17 December 2010

A Semester of Progress

This has truly been a semester of progress for the LGBTQ Community at Purdue.

The most important change to occur this semester for the Queer Community at Purdue is the addition of Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy. This was tried and failed in the past, but today became a reality. Purdue has joined its peers. This protection will go a long way in empowering Transgender, Intersex, and gender-nonconforming students, faculty, and staff to report incidents of discrimination and harassment. It also shows that Purdue stands for the inclusion of Transgender and Intersex individuals.

I can't mention the Nondiscrimination Policy without pointing out that Genetic Information (one of my pet categories) also got added. While this addition may seem odd, I think it actually is quite forward-thinking. But this is a post about the Queer Community, so I will add this for those it affects, but not go completely into my lecture.

Also, equally as important for Purdue and most important for West Lafayette, West Lafayette has expanded its Human Relations Ordinance to add Gender Identity and Expression. This reaffirms West Lafayette as an inclusive community. I hope that this makes people feel (and be) safer in West Lafayette.

Purdue has also been moving towards a more inclusive community in terms of surveys. The Housing Satisfaction Survey included the options "Transgender," and "Other," in addition to "Male" and "Female." Not long after this, and a battle that was also had in the past, was a change on course evaluations. Course evaluations no longer ask gender.

Purdue also had its first, university-sponsored, National Coming Out Day celebration. Dr Ronni Sanlo, a leading expert on LGBTQ issues on campuses, met with multiple groups to help move campus forward. World AIDS Day was recognized at Purdue, including the Bell Tower being turned red. Purdue Student Government sent a letter of support to a student body president on another campus who was harassed due to their sexual orientation. Gamma Rho Lambda became a part of the Panhellenic Association, and these are not even all of the progress that occurred!

There is still a lot of work that has to happen at Purdue, but we are several steps closer to a truly inclusive campus.

Purdue Board of Trustees Expands Nondiscrimination Policy

Queer Student Union
Stewart Center Box 642
128 Memorial Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
pqsu.org

Contact: Nicholas Goldsmith, President
ngolsmi@purdue.edu

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Purdue Board of Trustees Expands Nondiscrimination Policy

On Friday, December 17th, the Purdue Board of Trustees voted to expand the nondiscrimination policy to include "gender identity and expression" and "genetic information." No votes were cast in opposition of the revision.

With this addition, Purdue joins the majority of its peer institutions and the city of West Lafayette in rejecting discrimination on the basis of "gender identity and expression." The amendment was proposed by Purdue Student Government, who voted unanimously to recommend the change.

The policy will now state, "Purdue University prohibits discrimination against any member of the University community on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran."

Purdue Queer Student Union President Nicholas Goldsmith, "I am proud to see Purdue move closer to being an inclusive community for all."

Jess Rombach, Purdue Student Government Senator for the Council of Organizations for Respect and Equality and author of the resolution stated, "This is a giant step towards a more welcoming environment, so that all Purdue students can equally enjoy their time at Purdue."

Purdue Student Government took up the issue after the Queer Student Union illuminated the gap in the inclusivity of the policies.

11 December 2010

Tumblr

I have been using my tumblr a lot lately (probably because I feel this is more formal). It is of course genesjockey.tumblr.com

I have especially been posting a lot about Google Chrome OS and the Cr-48 recently, if anybody is interested.

01 November 2010

Exponent Opinion on Survey & Election tomorrow

Another one of my opinions was published in the Exponent today. The Queer Student Union voted to make the opinion from us as an organization. It can be found here, just scroll down some.

I am proud to live in West Lafayette where Gender Identity and Expression is covered by the Human Relations Ordinance, and hopefully in December Purdue University will also include Gender Identity and Expression in its Nondiscrimination Policy. There is still a lot of work to be done beyond these policies though, and I hope things will continue to move forward. Purdue needs to fix its paperwork to stop suggesting that there are only two sexes/genders at this university. Purdue needs to hire a Director of LGBTQ Affairs (change.org even has a petition for it!). Purdue needs to have more gender neutral bathrooms (a map of single use bathrooms can be found here, notice the appalling number that are still segregated). Hopefully one day in the future it will be able to have gender neutral housing (I think it is a legal issue currently though :( ). If you want a list of the tip of the iceberg for Purdue to fix their policies, please read the LGBTQ Advisory Board's white paper here. Purdue also really needs to better advertise its Bias Reporting Procedures (and QSU is going to start trying to play a role here).

Anyway, I think that is enough of a rant now.

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I also want to quickly say a word about the election as well. Tomorrow are midterm elections, and I encourage all of those who are registered to vote to get out there and vote. I also urge you to consider voting Democrat. If you are here in Indiana, I think voting for Brad Ellsworth over Dan Coats is just a no-brainer. Overall though, I think the national discussion clearly shows the Republicans are going crazy. They are fighting for things like not letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, yet say they are anti-deficit. How can one be anti-deficit along with pro-war? How is it acceptable to spend trillions on war but not on the well-being of the people in our country? What is even more laughable is how anti-stimulus Republicans are when a Democrat is president, but practically ignore it when a Republican is president. Also, by the way, the private sector has seen job growth, and a lot of the job loss is in the public sector.

While the Democrats may not have gotten through many of the policies that we would like to see (A climate bill, immigration reform, DOMA repeal, DADT repeal), many of these policies have been completely blockaded by Republicans, and Democrats have only been in power for around two years. Republicans even fought to blockage policies that were just no brainers like extending unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are one of the best forms of economic stimulus because it gives money to people who need it and are just down on their luck. Instead, Republicans want to put more money in the hands of the rich.


05 October 2010

Quick post on Gender Identity and Expression

Sorry I have not posted this earlier and won't have the lengthy post that will do this justice, but I want to post something. I also want to add that on this Wednesday, October 6th at 7:00pm in KRAN G18 Purdue Student Government will be voting a second time on a resolution urging Purdue to add Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Genetic Information to Purdue's Nondiscrimination Policy. Your attendance would be greatly appreciated (I also have the honor of proxying this meeting and thus voting yes on this resolution).

Last night West Lafayette made a historic move forward, becoming the third jurisdiction in Indiana to include Gender Identity and Expression in its Human Relations Ordinance. After nine speakers (myself included) and the large attendance at the meeting, I think it was clear why this was important and needed to pass (which it did, 5-2). The resolution was bipartisan, with the Republican mayor and Democratic city council president being the resolution co-sponsors. I feel this especially highlights how diversity and inclusion are issues affecting everybody, regardless of political affiliation.

If you want to watch a local media report, it was on the local television station (including a clip from my speech).

I will leave you with the text of my speech for now, until I have more time to discuss this topic.

"Thank you for letting me speak to you today. I am Nicholas Goldsmith, a junior in the college of Agriculture and the president of Purdue's Queer Student Union. Before attending Purdue I grew up just a hop-skip away in Frankfort, Indiana. I remember coming to West Lafayette for many different programs throughout school. I remember how much more open and inclusive it was than Frankfort. This was confirmed when I moved here and learned that sexual orientation was included in West Lafayette's human rights ordinance. Just crossing the county borders from Clinton to Tippecanoe makes me feel safer. I know this county cares about its people and wants them to be included regardless of sexual orientation.

You yet again have a chance to make the people of West Lafayette, the people of the surrounding areas, and the students of Purdue feel safer and more included in your jurisdiction. You have the chance to let people know you care. You have the chance to add Gender Identity and Expression to your human right's ordinance.

The students I represent sincerely care about this issue. We know the inclusion of Gender Identity and Expression will help move the West Lafayette community to be even more supportive and affirming. It will help to make this an even better city to live in.

I want to know that my friends are guarenteed by the city of West Lafayette to be protected from discrimination. I want to tell my family how glad I am that West Lafayette moved forward on an issue. I want to tell my organization that West Lafayette cares about them. I want to tell prospective students that they will be protected here.

Please, do this for your friends, your families, your neighbors, your city. Please expand your Human Rights Ordinances to include Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Veterans Status."

28 September 2010

Exponent Opinion Letter

Today I got my first opinion letter in the Exponent of the year. It concerned a PSG meeting (and is a response to this editorial), and can be read here.

06 August 2010

Exponent on Prop 8

I did not post a Prop 8 story because I kind of figured all of my readers were already celebrating Proposition 8 being ruled unconstitutional :D If you have not read the opinion, I definitely recommend it.

Anyway, the Purdue Exponent ran an article on the Prop 8 ruling, and I have been quoted. Check it out here. Now let's hope the stay is ended and people can be going back to getting married! Apparently LA and West Hollywood are preparing for a potential jump in the number of marriages if the stay is ended. Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown also both filed briefs asking the stay be ended, so I am hoping that is a good indication that the stay will be ended.

26 July 2010

My Weekend Project

I have considered a number of different things to post over the summer, but really I have just used the summer as a break from the usual, which has meant paltry blogging. Not that I am anything more than a casual blogger, but the summer has still been rather void of posts.

First I want to post to the four videos I have made so far this summer. The Carl Sagan video (btw I am reading one of his books now) got me on a short Atheism video kick in which I made four videos ( Answering Questions for Atheists, My Questions for Theists, My Questions for Atheists from an Atheist, My Answers to My Atheist Questions ). I actually made more videos I did not release, including Questions of People Who Oppose Abortion (though that has nothing to do with Atheism), but unless begged they will probably remain soley on my harddrive.

Anyway, I want to make this post basically about one thing I did this weekend.

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When I was in middle and high school I had a usual desktop computer. One of those computers that got upgraded every year and such. Of course when I got to college I got a laptop. The desktop just proceeded to get old, and though Windows XP is the operating system that won't to die (probably Microsoft's masterpiece. This is a topic for another time but I think Microsoft is in decline and Apple is on the rise.) it was still clunky on the desktop. It just needed a refresher.

So I put Ubuntu on it (9 something back then) about a year ago. Ubuntu is a relatively nice, easier-to-use version of Linux. The old computer runs much better (and it has definitely prolonged its usability!). I like Mac OS X Snow Leopard (and my next computer almost certainly will be a Mac) but I still have a Windows 7 computer due to circumstance. Though I do have to say my current laptop is probably one of my favorite  computers I have ever owned (not necessarily due to Microsoft, but rather the power of the computer's hardware and software like Google Chrome), but my opinions of Microsoft have been declining especially as I see Apple continue to innovate.

I did not take an initial screenshot, so here is one from Wikipedia of Ubuntu 10.04


Anyway, since I was not doing much with my desktop I decided that I wanted to try and make it look more like OS X (I don't go as crazy as many users do, but I do try and focus on some of my preferred features). I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 just to knock out anything I had done messing around on it before, and then got to work.

Desktop after first round of work
The first thing to do was to replace the bottom taskbar with a dock (which is one of my favorite GUI features of OS X, and I actually have RocketDock installed on my laptop). I used Avant Windows Navigator to do this.

After setting this up, I realized that since this was not my main computer, I should focus on the cloud more. Instead of using Open Office (a free alternative to Microsoft Office), I should just use Google Docs, and that sort of thing. Not everything is on the cloud, of course, but I did make a change of a few things.

Changed to somewhat of a cloud focus
I also went through the trouble of finding Picasa and Google Earth for Ubuntu. I also choose the Snow Leopard picture because for some reason it just looks fantastic on the desktop screen.

After that I worked on getting some UI interaction stuff set up with Compiz. Using it I set up another thing I really like on OS X, which is Expose (aka when I hit F3 it shows all of the open windows in a grid-like layout).

Expose
Anyway, I am sure this is not very interesting for people, so I won't really go into much of the details. Of course it does not have all of the functionality or features of OS X, but I wanted to at least do something about the total lack of content. Also, a feature of Compiz I like is that the windows wiggle as you move and resize them, which is rather fun.

I do have one question - does anybody know what the closest thing to iTunes is that will work on Ubuntu 10.04? I tried installing iTunes on Wine, but it is not very usable. I am a huge fan of iTunes, so any tips would help. I did not like Songbird because I did not think it was organized enough and none of the add-ons really helped.
And yes, this post was made on the Linux desktop.




10 July 2010

Carl Sagan: A Universe Not Made For Us

I feel this video describes how I think of Atheism in a simply beautiful way. People really have no idea what Atheism is, and so they are afraid of it. But it isn't scary. Anyway, enjoy.

20 May 2010

A Bit on the Past Semester

I just read a friend's blog post about getting through the end of the year. Most everybody I have talked to said that last semester was just crazy. It was a pure struggle for everybody. That blog post, beyond the cultural whammy I always get from things like it, just brought back what I had wanted to write when the semester ended (but instead opted for a much need break, which was definitely the right decision).

What I would have started the blog post as before was, "I can remember my freshman year, when I would explore buildings, hang out at Vienna with friends, and play plenty of Pokemon." Because really, I had felt like first semester of my freshman year had been a typified semester that I really enjoyed. Thinking back though, I really went through a lot. I can remember my very first class. It was Botany 210, and I was nervous, and then Prof Zanis began the lecture and I knew I would love it and if this was college I was more than ready for it. I can also remember Chemistry 115, and it seemed so hard that first day and their were so many people that I almost pooped my pants. I was sincerely scared. I can remember being worried when I found out Tina had switched majors, because I wanted somebody to get through CHM 115 with. After that first week, there were some fantastic times, but there was also the worry of my first exam ever (when I was told anything taught was fair game by a friend). I can remember the night I broke it off with the first guy I had ever dated. I can also remember the biting savage that is being single. I remember the horrible feeling of being lead on. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic semester, especially in perspective. But looking back I can see things that had me sincerely worried.

Then I look back on the past semester, and while I still stand by it was the hardest semester I had ever been through, and that I am sincerely glad it is over, it still had both its ups and downs. The time spent spinning my wheels on stuff was ridiculous. I was also really apathetic about all but a small portion of something I really cared about (and took pride in). All of the spinning my wheels often left me irritated, and it cut deeply into the time I wanted to spend with Nathan. Especially finals week. I studied my butt off, and got incredibly lucky!

But, even with all of the spinning my wheels and questioning (the only time I had really questioned my major) and everything, it turned out to be a semester that was rewarding. We are closer now than ever before at getting Gender Identity and Expression added to Purdue's Nondiscrimination. That is something that is truly rewarding. I built ties I never thought I would have with student government (btw, if anybody is wondering, I am considering a run for Senator for the year after next, so any advise there would be fantastic, lol). I really feel a part of the lab now (that was something that had bugged me first semester of this year). I got to spend time doing all sorts of things.

One event that I think typifies how the good parts of the semester was spent was Monday of finals week. Nathan, Asya, Sally, and I went to a local Russian store, got some Russian food, went back, cooked and ate it, chatted, and studied. The food and company was fantastic, and even the studying seemed to go really well. I feel that is typical of how the good times were that semester.

I am still amazed I pulled off everything I did that semester. I sincerely did not think I would be able to. Multiple times I felt everything would collapse, but those are the times I either buckled down the hardest, rechecked my perspective , or realized there just needed to be a time to relax (usually those decisions were guided by others, lol). It is people that had everything to do with that semester. People that got me through the hard parts, people that made up the fun parts, people that needed an important change, people that counted. And really, what could possibly be more powerful, more rewarding, or more worthwhile than people working, helping, and growing together? [Yes, this is the part relating to the other person's blog post that I had to add for my tongue's sake].

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So, I figured at the end of all of this you would like something totally different come at you. Today, I got to go out into the field with Asya to look at and collect different plants. It was a lot of fun, and we definitely enjoyed ourselves. Here are some pictures of me in the field :D

OMG! Evil Tree!


Skunk Cabbage :D!

Isn't that flower awesome?!

A typical day in the field, lol

28 April 2010

Repeal DADT!

Today the Human Rights Campaign visited campus and, with the help of the Queer Student Union, set up a demonstration supporting the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. It was a lot of fun, and very rewarding. Hundreds of people signed, and I was even able to convince a few people people wary of repeal (which made me very happy :) )!


For the repeal rally we set up 800 flags to represent the 800 specialists dismissed due to Don't Ask Don't Tell. Overall, over 13,500 people have been dismissed, but that was deemed a few too many flags to put up on the Memorial Mall! And now I get to stop before I go onto my now well rehearsed speech about why we must repeal DADT.

It was a lot of fun. A press conference was held at one, and members of the local media were present. So far I have seen one media story, by WLFI (the local news station). I am in the background in several of the shots for the video. The other group at the end of the clip stopped by after their event, and we got TONS of signatures from them. (I really want to thank FACT. You are amazing! Keep up the good work!).

If you want to help repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, please visit the Take Action on HRC's DADT Repeal site.

EDIT: The story made it into both the Journal and Courier (Lafayette's Newspaper) and the Exponent (Purdue's Newspaper). The J&C has an article (which I am quoted in) and a photo gallery. The Exponent just had an article.

27 April 2010

Episcopalians and the LGBTQ Community

Last Thursday, Mario Melendez (President of the Episcopal Student Association), Reverend Charles Allen (Episcopal Priest at Grace Unlimited), and myself (as Vice President of the Queer Student Union) wrote a Guest Commentary for the Exponent entitled, "Some religions do love, accept LGBTQ community." This commentary was partly a part of the dialog on how religion needs to come to accept the LGBTQ community, and an advertisement for our "Ask A Priest" event in which people could ask questions about the LGBTQ community and the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is a very Queer-friendly church, and has instrumental in global LGBTQ rights (see Reverend Desmond Tutu's article). While I am personally an Atheist, I recognize the importance of the Episcopal Church, and really feel it is an open and uplifting place. I rather enjoyed the event, and thought it was very enlightening for myself as a Non-Christian as well as the Christians in attendance.

Anyway, today we got our first counter opinion. I think it hit Mario a little stronger than it hit me. Probably for multiple reasons (His church was pretty much called a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing,  his beliefs are being corrupted into something evil by this person, I am somewhat desensitized to religious attacks on sexuality, et cetera). Anyway, I will add a link to the opinion when it is uploaded onto the Purdue Exponent's website.

I also want to comment that people need to be aware that as anti-LGBTQ sentiments become more fringe, those who hold them will become more radical (as they have been). These people are trying to protect their bigotry through any mode they have (religion, pseudoscience, liesvandalism, hate crimes, et cetera). Do not feed the trolls. We must show what LGBTQ issues are about - our bodies, our rights, our dignity, our love.

26 April 2010

It's a Boobquake!

While I am certain almost everybody reading my blog is already familiar with Boobquake, I just wanted to make a quick shout-out to Jen on doing an awesome job. While a few of her things have gone viral (like Atheist Barbie), Boobquake has reached epic proportions.

Here is a link to Jen's original article. Just go search on CNN or some other news agency or wherever if you want to see more news about it. The coverage has gone global, and is especially a hit in Canada. You can also buy Boobquake T-shirts with the proceeds going to charity!

Edit: CNN's list of Monday's Most Intriguing People includes Jen!

11 April 2010

A Peak at My Dreams

There are certain commonalities in my dreams, and so I just wanted to give people a peak at them. The other night I had a dream that I remember somewhat well, and so I thought it would be a good example of one of my dreams. They tend to deal with some opposing force (often times societally apocalyptic), often with me and a group of people working to help advance society (even if it is in a small, underground form).

This dream, for some reason, had me on a quest to find out the primary sexual orientations (of which all others are derived). In order to figure this out I had to go find some drag witches (allusion to the Fates?). They lived across the town, in a huge marble house. I made it there, and they were sitting in a sort of marble, iron, and glass sun-room. There were three of them (yet again, strengthening the case that they deal with the Fates. Yes, I did see Clash of the Titans recently, so it may be from there). The drag witches were very clear to list the four of the primary sexual orientations - lesbian/gay, bisexual, straight, and asexual. They then began to argue over whether the fifth was a sort of complex, esoteric orientation, or if it dealt with humanity having three main genders hardwired into us, or if it was something like demisexuality. It was decided that gay/lesbian dealt with attraction to the same gender, straight dealt with attraction to a different gender (regardless of which one(s) it is), and bisexual deals with attraction to all genders. It was also decided that omnisexuality and pansexuality are derived from bisexuality and that demisexuality (no sexual attraction until one is in a relationship) is derived from asexuality and demiasexuality (loss of sexual attraction when one gets in a relationship) is merely a form of other sexualities. Finally there was some sort of magical epiphany that the fifth primary sexual orientation is autosexual (This dealing with a sexuality based around oneself).

For some reason knowing the five primary sexual orientations made me a target, and the drag warlocks (I am guessing this comes from watching Charmed). I left the drag witches' house, and crossed a bridge. The drag warlocks tried to get me running across their lawn from a fraternity-like brick building. I then woke up.

02 April 2010

After Gender Identity and Expression

A lot of work has been going on to try and get Gender Identity and Expression added to the Nondiscrimination Policy. And when I say a lot of work, I mean YEARS. This campaign for its addition also thought of the next big thing for discrimination policies (at least in my opinion) - Genetic Information. So, a lot of people are probably wondering what happens once Gender Identity and Expression and Genetic Information make it into the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harrasment Policies at Purdue? Is the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harrassment Policy then inclusive, good, and we can pack our bags and move onto other issues?

It would be nice if this were the case, but it is not. Purdue's discrimination reporting procedures are a mess. I have read them and I still have no idea what one should do (my basic suggestion would be to go to the Dean of Students [excluding the call to the police if it is violent, etc] and have them direct you to the right place because it is SUCH A HUGE MESS). It is embarrassing that reporting discrimination is so complicated. To give you an idea, if discrimination occurs student-to-student, you go one place - unless it occurred in the resident halls in which case you go to another (unless that person is not a resident). If it is staff-to-student you go to one place - unless... professor-to-student... staff-to-staff... co-worker-to-co-worker... yeah, just a mess.


Now, to give you a quick idea (as I have class in a few minutes) of just how far behind Purdue is, here is it's archrival IU's reporting of harassment when Googled: "To report incidents of harassment based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin, either call 855-4463 or write to trust@indiana.edu" (http://dsa.indiana.edu/ethics.html). Guess what I find when I Google Purdue's... this. I think that speaks for itself.

24 March 2010

PSG Elections, #2

I want to say now that I am rather impressed with both presidential candidates after hearing both of their platforms on LGBTQ issues. Next year could be a really good year for the LGBTQ community in Purdue Student Government. I look forward to working with whoever is elected, and feel that great progress can be made.

23 March 2010

Upcoming PSG Elections

Purdue Student Government elections are soon, and I thought I would make a quick statement (a more in depth one may or may not come later depending on if I feel it is needed).

At the moment, there are two people who have really shown support for the LGBTQ community and the development of Purdue as a whole. I thus I feel I should recognize these individuals.

I will be supporting Baldwin/VanBogaert for the President and Vice President. Eddie Van Bogaert was one of the Co-Sponsors of the unanimous PSG resolution to urge Purdue to add Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation to its Nondiscrimination Policy. Considering this currently my main focus in activism, it is HUGE. These revisions mean more than a lot of people can imagine. Empowering Transgender people on campus and helping to recruit and retain Transpeople is vital to Purdue's sustainability and continuing to be a leading university. It is truly sad that Purdue does not already include Gender Identity and Expression (really an embarrassment, we are after all the only Big Ten without it). Any candidate this supportive of transpeople and the LGBTQ community almost certainly have a lot to offer all students. You can learn more about the Baldwin/VanBogaert campaign at http://betterwithbaldwin.com/ . In order to better empower their ability to enact change, I will be supporting their supporters.

I will be supporting Nick DeBoer for the Liberal Arts Senator. While I can't vote in the College of Liberal Arts race, I will still encourage people to vote for Nick DeBoer. Yet again, Gender Identity and Expression play a huge part into this, because as I have already stated it is a BIG DEAL. He even attended the PSG meeting in which is was being deliberated, live-tweeting the vote! You can find out more about his campaign at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=104068222959357&ref=ts .

Remember elections are March 30th through Thursday, April 1st on GetInvolved ( www.getinvolved.purdue.edu ). Please consider voting.

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Disclaimer: I want to make a disclaimer that my opinions on the election may or may not represent the views of anybody/anything/etc other than myself. In particular, the Queer Student Union has a staunch position of remaining neutral in all elections, and the Voter's Guide produced by QSU will be neutral regardless of the position of any of the Queer Student Union.
This statement of support is strictly personal and a means of reaching out to other voters on my own time with my own resources.
I also look forward to working with whoever is elected, and hope supporting certain candidates will be viewed as a personal issue not to be involved with the work that must get done to improve Purdue for everybody.

02 March 2010

Exponent Covers PGSG Resolution

Yet again the front page of the Exponent has seen the Nondiscrimination Policy resolution and its passage. The article can be found here. They messed up on my class (I am a sophomore, not a junior), but other than that it is a fantastic article.

There was little reaction on the opinions page to the Purdue Student Government resolution, so I doubt that the Purdue Graduate Student Government resolution will garner much more, but I will certainly keep my eye open and everybody updated!

EDIT: The Exponent corrected the mistake in my class. I would like to thank Purdue Exponent for the correction.

01 March 2010

PGSG Approves Nondiscrimination Resolution

On the 10th of February, 2010, the Purdue Student Government (PSG) voted unanimously to urge Purdue University to amend its Nondiscrimination Policy to add "Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation." Today, the 1st of March 2010, the Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG) voted 32-0 on that same resolution.

It is stunning to see such an immensely important resolution continue through the system, and to be doing so well! I honestly am amazed that the resolution has done so well. I remember going into the PSG meeting seriously worrying that the resolution would fail (and I thank those who helped me keep my sanity!), and then we came out of it with a unanimous victory!

Then, today, I was in a total state of worry again that the resolution would fail, even though we had been told the resolution should do well. My worry peaked when the bathroom issue (a typical ploy by the forces of evil to kill transgender rights) was brought up. Do these people seriously think that all but two AAU Universities and every Big Ten University except for Purdue would pass these resolutions if it risked people's safety? This issue is one of providing safety, not losing it. Luckily Jess Rombach and the various senators were more than prepared for the question. She illustrated her point flawlessly when she used her change of roommates freshman year due to climate conditions to tackle the housing issue, and was well equipped for the bathroom question. She easily quelled the worry of the two senators posing the questions.

As an amusing aside, there was a several minute debate on whether the resolution should be amended to add something along the lines of "or lack thereof" with regards to religion. It was eventually decided that religion did cover the nonreligious (as the discrimination would be on religious grounds), although they may talk with certain leaders about clarifying the wording in the future.

I still held my breath when the vote occurred, and was stunned, again, to see people so strongly embracing equal rights. It truly makes me feel safer at Purdue just knowing that so many of our student leaders understand just how important this resolution is.

While we celebrate this victory, we also must not forget that the steps ahead are harder. Student governments move faster than the many others who will see when it comes to policy. Doubt and opposition may begin to manifest, and we have to be prepared for tougher questions and even ignorant people.

I STRONGLY urge you to support this resolution. It means more than you could ever imagine to a lot of people.

23 February 2010

Pre-PGSG Statement on the Nondiscrimination Policy

The Nondiscrimination Policy Amendment Resolution is headed to Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG). PGSG has a great opportunity to help countless Purdue students by following the lead of the Purdue Student Government (PSG) and passing this resolution.

While I could go on and on about why PGSG should pass this resolution, I decided it would be best to present a concise list of five reasons to support, "A Resolution Supporting the Inclusion of Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation to the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy."


1. Purdue University is the only Big Ten University not to include Gender Identity and Expression in its Non-Discrimination Policies in some way. This really is an embarrassment, and Purdue's ranking have been affected by the lack of its inclusion.

2. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Policy became law on May 21st, 2008. This act passed the House of Representatives 414 - 1, and protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of genetic test results.

3. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crime Prevention Act became law on October 28th, 2009. It should be noted that both of Indiana's Senators - Democrat Senator Bayh and Republican Senator Lugar - voted for this law. This act added gender identity to national Hate Crimes legislation.

4. Purdue University will produce some of the world's leaders, and those leaders need to be able to safely develop a political voice.

5. The addition of Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy would be a low cost way for Purdue University to enhance its reputation and regain lost ranking due to the lack of its inclusion. Adding Genetic Information and Political Affiliation will show Purdue University as a forward-thinking institution anticipating future problems and producing future leaders.

I have no idea what the PGSG meeting will hold, regardless, the good fight will continue. This resolution is important and means a lot to a large number of people. Support for the policy has been obvious throughout this effort, and I hope PGSG follows PSG's steps and unanimously supports amending the Nondiscrimination Policy. I can not stress enough how much this resolution means to some people.

With Hope,
Nicholas Goldsmith

Edit: The Purdue Graduate Student Government Meeting is March 1st at 6:00pm in KRAN G005.

10 February 2010

Nondiscrimination Policy Tracking

Media about the Purdue University Student Government Senate unanimously approving a resolution to urge Purdue University to add to its Nondiscrimination Policy: Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation.

Exponent Articles:
[Purdue] Senate to Discuss Non-Discrimination Policy 10 February 2010
PSG Votesto Support Revised Policy 11 February 2010

Exponent Opinions:
Nondiscrimination Policy Must Include... 10 February 2010
Nondiscrimination Policy Discriminates 12 February 2010

Student Blogs:
Mine 1 10 February 2010

Newspaper
Students Toughen Bias Policy 21 February 2010

Nondiscrimination Policy

I can not believe it, and it is so amazingly spectacular. The Purdue Student Government Senate has unanimously (yes, a 20-0 vote) approved a resolution urging Purdue University to amend its Nondiscrimination Policy to included Gender Identity and Expression, Genetic Information, and Political Affiliation.

I thought the vote would be close and we might even lose, but no, it was unanimous and we won! This is fabulous, and while I could go on and on about why, it really comes down to inclusion. Purdue Student Government just sent a message, which is going to get media attention, that Purdue University needs to be more inclusive.

I have no idea what is still to come. This issue is ultimately going to go to the Board of Trustees, and this unanimous vote is going to appear before them (and hopefully help this pass!). I know that each step will be harder, but this was a huge hurdle that was just jumped, and it is really energizing after seeing so much defeat in meetings. I truly have to commend Jessica Rombach. Her campaigning has been brilliant and she has no idea how much she has helped people.

Purdue University will hopefully join the rest of the Big Ten, and the overwhelming majority of the other high ranked universities, in including Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy.

Notes on the vote: The resolution came up, and a few senators spoke (nobody in opposition). There were a lot of spectators for a PSG meeting (and that did not go unnoticed). The vote was unanimous, and a huge applause followed. I teared up (had my tears of happiness a little later), and several other people did cry (and were very touched).

I don't know if people know how much these few words mean to people. How much it means to some of my friends that Gender Identity and Expression may be added. How much safer they will feel. I feel safer just with the knowledge that there was support for an addition that affects a lot of other members of the Queer community. This is also a huge retention and recruitment issue. The people who know to look do, and this will really help.

I will start another post tracking this issue as it develops.

(Sorry this is discombobulated, and that it really only talks about Gender Identity and Expression. I am SO excited that I just needed to get something down. I know we still have a long way to go, but I was not expecting to see this step so soon).

31 January 2010

Change in Career Path

May have a change of plans announcement soon (those with RSS feeds probably already know what).

11 January 2010

Creepiest Elevator Contest Soon!

Recently, on my Twitter/Facebook status (the two are synced), I stated, "Nominates the elevator near the Lily greenhouses for 'Creepiest Elevator in the World.'" This status got a few comments along the lines of "it is," "it is not that bad," and other anecdotes. Due to this, I have decided that I should hold a Creepiest Elevator Contest right here on this blog. The problem is - I need to develop some rules.


So, ideas? So far one of my former classmates has commented that stairwells should be included or at least given honorable mention. This lead me to wonder about something such as a dumbwaiter. What do people think? Should I require pictures? Anecdotes? Quotes from others? Should this be open to stairwells and dumbwaiters (and if so where does this end?)? How should it be judged (me, poll, guidelines?)? Should this elevator have been seen in real life? etc?


So, please, blast me with ideas, information, and the likes. You can comment on this blog, my Facebook status, or email me ( Genesjockey (at) GMail (dot) Com ). I will then try to compile a list of rules. Also, please tell me if I can release your name with the idea/rule.

Wordle!



One fun online tool I have found and just wanted to note is Wordle. Here is a wordle of my blog, the bigger the word the more common it is on the blog. Hope you like it! It is pretty fun, play around with it.

10 January 2010

Spring 2010 - The Fourth Semester

Nathan and I have now been dating for a year! We celebrated by watching lots of movies and playing Digimon (Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver don't come out for a few more months, or else we would probably be playing that, lol). Break was long (I am in favor of really short breaks but every weekend is 3 days, who is with me?), but we were finally back together, and ready to start new classes.


I have 15 credit hours, so I figured I would go through my upcoming classes (and other things):


ANTH 204 (Intro to Human Evolution) - Yay social sciences! I am looking forward to this class, mainly because it deals with Evolution.


BTNY 390 (Microbiology Lab) - Botany changed its Microbiology requirement to a class I already took (BTNY 207), and added a lab component. In order to dodge the biology version of microbiology, I can take the micro lab by itself. The professor is hilarious, and I am quite looking forward to it.


CHM 256 (Organic Chemistry) - I continue on with the second part of Organic Chemistry. Joy joy (I take quite a bit of Chemistry for my Botany degree)! Lecture last semester wasn't too bad, and the professor is excellent, so I think this should be good, probably about the same as last semester.


CHM 25601 (Organic Chemistry Lab) - While I did well... Let's just say I only got one perfect pre-lab. I am not exactly looking forward to this lab to be perfectly honest, but I will get through it, hopefully without exposure to too many carcinogens.


CS 180 (Programming I) - CS 177 went well, though CS 180 is suppose to be quite a step up. I don't like CS exams though. I can code fine enough, but the exams are brutal (odd errors pop up in the questions). This class will be Java so that should be good.


STAT 503 (Statistics for Biological Methods) - The biology-focused version of statistics. I have no idea what to expect. Wish me luck!


Queer Student Union - This will be my second semester as Vice President of the Queer Student Union. Hoping this year goes well (maybe some movement on Gender Identity and Expression. HELLO PURDUE, we are a little behind our peers!). GAYpril should be a lot of fun. I am planning to do another talk on Asexuality. (Still thinking about names. Last year it was "Asexuality: The Missing Orientation").


Research - I am working in the lab of Dr Nancy Emery. We will see what all I have to do, but it looks like I will be in there several hours a week.


FEELS - I am in a National Science Foundation fellowship program in the College of Agriculture. For it I have to do a variety of things, and we will see what has to be done this semester.


Leadership Development Certificate Program - A program I am in because of FEELS, my last Personal Development Plan was rejected due to format (I did not follow the suggested format, and instead used flowcharts), we will see if I can get a new one to pass!