After 3 days, MnSCU drops North Carolina travel ban over transgender bathroom law
ST. PAUL -- The presidents of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are lifting a ban on travel to North Carolina just three days after implementing it. The travel ban implemented Monday meant that baseball teams from several MnSCU schools wo...
ST. PAUL -- The presidents of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are lifting a ban on travel to North Carolina just three days after implementing it.
The travel ban implemented Monday meant that baseball teams from several MnSCU schools would not have been able to compete for national championships being held this month in North Carolina. That shouldn’t be an issue now that the ban is being lifted because of a U.S. Justice Department ruling that came down shortly after the MnSCU ban.
The travel ban was put into place to protest a recently enacted North Carolina law that bans transgender people from using locker rooms and bathrooms designated for the gender with which they identify. MnSCU’s ban came a month after Gov. Mark Dayton directed employees of state agencies to refrain from nonessential business travel to the state.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department notified North Carolina that its transgender legislation violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and threatened to withhold education funds if the state enforces the law.
“In light of the intervention from the U.S. Justice Department, the presidents of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are confident that the deplorable discrimination embedded in North Carolina’s legislation is being addressed,” the MnSCU presidents said in a statement Thursday. “Therefore, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have lifted their ban on travel to North Carolina.”
Dayton also is considering lifting his ban, said spokesman Matt Swenson.
“Gov. Dayton agrees with the decision announced today by MnSCU’s leadership,” Swenson said. “In light of recent actions taken by the U.S. Department of Justice, Gov. Dayton is now considering whether to lift the travel ban for Minnesota’s state agency employees.”
The NCAA’s Division II baseball championship will be May 28-June 4 in Cary, N.C. St. Cloud State, ranked third nationally in the latest Division II poll, is a contender for the tournament.
The National Junior College Athletic Association championships for Division III schools also will be held in North Carolina, in Kinston. Century College in White Bear Lake and St. Cloud Tech were ranked seventh and eighth nationally in the latest poll.
MnSCU’s short-lived ban drew some ire from team coaches. When the ban was announced Tuesday, Century coach Dwight Kotila told the Pioneer Press that student-athletes would be the ones penalized.
“I support the opposition to the laws that were passed there. It’s not human what they’re doing,” Kotila said. “On the other hand, I have to look out for my student-athletes, too. Is this fair for them to be used to make a statement?”
On Thursday, Kotila said he was relieved that the ban was lifted. He said the situation has been a learning experience for his players, who saw how seemingly unrelated circumstances can impact their lives.
“I just told the guys this is out of our control. Let’s hope the people who make the decisions change their minds,” Kotila said. “And they ultimately did.”
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 400,000 students.