Duke College Republicans Face Consequences for Discrimination

Five months ago, Duke University College Republicans president, Justin Robinette, was impeached from his position because he was outed. The executive board claimed he was unfit to serve as president due to “conduct unbecoming of a person in a position of leadership.” They cited that he failed to attend events and used the group’s funds for personal use. But the situations described occurred before he was reelected in March, a month before he was impeached. Basically, the decision to impeach Robinette seemed clearly related to his sexual orientation.

Duke University has an anti-discrimination policy that prohibits discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation. And the school has appropriately acted on the policy. The College Republicans club is now losing its funding because of their discriminatory treatment toward Robinette.

The Duke Student Government Senate made the decision to defund the club and took steps toward de-chartering the club during a meeting that lasted more than four hours. The Student Organization Finance Committee has the final say on the club’s charter. The decision cuts the club’s funding for this academic year, and may affect the club’s funding for the next two years.

Justin Robinette and former club vice president Cliff Satell attended the meeting and spoke out against the club’s homophobic actions, presenting evidence of harassment and discrimination. They presented the Senate with e-mail evidence from a member of the club’s executive board with derogatory remarks, as well as e-mail evidence of death threats directed at Robinette.

Duke made the right move. All clubs and activities should have to adhere to the anti-discrimination policies in order to receive school funding. Seems pretty simple to me — a university should not be condoning hate speech and discrimination. Cutting the club’s funding sends the message that Duke stands behind their anti-discrimination policy.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons