UNC President Orders Campuses to Violate Federal Law and Discriminate Against Transgender Students

by Stephen Peters

Memo directs University of North Carolina chancellors to comply with Gov. McCrory’s discriminatory state law forcing trans students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, blasted University of North Carolina (UNC) President Margaret Spellings for ordering all campuses in the UNC system to discriminate against transgender students by forcing them to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. In a memo to UNC chancellors, Spellings – a former Department of Education secretary under President George W. Bush, who has gained attention for her anti-LGBT positions – directs the university system to violate federal law and instead comply with the discriminatory provisions contained in the radical HB 2 signed into law by Governor McCrory.

"This decision by UNC President Margaret Spellings not only inflicts real harm on transgender students in the UNC system, but also risks all federal funding flowing to the university, including federal student loans and grants to the thousands of students attending the state's 17 campuses," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "All students have a right to learn without fear of discrimination, and President Spellings has an obligation to protect them. We urge her to reverse this decision, and stand up to the bullies who are targeting students simply for who they are."

North Carolina educational institutions that comply with the law will now be in direct violation of Title IX, subjecting those educational institutions (including primary and secondary schools as well as universities) to massive liability and putting an estimated $4.5 billion of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as funding received by schools from other federal agencies, at risk. This section of HB 2 offers costly supposed solutions to non-existent problems, and it forces schools to choose between complying with federal law -- plus doing the right thing for their students -- or complying with a state law that violates students’ civil rights. Read more about how this bill puts federal funding at risk here.

In addition to writing anti-transgender discrimination into law for schools, HB 2 also requires discrimination in access to restroom and locker room facilities in all buildings owned by the state or public entities, including airports, convention centers, and other publicly-owned buildings.  HB 2 also eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future.

Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers have been coming under increasingly intense pressure to repeal the discriminatory law in the upcoming legislative session later this month.Because of Governor McCrory’s failed leadership, North Carolina is now facing economic fallout inflicted on the state by anti-equality activists. Over 130 major business leaders have signed onto a letter urging North Carolina to repeal that discriminatory law in the upcoming legislative session later this month.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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