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Colleges and Universities

453 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives

Change the Selective Service requirement for Transgender and nonbinary Individuals

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.

Ulysses Garcia
55 supporters
This petition won 2 months ago

Petition to Walsh University

Keep all Dorms Co-Ed at Walsh University

This morning, all residential students of Walsh university received an email informing them that as of Fall 2019, certain dorms - Alexis (Seanor) Hall, Menard Hall, and Betzler Towers will be made single-sex dorms. Instead of there being clear upperclassman dorms and underclassman dorms, now there will be single-sex dorms and co-ed dorms. Alexis (Seanor) and Betzler have been designated for men, and Menard has been designated for women. This change will impact many students negatively if it comes to fruition. Currently, all these buildings are co-ed dorms, and by changing them to single-sex, many students will lose their current housing assignments. By designating these buildings single-sex, the demand for housing in other buildings will rise, and this demand will not be met - thus there will be a significant amount of students in single-sex housing who will be placed there against their will due to housing overflow. Menard and Alexis were also previously underclassman dorms, in which many freshmen and sophomores lived in living learning communities (designated for special groups on campus like the Honors College) and made friendships with their fellow classmates. This change will eliminate any true freshman dorm and prevent freshmen from getting to know one another through community living, specifically members of the opposite sex. Many students at Walsh cite the community living, specifically in the underclassman dorms, as a large positive - this community would be irreversibly changed upon the institution of this new policy. All in all, this change will result in numerous discontent, upset, and lonely students. There have been many students who have expressed a wish to transfer schools or drop out of campus housing should this decision be finalized. Finally, the main reasons cited by the notifying email for this change are Catholic Identity and increasing demand for this type of housing. The first reason has no backing. Catholic teaching does not and never has argued for single-sex dorm housing, and does not teach that the sexes must be segregated in this way in order to follow teachings - thus, this argument is completely invalid. Walsh already observes privacy hours and has sex-designated floors and wings - which ensure privacy without damaging community. In addition, Walsh University is a Catholic institution, but only 50% of its students are Catholic, meaning that this will cause a negative view of Catholicism and its teachings throughout the university, not to mention a great divide between the university's administration and the students. As for the increasing demand, this was not something which I have observed. All the students I have talked to think that this is an unfair and outdated policy - and especially unfair is the imposition of such a thing on short notice.  I chose Walsh because it was a good university without exaggerated rules which aim to show "Catholicism", unlike some other schools. One of Walsh's best qualities is its community living and sense of belonging. With single-sex dorms, campus will become more divided, classmates will be alienated, and the opportunity for healthy relationships with the opposite sex will diminish. This change is unfair to all students, as it limits their choices and goes against what so many love about their university. At a Catholic University, men and women should live in community with one another without worrying about puritanical lines drawn between sexes like entirely separate dorms. Single-sex dorms are not the solution to residence hall problems, and they will create more trouble than they are worth.  Privacy is one thing. Lumping residents into single-sex dorms and citing "Catholicism" is another.

Hannah Kasper
998 supporters
This petition won 2 months ago

Petition to Brother Ed, siena college

Get back the Assistant Director Position for the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center

I am writing to you on this beautiful day, filled with sunshine, to talk about a rather dark and overarching issue – the lack of representation of minority students at Siena College. Being approximately 20% of the student body’s population, we are growing in numbers; subsequently, it would make sense that the administration and staff reflect this increase in diversity as well. However, this is not the case. Administrators, Full Time and Part Time Faculty, and Staff have lower percentages of racial diversity in Siena College when compared to the student body. a major position within the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center has recently been cut, as part of budget-related accommodations. This leaves the responsibilities of the advisor to our school’s numerous Affinity Clubs in the hands of a single person – a clear demonstration of underrepresentation. Diversity and overall inclusion are part of the DORS Initiative of Siena College. The removal of this position within a department, which had already been limited in terms of resources, does not reflect that initiative’s goals nor does it send a positive message to the minority students on campus; ethnic, religious, and gender minorities, among many other students, are disheartened and outraged that this sort of  injustice is manifesting itself within Damietta, a safe haven to many students struggling to assimilate into a new, different atmosphere. All of our students are aware that Diversity is a core Franciscan value, thanks to our First-Year Seminar curriculum; nevertheless, the vast majority are unaware of the existence of the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center and what it offers. We do not keep the door locked, or even closed for that matter, yet the level of importance placed on this limited department’s expansion and resources is little to nonexistent. Not only does this issue affect our student’s sentiments, but it takes a significant toll on our administration and faculty members as well. As aforementioned, there is now ONE position within Damietta to represent all of our Affinity Clubs and their interests. Running effective, diversity-promoting programs, job training, mentoring, and more was difficult with only two directors; asking one person to be accountable for all these duties is simply overbearing. The administration loses when one considers the prominence of Damietta and Diversity on college tours and advertisements for prospective students. Promoting an inclusive, diverse environment is pivotal to the recruitment of many students, a substantial incentive to expand our Cross-Cultural Center. Lastly, we are drawn to friars and the concept of community as soon as we touch down on campus as freshmen. The absence of a friar in this advising position removes the key, interfaith aspect of Damietta, which contributes to the limited expansion issue and detracts the potential for connections to other members and organizations in the Siena community. Diversity matters and the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center is instrumental in providing that core Franciscan value to our students. There is a bitter taste within the mouths of many minority students, who have recurringly had their mouths shut by systemic suppression. You can ameliorate the damage done that influences this sort of sentiment; we can help. Damietta holds a special place in our hearts; the Asian Student Association, Black Student Union, Muslim Students Association, Latinos Unificando Nuestra América, PRIDE Gay-Straight Alliance, and Jewish student association club stand strong in solidarity. This is a fundamental issue of a caliber with which we are too familiar as minority students. Siena College as a whole will benefit from increased minority representation and the addition of the previously-cut Damietta Advisor position. Please let us know what, if anything, can be done on our part to assist in this effort. Thank you for your time and understanding.

Carl Mcdonald
604 supporters