HB2 creates “chilling effect” on higher education

Western Carolina University’s Chancellor, David Belcher, said North Carolina law House Bill 2 (HB2) has caused potential students to withdraw their applications, and some donors refuse to give money as long as the law is active.

HB2 says people must use public restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities designated for the biological sex on their birth certificate. The legislature passed the law in retaliation of the City of Charlotte’s ordinance that would have allowed people to use the restroom based on their gender identity.

Belcher said the university is still assessing the situation, but it must find a balance between following the law and creating an inclusive environment for everyone.

“We are passionate about ensuring that all of our students are able to live, work and play in the environment that we have here at WCU free of harassment and in safety,” Belcher said.

The university does not have transgender bathrooms on campus.

See Chancellor Belcher’s thoughts on HB2 below:

Gov. McCrory signed Executive Order 93 on April 12, which allows private businesses to set their own restroom policies.

Public restroom facilities are limited to biological sexes but must “provide a reasonable accommodation of a single occupancy restroom, locker room or shower facility upon request due to special circumstances.”

The order also prohibits state jobs from  “discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, genetic information, or disability.”

State-wide Fallout

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is bringing a federal lawsuit against the State of North Carolina saying HB2 is unconstitutional, according to NPR.

Many major companies including Apple, PepsiCo, and the NBA have denounced the state for passing the law.

National organizations have threatened to, or already did, pull business out of North Carolina. Most recently Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro, and Cirque du Soleil has canceled all shows in North Carolina, according to WRAL.

HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill”, went into effect March 23, 2016, after the legislature met for a special session and governor Pat McCrory signed the bill later that night.

Related story: WP:North Carolina governor’s misleading claim about his executive order and the LGBT law