Woodson: NCSU losing business because of HB2

Posted April 14, 2016

— North Carolina State University has lost out on some potential business relocations to its Centennial Campus because of a new law that sets discrimination policy statewide, Chancellor Randy Woodson said Thursday.

"We've had, in the last week, a number of companies we were talking to about coming onto our campus indicate that they are no longer interested," Woodson said in Chapel Hill, where he was attending a University of North Carolina Board of Governors meeting.

He blamed the change of heart on the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly referred to as House Bill 2, which was signed into law last month after a special one-day legislative session. The law requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their birth gender, excludes gays, lesbians and transgender people from protections against employment or public accommodations discrimination and bars cities and counties from extending such protections.

Dozens of companies lease space on Centennial Campus, and N.C. State forges close research relationships with many of them, and Woodson said the impact of House Bill 2 has gone beyond scaring off business.

"This is having an impact on our ability to recruit faculty. There are a lot of questions about it," he said.

The Board of Governors discussed the growing fallout from the law before its slate of committee meetings on Thursday.

"There’s been an awful lot said about it. My position is this: The primary mission of UNC is to educate students in North Carolina. Give them a high-quality, low-cost education," Chairman Louis Bissette said. "We don’t discriminate against anybody. Our students come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, sexual orientations. We don’t discriminate."

UNC President Margaret Spellings said last week that she feared the "chill" the law could have on the 17-campus system and planned to talk with lawmakers about ways to soften the impact. She also has spoken with U.S. Department of Education officials about the law and the possible loss of federal financial aid support and research grants because of any violations of federal anti-discrimination laws.

Spellings said Thursday that discussions are continuing on both fronts.

"We’re staying in touch with our institutions about the various implications and effects of the law and gathering that information to present to the board and legislature," she said. "We continue to think through ideas, what might provide relief."

She called Gov. Pat McCrory's executive order this week, which asks lawmakers to repeal the section of the law that takes away workers' rights to sue employers for discrimination in state court, a step in the right direction.

"He's hearing what we're hearing with respect to the chill that it's having on our institutions," she said.

Last week, Spellings told chancellors that no campus will be required to change its discrimination policies because of the state law, although campuses will have to follow the directive on designating multiple-occupancy bathrooms for specific genders.

The Board of Governors was supposed to hold its monthly meeting at UNC-Asheville, but the potential for large student protests there forced officials to move it to Chapel Hill. Protesters were expected to demonstrate against House Bill 2 and against Spellings, who has been a target for criticism since the board chose her as president last fall.

"We’re here today instead of being in Asheville partially as an impact of HB2," said Bissette, an Asheville lawyer. "We’ve been impacted. I’m not going to get into the pros or cons of it. We’re a state entity, we’re trying to educate students and that’s what we’re going to continue to to."


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Steve Clark Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Catherine, I applaud you for mention 'looks'... I honestly think that's one of the big problems with the original Charlotte ordinance.. there was NO 'appearance standard' mentioned (and can you imagine the fallout if there was?!)

    But the Original Charlotte Ordinance (which SO many people seem to want to overlook) basically made it LEGAL for a straight man to go into the girls Locker room (i'm not talking about bathroom, I'm saying Locker Room, where our wives and daughters change clothes)... a Straight man would have been allowed in there by simply Claiming he was TG...

    Would you agree with me, that Truly TG people have been using the 'other restroom' for Years? .. Doesn't this feel like a problem that was 'created' ?

  • Steve Clark Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    Can't everyone agree... keep it the way it was, before Charlotte passed their law? Can't we ALL agree that TG's have been using a bathroom and locker room for Years.. or decades, and no one noticed or cared? If you have Truly Transitioned, and 'look and present' yourself, SO much like a woman, then use the women's restroom... and vice versa...

    Weather you're Rep or Dem, doesn't it feel like this "problem" was created? Did ANY of us, supporters or opponents of the original Charlotte Bill ever hear of "Problems" with TG's using the bathroom?

    I'm not trying to be flippant, I'm simply asking... doesn't the original Charlotte law feel like something that was 'forced to make a point'.. .and then Raleigh was 'forced to overturn it' ?

    Seems like BOTH sides are exercising a Lot of Political Theater.

  • Christian Knott Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I don't have XY or XX "makeup". I use Chanel and Mac Makeup ( they have the best colors and their lipsticks last ALL night!

  • Tom Williams Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    XX use women's bathroom sorry for the typo.

  • Tom Williams Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    You missed my point...It was to keep this argument simple, XY use men, XY use women...We as a society have better things to do and debate than where someone relieves themselfs outside of their homes...Just goes show how fickle we as a society have become......Reference your answer....

  • Catherine Edwards Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    "If you have a XY make up, use the men's bathroom if you have a XX makeup use the women's bathroom keep it simple stupid.."
    But what if you have XXY? It exists.
    What if the person looks like a man with a beard and mustache and they go into the woman's room because they were born a woman. You should look up transgender people on the internet and see what they look like. Try explaining why a "man" is in the bathroom to a little girl. And I'm sure some guy would beat up the "woman" that uses the men's bathroom.

    People come in all types. Statistically the more likely "pervert" in the bathroom is a heterosexual man that preys on little boys.
    It's not that simple.

  • Jeffrey Derry Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar


  • Tom Williams Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    The all mighty dollars raises it head again....Some business and community leaders....are willing to expose their daughters and granddaughters to this kind of perversion (and it is perversion in it truest form) to make a buck...If you have a XY make up, use the men's bathroom if you have a XX makeup use the women's bathroom keep it simple stupid......All the surgeries or self identifying want-to-be in the world CANNOT change this Chromosomal rule...."nuff said

  • Russell Chapman Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    Here I your list:
    Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President, Box
    Brandee Barker, Cofounder, The Pramana Collective
    Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
    Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
    Michael Birch, Founder, Blab
    Ed Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association Nathan Blecharczyk, Cofounder and CTO, Airbnb Steven R. Boal, CEO, Quotient Technology Inc. Lorna Borenstein, CEO, Grokker Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO, McKinney Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb Ron Conway, Founder and Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Dean Debnam, Chairman and CEO, Workplace Options Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter David Ebersman, Cofounder and CEO, Lyra Health Jared Fliesler, General Partner, Matrix Partners Joe Gebbia, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Airbnb Jason Goldberg, CEO, Pepo Alan King, President and COO, Workplace Options Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO, BackOps Mitchell Go

  • Chance Loria Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    OK ... You named one in our entire area although none on Centennial Campus. And I'm sure as CEO your one has their own private bathroom. Next ...