The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday April 1st

UNC system will not enforce HB2

“I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex,” UNC-system President Margaret Spellings said in an affidavit.

Spellings’ statement regarding this non-enforcement was filed in a motion asking a federal court to stay legal proceedings against the university system while a higher court decides a separate case from Virginia, which involves a transgender student suing a county school board over a policy prohibiting him from using the boy’s restroom.

UNC Board of Governors member Marty Kotis said the board is hopeful pending legal action against the University will be dropped altogether because the system has never taken a position in support of enforcement of HB2.

“The legal pressure we’ve faced is certainly unfortunate — the position of the University has always been that we do not discriminate against our students based on any criterion,” Kotis said, “We have not changed any of our nondiscrimination policies.”

But critics of the Board of Governors and President Spellings point to inconsistencies in the way HB2 and transgendered students’ concerns have been considered.

“This most recent decision is completely at odds with orders issued by President Spellings which were effectively UNC’s own version of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. Transgendered students have been made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome,” said Courtney Sams, president of UNC Young Democrats.

“Now that there’s pending legal action, Spellings and the BOG are suddenly becoming enlightened to what should have been their position from the beginning,” said Sams. “I’m glad they’ve taken the stance they have, but I would not say it’s particularly praiseworthy to decide to follow your own nondiscrimination ordinances.”

The UNC College Republicans have declined to take an official position on the system’s decision.

In April, Spellings ordered all UNC campuses to comply with the new law, instructing them to ensure public facilities, such as restrooms, were used only by those individuals whose biological sex was consistent with the facility, despite gender identity being included in the university system’s non-discrimination policy.

UNC system spokesperson Joni Worthington reiterated despite UNC’s commitment to carrying out state laws, HB2 does not grant enforcement authority to the University, or any other government agency.

“Absent that authority, we have to look at our own policies, and our nondiscrimination policy has not changed,” said Worthington.

Marty Kotis said the legal action against the University, as well as political tactics by both the state and federal government, are irresponsible and harmful to many.

“Consider that those affected by this political gamesmanship include so many people — from researchers doing lifesaving work, to our lowest income students trying to make a life for themselves,” said Kotis.


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