App State students protest NC transgender law in Boone

BOONE, N.C. — More than 100 Appalachian State University students and faculty rallied across downtown Boone on Thursday, chanting and blocking traffic to protest the HB2 law.

Dozens of students filled the administration building at Appalachian State University, yelling the chancellor's name.

They are hoping that university leaders will hear their opposition to HB2, which prevents transgender students, employees and visitors from using the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

"Yes, it is about bathrooms and people being invalidated and their identities, and that's wrong," Tory Walters, a student,  said.

"When I first heard that law, I thought we had woken up in a completely different time,” student Paige Allen said. “Like, I woke up and I cried."

Police scrambled to reroute traffic in downtown Boone as students temporarily blocked Kings Street. The protest came hours after the University of North Carolina system announced that it had chosen to abide by HB2.

Margaret Spellings, president of the North Carolina University system, sent a memo explaining the university's obligations: "University institutions must require every multiple-occupancy bathroom and changing facility to be designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex."

But that decision is difficult for many of the students who protested to accept.

"I'm terrified to see what happens next,” student Buka Ibeziako said. “But we are not going to stop having these conversations. We're not going to stop organizing because we're not letting them win this at all."

The chancellor and administration officials did not comment.

Later that night, about 80 students staged a sit-in inside the administration building. They wanted to hear from the chancellor.

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