HRC and Equality NC Urge UNC Leadership to Reject HB 2 and Comply with Federal Civil Rights Law

LGBT civil rights organizations call on university leaders to do the right thing: protect the wellbeing of students, avoid loss of billions in federal funding.

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC have sent letters to chancellors and presidents of the University of North Carolina and North Carolina Community College systems urging them to reverse implementation of the deeply discriminatory HB 2. The letter from the two civil rights organizations come after the Department of Justice notified Margaret Spellings, President of the University of North Carolina University System, Thomas Shanahan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and the UNC Board of Governors that by complying with HB 2, the University of North Carolina is in direct violation of federal law.

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If the state does not comply with federal civil rights law, it could lose $4.5 billion in federal education funding alone, which works out to nearly $500 per North Carolina taxpayer or a decrease of $2,500 in education funding per public school student, including those attending North Carolina’s public universities.

“Tens of thousands of students, faculty, and college employees across North Carolina have been harmed by HB 2,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “The Department of Justice has now affirmed HB 2 violates the civil rights of those in the UNC community, and we therefore urge all public universities and colleges to reverse its implementation.  This is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.”

Just yesterday, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said state leaders will defy federal civil rights laws and the Department of Justice, which gave Gov. McCrory and state officials until Monday to address the situation “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB 2.” University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings, who also received a letter from the DOJ, must now decide whether to stand with the flailing governor and chaos he has created, or comply with federal law in the best interests of students.

The joint letter outlines how Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, how Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping, and how non-compliance could cost North Carolina colleges and universities billions in federal funding.

Read the full letter here.

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