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  • Summary date: Apr 13 2023 - View Summary

    Enacts GS 116-306 (UNC system) and GS 115D-82 (community colleges) barring both higher education systems from: (1) soliciting or requiring an interested person to endorse or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement or (2) soliciting or requiring an interested person to describe his or her actions in support of, or in opposition to, the beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles identified above. Defines interested person as an employee of a constituent institution/community college or an applicant for admission or employment with a constituent institution/community college. Specifies that prohibited practices include solicitations or requirements for commitments to particular views on matters of contemporary political debate or social action contained on applications or qualifications for admission or employment or included as criteria for analysis of an employee's career progress.

    Provides for an approval process to authorize a constituent institution/community college to institute a requirement or solicitation otherwise prohibited by the act because the constituent institution/community college determines that the requirement or solicitation is necessary for reasons related to the educational, research, or public-service mission of the UNC/community college system(s). Specifies that an employee is subject to discipline if they fail to comply with the requirements of the act.

    Clarifies that nothing in the act: (1) authorizes a person to bring a cause of action against the UNC/community college system(s), State Board of Community Colleges, a constituent institution of either system, the State or any subdivision thereof; (2) limits the principles of campus free speech articulated in GS 116-300 (just UNC system); (3) infringes on voluntary opinions or speech of an interested person; prohibit discussion with an interested person on the contents of their resume/CV, scholarship or other written work or oral remarks presented by the person; or (4) modify or affect the ability of a constituent institution to ensure its employees comply with applicable federal or State law, including employment oaths, appointment affidavits, and licensure and certification requirements. Requires the UNC Board of Governors the State Board of Community Colleges to each adopt policies on free expression in conformance with the act.

    Applies beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year.