Pocket Knives At Clemson – Aubrey Steele


Swiss army knife, an example of a multi-use tool. (Photo by: Jonas Bergsten)

Swiss army knife, an example of a multi-use tool. (Photo by: Jonas Bergsten)

Riding in the pocket of Firefighters, Police Officers, Desk jockeys, Farmers, and countless others every day is what many consider to be the greatest general-use tool ever conceived, the simple pocket knife. The pocket knife has been a staple of American tradition for decades, serving as the working individuals go-to tool for any problem that presents itself, whether that be cutting, prying, hammering, turning screws, whittling, opening stubborn packaging, or even digging up the first potato come harvest time. Considering this rich history and plethora of useful applications many people have decided to continue carrying these little tools to this day, electing to give-up a little pocket space for a wealth of utility.

It’s no wonder, then, that so many college students are interested in carrying around a pocket knife of their own. Being away from home for the first time, having to be responsible and take care of yourself, and the daunting uncertainty encourage many students to look into the prospects of carrying of knife to cut down life’s everyday challenges. Many students also have a job to worry about once they get done with college for the day, jobs which often involve manual labor and work with their hands, making a pocket knife essential. The engineering and construction majors might not mind the extra utility either. These students may be taken aback, then, when looking into it and realizing that Clemson has no definitive policy on carrying pocket knives on campus.

A quick Google search will most likely direct to the Clemson Concealed Weapons policy, which says that weapons are never allowed on the campus. Thing is, this only pertains to firearms and has nothing to do with carrying a pocket knife. Even so, this is enough to deter many individuals from carrying one. If they were to inquire farther however, they would find that most faculty you talk to do not have a problem with it, nor does the CUPD. This is why a definitive knife policy is so important, not to limit or constrain the rights of students, but to make students aware of the rights that they have afforded to them.

While we are on the topic of rights, many may be surprised at the laws in South Carolina pertaining to knives. As of 2008, the laws of South Carolina allow a private citizen (over the age of 18, and without a criminal record) to purchase and keep any knife on their person that they want regardless of make, manufacturer, length, or action. Meaning that commonly outlawed blades, such as “automatics” and butterfly knives, are completely legal in South Carolina. However, as many people know that once you step onto a college campus, some laws may become skewed or are interpreted differently.

This, after many personal talks, calls, and emails, is what Clemson’s current knife policy boils down to: interpretation. Your right to own and carry a pocket knife is largely (and loosely) decided by your housing and RA. Mind you, this requires dig deep just to find out your supposed to ask them in the first place. The obvious problem with this policy being that this means that it can change from place of residence to place of residence, or even from RA to RA, depending on who you talk to.  A better, more efficient way would just be to address pocket knives as a general policy in either the student handbook or housing contract. A measure such as this would be the most accessible method to definitively tell the student body about the policy and expectations of having a pocket knife on campus.

As a final note, to those of you who want to carry a pocket knife, as of right now talk to your housing or RA and see how you stand. After you resolve this, please be sure to make sure you a safe with it at all times and it is generally just a common courtesy not to just whip it out whenever you feel the urge. If you are carrying a knife YOU are responsible for it, and you need to be aware that all students are not comfortable being around a deployed knife. Lastly, if you are new to the knife world and would like to purchase one for yourself, here are some recommendations.

Budget: 20$-30$

Opinel No.8, Ontario Rat, Ganzo G720, Kershaw Cryo, CRKT M-16

Money to burn:

Benchmade 940, Spyderco para 2 (or 3), Spyderco Delica, CRKT Homefront, ZT 0350


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