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Balancing the Scales of Justice: Meet Brett Schratz, 2020 Falvey Scholar

By Shawn Proctor

This is part 1 of a 6-part series featuring the 2020 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them each Tuesday and Thursday, and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic, the library’s bi-annual publication.

“Wild Facts”

Brett Schratz ’20 (Political Science, Philosophy, Honors majors)
Hometown: Plymouth Meeting, PA

Faculty Mentor: Sally Scholz, PhD, Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy Department

Additional Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, 2020 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Commencement Speaker, Helen S. Lang History of Philosophy Award, Phi Sigma Tau, Summa Cum Laude

Research: “Rawls on “The Hard Question” for LGBTQ Rights: Are Religious Exemptions Just?”

In His Own Words

Brett’s research:
A complex and contentious issue in political theory and even in our society is the inherent tension between liberty and equality. We especially see this in the case of religious exemptions from providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (or queer) (LGBTQ) people. My research explores this sticky question by applying John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. I argue that religious exemptions are unjust and that they unduly harm LGBTQ equality, according to Rawls’s principles of justice.
Falvey’s Impact on His Work:
Before I decided to use John Rawls’s philosophy, I needed to explore a variety of thinkers before settling on one. Dr. Scholz and I used the librarians’ support to navigate the vast number of works to read and investigate further.
I used Falvey’s Philosophy subject guide, multiple databases, cross-loan book program, and the Philosopher’s Index to accumulate all my secondary literature. I managed to compile helpful and pertinent sources to add depth to my research.
The Impact on Him:
I plan on going to law school or onto a doctoral program. I hope to spend my career navigating these same issues in the legal system as well as in legal scholarship. However, I plan on expanding the scope of my research to other areas beyond LGBTQ rights.
The tension between liberty and equality can quickly turn hostile and I do not want to see religious liberty perverted into unjust discrimination.
What’s next:
I am joining the American Civil Liberties Union National as a Paralegal for their National Voting Rights Project. I will be working in public policy and affairs.

Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.





Diversity and Inclusion Subject Guide: LGBTQ+ Resources for Pride Month

By Beaudry Allen, Laura Bang, Deborah Bishov, Sarah Wingo, and Kallie Stahl

Philadelphia Pride Flag.

June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in New York City held June 28, 1970 on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Pride Month is celebrated every June in tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, an uprising that occurred in response to a long history of police brutality. On the night of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. (Note: a post on the Stonewall riots is forthcoming on the blog June 29).

Pride 2020 was already going to be different this year, with COVID-19 making large public gatherings, such as parades and other celebrations typically held for Pride, impractical and leading organizers to pivot to virtual events. Furthermore, in keeping with the roots of the LGBTQ+ movement, the community has mobilized to shift more of the focus of this year’s Pride to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as protests are currently taking place all over the world. These current events intensify the importance of recognizing how nuanced and interconnected all forms of identity and politics are, and we hope this LGBTQ+ resource list provides more information.

At Falvey Memorial Library we believe that learning is a lifelong process that is essential for education and personal growth. We support and encourage exploration through respectful discourse and hope that our collections can contribute to this conversation. If you are looking for a specific work or for literature on a specific topic, please feel free to get in touch with our librarians at

Explore LGBTQ+ resources on Falvey’s Diversity and Inclusion subject guide—below is just a snapshot of the many resources available. Share your own content to the page using the Resource Submission Form.

LGBTQ+ Databases:

  • The National Archives: Gay and Lesbian History—”This guide will help you find records relating to sexuality and gender identity history.”
  • LGBT Thought and Culture—”An online resource hosting books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social, and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day.”
  • LGBT Magazine Archive—”A searchable archive of major periodicals devoted to LGBT+ interests, dating from the 1950s through to recent years.”

LGBTQ+ Books and eBooks:

LGBTQ+ Content Curated by the Villanova Community:

  • Trans Student Educational Resources—”A youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment.”
  • GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality—”A national organization committed to ensuring health equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and all sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals, and equality for LGBTQ/SGM health professionals in their work and learning environments.”
  • The Attic—”The Attic Youth Center creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society.”

LGBTQ+ Resources Recommended by Falvey Subject Librarians and Staff:

Additional LGBTQ+ resources will be featured all month long. Check back weekly for news and updates. Be sure to follow VU Pride for more information on programs and campus initiatives to help create a welcoming community at Villanova University for all students, staff, and faculty.

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Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three

headshot of Deborah Bishov

“I recommend And Tango Makes Three. It’s a sweet book, based on true events, about two male penguins who hatch an egg and raise a chick together. Everyone should read it because penguins will make you happy. On a more serious note, children’s books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes disproportionately end up on these banned books lists. Professor Rachel Skrlac Lo in the Department of Education & Counseling, some of whose research looks at the representation of families in children’s literature, has written about the idea of epistemic justice– that not only is it important for children to see their own families represented in the books they read– but that having their classmates and communities be familiar with and welcoming of different family configurations means that they have equitable access to learning and social environments and experiences. See, for example,: Lo, R. S. (2016). On listening to children: Family variation in an after-school reading club. Language Arts, 94(2), 147.  Bonus penguin content:“—Deborah Bishov, Subject Librarian for Communication, Education & Counseling, and Russian Studies, on her must read selection for Banned Books Week




Last Modified: September 26, 2019