Express Yourself?

If you knew the person next to you could be carrying a gun, would you be willing to express yourself? This is the question facing college students in Texas as they headed back to school.

On August 1, Senate Bill 11, known as the campus carry law, went into effect in Texas. This law allows students at state universities who have licenses to carry concealed handguns to bring those guns anywhere on campus, with the exception of “exclusion zones.”

What is an “exclusion zone”? The majority of dorms are “exclusion zones” but not some research centers, some classrooms, religious centers, day care centers, health centers, veteran center and the LGBTQ Resource Center. “Wow, I just assumed it was, out of common sense,” was University of Houston student Robyn Foley’s reaction when Foley learned that the center was not an “exclusion zone.”

University of Houston faculty member Elizabeth Gregory states that many faculty members are concerned about the law and how it will affect class discussions especially with controversial subjects. “The whole point of being at university is being able to speak your mind,” she said. “This dampens that because people never know what the person next to them might be thinking about what they are saying.”

How would this law affect your college experience? Would you be willing to express yourself, if you knew the person next to you was concealing a weapon? On the flip side, do you feel any safer knowing your fellow classmates are concealing, or more scared? Leave a comment and let HL know what you think.

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Worst Colleges for the LGBTQ Student

School is back in session and high school seniors are beginning the search for the perfect college. For LGBTQ students it is important to find a campus that is accepting. Hayden’s List has many colleges reviewed but Campus Pride has released the 2016 Shame List, a list of the 95 worst colleges for a LGBTQ student to attend.

Campus Pride said in a press release that the Shame List comprises campuses that “openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth in policies, programs and practices.” The Shame List includes many private, religious-based institutions. Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride’s Executive Director stated “Religion-based bigotry is careless and life-threatening. Families and young people deserve to know that this list of schools are the worst for LGBTQ youth. They are not loving, welcoming, safe spaces to live, learn and grow ― and nobody wants to go to a college that openly discriminates against anyone.”

So, who made their Shame List? Check it out here.

How LGBT friendly is your campus? Review them on Hayden’s List!

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Rainbow Patrol

Rainbow Patrol

On July 8, students and staff gathered at the University of Central Florida as the campus’ police department displayed their mark of respect to the victims of the Pulse shooting. “This is our commitment to diversity and to the community that we support and we’re not the least bit afraid to show that support.” UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said.

The new police car is being called the Pride Car with ‘Police’ in rainbow colors and the hashtag #OrlandoStrong. “To me, it’s just another effort that we’re out here for everybody, not just one particular group of people.” said Peter Osterrieder, the UCF police officer who is driving the vehicle.

On July 13, the Orlando Police Department unveiled their memorial police cruiser on Twitter. The hood of the vehicle lists the names of all 49 victims from the Pulse nightclub attack. Orlando Police Department spokesperson, Michelle Guido, states “It’s Vehicle No. 49, a tribute to our community, forever changed by the Pulse tragedy.” The department anticipates the car will be ready for the road next week.

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True Brotherly Love

Chi Phi, a fraternity founded at Princeton University in 1824, recently changed its membership policy to be more inclusive. The fraternity has voted to allow transgender men with legal documentation to pledge, stating that “one change is never a stopping point” and that it hopes “this opens the door to further discussion about inclusivity.”

Is Chi Phi the first Greek organization to be more inclusive? To Hayden’s List relief, no. The trend over the last year is towards inclusivity and in surprising areas of the country. In March of 2015, Gamma Rho Lambda at the University of Texas became the first LGBTQ inclusive sorority. During the summer last year, the national fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon stated it would consider transgender men as pledges. And last fall, Missouri State University’s Xi Omicron Iota sorority chose to accept anyone who “identifies as a girl.” spoke to trans students last year for their article, “Greek Organizations Are Slowly Becoming More Trans Inclusive” who stated they were attracted to being a part of a Greek organization because of the closeness of its members compared to other student organizations. Fraternity and sorority members know that they can find each other in every geographical area which can be reassuring to a trans individual.

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