By Michele Kappas
Nunchucks, according to Napoleon Dynamite, are a skill that is essential to winning over women. Perhaps that’s what Baxter resident Derek Dobutovich was thinking when he brought a pair into his residence hall on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
“I bought a pair of them online for fun,” Dobutovich said. “I didn’t think they were a weapon. I mean, I always played with them as kid.”
Although Dubotovich viewed owning nunchucks as a light matter, Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Safety and Security did not.
Dubotovich and roommate Jonathan Will decided to take the nunchucks with them to hang out in the Baxter lobby. By 5 p.m. the next day, the nunchucks had been confiscated.
“They must have taken them in the hours of 2 to 5 because they were in the room earlier that day,” Dubotovich. “I wasn’t notified that they weren’t allowed or anything. I was just informed by our [resident director] that Safety and Security had taken them and now they’re gone.”
According to Safety and Security, officers were reviewing surveillance footage and noticed the nunchucks in the lobby, and in particular that several people were playing with them.
They confronted Baxter’s first floor Resident Assitant Dale Gault, thinking he was the owner of the weapon.
“By state law nunchucks are considered weapons and it clearly states in the Navigator that possession of any type of weapon is not permitted,” said Terry Wheeler, director of Safety and Security.
Dobutovich said he is concerned because although the nunchucks were confiscated, he did not receive any notification who had taken them and why.
“I’m actually considering filing for stolen property,” Dubotovich joked. “They have been sitting right on my desk for two weeks. It’s not like I was trying to hide them.”
Regarding the notification process, Wheeler says that it is Student Accountability’s responsibility to talk to Dobutovich and decide what to do.
Student Accountability declined to comment for confidentiality reasons, but referred the case to the Navigator, which bans “possession, use or storage on campus, including in a motor vehicle, of any object designed to inflict injury including firearms, explosive chemicals, ammunition, fireworks, bows, arrows, swords or any other weapon or an imitation thereof that could be used to cause fear in or injury to another person.”
“I think it’s funny but I’m still a little disappointed,” Will said. “I’m glad they took it seriously, but we really didn’t mean it as a weapon.”
Safety and Security has a duty to protect and prevent, but Wheeler said the goal is not to rob students of enjoyment or limit their activities.
“We understand that a lot of students participate in martial arts; we just cannot allow nunchucks or things like that to be out on campus,” Wheeler said. “They can store them here if they really need to but I know that there are usually gyms that will store them in between trainings.”
It looks like Dubotovich needs to start legitimately training somewhere soon if he wants to be remotely close to his purchase. Wheeler and other Safety and Security officers understand that Dubotovich and Will probably didn’t mean any harm, but this way no one has to worry about students coming in and stealing them to use inappropriately.
Wheeler said that when Student Accountability is finished reviewing the case they will release the nunchucks back to Dubotovich and just give a warning not to have them on campus anymore. He added that Student Accountability should notify Dubotovich before the end of the semester.