No HB2 at UNC: University System Says It Will Not Participate in Discrimination

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UNC-Seal

By Yeungb (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

May 30, 2016; ThinkProgress

Although the University of North Carolina had, after the passage of HB2, indicated that it would comply with the law, it has now made it clear through legal filings that it will not do so.

The filings are in response to suits, including one filed by two transgender men who are part of the UNC system and who are represented by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, and one filed by the Department of Justice, which has sued North Carolina over the law’s violation of federal nondiscrimination protections in employment (Title VII) and education (Title IX). The last could result in UNC’s losing federal money.

In the legal response to the case brought by the two men, UNC President and former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings took the position that the university would not discriminate against transgender students. “Pending a final judgment in this case,” she wrote, “I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require that transgender students use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex.”

Meanwhile, Governor Pat McCrory has offered guidance to law enforcement for enforcement of the law, saying that violating HB2 is tantamount to trespassing. “We’re using trespassing laws that we were using before House Bill 2, we’re using that now,” he said. “But you know, it’s just basic privacy rights, and that’s trespassing and we’ll continue to do that just like we were doing long before the Charlotte ordinance. So nothing’s really changed in that regard.”

The city of Charlotte, of course, passed an ordinance affirmatively protecting LGBT people from discrimination, an act that McCrory and HB2’s other advocates have repeatedly blamed for their need to pass HB2.—Ruth McCambridge