Catawba, Food Lion release statements on HB2

Published 12:18 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Catawba College and Food Lion have released statements on HB 2, a controversial bill introduced and passed last week by the N.C. General Assembly in a 12-hour emergency session.

Among other things, the bill strikes down a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance, and states that people must use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex.

The bill, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law, also prohibits local governments from setting minimum wage requirements or establishing certain regulations or controls on contractors as conditions of bidding. But it’s the portion of the bill dealing with bathrooms that’s drawn the most response in North Carolina and nationally, with a number of organizations, businesses and other governments decrying the measure.

Both the Catawba College and Food Lion’s corporate office sent e-mails regarding the effects the bill would have on operations. Catawba College is Gov. Pat McCrory’s alma mater.

“It is our understanding that HB2 does not apply to private institutions and therefore it will have no impact on Catawba’s policies and practices. Catawba College is dedicated to offering a welcoming environment for every member of our learning community and those who visit our campus,” Catawba College President Brien Lewis said in the e-mailed statement.

The statement also referenced Catawba’s non-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status.”

“This statement is very consistent with those offered by independent colleges and universities in North Carolina so far,” Lewis said in his introduction to the school’s official stance.

In response to an inquiry, a spokeswoman for Salisbury-based Food Lion stated that the company does not “support discrimination of any kind.”

“Our company has a longstanding commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment to ensure that all associates who work here and all customers who do business with us are treated fairly and with respect,” Director of Community Relations Christy Phillips-Brown said in an e-mail.

Reporter Josh Bergeron contributed to this story.