Group Goes Ahead With Meeting in North Carolina

April 4, 2016

Many groups are talking about staying away from North Carolina in the wake of an antigay, antitransgender law enacted there that bars localities from banning discrimination, and that bans public colleges and other state agencies from opening men's and women's bathrooms to transgender people who were not born with the gender specified by the room. The Council on Undergraduate Research is going ahead with its National Conference on Undergraduate Research this week at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. More than 4,000 are registered for the meeting, where undergraduates present their research findings on various projects. At least two universities -- one in New York State and one in Washington State -- have announced that their students will not attend due to gubernatorially imposed bans on the use of state funds to travel to North Carolina.

The Council on Undergraduate Research has as one of its operating principles that programs should promote "diversity and inclusion."

Elizabeth L. Ambos, executive officer of the group, said that CUR was working with officials at UNC Asheville to make sure that all students would feel welcome and would have access to gender-neutral bathrooms. Via email, Ambos added: "CUR is disappointed and concerned that recent legal actions in North Carolina may affect the attendance of some students and faculty at NCUR this year, and that some attendees may feel less than welcome. In keeping with our strategic pillar of diversity and inclusion, we remain committed to the wide expression of all forms and topics of undergraduate research, by all members of the undergraduate research community, and view with great concern any actions that affect inclusivity with respect to the fullest expression of undergraduate research. It is our hope that the recent unfortunate legislative decisions will not overshadow the recognition of our nation’s budding scholars and leaders at NCUR 2016."

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