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Bates student cleared of weapons violation in Nerf gun prank: report

Could have faced suspension, expulsion

A Bates College football player was just cleared of all wrongdoing after a prank with a Nerf gun led to him being accused of violating the campus weapons ban, according to the student newspaper.

The Maine school’s Student Conduct Committee voted to drop all violation claims against student Seneca Moore last week, The Bates Student reports. The committee is made up of faculty, staff, and students, according to the college.

“A lot of the committee members apologized at the end because of how absurd the situation was,” Moore said.

If he had been found guilty, Moore could have been punished with up to four years of probation, suspension, or expulsion, according to the report. The campus weapons policy prohibits “firearms, ammunition, BB – pellet or air guns, knives, and slingshots.”

The allegations stemmed from a “prank war” between several members of the football team on Oct. 14, according to the report. Moore said he and a few friends bought Nerf guns and went driving around campus.

The Bates Student reports:

He was in the backseat of a car driving down Campus Ave with two of his friends when they spotted two of their teammates on the sidewalk.

“We slowed down next to them and one of them actually had the Nerf gun as well. So they started shooting at the car,” Moore recalls. “And then another one of them for some reason had a bat, he was just carrying around a bat for whatever reason. And so we slowed down and he parked and I just shot at them two or three times. And then we drove back to the dorm. We didn’t speed off or anything.”

Initially, only his two friends who were sitting in the front seats of the car received emails from Jimmy Riley, Director of Residence Life & Community Standards, informing them of their violations.

Later, Moore said he also received an email from Riley saying he may have violated the college’s prohibition on weapons, as well as reckless driving, and disorderly conduct.

Moore said he does not think the college pursued similar allegations against the students on the sidewalk. He said racial issues may have been a factor because he and his friends in the car are black and Hispanic and the students on the sidewalk are white.

The two students with him in the car are still facing potential violations in the incident, according to the report.

Many colleges and universities have policies prohibiting weapons on campus.

However, some states, including Texas, Kansas, and West Virginia, have laws that require public campuses to allow concealed carry. Arizona lawmakers are considering similar legislation this spring.

MORE: Boy showed Zoom class his Nerf gun. Teacher ‘assumed’ it was a toy. School called police on him anyway.

IMAGE: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.