The Rocket Owls rocketry club at Citrus College has earned a spot at NASA's annual student launch competition, where 60 college teams from across the country battle it out building and launching high-altitude rockets.
Getting into the competition is a big deal, but there's a problem. The competition is held in Huntsville, Alabama, and Alabama is 1 of 8 states California has deemed to be discriminatory against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.
California's AB 1887 prohibits publicly funded travel to those states. A statement from Citrus College reads:
"The College stands with the State Chancellor, the Legislature and the Governor in support of AB 1887 as a response against discrimination. ...As an alternative, the Rocket Owls will be participating in a rocket competition sponsored by Friends of Amateur Rocketry/Mars Society to be held in Mojave, California."
Citrus College math professor Paul Swatzel is upset that the students won't be able to compete in Alabama, and he's hoping they'll be able to travel if they raise their own money. Swatzel has donated $500 so far.
"To be an undergraduate, even more a community college student, to do something like this alongside Ivy League schools and top four-year schools across the country is quite an experience."