YAL Reverses Pepper Spray Ban at SUNY Oneonta

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)—the nation’s most active youth liberty organization—is now celebrating victory at SUNY Oneonta. As of this afternoon, the school’s pepper spray ban has been reversed and students’ right to self-defense has been restored, all because of YAL student activists who fought the administration tooth and nail. YAL student activist Alec Woodruff spearheaded the fight, circulating a petition to collect signatures and build momentum on campus (see here).

The SUNY Oneonta case is part of YAL’s broader mobilization in Fall 2022, with the organization expecting to take on more than 45 Student Rights Campaigns at colleges and universities across America.

Below is a statement from Woodruff:

“Our chapter would like to thank the President for doing the right thing for Oneonta students. But, more importantly, we would like to thank all of the students who signed and helped push this petition forward. Without them, this victory would have never been possible. I would also like to thank Young Americans for Liberty for all of the support that they have given the chapter in helping us throughout this fight, most notably the Student Rights Campaign team that guided us every step of the way.”

Here is a statement from YAL student rights strategist Daniel Gonzalez-Allende-Barr:

“This policy is a perfect example of the lengths college administrators will go to in an attempt to control a student’s life. However, the Oneonta YAL chapter is a shining example that students are more than capable of taking back their liberties on campus and making the best decisions for themselves. Alec and his chapter will continue to fight for the rights of their fellow students.”

And here is a statement from YAL director of student rights JP Kirby:

“This policy change is a perfect example of what one student can accomplish on his campus if he’s determined and uses effective methods. Alec Woodruff took this fight on behalf of his fellow students, who had been left defenseless by their campus administration. Alec refused to take no for an answer and continued to gather support even after SUNY Oneonta threw a curveball last spring and cancelled the initial vote.”

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