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.