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UNC faculty speak out against HB2 the same day the law is taken to court

More than 50 UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, all of whom are graduates of or currently participating in the University’s Academic Leadership Program for faculty leaders on campus, signed a statement against the bill Tuesday — just as two civil rights organizations and three North Carolina residents filed a lawsuit naming McCrory, the UNC system and Board of Governors Chairperson Louis Bissette as defendants.

One of the people suing is Joaquín Carcaño, a transgender man and UNC employee.

The faculty statement, signed on behalf of the individual faculty members and not the University as a whole, decried the bill for hindering the University’s ability to recruit and retain competitive faculty, staff and students.

“I can’t bear the idea of being silent in the face of an injustice like this one,” said UNC law professor Eric Muller, who drafted the faculty statement. “And I think it’s important that leaders within the University speak clearly about the negative impact on the University.”

The UNC-system’s Association of Student Government also called an emergency meeting Monday night via conference call, where 12 campus student body presidents passed a resolution citing the financial impact the loss of federal funding would have on the system due to Title IX violations from the bill. The resolution also mentioned the potential for legal action by ASG.

UNC-CH was not on the call.

“Everyone was so in support of every single clause and every single statement of the resolution,” said Zack King, ASG president and non-voting member of the Board of Governors.

He said a decision will be made regarding potential legal action during the group’s April meeting.

McCrory signed House Bill 2 at night on March 23 after the legislature met in special session. Lawmakers were responding to a Charlotte City Council ordinance that allowed transgender individuals to use the bathrooms of their choice.

The new law limits transgender people to the bathrooms of their biological sex and overrides any protections created for LGBT individuals at the local level.

Charlotte City Council met Monday night for the first time since the bill was passed, but council member Alvin Austin said it could not be discussed as they had a full agenda.

Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of N.C., said his office followed the special session closely and was contacted by several people about pursuing legal action against the new law.

UNC-Greensboro student Payton McGarry, who is listed on the suit, reached out to Brook’s organization because he realized it would be illegal to use bathrooms on his campus as a transgender man, Brook said.

“We would also want to communicate that HB2 discriminates against the entire LGBT community and encourages discrimination of LGBT individuals by private businesses,” he said.

McCrory denounced the lawsuit’s “distortion of the facts” in a statement released Monday, calling the bill a “common sense resolution” — even alluding to UNC’s Final Four city as a place with similar legislation.

“The governor looks forward to cheering for the UNC Tar Heels in the NCAA Final Four being played in Houston, a city that defeated a similar bathroom ordinance referendum last year with over 61 percent of the vote.”

Director of Enterprise Bradley Saacks contributed reporting.

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