CHARLOTTE - More protests broke out at universities across North Carolina Friday after the University of North Carolina system said it would follow the state's controversial HB2 law.
Students at public universities like N.C. State University, UNC-Pembroke and UNC-Wilmington held bathroom sit-ins and protests against the embattled HB2 law, which requires people to use the bathroom of the sex on their birth certificate.
Emotions boiled on campuses after UNC President Margaret Spelling said the UNC system would follow the law designating multi-stall bathrooms with biological gender while leaving single-stall ones to stay unisex.
UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Phillip Dubois released a statement Friday. It reads in part:
“As noted by President Spellings, the Act does not impact the University's existing nondiscrimination policies, including University Policy 501 and University Policy 501.2.
UNC-Charlotte is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. In upholding that principle, I affirm that the university will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in its educational and employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, disability, political affiliation, veteran status or genetic information.
Many have asked how the university intends to "enforce" the restroom and changing facilities provisions of the Act. As noted in the memorandum, the law does not contain any provisions concerning enforcement. UNC-Charlotte will continue to label multiple-occupancy restrooms and changing facilities for single-sex use with appropriate signage.”
Dubois also announced more unisex bathrooms would be coming to campus.
The national LGBTQ student organization
, Campus Pride, based in Charlotte, has been pushing campus protests to the law in the hope lawmakers hear the message of outraged students paying tuition to state schools.
"If they don't feel safe and welcomed then that impacts their learning, and it's going to impact the recruitment, the retention efforts of every public university in the state of North Carolina," said Executive Director Shane Windmeyer.
The law requires all public schools to follow it, so regardless of how students may feel about it the hands of public universities may be tied.
"It's not wrong to say 'follow the law.' I don't think that you should be offended by that," said UNCC student Christina Nguyen.
The law does not have enforcement provisions in it so university officials said while at least the UNC system will follow the law, it doesn't have a plan to enforce it.
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