Duke U Condemns North Carolina Antigay Law

April 19, 2016

Duke University released its second statement Monday denouncing HB2, a controversial North Carolina law that restricts transgender citizens’ bathroom access and prevents local governments from passing antidiscrimination bills that would offer protections to gay and lesbian people.

Duke was among the first of a handful of private North Carolina universities, which are exempt from the new rules, to denounce HB2 as discriminatory.

Monday’s letter, from President Richard Brodhead and Provost Sally Kornbluth, reiterated that position and cited direct academic impact from cities that have imposed travel bans to North Carolina and prospective students, faculty and staff hesitating to visit the campus. “These developments have the potential to limit the value that Duke and other colleges and universities contribute to the state, namely producing trained graduates and expanding the frontiers of knowledge,” the statement says. “In spirit and in letter, this new law runs counter to the ideals of Duke University -- and, we believe, to those of our great state. We urge a full repeal of HB2.”

In addition to many business that have expressed concern or outright halted projects in the state, several academic associations have also moved meetings out of North Carolina. At least two conferences scheduled to be hosted at Duke are considering moving, according to a Duke spokesman, though he declined to say which ones because they had yet to make a decision. At least another three or four people were prevented from visiting the campus due to bans in New York and California on using public funds for nonessential travel to North Carolina.

“I’d say we’re certainly noticing it -- it’s not a flood, but it’s certainly noticeable,” he said. “As we have had a chance to review [the law] and to understand and see the implication and also see the impact that it’s having on our community, we wanted to both restate our commitment to diversity, inclusion and tolerance … but also provide support to members of the Duke community and others around the state who have been most directly impacted.”

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