The University of North Carolina’s president said Thursday that the 17 campuses she oversees will follow the state’s new law about transgender people by requiring that all bathrooms be designated for use by people based on their biological sex.
President Margaret Spellings said in a letter to chancellors that the 16 college campuses and the N.C. School of Science and Math must label multi-occupancy changing facilities for single-sex use. She said schools may provide single-occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities that are gender neutral.
State lawmakers approved the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act two weeks ago, which creates a statewide employment and public discrimination policy that bars protections for LGBT people.
According to WRAL-TV, the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU criticized Spellings for her decision to follow the new law. The ACLU is challenging the law in court on behalf of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill worker, a University of North Carolina at Greensboro student and a North Carolina Central University professor.
The ACLU is being assisted in the lawsuit by the Lambda Legal and Equality NC.
“By requiring people to use restrooms that do not correspond to their gender identity, this policy not only endangers and discriminates against transgender people, it also violates federal law,” the groups said in a joint statement.”
The law states that the University of North Carolina system and the community colleges in the state are among those that have to comply with the bathroom rules.
Spellings also noted in the memo that the new law doesn't address enforcement. WRAL-TV noted the state law is unclear whether students would be included in the loophole or if it only applies to employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.