Colleges and Universities
Petition to Mark Emmert, L. Jay Lemons, NCAA
Dear NCAA: My Mom Is a Rape Survivor and You Can Help
My mother and I are asking the NCAA to ban violent athletes. Please read my letter and sign our petition. Let the NCAA know that sports are NOT more important than human lives! Dear NCAA, My name is Darius Adams. I’m the son of Brenda Tracy who is a public rape survivor. It was 2010 when my mom first told me that she was raped. I was 17. We were sitting in our car in our driveway. I remember it because it was a life-changing moment for me. She didn’t tell me because she wanted to. She told me because she had to. She was trying to save my life. I was out of control at the time. I was angry and broken and I didn’t care if I lived or not. I remember her crying and struggling to get the words out “I was raped.” She apologized to me over and over and asked me not to hate her. “Please don’t be ashamed of me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” I still can’t understand why she was apologizing to me, but after that talk, I started to see her as a different person. I saw her as someone who had been hurt, and she was just doing the best she could as a single mother with two kids. It was then that I began to turn my life around — mostly for myself, but also for my mom. I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted to make sure that what she went through and all the sacrifices she made for me and my brother were not in vain. It was 2014 when my mother went public with her story. I wasn’t prepared. She hadn’t told me the details in 2010, but now every ugly detail was on the internet in an article by John Canzano at the Oregonian. To this day, I haven’t read it all. I can’t. I just can’t. What I do know is that my mom was drugged and gang-raped by four football players in 1998. I know that Oregon State University gave two of them 25 hours community service and Coach Mike Riley gave them a one-game suspension. I know that the police threw away her rape kit and the DA lied to her about her case. I know that Oregon State cared more about football and money than my mom. I know that my mom wanted to kill herself, and I know that she almost did. And all because other people decided that football, money and reputation was more important than me and my brother having a mother. I was scared when the article first came out. I didn’t know how people would react to us. Would they attack my mom? Would they say terrible things about her? Would I have to defend her? And what would I say? But a great thing happened. People reached out to us and they supported us. They expressed their love and gratitude for my mom coming forward and being brave enough to tell her story. I was proud of her. It was the first time I saw her happy. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of her. I’ve heard her say more than one time, “I walked out of my prison of shame and silence that day,” and she did. I could see it. Ever since then my mom has worked hard to help others. She’s passed five laws in Oregon. She’s won numerous awards. We just went to Washington, DC where she received the National Service Courage Award from the United States Attorney General. She also changed a Pac 12 rule so that athletes with serious misconduct issues can’t transfer into our conference. She’s my hero. And that’s why I’m writing to you. I’m a college athlete, and I watch ESPN religiously. There’s a serious problem in sports. We don’t take sexual violence seriously enough. Seventeen years ago Coach Mike Riley suspended the men that hurt my mom for one game and just yesterday I saw the story about Baylor. Nothing has changed. Schools are still more worried about money and football than people’s lives. I’m a grown man now. I would never hurt a woman that way and I know that most men wouldn’t. Why are we protecting this small group of men? Why are we allowing them to destroy people’s lives? All of these victims have families and they get hurt too. I’m still dealing with what happened to my mom. We need to do something right now, and I think it starts with the NCAA creating a policy that bans violent athletes. Enough is enough. It’s been 17 years and nothing has changed. How many more years do we have to wait for something to happen? As the NCAA you have authority over many schools. YOU can change this. These schools have proven that they are not going to do the right thing. I believe it is your responsibility to step in. And please don’t do it for me or my mom. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. Sincerely, Darius Adams
Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Vermont State Senate, Vermont State House
Universities: Differentiate Between Bad Grades and Sexual Assault
When a student is convicted of sexual assault and then dismissed from their college or university, there is little to no indication on this person’s transcript as to why they were dismissed. At some colleges and universities, a small asterisk is placed at the bottom of his/her transcript indicating they have been dismissed. This symbol is used to indicate a dismissal for poor grades as well as the commitment and conviction of sexual assault. It then falls upon the college or university viewing this person’s transcript to not only notice the small asterisk, but then to contact this person’s former institution and inquire about his/her dismissal. This is a rare occurrence. When a student is convicted of sexual assault, many college and universities are mainly concerned about getting this person off their campus, which is understandable and something that needs to happen. However, what happens when s/he transfers schools and arrives on a new campus? This person’s new school most likely is not fully aware of the reasoning behind their dismissal, and without proper knowledge of his/her past. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 51% of all alleged rapists have at least one previous conviction, 19% have 2-4 previous convictions, 12% have 5-9 previous convictions, and 8% have 10 or more previous convictions. RAINN also states that 69% of the people that have been sexually assaulted are aged 12-34. Female college students aged 18-24 are 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than females in general. We are proposing a bill that would require colleges and universities to explicitly indicate that this person was dismissed for sexual assault and is therefore a danger to students, faculty, and staff not just at the college or university s/he is dismissed from but to any institution to which s/he applies. This bill would transform the admissions process allowing colleges and universities to manage risk before it even steps foot on their campus and would serve as a preventative measure to combat sexual assault on college campuses. In addition to bettering reactionary services available to someone after s/he has been sexually assaulted, there needs to be systems in place to stop it from ever occurring. Should a college or university choose to ignore this new indication to the applicant’s past, the school would then be held accountable in the event this person commits sexual assault on their campus, eliminating the possibility the college or university could claim ignorance. New York and Virginia have passed similar laws requiring their colleges and universities to indicate whether students were dismissed due to sexual assault. They had hoped to create a domino effect, with other states following their lead in the hopes that a federal law would be introduced. Unfortunately, this did not happen. By signing this petition, you are expressing support in favor of a bill that would require colleges and universities to explicitly mark on a student's transcript whether or not they have been dismissed from that institution on the grounds of sexual assault. It is time our country stops protecting the perpetrators of sexual assault and starts protecting those who have been sexually assaulted and implements measures to keep the number that have been assaulted as low as possible. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explaintheasterisk/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/explainasterisk or use hashtag #ExplainTheAsterisk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/explaintheasterisk
Petition to California State University
Remove Randa Jarrar from Fresno State University for Racist comments
Immediate termination of professor Randa Jarrar for racism and inflammatory comments regarding a former First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush. Outrage as California prof calls Barbara Bush 'amazing racist' and says she's happy 'witch is dead' http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/18/outrage-as-california-prof-calls-barbara-bush-amazing-racist-and-says-shes-happy-witch-is-dead.html
Petition to Purdue University
Demand Purdue University Professor Resign After Blackface Costume
On a public Facebook profile, Lisa Stillman made her profile picture an offensive blackface costume. After a student complained about this offensive material, Purdue University's administration tried to cover it up by telling her to delete the picture but did nothing more. Rather than letting Lisa Stillman go, Purdue still provides taxpayer dollars to a staff member that is not equipped to work with students of all backgrounds. Sign this petition to stand up to racial injustice and to create a safe space at universities where all students can be treated with the respect they deserve.
Petition to Arthur F. Golden, '66, Kareem I. Muhammad ’01
Retain Student Control Over the Rensselaer Union
On September 27, 2017, Chairman of the RPI Board of Trustees, Arthur F. Golden '66, J.D., sent a message to the RPI community. Following three unsuccessful attempts, beginning in 2016, to remove student control from the historic Rensselaer Student Union, Arthur F. Golden informed the RPI community that RPI President, the Honorable Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., had been granted the sole authority with respect to "...any decisions on the hiring, formal reporting line, removal, and other terms and conditions of employment of the Director of the Union," effectively disregarding any power the Rensselaer Union Constitution and Student Government once had. Students were not consulted about these changes. For the first time in 127 years, the successfully student-run Rensselaer Union has ceased to be operated by students. Yes, the building is still there, the clubs, organizations, and intramural sports still exist, services like banking and dining remain operational, and study spaces and meeting rooms are available, but the student experience will soon become a shell of what it once was. There will be no more freedom, no more meaningful choices, no more risk-taking opportunities like starting a club or hosting a specific event, no real say in what matters. The student experience born from a student-run union and treasured by so many RPI alumni and students may soon no longer exist. Students will not have the power or control to shape the present and future of their Union. The RPI community must unite and fight before our beloved cornerstone of the student experience is lost forever! Please sign and share this petition if you disagree with the Board of Trustees’ recent decisions to give Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson unilateral control over the Director of the Union position and to allow the Union Constitution and 127 years of Rensselaer Union tradition to be trampled. Let’s send the RPI Administration and Dr. Jackson a collective message of our own: our unwavering support of a student-run Rensselaer Union. Visit www.renewrensselaer.org and www.savetheunion.xyz for the most up-to-date content.
Petition to Kirstjen Nielsen
Georgetown Alumni Demand Resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (SFS '94)
At Georgetown, we were taught the Jesuit value of men and women for others. It is an idea rooted in love, justice, and concern for the least among us, and which led many of us to pursue careers in public service. This value seems to be common sense and is universal to all of humanity, not just Catholics and Christians. As a Jesuit university, Georgetown exhorted its students to strive to make the world a better place and to go to the margins. The manifestation of this idea is simple: pursue justice for all people in any shape or form – as teachers, doctors, lawyers, and even as public officials. And in that service, you will find your fullest potential and the moral and ethical manner to live one’s life. That is why the horrific family separations occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border requires us as Georgetown alumni to call on our fellow alumna – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen (SFS '94) – to resign as head of the agency that has inflicted so much harm on children and families at the border. At a White House Press Briefing on Monday June 18, Secretary Nielsen issued a stunning defense of President Donald Trump’s “Zero-Tolerance” policy which criminalizes immigrants entering the United States, despite many of whom have credible claims for asylum. Because of such policy, thousands of children have been separated from their families causing profound trauma that will be felt for decades to come. Quite simply, there is no justice in ripping babies from their mothers. There is no justice in hearing the wailing cries of children housed in cages. And there is certainly no justice when families have no idea of when they might see their child again. What’s worse is the unacceptable declaration that such a policy does not exist and the insistent protection of a president who has no regard for immigrant children and families. Secretary Nielsen’s promotion of “Zero-Tolerance” is antithetical to the education we received at Georgetown. As alumni and students of the Jesuit tradition, we cannot stand silent as these atrocities are being committed against our fellow being. Compassion is what this situation warrants. Many of us are parents, and we are all somebody’s child. Nobody has a right to separate any child from their family. Please join me in mobilizing the entire Georgetown alumni network to say not in our name. Please include your name, school and class in the comments section! Hoya Saxa, Christian Arana, SFS 2010 *Please note: This letter is not an official statement of the University.
Petition to Stephen Osborne
Remove the ugly monument from Rivers Green now!
Someone at the College of Charleston has decided to erect a monument on Rivers Green. It's tacky, it's frivolous, and we want it gone today. Rather than commissioning one of our many talented art students to produce something unique on behalf of the student body, the College chose to reproduce its own logo in plywood. This does not capture the aesthetic ethos of our community; rather, it makes the college feel corporate, bureaucratic, and sterile. This monument, so-called, scars our "Most Beautiful Campus in America." If it is a monument to anything, it is a monument to the College's unnecessary spending. The money used to produce this monstrosity could have been used to pay for a student's meal plan, or their books. If it is for this purpose that our tuition cost has increased, many College of Charleston students may begin to look at transfers to schools who are more responsible with our hard-earned (and obviously poorly-spent) money. In short, this distasteful icon embodies neither beauty nor utility. Since it serves no adequate function for our campus, we therefore urge the interim president to instruct the staff to immediately remove the offending statuary. Erect student art in its place, or leave Rivers Green to its normal state. It does not matter, so long as our campus remains beautiful and our tuition is well used.
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives
Change the Selective Service requirement for Transgender People Assigned Male at Birth
I am a 24-year-old transgender nonbinary individual born biologically male. I reside in the Portland metro area here in Oregon. I am living at home with family who is low-income, so I have limited resources when it comes to getting vocational opportunities. I am totally blind and hard-of-hearing. Although I am petitioning a problem that has been around for a long time, I am not arguing on the basis of disability. About six years ago, when I graduated high school and attempted to get federal student aid through the FAFSA web-site in the fall of 2012, I was informed by a community college financial aid office that I wouldn’t be able to make progress until I had registered with selective service. What is Selective Service? The Military Selective Service Act, passed and signed on May 18, 1917, was designed to require people who identify as male, or are assigned male at birth to register upon reaching the age of 18 and no later than their twenty-sixth birthday. Why did Congress pass this law, and why did they only require males to register? At the time that this went into effect, people who identified as female had little freedom to work outside the house and perform manual labour. At that time, it was believed that females were incapable of fulfilling combat roles the way males could. So, the military began putting restriction on these roles for females. Given the ten major wars we fought, our country has developed strategies to call people to do their duty for Uncle Sam, even if they didn't agree with it. Failure to register for Selective Service would result in a huge fine, or five years imprisonment. Also, considering the recent wars in Vietnam and Korea, some people expressed their beliefs that the draft has been overused rather than being reserved for actual emergencies. Although this is my opinion, I feel that we as a country have lost almost every good value today. The only thing we're good at is war. If there hasn't been a draft in a long time, why should males still have to register? Certain benefits are gained by being registered for Selective Service. If you got a job at a federal government agency, you might be required to register for selective service. Likewise, if you attempted to get financial aid to attend college, you will most likely be required to register, as well. Since I do not consider myself to be male, even though I am still considered to be male by the government, I decided, from this point forward, that I would boycott financial aid and other services that depend on Selective Service until they either A. Eliminate the selective service Act altogether, or B. Require that everyone sign up no matter what sex or gender they were assigned at birth. Here's some of the problems we're dealing with, at the moment. The federal government is still based on the gender binary. Oregon, and probably Washington, are two of the first states to legally recognise gender non-binary individuals. I changed my gender on my new state ID card to reflect this new law early this year.The other problem is that this society, like most societies, is male-dominated, especially by cisgender heterosexual males, which means that this is probably going to be harder to fight. Before making this petition, I attempted to find out whether I would have a legal argument to file litigation with the Selective Service or any other branch of the United States government on the basis that selecting, picking out, or subjecting a specific group of individuals on the basis of sex and gender constituted as discrimination, which is illegal in almost all jurisdictions. In this last round of contacting different legal organisations, an attorney informed me that this matter of a substantially similar nature has already been addressed by the United States Supreme court in the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, 448 U.S. 1306, 101 S.Ct. 1, 65 L.Ed.2d 1098 (1980). This is part of what my attorney said.At that time, the Court held in a six to three decision that Congress's decision to exempt women from registration 'was not the "accidental by-product of a traditional way of thinking about females"'. The Court found that men and women, because of combat restrictions on the latter, were not 'similarly situated' for the purposes of draft registration. The Court also upheld Congress's judgment that the administrative and military problems that would be created by drafting women for noncombat roles were sufficient to justify the Military Selective Service Act. Although the military has been relenting on this position in recent years, there is no legal precedent stating that the Constitution requires it to do so. One of the members of the National Centre for Transgender and Intersex equality informed one of the queer resource centre's coordinators a year ago that there have been some effort made by congress to eliminate Selective Service, but as of today, it still remains unclear what the future will hold. They might either eliminate it, or expand the registration to females. They might forget about it and keep things as they are. I decided that if they weren't going to change this policy, we would have to petition them. So, What's the next step? I think that you (and I) as private citizens, should come together and make our voices heard and redefine what America was meant to be, a country where all human beings, not men, are created equal. The supreme court ruled in favour of same sex marriage in 2016, and as a result, people of the same sex can legally marry in all fifty states including the territories.. Judges have been working on blocking Trump’s attempts at banning transgender service members from joining the military. We would need to work at lifting the combat restrictions on female soldiers so Congress would be forced to reconsider mandatory registrations for everybody. The only time people should be excluded or exempted is if they were full-time parents or if they had a disability or chronic illness, but it should never be based on gender or sex. Those belong in the nineteenth century, and it's already the twenty-first century. A little over a hundred-one years and we're still dealing with this problem. If we can change this for future LGBTQIA community, you can help me out by being one of the first to help make change to allow anyone, not just transgender individuals, who are male or were assigned male at birth, to attend the college of their choice and receive financial student aid, if they can't afford paying for college, without having to worry that they will have to sign up for selective service simply because they were told that only males are required to register. If Selective Service is here to stay, then people should get assurance that everyone would be required to register. If jury duty does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender, Selective Service ought to be the same. I had a great chance to go to college and pursue a career in biotechnology to help develop new methods for transgender reproduction and reassignment several years ago, but because of this unequal treatment and ideologies I disagree with, all of my plans came to naught. I don't want others in my position to experience what I went through. For now, I plan to make a living by being an advocate for my people and my community. Please share his petition far and wide. Get the media involved. Send this to any political advocacy organisations and help bring this to victory.