Concerns about N.C. HB2
Dear Quantitative Biology Summer Institute participants and presenters,
This is a short note to let you know about a concern we have (and I’m sure some of you have) about running a meeting in a state that has passed House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. You can find more about the bill here - [http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article68401147.html]
The meeting organizers, including representatives from the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, QUBES Project, and Science CaseNet have discussed this situation at length and we want to share some of our decisions with you. If we were choosing a meeting site now we would not consider locations in North Carolina. Unfortunately, we are financially invested in the site at this point and we do not feel that canceling the meeting would serve our community. Given these constraints we are committed to providing a safe and non-discriminating environment for the meeting.
We will be meeting on the campus of North Carolina State University where the Chancellor recently released a statement that included the following reminder,
The new law does not affect NC State's strong equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policy; we remain steadfast in our commitment to welcoming and supporting all people. As I included in my recent annual letter to the United States Department of Education, NC State's policies ensure that all students, faculty and staff are protected from discrimination, regardless of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.
see [https://leadership.ncsu.edu/chancellor/] for the full statement.
As the organizers of the meeting we also feel that is it important to share the following summary of our commitments and actions with you.
We oppose the discriminatory policies contained in HB2 and will do our best to work with our host institution, collaborating organizations, and local businesses to:
provide a safe and welcoming environment for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, or gender status.
use only services and businesses that do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender status.
We will not plan any future meetings, conferences or other on-site activities from our organizations that require travel to North Carolina until discriminatory policies based on sexual orientation and gender status are overturned.
We will publicly state our position on non-discrimination in the following ways:
direct communication with our meeting participants, presenters and partner organizations.
posting our position on the conference web site.
submitting a letter to this effect to the Governor of North Carolina, the North Carolina State Legislature, the Mayor of Raleigh, and the Chancellor of NCSU.
We appreciate your interest in this issue and we would encourage your comments. We have established a discussion forum on the Summer Institute conference page where registered individuals may make statements or ask questions. Viewing and posting to the discussion is limited to members of the Summer Institute Meeting Group but there is an option to post anonymously.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions and we look forward to seeing you at the meeting.
Kristin Jenkins, Executive Director of BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
Sam Donovan, PI of QUBES Project
Patricia Marsteller, PI of Science CaseNet
Tom Gower, QUBES PI & Local Host at NCSU