Scholars for North Carolina’s Future Statement Regarding HB 2

As of April 12, 2016, the following statement had been co-signed by over 475 faculty, graduate students, staff, and students representing 20 North Carolina colleges and universities.

As faculty, students, and staff at North Carolina’s colleges and universities who are committed to public policy that reflects sound data, careful reasoning, and equal opportunity for all, we oppose “The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” (HB2) because it explicitly denies the rights of transgender people, prohibits local anti-discrimination measures, and restricts possibilities for raising the minimum wage. We also believe that HB 2 sets a dangerous procedural precedent. Presenting, passing, and signing a bill in a single day circumvents the democratic process, which should incorporate public comment, debate, and careful deliberation of the bill’s constitutionality and implications for the people of North Carolina.

We are especially concerned that the bill has been justified as a measure that will protect women and children from abuse absent any empirical evidence of such a threat. Indeed, none of the many localities that have adopted similar ordinances have had any such problem. Yet, historically, such claims that women and children need protection have legitimized a range of forms of violence either initiated by the government or to which the government has turned a blind eye, including the eugenics movement and lynching. Moreover, actively targeting minorities for discrimination, refusing to prohibit discrimination, and denying remedies for discrimination when it has occurred – all of which this bill does – creates a situation that increases the risks for large segments of the population in the state. The law makes many who already are vulnerable even more vulnerable.

By weakening the ability of local governments to raise wages, the bill ignores significant scholarship. Since 70% of our state’s economy is comprised of consumer spending, reasonable increases in minimum wages not only empower workers but boost local economies, with little adverse effect on employment. And as recent condemnations of HB 2 by businesses across the country show, the bill threatens the state’s economic well-being and risks future job creation for North Carolinians.

We urge legislators to make good on their promise to serve the public good by repealing the bill before it further damages the state we hold dear.

Signed,

Scholars for North Carolina’s Future Steering Committee

Stephanie Baker White (Elon University); Stephen Boyd (Wake Forest University); Jacquelyn Dowd Hall (UNC-Chapel Hill); Tamara Jeffries (Bennett College); Robert Korstad (Duke University); Lisa Levenstein (UNC Greensboro);
 Nancy MacLean (Duke University);
Bruce Orenstein (Duke University);
Rachel F. Seidman (UNC-Chapel Hill); David Zonderman(NC State University).

 

 

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