The entire Univ. of North Carolina system has been instructed to comply with the new state law that forces trans people back into the closet both literally and figuratively.

In a memo published on the university system Web site and obtained by the Human Rights Campaign, Univ. of North Carolina president Margaret Spellings instructs the member institutions to establish the equivalent of "black" and "white" water fountains for trans students:

University institutions should take the following actions to fully meet their obligations under the Act:
a. Designate and label multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities for single-sex use with signage.
b. Provide notice of the Act to campus constituencies as appropriate.
c. Consider assembling and making information available about the

Interestingly, Spellings also admits to a possible "loophole" in the law: "The Act does not contain provisions concerning enforcement of the bathroom and changing facility requirements." So while the member institutions should deem all public facilities off-limits to trans people (for all intents and purposes), she says they don't have to enforce the rule. Of course, just the promotion of the prejudicial law creates an unsafe environment for trans student-athletes. We'll see if any of the campus athletic directors step up and declare that they will not enforce the provision.

"It's disappointing that the leader of a university system would put her students in harm's way," said NCLR's Helen Carroll, who coached the UNC-Asheville women's basketball team to a national title in the 1980s. UNCA is one of the schools affected by the edict. "Pertaining to athletics, it not only has to do with the UNC students, but it has to do with any traveling team coming into the state to play a competition."

There are 16 member institutions under Spellings' dominion, including schools like NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill in the ACC, HBCUs like Fayetteville State Univ., and other NCAA conferences like the Sun Belt, The American Conference and the Southern Conference.