By William R. Toler
[Note: the following was written as an article for the Richmond County Daily Journal.]
A bill signed by Gov. Pat McCrory June 25 gives student organizations—particularly those that are faith-based— the ability to “determine that only persons professing the faith or mission or the group…are qualified to serve as leaders of that organization.”
Groups are also authorized to take care of their own internal affairs and settle their own disputes, according to the law.
The law prohibits public colleges and universities from denying any groups access to funding, facilities or other privileges granted to other recognized clubs on the basis of the selective exclusion.
Sen. Gene McLaurin, D-Richmond, and Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, both voted for the bill as it passed through their respective houses.
However, Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, voted against the bill as it passed the state House 78-37.
“Many of us disagreed,” he said. “(The bill) took the power away from the schools to regulate these groups.”
Pierce said many colleges were opposed to the bill.
“This law is giving students the right to do anything they want without any accountability,” he said.
Pierce also added that “no individual rights were protected,” only the rights of the group.
“The groups would be discriminating against their own members,” he said adding that he believes the law may be unconstitutional.
Colleges and legislators weren’t the only ones to find fault with the new law.