App State Students Hold March and Rally on Thursday To Protest HB2 Law

Published Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm
Students on the campus of Appalachian State held an anti-HB2 rally on Thursday afternoon. Photos by Ken Ketchie unless noted otherwise

Students on the campus of Appalachian State held an anti-HB2 rally on Thursday afternoon. Photos by Ken Ketchie unless noted otherwise

By Jesse Wood

Appalachian State students held a march and rally on Thursday afternoon to protest House Bill 2, a sweeping law recently passed by the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

The law was passed in response to an anti-discrimination bathroom bill passed by Charlotte City Council in late February. The state law mandates that people use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. After signing the bill, McCrory said that the Charlotte law “defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room.”

This bathroom portion of the law made most of the headlines, but experts in employee discrimination law said that HB2 “unravels North Carolina workers’ right to bring action in state court for workplace discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or disabilities.” It also prevents local governments from raising the minimum wage.

In a release prior to the rally, the group Appalachian State Student Power noted that they were demanding that ASU Chancellor Sheri Everts and UNC System President Margaret Spellings publically denounce the law.

“As long as the university and administration, including Chancellor Everts, neglect to oppose HB2, this university is complicit in its endorsement of hate-fueled bigotry and legislation and further enacts the violence faced by these communities,” said App State student Huy Quang Tu said in a statement. “Students on this campus are standing in solidarity with queer and trans people of color across the state after the passage of such an unjust and unwarranted bill.”

At the rally was Jules Wilson, a sophomore at App State.

“I thought it was important to be out here and recognize that HB2 is really not OK. It’s very discriminatory to lots of students and very oppressive against a lot of students on this campus,” Wilson said.

“I am here because this bill is basically just an example of everything really that I don’t like about how this state is being run right now. I really think we need to stop letting this stuff happen. It’s time for our generation to take a stand,” said another student named Madison. “Students don’t even feel comfortable to go to the bathroom, something so small that everyone should have the right to do. I think it’s really good to be out here and support everyone that is being discriminated against and to show that all lives matter.”

See video of the students chanting in the university’s administration building here.

Yesterday, Everts released a statement:

Dear Appalachian Community:

With the passage of House Bill 2 by the North Carolina Legislature and its signing into law on Wednesday, March 23 by Governor Pat McCrory, many in our community are concerned about how it will affect individuals on our campus and across the state. The UNC system’s General Administration is working diligently to review and analyze the new law and we are working closely with our colleagues at GA to better understand how this will affect our campus.

Some of you have reached out to share concerns and we want to assure you our campus remains committed to a diverse, inclusive, safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. Diversity is central to Appalachian’s well-being and academic mission. Related to the new law, there have been inquiries about single-occupancy restrooms on campus and we are pleased to share that the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, in partnership with the Henderson Springs LGBT Center, recently updated the listing of these facilities, which can be found here: http://edc.appstate.edu/single-occupancy-restrooms.

Sincerely,

Sheri N. Everts, Chancellor
Darrell Kruger, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Cindy Wallace, Vice Chancellor, Student Development

 

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Photo by Lynn Doyle

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