Mt. Pleasant, Michigan – Central Michigan University student government members have drafted legislation in the student Senate calling for school administrators to lift the ban on pepper spray and other self defense items that are already considered legal by the state of Michigan.
Many students carry pepper spray just to feel safe, even if they don’t believe they’ll ever have to use it. However, under current CMU policy, it’s considered a violation to carry it, and penalties range from suspension to expulsion.
“I just think that’s really unfair and given circumstances of late, it seems like a bad policy,” said William Joseph, a member of the Student Government Association at the university, referring to a recent incident that occurred on campus.
Joseph introduced the legislation to eliminate the ban on pepper spray. He pointed out that an attack on campus in January reinforces the validity of the the student government’s proposal. On Jan. 16, a female student was abducted while walking on campus. It occurred right in front of the Student Activities Center and she was brutally assaulted before she broke free and managed to escape.
“I think it’s just something else you can take as a precaution,” said Joseph.
Although pepper spray and other self-defense devices are illegal on the CMU campus, many students still carry small, pepper spray key-chains that are easy to conceal. Ironically, The CMU Bookstore, which is on campus, sells pepper spray.
CMU student reps want to change the language that makes it illegal to possess pepper spray to help make students feel safer and make the campus a safer place to be.
“If this repeal of the ban ends up helping just one person here on campus, then it’s definitely worth it,” said student representative Jenny Moiles.
The legislation still has to pass one more branch of student government before it reaches the Central Michigan’s Board of Trustees and the university president. Those parties have the ultimate power to override current weapons policies on campus.
Pepper spray is currently legal to carry in the state of Michigan. The change that the student government is proposing would simply follow current state laws.
Let’s hope common sense prevails and school administrators approve the proposed change. Under currant policy, students are sitting ducks for predators who know their victims have no way to protect themselves. Policies similar to to those at CMU only function to embolden criminals who realize they’ll have little resistance from an unarmed victim.