The point is that we all had bullies. It doesn’t matter if we’re black, white, Asian, gay, straight, male, female or transgender—we had people who, for whatever reason, reveled in our pain.
It’s because of this that anti-bullying and anti-descrimination legislation is grown from such good intentions.
The people involved in the movements behind such laws care about children and care about people. They care about our schools and our workplaces. They want children and adults to be free from the emotional strain of schoolyard tauntings and an unrighteous firing.
However, with these movements comes special interests. Each group wants its own protection. They want their name on the list. It’s understandable and it’s expected. People feel strongly about their respective causes, and it’s natural to want to do well for the mission you’ve worked toward.
The problem with giving specific mention to every minority group under the sun is that it splinters the force toward the original goal—an end to bullying. These policies and these laws need to make it clear that bullying and discrimination are wrong in all situations.
We think transgender individuals deserve all the protections of our anti-bullying laws and our anti-discrimination laws. There’s no reason why a professor should be able to grade a transgender student differently simply because he or she is transgender. But labeling the group as a “protected” class only alienates them further.
Why can we not enforce a policy that prohibits giving a grade for anything other than performance? Is failing a student for his or her political views any different than failing a student for his or her sexual preference or gender expression?
The same goes for bullying policies and laws. Bullying is wrong on every level no matter who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.
Do not be confused—we support anti-bullying and discrimination laws.
We only feel that picking and choosing groups for special mention leads to every group feeling the need for special mention. When you put one group on the list and leave one group off, it sends a clear message that you consider one group more worthy of protection.
The Plainsman staff whole-heartedly supports groups like Spectrum and all groups supporting minorities. To have a community to which a person can belong, especially if that person feels separated from the Auburn community, is a wonderful thing. Everyone should have a place to which they can be unconditionally welcomed.
We only wish to see more steady laws and a consistent policy from the University that provide equal protection for all.