Add the Elon University faculty to the growing list of groups and individuals who have publicly voiced their dissaproval of House Bill 2.

In a resolution released Monday by Wally Bixby, associate professor of exercise science and chair of the Academic Council, faculty members called the controversial legislation signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory "an extraordinarily discriminatory act."  

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The resolution was approved at a special meeting of faculty April 8 by 97 percent of those in attendance. Bixby said the meeting was called after 54 faculty members approached him about the issue.

"Elon's faculty affirms its support for equitable treatment of all residents and visitors of North Carolina and its opposition to discrimination, prejudice, homophobia and transphobia," the resolution read. "Elon's faculty is concerned that HB2 puts members of and visitors to our community at risk of discrimination, prejudice, homophobia, transphobia and unequal treatment under law."

HB2, passed March 23, has been heralded as the "Bathroom Bill" by many because it prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. It's a response to a Charlotte City Council ordinance passed in February that approved LGBTQIA protections in the city.

By not including biological sex or sexual orientation on a list of protected classes, the bill makes it legal to discriminate against those who identify with the transgender and LGBTQIA communities.

Days after the bill passed, Elon issued a statement reaffirming the school's commitment to inclusion and equal protection for all. It also said since Elon is a private institution, the law doesn't apply to the university and won't affect its practices or policies.

The following week, Elon President Leo Lambert wrote a letter to the editor of the Burlington Times-News, denouncing the legislation. He called HB2 "stunning and disappointing."

Bixby said faculty weren't consulted prior to the release of Elon's statement, part of the rationale behind issuing their own. 

"As faculty, we interact with each other and with students, any of whom could be LGBT," Bixby said. "We felt it was important that we as faculty put out a statement affirming our beliefs on inclusivity."

Students have been vocal in their discontent with the bill, too. Bixby said making sure students — past, current and prospective — feel safe was a driving force behind the resolution.

"Elon's faculty calls on our colleagues at other North Carolina universities and institutions to consider the effects that HB2 may have on the well-being of those who reside in and visit North Carolina," the resolution read. "Elon's faculty encourages our staff colleagues and the student body to participate, to the extent that they are willing or able to do so, in affirming this resolution.

"Elon's faculty looks forward to a time when all residents of or visitors to North Carolina, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender presentation, gender identity, physical ability, race, religion, national origin, age or biological sex (including intersex persons), will be made welcome in this state," the resolution concluded.


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