ALBANY, N.Y. — Officials at SUNY Albany cancelled the university’s basketball game with Duke University this past week in light of the New York governor’s ban on non-essential government travel to North Carolina.
As previously reported, in late March, following controversy over North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which requires those who identify as transgender to present their birth certificate before using restrooms in government buildings that correlate with their “gender identity,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned non-essential government travel to the state.
“Whereas the state of North Carolina has enacted legislation to bar transgender persons from using bathrooms and changing facilities corresponding to such persons’ gender identities,” the order read in part, “I, Andrew M. Cuomo, … do hereby order and direct all agencies, departments, boards, authorities and commissions … to bar any such publicly funded or publicly sponsored travel to such location, unless such travel is necessary for the enforcement of New York State law, to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, and safety.”
As the SUNY system is state-funded public university, it is subject to Cuomo’s order. Therefore, SUNY Albany officials have cancelled the basketball team’s upcoming game against Duke University in Durham on Nov. 12.
“The State University of New York supports Governor Cuomo’s executive order banning all non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina,” SUNY spokesperson Holly Liapsis told the Herald-Sun. “We instructed our campuses to immediately review any existing travel plans by faculty and staff. SUNY and its campuses continue to support the governor on taking this stand.”
Duke must now find a new opponent for the game. SUNY Albany’s field hockey team will not play Duke either while North Carolina’s law is in place.
The SUNY system encompasses four state-run schools: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.
While officials are supportive of the governor’s travel ban, others have expressed disappointment and disgust.
“It is a shame that the University at Albany’s sports teams should be deprived of opportunities to compete because of Gov. Cuomo’s bathroom bullying,” the organization New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms said in a post on Monday. “Unfortunately, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has come to expect this governor to place his political interests ahead of the interests of our state and its residents.”
A number of state residents also disagreed with the decision.
“The governor wants to play politics and who gets hurt the most? Not the politicians in NC, but the kids on the Albany team,” wrote one commenter on Syracuse. com. “Those guys dream of playing in places like Cameron indoor stadium, it’s a college basketball shrine. Shame on our governor/king.”
“Interesting precedent,” another stated. “I guess anytime Cuomo has consternation about something personally, he will react by using the entire state as his baseball bat. I guess he thinks NY is the ‘Water Buffalo Lodge’ and he is the grand poobah.”
“NC is laughing at NY,” a third remarked. “Does anyone know that NY is running commercials here trying to entice businesses back to NY using how friendly NY is to the LGBT? I’ve seen them. Your tax dollars at work.”