Gov. Dannel P. Malloy banned state-funded travel to North Carolina after a bill requiring transgender individuals to use bathrooms that correspond with their biological gender was signed into law at the end of March.
Malloy’s executive order, which took effect last Thursday, applies to all state agencies requesting state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, including the University of Connecticut.
This will force the university to assess upcoming travel related to faculty research and student activities, said university spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz.
However, a caveat to the order includes already-in-place contracts, such as upcoming UConn athletic matches.
“The ban includes an exception in cases where contractual obligations are already in place, so our previously scheduled games at East Carolina State are not affected. Primarily, they’re women’s tennis and men’s baseball games coming up in the next several weeks,” Reitz said.
The football team and women’s basketball and soccer teams played ECU in Greenville, N.C. earlier this year and in 2015.
Students at ECU and other universities across the state have shown disapproval of the House Bill No. 2, which was passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
Student protests were held at ECU and the University of North Carolina, according to student newspapers the East Carolinian and the Daily Tarheel. In addition, Duke University, Wake Forest University, Elon University and Davidson College have released statements condemning the bill.
After signing the bill into law on March 23, McCrory tweeted, “Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women's bathroom/locker room for instance. That's why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”
Malloy, a Democrat, said, “When we see discrimination and injustice, we have to act. This law is not just wrong, it poses a public safety risk to Connecticut residents traveling through North Carolina … This law endangers the welfare not just of North Carolina's citizens, but of all people visiting that state,” in a press release last Thursday.
Connecticut passed a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in 1991 and added gender identity and expression to state statute three years ago.
Eighth-semester political science and Spanish double major Ben Plant, who is also a student staff member in the Rainbow Center at UConn, supported Malloy’s action. He said it is important for all individuals to show disdain at HB2, recognizing that elected officials will often remain silent on such issues, so voters in their states do not hold them negatively accountable.
“A lot of businesses supported against the law, like Pepsi, so it is finally good for me to see my own elected official showing support for transgender people not only in the state, but nationally,” Plant said.
CORRECTION (April 7) – A previous version of this story inaccurately paraphrased a quote by eighth-semester political science and Spanish double major Ben Plant. He said elected officials will often remain silent on issues like HB2 so voters in their states do not hold them negatively accountable, not transgender people.
Annie Pancak is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @APancak.