Fol­lowing the pas­sage of a con­tro­ver­sial new law in North Carolina—where North­eastern Uni­ver­sity main­tains a regional campus—President Joseph E. Aoun has issued a state­ment in strong sup­port of diver­sity and inclu­sion. The new law, which was hastily passed in a spe­cial ses­sion of the state leg­is­la­ture on Wednesday, specif­i­cally pre­vents local com­mu­ni­ties in North Car­olina from passing ordi­nances that pro­tect the rights of gay, les­bian, and trans­gender individuals. 

“At North­eastern Uni­ver­sity we believe diver­sity is a strength to be cel­e­brated, not a source of divi­sion,” said Aoun. “Diver­sity in all its forms—race, gender, reli­gion, polit­ical beliefs, sexual ori­en­ta­tion, gender identity—enhances the pur­suit of knowl­edge and pre­pares people to thrive in a plu­ral­istic society. We join with many other orga­ni­za­tions in North Car­olina, and across the country, in expressing our deep con­cerns about this new law.” 

In addi­tion to North­eastern, a range of busi­nesses and non-​​profits have spoken out against the new law, including Apple, Amer­ican Air­lines, Biogen, PayPal, Face­book, Dow Chem­ical, Duke Uni­ver­sity, and more. 

North­eastern opened its Char­lotte, North Car­olina, campus in 2012 with a pre­lim­i­nary goal of offering career-​​oriented grad­uate degrees to pro­fes­sionals in the region. Over time, the Char­lotte campus has become a mul­ti­di­men­sional plat­form for the university—expanding Northeastern’s research oppor­tu­ni­ties and employer part­ner­ships, and dra­mat­i­cally increasing regional demand for under­grad­uate degrees at the university’s Boston campus. 

North­eastern has since added regional sites in Seattle, Sil­icon Valley, and Toronto. 

In 2013, Aoun deliv­ered a major address to the North­eastern com­mu­nity, “A Model for Society,” in which he out­lined a vision for the role uni­ver­si­ties can play in pro­moting diver­sity and inclusion.