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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Secular Student Alliance wins activism award

Sac City Feminists club member Mariah Kolbe and organizers of Sex, Love and Health A-Faire, along with City College students, perform an erotic Bible reading of the Song of Songs at the Cultural Awareness Center.

Vienna J. Montague | Staff Writer | [email protected]

Tackling subjects from gender-neutral bathrooms to human sexuality on campus

City College’s Secular Student Alliance received an award for outstanding activism from its national counterpart for its contributions to policy change on campus.

The group’s adviser, graphic design Professor Don Button, said it was unexpected.
“I was really surprised by all the attention,” said Button in a statement. “It’s gratifying to get this kind of support, though.”

According to the national SSA, City College’s chapter raised the on-campus issue of gender-neutral bathrooms to the administration, asking that all single stall restrooms be converted to gender-neutral, and that all new buildings include gender-neutral bathrooms to make the campus friendlier for transgender students.

“I’m really proud of the student activists who worked so hard on the Sex Positive Week event and were inspired to turn their energy toward making concrete changes on our campus,” said Button.

One of the obstacles in the way of making those changes was time. Button said the process was simple — students filled out a form and submitted it — but it took a long time to get approval.

“It goes to various committees for consideration and to the president to approve,” Button said in a statement. “It took about 10 months.”

The SSA lobby worked. In February, City College President Kathryn Jeffery signed a letter directing the Campus Development Committee and Facilities Office to make the changes.

“The clubs are raising important questions that deserve attention and consideration,” said Jeffery in an email. “The issue of gender-neutral restrooms at SCC will be part of discussions as we design new capital projects and consider renovation of existing facilities.”
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According to its website, the SSA is an educational nonprofi t organization whose purpose is to educate high school and college students about the value of scientifi c reason. Students involved are frequently either atheists or agnostics and focus on human-based ethics rather than religion-based ethics.

The SSA has hundreds of affiliates in North America and abroad, including groups in Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, according to the SSA website.

Secular students weren’t the only on-campus alliance to help make the change. Sac City Feminists and City College’s Queer/Straight Alliance also helped to turn the idea into action.

Last year the students from the alliances hosted the Sex + City: Sex Positive Week at Sac City, highlighting healthy concepts about topics relating to human sexuality through stigma-free education. Throughout the week the alliances coordinated different events focusing on dealing with safe sex, transgender issues, polyamory, pornography, sex and aging, and virginity.

Button said in a statement that his favorite Sex + City events were ones that dealt with the most taboo or misunderstood topics.

“I think these issues are seen as risky, and they make a lot of people uncomfortable,” Button said. “But people, especially young people, are very curious about these things, and a college setting is a great place to address them from an academic, educational and nonjudgmental perspective.”

Button said some of the SSA’s current projects include “The Jesus Debate” set for Wednesday March 25, in the Student Center at 6 p.m., and a discussion on the separation of church and state Monday, April 13, where guest speaker Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation will facilitate the discussion.

Button anticipates that SSA will continue to make a difference in the future.

“I hope that we will look to next year to focus again on other intersectional issues,” Button said in a statement, “and hopefully bring back Sex Positive Week in some way.”

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