Drexel Athletics and North Carolina House Bill 2
January 27, 2017
Drexel University has found itself part of a national conversation about intercollegiate athletic competition in North Carolina while House Bill 2 (HB2) remains state law. HB2 is a controversial North Carolina law that has gained national attention for its anti-LGBTQ agenda.
Drexel University firmly opposes HB2, which is contrary to our institution’s commitment to an inclusive culture, our strong belief in celebrating individual differences, and our anti-discrimination policy. All Drexel students have long been assured, by University policy and Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance, that they are entitled to be free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The response to HB2 has been swift. For example, the National Basketball Association is moving its All-Star Game from Charlotte in 2017, musicians have cancelled entertainment events in North Carolina, and the NCAA removed seven championships scheduled to be held there. In addition, the 15-institution Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has also announced its intention to move championship tournaments that were scheduled to be held at neutral sites outside of North Carolina, but will keep championships that are hosted by ACC institutions in North Carolina.
Drexel University prefers not to conduct business in North Carolina as long as HB2 is state law. However, Drexel is contractually obligated to engage in regular season athletic contests as a member of our athletic association, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The CAA includes two universities located in North Carolina (University of North Carolina – Wilmington and Elon University). Although both UNCW and Elon oppose HB2, Drexel University is nevertheless in disagreement about playing championships in North Carolina on neutral sites and those that are hosted by our North Carolina CAA-membership schools, since they could easily be scheduled in, or moved to, a more inclusive state. In fact, in response to HB2, the CAA already has moved the women’s golf championship, originally scheduled to have been played at St. James Plantation, a neutral site, to a location outside of North Carolina.
The CAA member institutions have voted to continue hosting CAA end-of-season championships in North Carolina and we will abide by the vote of our fellow institutions and send our teams to those locations to participate, even though we do not support that position so long as HB2 is not repealed. We would not want to take away, however, the opportunity for our student-athletes to participate in athletic championship competitions. Consistent with their opposition to HB2, we have been assured by UNCW and Elon that our fans, student-athletes, and parents will be welcomed and safe.
John A. Fry