Friday, November 17th, 2017

Vermont Women’s Basketball Cancels Dec. 28 North Carolina Road Game Due to Discriminatory HB2 Law

Published on August 24, 2016

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Photo: Vermont Athletics.

Photo: Vermont Athletics.

Vermont cancelled its women’s basketball road game against North Carolina on Dec. 28 due to concern over the state’s HB2 law. The legislation prevents local governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. HB2 has the nickname the “bathroom bill” because it also prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify. It was a response to a local ordinance, passed in Charlotte, that extended some rights to transgender people.

Vermont director of athletics Jeff Schulman provided the following statement:

“The decision to cancel to our Dec. 28 women’s basketball game at North Carolina was made as a result of concerns over the HB2 law, which prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms based on their gender identity.

We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued. It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.

This decision was made in consultation with our coaches, the women’s basketball team, and key university officials. We fully understand and sympathize with the impact that this decision may have on the North Carolina women’s basketball schedule. However, we believe this decision is consistent with our values and the conversations with our coaches and student team members. These were the most important considerations.”

According to the Charlotte Observer, “the state has long had laws regulating workplace discrimination, use of public accommodations, minimum wage standards and other business issues. The new law…the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act – makes it illegal for cities to expand upon those state laws, as more than a dozen cities had done, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.”

This past Spring the NCAA Board of Governors enacted a requirement that sites bidding on NCAA events must demonstrate that they will provide a safe environment, free of discrimination.

“The higher education community is a diverse mix of people from different racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds,” said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University and chair of the NCAA’s Board of Governors. “So it is important that we assure that community – including our student-athletes and fans – will always enjoy the experience of competing and watching at NCAA championships without concerns of discrimination.”

Last month, the NBA pulled the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, due to the state law. The All-Star festivities will now be held in New Orleans.

Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski told USA Today Sports that the bill is “embarrassing.” Albany was scheduled to play Duke in a tournament in November but changed plans due to an executive order by the governor of New York banning publicly-funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina due to HB2.

Also in July, 68 major companies joined Human Rights Campaign’s amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s effort to block some of the discriminatory components of HB2. Businesses that joined HRC in denouncing the law include including American Airlines, Apple, Capital One, Gap Inc., eBay, Hilton Worldwide, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike and PayPal.

According to HRC, HB2 “has already cost North Carolina more than 1,700 jobs, and more than a half a billion dollars in lost and at-risk economic activity.”

The editorial board of the New York Times sharply criticized the law shortly after it was passed in March.

Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law late Wednesday, said it was necessary to undo Charlotte’s ordinance, which included protections for gay and transgender people, because it allowed “men to use women’s bathroom/locker room.” Proponents of so-called bathroom bills, which have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, have peddled them by spuriously portraying transgender women as potential rapists.

That threat exists only in the imagination of bigots. Supporters of the measures have been unable to point to a single case that justifies the need to legislate where people should be allowed to use the toilet. North Carolina is the first state to pass such a provision.

Background on HB2


 

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