North Carolina bathroom law could change rules at public colleges

Several private colleges in North Carolina condemned HB2 and assured their students it does not cover their campuses. Guilford, as well as Elon, Duke and Wake Forest Universities, all said last week that students on campus were free to use whichever restroom aligns with their gender identity. Wake Forest University and Davidson College’s presidents took to Twitter to reassure students and faculty members.

Angela Mazaris, the founding director of the LGBTQ Center, helped organize a protest against the new law and 200 students, faculty and staff members gathered at Wait Chapel. Wake Forest University released a statement underscoring its commitment to support the LGBTQ community.

“Living in a state that doesn’t protect (the rights of gays, lesbians and transgender people) is not an attractive proposition,” Mazaris said.

Power napping on campus

With final exams approaching, sleep-deprived students are dozing off in library cubicles across the land. But some campuses are acknowledging the problem, investing in nap nooks and pods – those futuristic chaises that became insta-trendy when Google installed them at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

There are alternatives. Wake Forest University has added five “luxurious recliners” in its tech-free ZieSta Room, in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

News Center Media Report for April 2-8

The WFU News Center Media Report for April 2-8 is now available online.

How North Carolina’s ban on anti-bias ordinances could affect colleges

In just one day, North Carolina’s legislature used an emergency session to pass a bill that, among other things, prevents cities and counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. Critics of the legislation – House Bill 2, which Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed into law on March 23 – denounced the law almost immediately.

Those critics include many in higher education. “In a span of 12 hours, they turned North Carolina into the most anti-gay state in America,” said Shannon Gilreath, a professor of law and women’s and gender studies at Wake Forest University.

For Latin-American environmentalists, death is a constant companion

The March 3 slaying of the internationally known environmentalist Berta Cáceres Flores was condemned from the State Department to the Vatican. But for activists who work in Latin America, Cáceres’s murder was tragically familiar. Two-thirds of environmentalists who died violently around the world since 2002 lost their lives in that region. For the five years ending in 2014, more than 450 were killed, according to an international watchdog group. More than half were in Honduras and Brazil.

Those locals have an interest in eliminating whomever gets in the way, according to John Knox, a United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and the environment and a professor of international law at Wake Forest. Most victims are indigenous people “who are oppressed, largely marginalized and are considered almost expendable by the powers that be,” he said.

Trans Student To Governor Of North Carolina: “This Is What Trans Looks Like”

As a trans man born and raised in North Carolina, 26-year-old Adam Plant is one of many people finding themselves personally affected by the passing of House Bill 2.

The third-year Wake Forest grad student decided to post a personal response to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, listing his personal frustrations. The post has been steadily circulating online since it was published last week. “This is what trans looks like, Gov. McCrory,” Plant writes. “I am trans, I am queer, I am a lover, a writer, an actor, and a singer.”

News Center Media Report for March 26 – April 1

The WFU News Center Media Report for March 26 – April 1 is now available online.

Restroom unrest

Introduced, debated and passed last week – by the North Carolina House and Senate – and signed by the governor in under 12 hours. Such was the sudden and speedy birth of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which will force public colleges and universities (as well as other public venues and government buildings) to require their restrooms be used only by people whose biological sex at birth matches the sign on the door.

Several private colleges in North Carolina condemned the new law and assured their students it does not cover their campuses. Guilford, as well as Elon, Duke and Wake Forest Universities, all said last week that students on campus were free to use whichever restroom aligns with their gender identity. Wake Forest University and Davidson College’s presidents took to Twitter to reassure students and faculty members.

On Thursday, Angela Mazaris, the founding director of the LGBTQ Center, helped organize a protest against the new law and 200 students, faculty and staff members gathered at Wait Chapel.

On Friday, Wake Forest University released a statement underscoring its commitment to support the LGBTQ community.

In local coverage, all four television stations and WFDD aired the moment of solidarity held Thursday, although not all those segments are available online. WXII interviewed Adam Plant, a transgender student, to get his reaction on the passing of the new law that reverses Charlotte’s transgender ordinance. The Winston-Salem Journal has run several stories, one highlighting the San Francisco mayor’s stance on NC travel that included Wake Forest’s statement as well as an interview with Shannon Gilreath, a professor of constitutional law and sexuality at the School of Law, and a comment from Mazaris.

“Living in a state that doesn’t protect (the rights of gays, lesbians and transgender people) is not an attractive proposition,” Mazaris said.

Wrong personality for the job

Anna Hartley, a postdoctoral research scientist who works on personality judgment and measurement, in the psychology department writes: “My colleagues and I recently submitted a paper that showed that the most desirable quality in others is morality, and particularly honesty. People care deeply about a person’s morality when forming general impressions of that person, and whether they like, respect, and feel like they truly know that person – more so than other desirable qualities, such as warmth, competence, or socialbility.”

Tragedy of Darryl Hunt: how exonerated man came to take his own life

On the morning of 6 February 2004, the eyes of Winston-Salem fell upon Darryl Hunt, who had calmly waited for this day, uncertain if it would ever arrive, when he was exonerated for a rape and murder he did not commit. When attorney Mark Rabil first met Hunt in 1985, he was struck by the teenager’s peaceful demeanor and unfettered willingness to prove his innocence no matter the costs.

“I was scared,” said Rabil, associate professor at the School of Law who is the Director of Wake Forest’s Innocence and Justice Clinic. “In my 35 years practicing law, there’s never been this suddenness of me being convinced of innocence as I was in that first hour with Darryl.”

“This community, locally and statewide, had such high expectations of him,” says Phoebe Zerwick, an investigative reporter who covered Hunt’s case for the Winston-Salem Journal and now teaches journalism at Wake Forest. “It must have been a huge burden. At the same time, it gave him purpose.”