Take My Points: It’s Time To Play Fairly

On Thursday night the Schreyhards held their first official IM flag football game.  We lost, by a lot, but our matching lime green t-shirts and unwavering support of each other absolutely made up for our poor athletic skills.  


However, there was one thing that put a damper on my experience of our first game.  We were playing another coed team, and when one of the girls scored a touchdown, the ref yelled out, “9 point touchdown!”  I looked around in confusion, until one of my teammates informed me that girls get 3 extra points for a touchdown, not including the extra point.  I don’t know about you, but that’s simply wrong.


Before I go further into this, I do understand the motive behind this absurd rule. Coed teams, like high school gym classes, are notorious for being male dominated and unencouraging of female players.  Penn State is trying to fix that problem by giving girls a leg up; we earn an extra 3 points for every touchdown, and on certain plays male QBs canonly throw to a female receiver.  The idea behind this is that guy players will be more likely to include us girls.  Despite this being a well intentioned policy, this is not the way to promote equality on campus.


Penn State promotes diversity and inclusion as an integral part of its mission, but we have a long way to go to make that a reality here in Happy Valley.  I love this school and I am so grateful for the incredible opportunities that it offers us – that being said, sexism is still alive and well at Dear Old State, and we have to change that.  Our professors have always emphasized that we the students can create the campus we want to see, and it’s time we listen to them and do something about campus sexism.  WE ARE capable of changing for the better, and it’s about time we do.


As a community of students who can directly affect our campus, we can start by requesting information and spreading awareness.  The Penn State Gender Equity Center is taking on the challenge of opposing sexual violence and harassment; this could be an excellent opportunity for us to start our fight against sexism.  By speaking to members of the Gender Equity Center, we can request a program that actively promotes, well, gender equity.  The Center has done wonderful things so far, and tackling sexism would be an incredibly important addition to their mission.


We can also get out on our own to spread our message of gender equality.  Girls, talk to your teams and ask the ref to give equal scoring for touchdowns.  Guys, this is not just your game; we’re not on the team to boost your score.  Challenge the status quo and reject sexist rules; play the game fairly or don’t play at all.  Sure, we lose the “advantage” of the extra points, but are those 3 points worth our dignity as equal members of a team?

Stronger Than Fear: WE CAN Make the Difference


Do you see these women, cloaked in fabric and anonymity?  Who do you think they worship?  These women are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, and all three of their religions are founded on the ideals of love and acceptance.


 On May 25th, 2015, Samantha Elauf got the news that the Supreme Court was ruling in her favor in her lawsuit against the popular clothing brand Abercrombie&Fitch.  The legal proceedings began in 2008 when Samantha was 17, and she sued the brand for religious discrimination, claiming the company refused to hire her because her religious hijab “clashed with their dress code.”  After a 7 year struggle, Samantha finally won her case; she had proven that hiring decisions based on religion ARE a form of discrimination.


Samantha is one of the lucky ones however.  Our country is deep in the middle of a social crisis, and it’s time that the students of Penn State get involved in fixing it.


Religious discrimination is as rampant in the world as it was in the 40s, it just takes a different form.  Antisemitism and islamophobia are words that have become all too common in the news, often accompanied by horror stories of violence and prejudice.  In recent years we’ve seen an increase of destruction to synagogues and mosques, let alone the toll taken on human life.  Even on our campus, I have heard people making hateful slurs, dehumanizing those who worship a different way.  Their words come from ignorance and fear of what they don’t understand.  This is unacceptable, and it has to stop.


It is up to us to make the difference.


The first step in combating discrimination is to know what our resources are.  The  Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development provides us our starting point here.  The Pasquerilla Center  (next to the Forum if any of you are wondering) offers students a place to practice faith of every kind; services for eleven different religions including atheism are held in the same building.  This is an incredible opportunity for us to learn about different religions and create an interfaith student network that opposes religious discrimination.


Aside from the opportunities we are offered by the school, we can create our own movement.  WE ARE Penn State, and WE ARE capable of making a difference.  When we overhear somebody making hateful slurs in the HUB, it’s our job to intervene and point out prejudice.  I know I would be nervous standing up to somebody in public like that, but the good that speaking out can do for our community will more than make up for our hesitation to rock the boat.  


Penn State is an incredible institution that is dedicated to helping its students thrive; we need to be students that are committed to helping each other survive.  We need to be the Samantha Elaufs and challenge the opinion that believes religion determines personal value.  WE ARE stronger than fear, and WE CAN make a difference.