow fencers to practice on campus.

Editor's Note: CIA Global Forecast: Is America Slipping Away?

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