CMU weapons policy no longer includes pepper spray
Central Michigan University has announced that pepper spray will no longer be considered a dangerous chemical and will not fall under the jurisdiction of the weapons policy.
Under the previous interpretation of the weapons law, which bans all dangerous chemicals, students found in possession of self-defense spray or other devices were subject to suspension and dismissal from CMU.
“A committee appointed to review the intent of the policy has determined that the primary ingredient in pepper spray, capsaicin, which makes hot peppers hot, does not constitute a dangerous chemical and thus is not prohibited by the policy,” said Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Tony Voisin.
The committee consisted of Voisin, Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services David Burdette, CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley, Associate Vice President of Residences and Auxiliary Services John Fisher and Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates Director Steve Thompson.
The issue of pepper spray’s prohibition on campus was brought to the spotlight by Student Government Association Sen. William Joseph, a Brighton junior, who brought legislation to the SGA floor that called for the university to amend its weapons policy to allow students to carry pepper spray.
SGA adopted the legislation soon after.
The CMU Bookstore, which removed pepper spray from its shelves on Feb. 14, confirmed that it began selling the product again after the announcement.
Fisher said it did not take long for those meeting to determine that the term “dangerous chemicals” did not apply to pepper spray.
“It was a pretty quick meeting,” Fisher said. “We only sat down for about 10 minutes. We already knew what we were going to do.”
Fisher said pepper spray, although previously interpreted as a dangerous chemical, was never directly referred to in the weapons policy.
“I think that was the assumption by many on this campus,” Fisher said. “But pepper spray is never specified under the weapons policy. It said ‘dangerous chemicals.’ It never specified what those were.”
Burdette said he believed the change of policy was due to several parties on campus.
“Well, the SGA brought it to our attention, and several departments got together to review what our policy meant by (dangerous chemicals),” Burdette said. “I thought it was good communication by everyone involved.”
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