Students should be allowed mace

Students are required to know and follow Pitt-Johnstown’s Code of Conduct. The section on firearms and weapons forbids the possession and use of stun guns, nunchucks and even slingshots. While it specifies the banning of any item described as an offensive weapon by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, mace, a defensive weapon, is grouped in this list.

Mace is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as a liquid used to sting the eyes and skin, used as a spray to defend against an attack. Mace is a defensive tool and should not be banned from campus.

Pitt-Johnstown has a double standard when it comes to self-defense and the possession and use of mace. The administration, the police and a variety of clubs encourage and teach self-defense techniques to students. There has been an emphasis on self-protection.

There is a karate club on campus that specializes in defensive maneuvers. There are workshops and classes for girls to empower themselves against attackers, though these fill quickly and are infrequent. Nonetheless, Pitt-Johnstown is the only campus in the University of Pittsburgh system that forbids the common defensive tool.

Furthermore, Pitt-Johnstown has had recent cases of assault that students might find troubling. Simply carrying mace or other defensive tools lends confidence to the beholder. Being able to carry mace would aid the self-defense campaign that Pitt-Johnstown is promoting.

We understand the dangers of allowing mace on campus. Nonetheless, mace is hardly in the same category as offensive tools, such as guns or even knives. Carrying mace is less dangerous than carrying the aforementioned weapons and has a benefit for the user, whether or not a situation arises in which mace’s use is necessary.