Posts tagged Alabama

Partial victory with SGA unisex restroom resolution

Shared Article from theplainsman.com

SGA passes unisex restroom bill - A week after the Student Gover…

A week after the Student Government Association senate tabled a bill that favored the implementation of unisex restrooms in future buildings on campus…

theplainsman.com


Auburn folks: A follow-up to last week’s article about the unisex restroom bill at Auburn’s SGA: there’s been a partial victory resolution. The important part, I suppose, and the good part, is that the resolution passed and the University will make efforts to improve access to unisex restrooms across campus. The downside is that for reasons best known to them, a number of SGA senators decided to remove references to queer and trans members of the Auburn community from the resolution before they voted for it. But I am glad to see that the bill has been passed.

A week after the Student Government Association senate tabled a bill that favored the implementation of unisex restrooms in future buildings on campus, the senate revisited the matter Monday, Nov. 10 at its weekly meeting.

The bill passed.

India Napier, senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine, who sponsored the bill, cited unisex bathrooms could benefit a variety of people including families and transgender people in last week’s Nov. 3 meeting.

At this senate meeting, a number of students and faculty showed up to voice their concerns and needs for unisex restrooms.

“This bill will not affect a majority of the student body,” said Elizabeth Beasley, sophomore in forestry. “If anything, for the people it would affect, it is probably very important to actually have these be implemented across campus. Most of the unisex restrooms are not available to the students or if they are, they are extremely out of the way.”

The Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee’s bill will make it University protocol to implement unisex restrooms in newly constructed buildings across the campus.

. . .

Although Napier said she is happy the bill finally passed, she expressed concern about her fellow SGA senators after they voted to remove Max Zinner, political director of Spectrum, Auburn’s LGBT community, from the bill.

“I am so happy that it passed and that’s all that matters, but I am disappointed with the modifications that were made,” Napier said. “It was clear that the modifications, such as the lack of the gender identity line and the removal of the individual Max Zinner, really indicates that there is a discomfort in regard to gender identity with senators in SGA and that’s something that they’re going to have to deal with, not me.”

— Ben Ruffin, SGA passes unisex restroom bill
The Auburn Plainsman 10 November 2014.

Auburn: SGA resolution for better access to unisex restrooms

Auburn folks: Spectrum at Auburn sent out this e-mail asking for folks to take a second to write their SGA Senators to vote in favor of an upcoming resolution to improve access to unisex bathrooms on campus for those who need them. A copy of E-mail follows.

Hi everyone,

In case you haven’t heard yet there is currently a resolution making it’s way through the SGA senate regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This is something that Spectrum has been working on for a long time and I probably don’t need to tell you why this would be a good thing for Auburn. If you are a student please contact your senators to express support for the resolution. Contact information for all of the senators can be found here:

http://wp.auburn.edu/sga/branches/senate/

If you have nothing to do on Monday [10 November] at 7:30, you are also encouraged to come to the SGA senate meeting itself and give your own reasons for supporting this resolution during the open floor time.

Here is a letter template that you can use all you need to do is add your name and college. Of course you are free to edit it however you like:


Dear Senators,

My name is (insert name here) and I am a student in (insert college here). I am contacting you to express my support for the resolution regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This would help a wide variety of people in our community. This could be anyone from a student in a wheelchair that needs assistance from someone that may not be the same gender as they are to a transgender student who is concerned about being harassed simply for using the restroom. As the Auburn family we must strive to be inclusive. It is also important to note that the way that this resolution is written there is no cost to the student body.

Also, this resolution requests that the interactive campus map be updated with regards to unisex restrooms. Currently the map has a number of inaccuracies and misrepresents the actual number and location of unisex restrooms on campus. I believe this has been brought up with the administration but still nothing has been done. A resolution from the SGA could be the push that is necessary for the map to be updated.

For these reasons, I ask you to vote in favor of the resolution on Monday. Thank you for your time.

In related news, I just sent out more e-mails with the signature “War Eagle” in the last 5 minutes than I have done in the previous 33 years of my life.

“Hands Up!” Solidarity Event in Auburn Friday 8-15 12pm

If you’re in Auburn, and you’ve been watching the police-state horror-show unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, you may be interested to know about this. TOMORROW (Friday, August 15) at 12pm, on Samford Lawn, Auburn University campus.

Announcement forwarded from AU Black Student Union follows

Attention auburn friends and family:

“Hands Up!” event tomorrow organized by BSU at 12pm on samford lawn to honor Michael Brown + raise awareness about police brutality directed at people of color

LET’S SHOW UP ! ! !

more info below from email sent by BSU’s president

Due to the recent events emerging in Ferguson, Missouri, in relation to the death of Michael Brown, Black Student Union would like to show its support in the fight for equality by joining in the “Hands Up!” Movement. This movement has been spreading rapidly around the country and we should all raise our voices in the fight for justice. We should raise our voices for those who cannot any longer, for Sean Bell, for Oscar Grant, for Amadou Diallo, for Michael Brown and for countless others. Meet us on Samford Lawn tomorrow, Friday, August 15th at noon to take a picture and let’s show the people of Ferguson, Missouri, that they have our support.

Hope to see you tomorrow at noon on Samford with your hands up.

War Eagle!
Jasmine S. Pettaway
Your BSU President

Rep. Mike Hubbard Vs. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press

I sent a letter to the editor of the Opelika-Auburn News the other day, after reading this little piece about recent efforts by Mike Hubbard[1] to intimidate his critics with legal threats. As far as I know the letter hasn’t appeared in the paper, and my guess is that it’s not likely to, since the opinion page is currently flooded with letters for and against an upcoming city property tax referendum.[2] So, I reprint it here. Of course, if the accusations being made against Hubbard are false, then I think it’s a bad thing for people to tell lies or spread misinformation. But his efforts to enforce his preferred version of events, by means of legal force, is a loathsome attempt at censorship. It is no less preposterous, and even more contemptible, than if he went around challenging his critics to duels.[3]

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to read that Rep. Mike Hubbard has decided to respond to his critics with intimidation and legal threats (“Hubbard enlists attorney to investigate libelous claims,” Sep. 11). Apparently, he is angry about bloggers who made “negative comments” about him on the Internet, so now “he has hired an attorney to stop” the authors, by tracking them down and threatening a libel lawsuit.

Hubbard says that he has done this because “certain individuals” are trying to damage his good name. But a good reputation is not the private property of Rep. Mike Hubbard. His reputation just is the sum total of other people’s opinions about him; and other people’s opinions of Mike Hubbard belong to the people who have them – not to Mr. Hubbard. If people change their mind about Hubbard after reading about him on blogs, then the comments they read may be true or false, justified or unfounded, honest or malicious. But whatever the negative comments are, they are not “destroying” anything that Hubbard has a right to exclusively control.

You might say, “But the comments were libelous; he has legal rights.” That’s what the law says, but the law is wrong: libel actions are shameful and chilling assaults on the freedom of speech and the press.

If the comments are true, Hubbard has no right to complain about them. If the comments are false, Hubbard – a well-connected politician, and a well-positioned local media owner – has plenty of outlets for responding to the accusations, and more than enough opportunities to peacefully persuade us he’s in the right. Either way, sending a lawyer to intimidate and silence critics is an abuse of power, and the act of a bully – and a desperate one at that. Hubbard ought to be ashamed of himself.

Charles W. Johnson
Auburn, Ala.

  1. [1] A local media mogul, GOP honcho, currently Speaker of the Alabama state House of Representatives, and the man who preposterously claims to represent me in Alabama’s state government.
  2. [2] I’m agin’ it, because I’m against all tax laws, but I won’t be voting agin’ it next week, because I am not registered to vote.
  3. [3] Challenging them to duels would be less contemptible because he would at least be taking the risks of his violent outbursts on his own person, rather than throwing his wealth and power around in a court-room against bloggers much less able to defend themselves. It would also actually be much less dangerous and tyrannical — since his chosen victims would always be free to refuse him.

Auburn police department contact sports

Officers will have 100 contacts per month, minimum … 40 of those may be warnings for traffic, the other 60 will be divided between: traffic citations, non-traffic citations, field interviews and custodial arrests …. Do not be the one that does not get 100.

— Sgt. Trey Neal, Auburn Police Division, Auburn Alabama.
Recorded by officer Justin Hanners, qtd. by Tracy Oppenheimer, Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas
Reason TV (July 24, 2013).

Oh, hey, look, my hometown’s in the national news again. This time it’s for the contact quotas handed down from the police division’s chain of command. The requirements for ticketing and arrest quotas required more contacts[1] every year than there are people in the city of Auburn. The story has hit the news because Justin Hanners, a former police officer in Auburn, says that he was fired by the police department in retaliation against his objections to the quota policy, and to the over-use of police force and arrests that it was producing. After making some contact with local CopBlockers in Auburn, Hanners got his story to Reason TV.

From the story in the Opelika-Auburn News:

Back in 2010, when Chief Dawson came in, immediately afterward, they started telling us that we had to have two tickets a day and two warnings a day on average and if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t get promoted, we would get bad evaluations and if we continued to not do it, we would get written up and ultimately fired, Hanners said in a phone interview with the Opelika-Auburn News.

Hanners said he initially wrote a complaint about what he thought of the alleged quotas, but was soon suspended for other reasons and put on bike duty.

They went back seven months on my computer where I told a joke to another officer and suspended me for four days and made me forfeit two days of annual leave, Hanners said, who added the other officer was not punished.

Hanners said while on bike duty, which he claimed involved patrolling the interior of Auburn University, he was still force[d] to comply with the alleged quotas.

By directives, I’m not even supposed to be writing tickets, but my supervisor told me in my bike duty that I had to have just as many tickets as officers in cars, Hanners said.

— Drew Taylor, Former officer claims Auburn police division quotas
Opelika-Auburn News (July 25, 2013)

Since the story came out in the press, spokes-flacks from the city government have issued rote denials and slimy Oh-we-can’t-comment-but… insinuations about Hanners’ personnel file from the City Manager’s office. Assistant City Manager James Buston admits that the sergeant said everything that was on that tape but that it wasn’t official policy. (But, you know, if it were official policy, it’d be O.K., because it’s kind of challenging them to do what they are supposed to do…). The Office of Charles Duggan, City Manager of Auburn, says The message that there is a quota was wrongfully conveyed through supervisory channels to at least one patrol shift — which of course is a long-assed way of saying that there was a quota while denying responsibility for setting it — but insists that there is an unfounded accusation being leveled by Mr. Hanners. Because, when ex-chief Dawson told the city government that this story was going to hit the press, the city government hired another government investigator to look over their records and tell them that all was O.K. Tracy Oppenheimer at Reason responds to the denials here. Public Safety Director Bill James, for example, put the following in writing:

To make 100 contacts, which include among others, traffic stops, issuing warrants, field interviews and arrests, requires about two contacts per shift hour. Making two contacts per hour is not unreasonable and still seems to leave a lot of time to perform other duties that are detailed in your job description. Your supervisors as well as I have an expectation that each employee needs to be productive during their time on shift.

— Auburn Public Safety Director Bill James, Re: Grievance
Correspondence with Officer Justin Hanners (November 20, 2012)
Quoted by Tracy Oppenheimer, Auburn Cop Fired for Resisting Quotas Gets Online Support; City Officials Deny Deny Deny

Buston also claims that Reason did not offer the city government an opportunity to respond before they put the video together. Oppenheimer’s story shows that this is false, and that Capt. Tom Stofer of the Auburn Police Division specifically said that the Division refused to comment. As for the insinuations about Hanners’ personnel file, besides the note about the retaliatory shift to bike duty, here’s some more elaboration on what happened to him.

“Well, the day my grievance was over, I get called into the Chief’s office, and was told that some evidence I presented was from an internal affairs investigation and the gag order had been placed and I wasn’t supposed to have it. So then the Chief, who is the suspect in my grievance, now starts an internal affairs investigation into me and my partner to see if we somehow compromised his own investigation into his own wrongdoing where he had found he had done nothing wrong. So in this investigation, they found that we had violated a gag order and that I had violated the city’s reporting policy by reporting these people. And they ultimately fired me for it and suspended my partner who gave me a statement that said everything I was saying was true.”

— Justin Hanners, qtd. by Tracy Oppenheimer, Auburn Cop Fired for Resisting Quotas Gets Online Support; City Officials Deny Deny Deny

Here as elsewhere, cops protect their power. Support your neighborhood CopWatch.

  1. [1] When you hear about police departments setting requirements for making contact with individuals on Auburn streets and sidewalks just think of contact in the sense that ice hockey or American football are contact sports.