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Issuing Graduation Gowns By Sex Is Wrong
May 4th, 2016 by

Note: I have long held the position that having separate color graduation gowns is wrong.

Source: http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-fresh-talk-ryan-east-haddam-graduation-robes-0504-20160503-story.html

High schools should stop requiring male, female graduation robes, students say

May 4, 2016

On June 10, we will be graduating from Nathan Hale-Ray High School in East Haddam. Although graduation should be a joyful experience, our rite of passage has already been marred by controversy.

Over what? Graduation robes.

For decades, male students at Hale-Ray have marched at graduation in royal blue gowns, while female students have worn white.

Trivial?

It may seem so to some, but there are good reasons why sex-based distinctions like this one, in our view, violate the U.S. Constitution and Title IX. We have spoken to several law professors, including experts on gender discrimination, who agree with our position. Making whether we are male or female the most visible aspect of our graduation communicates the message that we are, first and foremost, men or women. Yet our gender has nothing to do with the accomplishments we celebrate.

We have studied in the same classes, received the same grades, played in the same music ensembles and will receive the same diplomas. Why then are we being distinguished based on our gender? Even something as arbitrary as separate robe colors creates the impression that our gender is more important than our accomplishments — a climate in which stereotypes flourish. Unfortunately, these stereotypes are only further cemented by the fact that a serious, professional color — blue— is assigned to men, while a color meant to suggest innocence and purity — white — is assigned to women. These symbols are powerful and reinforce harmful stereotypes that reach far beyond any particular sex-based distinction.

We honor and respect tradition; nevertheless, it should not be something to which people are so devoted that it impedes human rights. The law does not allow sex-based distinctions unless they are supported by a very good reason. And tradition is not an acceptable reason. In fact, sex-based distinctions based on tradition are especially suspicious, because they are so often based on outdated, harmful stereotypes.

Imagine having members of different races wear different colored robes at graduation and then justifying that practice based on the fact that we had always treated races differently. Different sports teams for males and females due to sex-based averages in sports ability are one thing, and allowed by Title IX. But just as it would be irrational to have a separate orchestra or physics class for males and females, it is irrational to distinguish students by gender at graduation.

While we are proud of who we are, our gender is not what has determined how we use our minds, serve our communities or learn to live ethically and responsibly. So, it is absurd that our gender is foremost at the ceremony in which these achievements are celebrated.

We are told it is too late to change the policy. That robes have to be ordered. This issue, however, was first raised in early March and we have been raising it ever since. The school administration has stonewalled progress and dragged its feet on implementing the much-needed change. Glastonbury High School just made the change in January when it was announced that all the graduating seniors would wear the same blue robes with white sashes. So should this year’s graduates from Nathan Hale-Ray.

We are saddened that this controversy is dividing our small, close-knit class. Derogatory comments and hurtful posts on social media continue to divide it further.

At the last minute, seniors were hastily given the choice to wear a different color than the one assigned to their gender. This compromise put students in the awkward position of deciding what to communicate, and how. What would it mean to choose the “other” color? What would it mean to conform to the administration’s expectations of us? The “compromise” suggests that the problem is which gender graduation robe we were assigned, rather than why our robes had to even be distinguished by gender at all.

The policy is wrong. And we are embarrassed for our community that it still exists.

Elizabeth T. Ryan will attend Indiana University this fall, where she plans to study music. Jordan E. D’Addeo will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this fall, where she plans to study cognitive science.

The Courant invites writers younger than 30 to write essays of 650 words or less containing strong views. Please email your submission to freshtalk@courant.com, with your full name, hometown, daytime phone number, age and occupation (or your school’s name and your level in school). You can also fax op-eds to 860-520-6941.

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Former Women’s Basketball Coach Resolves Claims Against the University of North Florida for $1.25 million
Mar 11th, 2016 by

Former Women’s Basketball Coach Resolves Claims Against the University of North Florida for $1.25 million

Correia & Puth client Mary Tappmeyer settles her Title IX claims of retaliation and sex discrimination against University of North Florida

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA (March 11, 2016) – The University of North Florida (UNF) and its former women’s basketball coach Mary Tappmeyer have reached an agreement to settle Coach Tappmeyer’s sex discrimination and retaliation claims associated with her termination from UNF in March 2015. Washington, D.C. firm Correia & Puth, PLLC represented Coach Tappmeyer in her civil rights claims against UNF, with additional support from Nancy Hogshead-Makar, CEO of Champion Women.

Coach Tappmeyer alleged that UNF terminated her from her long-standing position as UNF women’s basketball coach in March 2015 in retaliation for her complaints of sex discrimination experienced by female student athletes and because of sex discrimination against her. Coach Tappmeyer alleged that UNF provided male basketball recruits academic exceptions to UNF’s admissions requirements, but refused any exceptions to female players; that the women’s basketball team had unequal operating budgets, travel budgets, locker rooms, and training and office facilities as compared to the men’s team; and UNF disparaged the women’s basketball team coaches to current players, recruits, other members of the athletic department, UNF donors, and the UNF community.

Coach Tappmeyer also alleged sex discrimination against her and other female coaches of UNF’s women’s teams. She asserted that while UNF paid her significantly less than her male counterpart, the University held her to more stringent performance standards than her male counterpart, and thwarted her recruitment and coaching efforts.

Coach Tappmeyer was head coach of the women’s basketball team since its inception at UNF in 1991. She alleged that UNF’s actions violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, theEqual Pay Act of 1963, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. UNF will pay Coach Tappmeyer $1,250,000.00 to settle her claims prior to litigation.

“Coach Tappmeyer is a dedicated advocate for her female student athletes. We asserted that she stood up for her players when UNF basically suffocated her program,” stated Linda M. Correia, lead counsel for Coach Tappmeyer. “This resolution sends a clear message that retaliation is not okay when coaches stand up for their players’ equal rights. Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, women and girls have made significant strides in education. Despite great progress, inequities in athletics still remain, and our goal is to end barriers to participation and success in athletics.”

Regarding the resolution of her claims, Coach Tappmeyer stated, “As a life-long player and then coach, I know first-hand how great the game of basketball is and how significant of a role the game can play in a student’s life. Women at UNF deserve an equal opportunity to not only participate in athletics, but also to succeed. I am hopeful UNF will work to get back to the days when it prided itself on gender equity in athletics. Though I wish my time at UNF would have ended differently, I look forward to continuing to root for and support the female Ospreys.”

Nancy Hogshead-Makar had high praise for Tappmeyer, “I applaud Coach Tappmeyer for pursuing her ongoing sex discrimination complaints over the past year. Many coaches would have taken the overt discrimination in the teeth and headed to a new school. Her settlement today opens up new pathways for gender equality at the University of North Florida and across the country.”

For more information on this case, contact Correia & Puth at (202) 602-6500 orfirm@correiaputh.com.

*  *  *

Correia & Puth, PLLC, is a Washington, DC law firm dedicated solely to representing employees confronting workplace discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment. The firm is a recognized, national leader on using Title IX as an effective mechanism for maintaining educational environments free from discrimination and retaliation.

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EEOC Files First-Ever Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits
Mar 4th, 2016 by

In a historic move, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed its first two lawsuits for discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation.

In most states, it is still legal for employers to fire workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBT rights advocacy group, only 19 states and D.C. currently prohibit both of these discriminations. Because there are no federal protections for LGBT employees, the EEOC has called the cases “groundbreaking.”

read more ………… 

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Boys’ reaction to bullying will melt your heart
Feb 13th, 2016 by

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Preferred Name Information
Feb 12th, 2016 by

For schools working with students transitioning,  the issue of name change can be a complicated one. Laws vary from state to state. Here is how one university handles name changes.

Source: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/preferrednames.php

Preferred Names

Statement of commitment to inclusion

In support of the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to providing an equitable and safe experience for students whose birth name and/or legal name does not reflect their gender identity and/or gender expression, Penn accepts requests from such students to use a preferred first and/or middle name in University records.  A student’s preferred name can and will be used where feasible in all University systems unless the student’s birth name and/or legal name use is required by law or the student’s preferred name use is for intent of misrepresentation.

Process

Transgender, gender nonconforming, gender variant, and non-cisgender students who wish to designate a preferred name should fill out the Preferred Name Change Form. Students wishing to change a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name must meet with one of the following designated University Life trans* allies to discuss the scope and limitations of the preferred name request:

Karu Kozuma, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, 215-898-6081

Erin Cross, Associate Director, LGBT Center, 215-898-5044

Rodney Robinson, Associate Director, Office of Student Affairs, 215-898-6533

Limitations

Although the University is committed to supporting students in the trans* community, it is important to understand that designating a preferred name for use at Penn DOES NOT constitute a legal name change. A student’s birth name and/or legal name will continue to be used on certain University documents. Preferred first and/or middle names may be designated. The University is unable to designate a preferred surname without documents showing that the surname has been changed legally by a court or government entity.

Students interested in changing their name legally can find resources through local government or the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia.

FAQ

Can all Penn students request to change their designation from a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name? At this time, the Preferred Name Change process is only available to transgender, gender nonconforming, gender variant, and non-cisgender individuals and only for first and/or middle names.

I would like to talk to someone about changing my name in Penn systems to my preferred name. Please contact one of the above University Life trans* allies.

I am a student and made a legal name change. How do I communicate this legal name change to the University?Legal names can be updated through the University Registrar.

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