Committee member Joe Ferrell asked Provost Jim Dean what UNC’s policy will be about enforcement of the law on campus. The bill requires people to use gender-specific public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex.
“We’ve been trying to understand that specifically from a legal perspective,” Dean said. “We’re still not sure if and how it applies to us at UNC-Chapel Hill.”
Ferrell said N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has already said he will not defend the state in the ACLU’s lawsuit against House Bill 2.
Dean said the University is trying to better understand the law’s impact on UNC and the broader UNC system.
“This is creating some problems for us,” Dean said. “We are, beyond anything else, concerned about the individual members of our community.”
Dean said because of House Bill 2, conferences and speakers that were supposed to come to UNC have expressed concern and are no longer coming. He said potential students and faculty have also expressed concern about coming to UNC.
“I would assume the University is not particularly eager to go out and vigorously enforce (House Bill 2),” Ferrell said.
Faculty Chairperson Bruce Cairns said the faculty needs to take ownership of the bill’s impact on UNC’s campus.
Cairns said members of the UNC community have gone so far as to seek out and map all male, female and family restrooms on campus.
“This has been painful for a lot of people,” Cairns said.
Ferrel said it is possible that the University’s non-discrimination act could conflict with House Bill 2, and one could possibly void the other.
“I would say we are in the very early days on this,” Dean said.
The committee briefly discussed post-NCAA Championship on Franklin Street.
“The University and the town have worked together to plan for this evening to make sure that it’s as fun but as safe as possible,” Cairns said.
Cairns said students should be safe, look out for other people and not climb poles.
“My message has been we really need people to be thoughtful when they’re out there,” Cairns said. “And recognize that not everybody will be able to prevent themselves from getting hurt.”
Cairns said his number one goal is preventing injuries.
The Faculty Executive Committee expressed excitement for the night’s game. Many members dressed in Carolina Blue, and Dean made a point to show off his UNC clothing.
“This is a wonderful occasion for our players and our university,” Cairns said. “They’ve really persevered.”