By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -
Central Michigan University student government members are calling for school leaders to lift the ban on self-defense sprays, such as pepper spray, to help improve safety on the campus.
Chloe Gleichman and Mariah Urueta are two CMU students who believe their safety can be improved by carrying a quick-fire can of pepper spray.
"My grandma said, 'We should get you some of that, just in case,'" explained Urueta, a junior on campus, who was holding her small canister of spray.
"It's a psychological thing for me. I mean, I don't know if I could actually ever use it," said Gleichman, a senior.
The two students carry pepper spray as a sense of security. But under current CMU rules, it's technically a violation to carry the spray, and it could get them suspended or even kicked off of campus. Pepper spray is banned under the current CMU Weapons Policy.
"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.
Joseph recently introduced legislation to lift the ban on self-defense spray. He points to the attack on campus last month as the reason why students should be allowed to carry pepper spray. On Jan. 16, a female student was abducted from in front of the Student Activities Center and brutally assaulted before narrowly escaping.
"I think it's just something else you can take as a precaution," said Joseph.
Even though pepper spray and other self-defense products are illegal on the CMU campus, it was not hard to find students who carried the spray. It also was not hard to find the product for sale. The CMU Bookstore, which is on campus, sells it.
CMU student representatives believe erasing the language that makes it illegal to possess pepper spray could 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 next step is for the legislation to make it through one more student governmental hurdle. If it does, the legislation will be turned over to Central Michigan's Board of Trustees and the university president. Those parties have the power to overwrite current weapons policies on campus.
Pepper spray is legal to carry in the state of Michigan. The rules the students are proposing would follow state laws.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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