Editorial: HB2 repeal key to UNC system growth
Posted January 23
A CBC Editorial: Monday, Jan. 23, 2017; Editorial# 8114
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Has anything, ANYTHING, good come out of the passage of – or continued stubborn refusal of North Carolina Senate Boss Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore’s refusal to repeal – House Bill 2?
The answer is nothing, nada, bubkis.
By the day the list grows of job growth missed, investment lost, big entertainment and sports events moved away. While they won’t confess publically, Republicans know HB2 was a major contributor, in an otherwise landslide year at the polls, to their losses in the races for governor and attorney general.
And now UNC President Margaret Spellings, who has an unimpeachable conservative GOP pedigree, has offered up more evidence that clearly tips the scales toward immediate repeal.
“Our competitors have used this issue against us to some extent,” Spellings said in an interview with the Associated Press. “If I’m in Georgia and I’m in a competitive bidding war for a world-class faculty member, I’m going to say if this is a transgender or gay person, ‘Is this an environment where you’re going to live and work?’ So I think anecdotally there’s some of that going on.”
Do you think?
Spellings isn’t a parrot for the so-called political correctness gang or beholden to any national political movements. But, as her recent interview further reveals, she is someone who has taken to heart the legacy of academic excellence she’s inherited from Bill Friday, C.D. Spangler and others.
She’s developed a plan to make the state’s 17 public university campuses more welcoming to rural and minority students, keep public higher education costs affordable and the universities more engaged in their communities. Quality public universities are critical, Spellings recognizes, to the state’s healthy economic development.
To achieve it, she’s asking the General Assembly for $83 million in the next budget and another $148 million a year later, to handle an anticipated 2 percent enrollment increase.
The universities need to welcome all kinds of students if they’re going to attract the best and brightest.
Additionally, the campuses will need to attract top-notch faculty and administrators to provide the quality education to keep the system ranked among the nations best – both in quality and value.
Spellings is signaling the obvious. As long as North Carolina is a place that enshrines discrimination in its laws – and that is precisely what HB2 does – it will not be able to keep pace with other top-notch public and private colleges and universities.
When the General Assembly gets down to work Wednesday, Senate boss Berger and House Speaker Moore need to immediately bring complete repeal of HB2, no strings attached, to the floor for a vote. Gov. Roy Cooper says there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in both houses to prevail.
Republicans Berger and Moore need to be less concerned about whether they might hand a “victory” to a Democratic governor.
Repeal of HB2 will unshackle our state and be a win for all North Carolinians.