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GUN INCIDENT AT WOU

MONMOUTH -- A Western Oregon University student is appealing his suspension after being arrested last month for having a concealed firearm on campus.

His situation, meanwhile, has garnered attention by a regional gun rights group and even some lawmakers, regarding the conflict of state law and public school policies on guns.

Jeffrey L. Maxwell, 30, was stopped on Jan. 28 in the Werner University Center after somebody reported seeing a knife sticking out of his pocket to security personnel. Maxwell also had a pistol on him, for which he had a concealed handgun license to carry.

Polk County District Attorney's Office opted not to file criminal charges against Maxwell last week. But a Student Judicial Affairs panel at WOU voted on Feb. 10 to suspend Maxwell until the end of spring term.

To re-enroll, Maxwell must now be evaluated by a mental health professional to determine that he isn't a threat to others, and he must write a 10-page essay on the impact of weapons on college campuses, according to a copy of the panel's ruling.

Maxwell, a Lebanon resident and (U.S.) Marine veteran, has no criminal record in Polk or Linn counties. He did not respond to e-mails by an Itemizer-Observer reporter for comment by press time.

Maxwell is being represented by attorney James Leuenberger of Lake Oswego, who was retained by the Canby-based Oregon Firearms Federation on Maxwell's behalf.

Leuenberger said Maxwell is appealing his suspension so he can return to school. If that fails, it's undecided whether his client would proceed with a lawsuit against Western for civil rights violations, Leuenberger said.

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A full version of the story will be available in the Feb. 18 edition of the Itemizer-Observer.

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