Gay Duke Student Says University Negligent in Response to Homophobic Hate Speech, Harassment


Back in April, I covered the story of Justin Robinette, the Chairman of the College Republicans at Duke University, who said he was forced from his position after fellow students found out he was gay. At the end of May, Robinette was targeted by vandals, who slurred him with anti-gay graffiti on the East Campus Bridge at Duke (see photos).

Robinette tells us that the harassment has continued. Robinette  

Writes Robinette:

After being impeached in April from the Duke College Republicans due to shared information with my Executive Board as to my sexual orientation, officers who resigned immediately and me directly have received continued harassment and been intimidated by current members of the Duke College Republicans. Duke University's East Camus Bridge vandalism was preceded by many instances of intimidation and harassment of former DCR officers (threatening Facebook messages from DCR Chief of Staff Rachel Provost harassing my former officers with rumors as to their sexuality and any other "personal information" they may potentially uncover, simply for supporting me. Additionally, former Vice-Chairman Matthew Leonard's dormitory nametag was vandalized with the word "faggot"). The Bridge graffiti has been followed up with anonymous death threats to both me and student Bridget Gomez (who recently created a Facebook group ). Additionally, someone I believe to be a current DCR Executive officer sent me a threatening message dated today, as well. These have been forwarded to Duke Police and they say they are investigating presently.

By members of the DCR I have been called a “faggot,” “lying faggot,” a supporter of the “faggot center,” “ironic,” “disgusting," and Duke's anonymous gossip site has included these messages: “Justin Robinette: if you ever needed a reason to hate gay people,” “fags and fag-enablers need to step out of the way,” “no one cares about faggots or those who cry faggot,” “DCR = righteous, lying fag = Robinette.” The East Campus Bridge was recently vandalized with the words "Lying Fag Robinette, DCR= Righteous, Get AIDS in Hell." The creator of a Facebook group asking Duke University to take action has received a death threat, and I have also received one, and had one forwarded to me by a Duke College Republican Executive Board officer. These death threats (attached here) told me that I "was a dead fag," told me "to go eat shit out of another homo," told a student who created a Facebook page (above) that as a "n-gger," it is not "surprising" she would "support faggots," ordered her to take down the page or she would be killed, and told me in another death threat that "it's not as easy to paint over a dead faggot." DCR officers have texted me calling me "Shit on Dicks" and sometimes abbreviated this to "S on Ds," and made references to others by this derogatory name. Outside of police investigation, no action is being taken against these individuals outside of our own complaints to the Conduct Board.

The Daily Tarheel late last week made note of the university's silence on the issue

"Duke University Police could not be reached for comment. 'This particular situation is very complex,' said Larry Moneta, Duke's vice president of student affairs. 'We’re doing sort of everything at every level.  We’re sort of coordinating a set of responses specific to the individuals and contemplating what’s the best and most inventive way to turn it into the a teachable moment for the campus.' But that teachable moment could be difficult to find during the summer when most Duke students don’t even know their bridge had ever been defiled, Moneta said. Satell said he would have expected the administration to send out a campuswide e-mail condemning the graffiti and asking for tips if anyone knew how it happened. 'We’re seeing if there is any action to be taken against the university for remaining silent in response to this,' Robinette said."

President Brodhead has refused meetings with Robinette, according to the Facebook petition.


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I can't feel any sympathy whatever for a gay Republican, no matter how cute.

    Posted by: Ronald McDonald | Jun 22, 2010 9:20:29 AM

  2. More cleansing by the Republicans. Keep in mind that the only difference between young Republicans and old Republicans is that old Republicans are better at disguising the way they fell and young ones don't bother.

    Posted by: TC | Jun 22, 2010 9:24:26 AM

  3. wow...

    "most don't even know that their bridge was defiled"

    yeah, cuz that's the issue...

    Hopefully the fact that it IS summer session will make it easier to find them. A suggestion: don't leave it with "campus police"

    Must be a VERY proud moment for DOUCHE, I mean DUKE.

    Posted by: stephen | Jun 22, 2010 9:28:34 AM

  4. Deplorable situation. Let's hope the non-response and the "seeking for the teachable moment" doesn't result in someone getting physically injured or killed. This is taking place in KKK country, after all. This bullying should generate several criminal and civil suits once the culprits are rounded up. I hope for Robinette's benefit some of them have rich daddies. Imagine being a Duke University Young Republican and discovering the president of your group is gay rotflmao. And if Robinette doesn't become a lifelong Democrat after emerging from this ordeal he needs his head examined.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jun 22, 2010 9:29:41 AM

  5. this is pretty messed up

    I don't think campus official realize the longer they try to avoid dealing with the issue, the worse it will get

    and Ronald, that's really douchey of you - the kid's what? 21? 22? He's still growing

    I'm sure your young years were without fault for you to be able to cast such harsh judgement

    Posted by: neverstops | Jun 22, 2010 9:30:32 AM

  6. Yeah, gay republicans - bleh. However, it is truly disturbing. No one should face that level of harassment. What annoys me is all these "teachable moments" today. If your doing something wrong, have a consequence. Isn't that a lesson learned? If your an adult, pay the price for being a horrible person. But no. Instead we find the best opportunity to include everyone. It's lame and ineffective. I refuse to go on a rant longer than I have though.

    Posted by: MatthewCA81 | Jun 22, 2010 9:32:35 AM

  7. That should teach 'em right there that trying to be a gay-republican is like trying to be a black KKK member.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jun 22, 2010 9:35:58 AM

  8. Again with the gay Repubs. Similar to an African American becoming a Klansman or a Jew joining the Nazi party. Get a clue kid.

    Posted by: Wren | Jun 22, 2010 9:36:55 AM

  9. So what do you do if you want less govt?

    What group do you join because you guys are pretty zealous & black or white.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 22, 2010 9:40:59 AM

  10. If this is the new crop of Republicans (and I'm confident that it is a rather representative slice), then, uhhhh, their facism is showing.

    And to think this level of moronic hatred is among college educated people of some privilege.

    (Oh, and thank god Orbitz is having a gay pride sale...that makes this pile of organized, legitimized GOP hatred all better, don't it?!?)

    Posted by: RalfW | Jun 22, 2010 9:42:06 AM

  11. I'm a democrat, but I would be a lot happier knowing there were people like Robinette in the republican party. The Duke College Republicans should be proud to have someone as brave, tenacious and unwilling to be victimized as Robinette in their ranks. Instead, their actions and those of the University reveal their true priorities and lack of character. Pity. I used to have a lot of respect for Duke. Keep holding their feet to the fire, Justin. But protect yourself.

    Posted by: Troy | Jun 22, 2010 9:45:58 AM

  12. Wait a minute...

    These are the VERY SAME people that he was PROUD to hang with and be associated with until they turned their hate on HIM? They didn't just TURN anti-gay the day Robinette came out. They were rabidly anti-gay when he joined them, when he climbed the ranks among them and when he became their proud leader. He's only upset that they are now turning that SAME hate toward him personally.

    BOO fucking HOO Robinette.

    You lie down with dogs...

    After reading the graffiti on the bridge, and Robinette's response, it's painfully clear that spelling and grammar aren't considered important at Duke.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jun 22, 2010 9:47:07 AM

  13. Get AIDS in hell? Well, at least Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher will have something to look forward to.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jun 22, 2010 9:50:37 AM

  14. Good - maybe he'll realize how hypocritical he's being.

    Posted by: Ty | Jun 22, 2010 9:54:17 AM

  15. If you step back and think about it, this really sounds like some closeted anger on display here. Seriously, someone or several individuals with some deeply suppressed homo feelings has really been rattled by his coming out.

    It's one thing when he's removed from his position as Chairman of the college Republicans, it's quite another to have this continued vile dumped on him. To me, this sounds like there are more homos in this group who cannot deal with facing their own demons.

    Posted by: Keith | Jun 22, 2010 9:55:00 AM

  16. There most likely won't be any help from the Duke Police - they are a notoriously corrupt, lazy bunch.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Jun 22, 2010 10:02:46 AM

  17. They spend more time on trespassing cases then they do on harassment and assault cases.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Jun 22, 2010 10:03:48 AM

  18. Well it's obviously closeted anger. Apparently Robinette knows what it means to "help a buddy out," and now he's got to pay for it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 22, 2010 10:04:12 AM

  19. The silence of the administration is clearly a Permission to Kill.

    Run fast, Robinette -- run far.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 22, 2010 10:05:30 AM

  20. And...of course, the Daily Tarheel (the student newspaper for Duke's archrival, the University of North Carolina) would report it.

    I suppose he could always transfer to UNC, I hear that it's a bit more liberal in Chapel Hill anyway.

    And cheaper (even if he is from out of state).

    And the education is just as good, really.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 22, 2010 10:13:46 AM

  21. As much as I agree that a gay republican is an oxymoron, no one deserves that kind of harassment. We should be siding with him and lending support not vilifying him and leaving him on the side of the road like roadkill who somehow deserved it for not looking both ways before crossing. We need to be better than our enemies not sink to their levels. The alienation he must be feeling from all this does not need to be compounded by the very community that he aligned himself with by being honest about who he is.

    Posted by: krispy | Jun 22, 2010 10:21:33 AM

  22. When you lay down with the dogs, you're gonna get fleas, Mister Young Republican Man.

    Posted by: Blair | Jun 22, 2010 10:26:26 AM

  23. Wow wow wow...I can't tell if these comments are by my fellow fags or fag-haters...really? You are going to dismiss the situation just because he is Republican? Shame on you...

    Posted by: Aaron D. | Jun 22, 2010 10:50:52 AM

  24. Robinette gets a pass ONLY because of his age/inexperience...hope this is a "teaching moment" for him, the party you claim to support HATES you. Anygay older than him should clearly know better...

    Sounds like the Duke "DCRs" can legitimately be classisfied as a hate group. This level of harrassment shows the hateful, dangerous agenda that many (but not all) in the rethuglican party clearly hold onto...truly psychotic.

    Listening LCRs, and GoProud? So some false idea of 'Democratic big government' and 'paying some (fair) taxes' is worse than this kind of hatred ?! I just don't get 'bout supporting fiscally conservative democrats instead of the enemy?

    Posted by: Dennis | Jun 22, 2010 10:51:20 AM

  25. "So what do you do if you want less govt?"

    Well, I'd advise you start by not joining a party that insists the government be involved in even the most private aspects of people's lives, like who they can marry.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 22, 2010 11:06:01 AM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Lady Gaga: 'Why are We Still Talking About 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'? It's Like, What F*cking Year Is It?'« «