Spellings Criticized for Telling UNC Campuses to Follow Bathroom Law

April 8, 2016

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, on Thursday issued a statement criticizing Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina, for sending a memo to campus chancellors telling them to enforce a new state law that requires public institutions to label any multiple-person bathroom or locker room as being for either men or women and to bar entry to those whose biological gender at birth does not match the room. The memo from Spellings says system campuses are covered by the law.

Spellings should have decided to follow federal law, as interpreted by the Education Department, that requires that transgender students be provided with facilities appropriate to their gender identity, said the Human Rights Campaign. "This decision by UNC President Margaret Spellings not only inflicts real harm on transgender students in the UNC system, but also risks all federal funding flowing to the university, including federal student loans and grants to the thousands of students attending the state's 17 campuses," said a statement from Chad Griffin, president of the campaign. "All students have a right to learn without fear of discrimination, and President Spellings has an obligation to protect them. We urge her to reverse this decision, and stand up to the bullies who are targeting students simply for who they are."

The U.S. Education Department is currently reviewing North Carolina's law.

A spokeswoman for Spellings did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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