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North Carolina universities balk at new bathroom law protecting privacy rights

A new North Carolina law that requires public restrooms be used by people according to their biological gender has been met with swift resistance by several universities in the state.

The law, referred to as House Bill 2, states that “public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex.”

With that, some private universities have washed their hands of the matter.

At Duke, its officials declared activities on campus “will not be impacted by a new state law that prevents local governments from opening bathrooms for people to use based on their gender identity. … We deplore any effort to deny any person the protection of the law because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Elon University chimed in that “the new law does not apply to private institutions and will not impact Elon’s policies and practices,” adding “in regard to the use of restrooms, we reaffirm our position that individuals should use facilities in which they feel most comfortable and align with their gender identity.”

In most cases, universities have opened gender-neutral bathrooms that are single-occupancy, meaning the facilities are moot to the overall effort to prohibit transgender people from using restrooms that do not correlate with their biological gender and thus impacting others’ privacy rights.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, officials at the public university took a more cautious approach in responding to House Bill 2.

“Since the passage of this law, we have heard from many people, including students, faculty, staff and alumni. We understand the concerns, sadness, anxiety and fear this is causing. We care deeply about and support our LGBTQ community, and we will continue to work hard to find ways to accommodate the needs of all our students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campus,” their message stated.

ProtestHouseBill2The streets flanking UNC-Chapel Hill played host Tuesday to a large, lengthy rally against House Bill 2. The throng blocked the street chanting “Who shuts shit down? We shut shit down” and “Which side are you on my people, which side are you on? We’re on the side of freedom.”

The group, consisting largely of college-aged demonstrators and likely students, also chanted the name of Blake Brockington, a transgender teenager who lived in North Carolina and committed suicide a year ago.

Meanwhile, more than 50 UNC Chapel Hill faculty have signed a statement against the bill, the Daily Tar Heel reports. Moreover, the UNC-system’s Association of Student Government also passed a resolution claiming campuses would lose federal funding due to Title IX violations from the bill.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s office has put out a statement refuting that claim: “Will this bill threaten federal funding for public schools under Title IX? Answer: No, according to a federal court which has looked at a similar issue.”

The conservative-leaning Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal counsel Kellie Fiedorek stated as much as well.

“The threat that schools will lose funding in implementing this sensible standard is simply false. Title IX specifically allows schools to ‘provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,’” Fiedorek stated in a press release.

“The privacy rights and safety of North Carolina citizens shouldn’t be cast aside or used as a political pawn for special interest groups that desire to impose their agenda to create a genderless society,” she added. “Part of that agenda now includes challenging a commonsense law that ensures grown men don’t shower and use the bathroom next to little girls.”

“This law protects everyone’s privacy by ensuring that bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, and other intimate settings remain private and based on one’s biological sex while also offering accommodations to those with special circumstances.”

But the American Civil Liberties Union has sued North Carolina in federal court for allegedly “violating” individuals’ rights and holding an alleged bias against members of the LGBTQIA community.

Click here to read the full bill.

College Fix reporter Macie Flynn contributed to this report.

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About the Author
Michael McGrady --University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

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