Archive for March 13th, 2012

A Michigan-based lesbian student claims to have been threatened to be thrown out of her Christian college’s on-campus housing if she doesn’t remove references to her sexuality on Facebook.

As Fox Detroit is reporting, 19-year-old Rochester College student Kiah Zabel says she came out as a lesbian on Facebook, posting a photo with the title, “Out…Proud…Lesbian.” Shortly after the photo was posted, Zabel says she received a letter from Rochester College’s Dean of Students, asking her to remove the photo and caption.

“I appreciate your move towards honesty and being the real you, but I’m going to have to insist that you change your Facebook banner picture,” Brian Cole is quoted as having written in the letter. “‘Out…Proud…Lesbian’ is not really consistent with the heritage of Rochester College and has proven to already be disruptive among fellow students who are really bothered by it.”

Cole also reportedly went on to note that if Zabel refused to remove the image, she could be kicked out of on-campus housing. “I have to hide [my sexual orientation] and I can’t talk about it or anything, and I have to conform to everything the school says,” Zabel explained to ABC 57. “I just told [the Dean of Students] it wasn’t fair and I told him it was discrimination.”

Meanwhile, Rochester College President Rubel Shelly has released a statement to MLive.com, which notes, “The report that the college has asked Ms. Zabel to leave the school is incorrect. She has not been dismissed or threatened with dismissal from the college. Such action would be inconsistent with the college’s principles and established practice.”

Still, Shelly added, “The essential values of the college are well-known and widely published, and students tend to choose Rochester College based on their sympathy with these values. Students who find themselves uncomfortable with these standards always have options at other schools in the area.”




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“Fly the friendly skies” is the motto of United Airlines. Unfortunately, during their recent merger with Continental, they’ve adopted some policies that are decidedly less than friendly … especially for pet travelers.

Last week United announced their new PetSafe® program, billing it as an improvement over their previous pet travel options. The program offers the options of tracking animals that are traveling as cargo and accepts small pets and service animals for travel in cabin.

“United is committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all of our customers, including pets. Because we share our customers’ concern that their pets’ flights are stress-free, we have enhanced our animal acceptance policy to transport pets as both baggage (accompanying a passenger on the same plane) and cargo. Our program is called PetSafe®.”

However, today we confirmed with a PetSafe representative that, unless you purchased your ticket and made a reservation for your pet prior to February 6th, pets will no longer be allowed to fly in baggage compartment on the same plane as their owner. Instead, pets that are too large to be permitted in-cabin must be flown as cargo on a separate plane, with exceptions for service animals and dogs of military families being transferred.

Traveling Dog in Lea

In addition, United has banned these nine breeds and mixes of these breeds from any flight, because they consider them “dangerous”:

  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Presa Canario
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Cane Corso
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa (or Tosa Ken)
  • Ca de Bou

The merger between United and Continental makes them the world’s largest air carrier and the only US-based airline that has breed discrimination rules. Canine profiling is not the example we want to see this company setting!

What Can You Do?

We need to let United know that it’s wrong to discriminate based on appearance. You can start by choosing a different airline – and we’ve gathered the airline’s pet policies to make that easier for you. Contacting United to voice your disappointment will also help – they’re paying especially close attention to customer feedback during the merger period.

You can also support Jessie Huart’s petition at Change.org. Jessie discovered United’s new policy when she tried to book a flight with her dog and was told that Slaw, her 10-year-old pit bull, wasn’t allowed because of his breed. Jessie’s petition emphasizes that each dog is an individual with his own unique personality and should be judged based on temperament, not on appearance or breed. Sign the petition to let United know you agree.



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