A “Humans Versus Zombies” live action role play game at Missouri State University (MSU) has caused controversy after some students and faculty expressed concern that the toy nerf guns used at the event presented safety risks.
According to KSMU, a local public radio affiliate, about 500 students took part in the event, which happens each semester on campus. It is organized by the Live Action Society, and Faculty Advisor Chad Holmes has participated in Humans Versus Zombies since it was launched five years ago.
“We emphasize safety,” Holmes says. “We always inform campus security and Public Safety that the event is going on well ahead of time. They know if they get people running around with Nerf guns calls about that, it is us.”
Don Clark, director of Public Safety at MSU, told KSMU the game is “disruptive” to the campus and can cause safety hazards.
Clark alleges that his office received phone calls from students about the threat of a gunman on campus, while the game was being played.
“We cannot tell people that ‘if you see someone with a gun, it might be a Nerf gun, so just disregard it. It is probably just a game.’ Because then in fact if it was a real gun, we have missed the opportunity to respond and prevent something significant from occurring,” said Clark.
Organizers of the Humans Versus Zombies event have called on campus security to give warning that it is taking place on campus and that the Nerf guns used will be inspected before the event to make sure they do not look like real weapons.
School administrators are considering changing the policy about Nerf guns on campus, according to Brittany Donnellen, MSU Student Body Vice President. The student government association polled students earlier this week via Facebook to hear their thoughts on the use of Nerf guns at the event. A majority of the students reportedly said they did not feel toy guns pose a safety risk.
A meeting to discuss the policy has been scheduled for early November, OzarksFirst reported.