UNC Asheville ordered to comply with HB2

UNCA currently has more than two dozen bathrooms designated as gender neutral (Photo credit: WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- The University of North Carolina at Asheville says it will comply with House Bill 2 after the UNC system president issued a memo this week ordering all schools to obey the law.

"University institutions must require every multiple-occupancy bathroom and changing facility to be designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex," read a memo issued by UNC President Margaret Spellings on Tuesday. "Institutions may provide accommodations such as single-occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities and may designate those facilities as gender-neutral."

RELATED |UNC system to follow the law of the House Bill 2

UNCA currently has more than two dozen bathrooms designated as gender neutral. Only three campus buildings are not equipped with one of the single-occupancy restrooms.

The school began a campaign to install gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the campus more than five years ago, as a way to accommodate transgender students as well as families visiting the campus.

"The impact is that we will never be able to - nor have we ever - taken a multiple occupancy restroom and turned it into a gender neutral space. That's never been something that we've done in the past and that's not something we're going to do in the future," said Dr. Jill Moffitt, Vice Chancellor of Students Affairs at UNCA. "Our anti-discrimination policies are intact, and House Bill 2 doesn't require that we change it."

Faculty say there's been an unprecedented surge of activism at UNCA since the passage of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act on March 23, 2016.

RELATED |UNC Asheville students weigh in on HB2 with protest

Faculty say most of the student activity has been in opposition to the bill; however, the law has become a hot-button issue for students on both sides.

"I'm not sure kind of excluding certain students from their preferred bathroom makes them feel safe on the campus that they're supposed to be learning in," freshman Metis Meloche said. "These are my friends. These are the people I learn with and I work with and it'd be great if they felt more comfortable."

"I don't think someone who might identify as one way but they're not physically that way should be able to go into a restroom," freshman Chelsea Childers said. "I think there should be bigger push to create single restrooms that way everyone is comfortable with a single restroom - I'd rather go in a single restroom, I don't want to go with anybody."

To view the full memo from UNC President Margaret Spellings, click here

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