Target: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)
Goal: Discriminatory student organizations should not receive campus funding, benefits and privileges.
Recently, the Virginia Senate approved a bill that would give any religious or political student organization the freedom to discriminate openly against anyone who didn’t share the group’s mission, while making it illegal for public colleges or universities to deny them access to public campus funds.
Homophobic, racist, Christofacist student groups could organize, ban whomever they want from entering, and utilize the campus benefits, recognition, and privileges that everyone pays for. To protect students, and to show that hate has no place on public college and university campuses, Gov. Bob McDonnell must refuse to sign this bill.
If Gov. Bob McDonnell signs this bill into law, then only people committed to the mission of the group, regardless of what that “mission” is so long the students claim a political or religious orientation, can participate in deciding who can join, selecting leaders, organizing the group’s internal affairs, and defining the group’s doctrines. Additionally, this bill disallows the public institution to which they belong the ability to “discriminate against a student organization or group on the basis of religious, political, philosophical or other content of the organization or group’s speech.”
Under current Virginia law, campus nondiscrimination policies are not legally binding. This bill make the formation of student-run KKK chapter legal, while making it illegal for a university to deny the racist organization funds and resources, even if the university has nondiscrimination policies. University protections for sexual orientation are also not enforceable under current Virginia law. An openly anti-gay group could broadcast their homophobic message while denying LGBTQ students from participating in a discussion about their mission. If student organizations were also allowed to discriminate against whomever they like, however they see fit, then there would be a gross deficit in Virginia Law for protecting students, equally, fairly, and justly.
Dear Gov. Bob McDonnell,
Public colleges and universities are a place for students to enrich each other’s lives and education and share one another’s thoughts and views; they are not meant to be a hub for discrimination, oppression, and hate.
The bill approved by the Virginia Senate concerning student organizations has the capacity to shift the climate of educational institutions rapidly by allowing discriminatory groups to form and glean public university funds. Homophobic, racist, Christofacist student groups could organize, ban whomever they want from entering, and utilize the campus benefits, recognition, and privileges that everyone pays for.
Under current Virginia law, campus nondiscrimination policies are not legally binding, nor are university protections for sexual orientation enforceable. If you sign this bill then that students who are discriminated against, particularly if they belong to the LGBTQ community, will be in an even more vulnerable position. Granting students groups the “right” to openly discriminate fails to protect the environment of academic institutions and the individuals within them. Public universities are a place of enrichment, however this bill has the capacity to poison that ideology with publicly funded organized hatred.
Please, do not sign this bill to become a law. Do not stand on the side of hate.
[Your Name Here]