GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – East Carolina University’s faculty senate unanimously voted to pass a resolution opposing the HB2 law.
The resolution does not directly call for the General Assembly to repeal the law. Instead, it reinforces and clarifies the university’s non-discrimination policy. The resolution says gender identity is what the person identifies with currently, not their birth sex.
“As an institute of higher learning, we feel it’s important that everyone who comes here feels welcome. Feels that no matter who they talk to who they are interacting with, they feel they are treated equally and fairly,” said Andrew Morehead, former-Senate chair.
Earlier this month the UNC system president, Margaret Spellings, said the system would comply with the law.
Happening Tuesday, faculty at East Carolina University will take up North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
The bill mandates transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex.
While the resolution to be discussed by ECU’s Faculty Senate doesn’t call directly for the repeal of House Bill 2, it does reinforce ECU’s non-discrimination policy, which includes protections for gender identity.
Many students at ECU have already spoken out against HB2, but this would be a message directly from the faculty.
Earlier this month, UNC System President Margaret Spellings instructed all universities to comply with the law. Yet, Spellings has voiced concerns about the impact on recruiting and retaining students and faculty.
That’s a concern ECU’s Andrew Morehead agrees with.
“There’s a real chance that this has a chilling effect and I think that, again, the resolution is pushing back and saying ‘no, come. We are committed to ensuring equality for all,” Morehead said.
WNCT spoke with some students on campus who didn’t want to go on camera but said they don’t think HB2 is discriminatory and that the several gender neutral stalls ECU already has are sufficient.
If adopted, the faculty’s resolution will clarify the definition of gender identity as “one’s inner sense of one’s own gender, which may or may not match the sex assigned at birth.”
Morehead said the resolution also points out existing laws that conflict with HB2.
“There are some real legal concerns I think around our compliance with Titles VII and IX and the discussion about whether our federal funding for example would be threatened by HB2,” Morehead said.
The Faculty Senate will decide whether to adopt this resolution at its meeting on campus Tuesday at 2:10 p.m.
The resolution would merely be symbolic as ECU must enforce HB2.