Thanks so much for your support for my campaign! Since I started this petition, there has been some exciting progress; college administrators agreed to help find a hotel where foster and homeless students were able to stay warm and safe during winter break . But even more importantly, Aquinas’ administration agreed to establish a dialogue with experts and other universities to work toward a formal policy and solution on this issue– both at Aquinas College and other small colleges whose students face similar challenges. I’m looking forward to working with Aquinas to secure safe and stable housing for those who are in need in the long term. For now, I’ve closed the petition while we work together on a solution. I hope you keep you updated about our progress!
As an unaccompanied homeless youth, there were many barriers to getting into (and staying in!) college. Now that I’m lucky enough to be in my senior year at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I’m about to face another challenge this winter break: I’ll have nowhere to go when campus housing shuts down for winter break.Because I was a homeless youth when I was finishing high school, college was a goal that I was not sure I would ever reach. Sure, I had thought about it, and knew that continuing my education post high school was one of the greatest keys to building a future for myself. I was excited when I was able to apply for and was accepted to a small college in my city, Aquinas College. While there were many challenges, with the help of a great organization in my community, Arbor Circle, I was able to secure on-campus housing and started at Aquinas College in the fall of 2010.
Since then, there have been numerous obstacles faced and countless challenges overcome. But one of the main barriers remains: housing. One of the most tricky situations for foster and homeless students in college is what to do for break periods. Conceded, this is also a difficult situation for schools. Aquinas College provides opportunities to rent on-campus apartments during the summer months, and allows international students and in-season athletes to maintain their housing over fall and spring breaks. However, homeless and foster students are not included in the spring and fall allowances, and are left without options for the two-to-three week period during Michigan‘s cold winters.
Colleges across the country have combatted the issue of break housing in multiple ways. Some have chosen to keep one housing unit open for the break to provide shelter to these students. This cuts down on the utility use for the college, and is one of many ways that the college could ensure safe and stable housing for a very vulnerable group of students throughout the year. Last year, I spent part of my winter break sleeping outside on campus and I know that I don’t want to face the same experience again this year — and I’m sure there are other students who also fear the same.
As a senior, I am anticipating to graduate this upcoming May with a double major in Sociology and Community Leadership. I have overcome many challenges, and cannot wait to dance across the stage in celebration of the work that I have done. However, it is my greatest hope that students who are in situations similar to mine, including several freshman with whom I share a dorm currently, are alleviated of this one major barrier during their college years. Plus, there are thousands of other students — some who are homeless, some who were in foster care, others who have lost their parents or guardians — who are also affected by this issue across the country. I am so proud to be an Aquinas College Saint, will be even more proud to be an Aquinas College Alum, and would be so beyond grateful if my Saints would put forth the effort to show that they are proud and supportive of students like me, as well.
Thanks for signing my petition, and as always– GO SAINTS!
Compromise Set to Lower Student Loan Interest Rates
Fortunately, a bipartisan deal has emerged in the Senate that looks set to lower interest rates before students head back to campus. Here are the main elements of this compromise:
- It immediately and significantly lowers interest rates, giving students the certainty they need to make borrowing decisions.
- It ties student loan interest rates to the market, allowing students to immediately take advantage of today’s low rates.
- It caps overall rates to help protect students from interest rate increases in the years to come.
- It sets the interest rate at a fixed rate for the entire life of the loan in contrast to a GOP proposal that would’ve allowed the rate to change every single year the loan remained outstanding.
You can find out more details about this plan and why it matters HERE.
This can all be a little confusing, but the immediate impact is pretty simple. Here’s what will happen as soon as this compromise becomes law:
BOTTOM LINE: 11 MILLION students will save an average of $1,500 as a result of the student loan compromise the Senate is going to vote on tomorrow. Young people need Congress to act right away to pass this deal.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed
The FDA made a sweetheart deal that will limit access to cheaper emergency contraception.
North Carolina legislature considering the nation’s worst voter suppression law.
Internal doc reveals House GOP’s strategy for successful public events: plant questions.
The latest shocking anti-immigrant comment made by a House Republican.
Senator slams domestic spying: “Secret law has no place in America.”
Does an emerging governing coalition spell doom for House conservatives?
|My public high school threatened to suspend 20 students for wearing pro-gay t-shirts. Tell my school to stop discriminating and allow students to create a Gay-Straight Alliance.|
Sign My Petition
The students at my high school need your help. I’m a 16-year-old junior at Celina High School — a public high school in northwest Ohio. We’re trying to make our school more accepting and safe for gay students, but the administration won’t let us.
Recently, 20 students tried to fight homophobia by wearing homemade t-shirts to school that said things like “Straight but Supportive” and “I Support [Rainbow].” Our Vice Principal told students that they had to stop wearing the shirts or face suspension.
I’m straight, but I think it’s wrong that my school is discriminating against gay students and suppressing students’ rights to express our opinions.
We all know that anti-gay bullying is a serious problem. In the past few years, we have seen so many kids tragically take their own lives because they were bullied for being gay or perceived to be gay.
I think it’s crazy that at my school, it’s not the kids doing the bullying. It’s the adults who are supposed to be our leaders and role models.
Well I’m not going to take it anymore. Other kids have gotten their schools to allow Gay-Straight Alliances after they started petitions on Change.org — I know that if enough people sign my petition, my school administrators will cease their shameful behavior and create an environment that is supportive for all students, not just straight ones.
But when school administrators asked her about her sexual orientation, she answered courageously and honestly that she is a lesbian.
And then those same administrators told her to withdraw or she would be kicked out.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students across the country are back in school, many facing bullying from peers. The last thing these students need is a school administration that refuses to protect them from unfair treatment.
Thousands of equality supporters like you have already sent letters to officials at The Master’s School calling on them to make it right and protect all of their students. Will you send a letter now, too?
Tell The Master’s School: Your LGBT students deserve protection – not expulsion. Now’s the time to enact a non-discrimination policy so that all students feel safe to be who they are.
National Coming Out Day was just last week and Spirit Day is Thursday – it’s a time each year when we celebrate openness and speak out against bullying. Together, we’re striving to create a world where no student, no soldier, no employee – no one – has to fear coming out.
In too many places around this country, LGBT students risk expulsion, bullying, and harassment that jeopardizes their academic futures and their emotional well-being.
The Master’s School in Connecticut has a chance to make it right with the student they asked to leave. They have an opportunity to lead by example – to institute modern-day policies, and to bring their model student back into their community.
Will you take one minute to send a letter to The Master’s School right now? Tell them to update their policies and treat all their students fairly.
The path to equality has taken us together on a lot of twists and turns. The Master’s School, with HRC‘s help, can become a model environment for diversity and tolerance in education, but they need to take the first step now and make things right.
Thanks for standing with us now and always.
|Tell Monroe County officials to fully investigate a high school principal’s assault on student who wants a Gay-Straight Alliance|
Chris Sigler wants a Gay-Straight Alliance at his Tennessee high school, but his principal says no. When Chris wore a shirt to school supporting the club, that same principal allegedly assaulted Chris — and neither the school nor the sheriff‘s office has fully investigated the assault since it occurred last Friday.
Chris was taking an economics exam when Principal Maurice Moser stormed into the classroom and ordered all other students to leave. (Chris’s sister, who was in the same class, refused to go.) Principal Moser shoved Chris against the wall, repeatedly bumped his chest against Chris, and shouted, “Who’s the big man now?”
When the folks at the Tennessee Equality Project and the GSA Network heard about Monroe County’s failure to investigate the assault on Chris, they knew something had to be done. So they started a petition on Change.org demanding a full investigation into the principal’s assualt on Chris — and the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Chris’s school. Please add your name to their petition now.
Chris, who is straight, had been trying since August to create a Gay-Straight Alliance at Sequoyah High School. Chris wanted to create the club to provide support for gay students, including his sister, Jessica, who is bisexual. But Principal Moser blocked Chris from creating the group.
So Chris created a home-made T-shirt to support the club. The back of his shirt read, “Gay-Straight Alliance: We’ve Got Your Back.” That was enough to provoke Principal Moser to assault his own student in the middle of an exam.
The principal’s assault on Chris warrants a full investigation from the sheriff and the school district. And it’s evidence enough that Sequoyah High School needs a Gay-Straight Alliance. Sign the petition on Change.org calling for a thorough investigation of the assault on Chris Sigler:
Thanks for being a change-maker,