WWU didn't pay for team's N.C. travel to support governor's decision

Image: Bellingham Ultimate

UPDATE: Western Washington University isn't required to pull funding for the team's North Carolina trip, but chose to in solidarity with Governor Jay Inslee's decision to band non-essential travel, university spokesman Paul Cocke said Friday.

ORIGINAL TEXT: The Western Washington University women's ultimate Frisbee team was forced to privately raise funds for their trip to the college championship due to a travel ban in North Carolina.

Public money usually pays for the trip, but state-funded travel was halted by Jay Inslee over N.C.’s bathroom bill debate.

Inslee issued a memo in March to state agencies prohibiting non-essential state-funded travel to North Carolina in light of that state's legislation that he said allowed discrimination against transgender men and women.

WWU was supposed to pay for 24 women on Chaos, the school's ultimate Frisbee team, to travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, for the sport's national championship, but Governor Inslee put a ban on travel to North Carolina using public money, and WWU is a public school.

The team said it's still going—with a message.

"Chaos is really the team that (em)bodies a lot of the values I agree with—playing a fair game and a loving game but also being competitive and not sacrificing our values to win," freshman Kelsea Kilbride explained.




And Chaos has won—a lot. They qualified for ultimate Frisbee nationals, which should be thrilling; suddenly it's racked with controversy.
"Basically the university was standing in solidarity with Jay Inslee," team captain Jessie Thoreson said.
WWU opted not to release the funds the team needs to travel because of House Bill 2, the North Carolina public bathroom law that Inslee said discriminates against the LGBT community—Kelsea's community.
"There are people in every state who dislike us fundamentally or disagree with us because of our predispositions," Kelsea said.
The team supports the university's decision but had to make a decision of its own, and after hours of talking and crying:

"We decided we could go to North Carolina and compete in nationals and have an impact in a good way," Jessie explained.

They're displaying their opposition on the field by wearing rainbow wristbands, and they've ordered rainbow jerseys since they have to disaffiliate with the university in order to compete. Now the only hurdle is funding; they're trying to raise $20,000 by next weekend.
Kelsea's proud, but she wouldn't have expected anything less. In the middle of Chaos, she found her family.
"I know the whole team has my back, and I trust every single person on the team with my life," she concluded.
The women said they will pay their own way if they have to, but they are still in the middle of an aggressive fundraising campaign. You'll find a link to their fundraising page here.