Duke University College Republicans Lose Charter and Funding Over Homophobic Harassment of Former Chairman

I've posted a couple times about Justin Robinette, the former Chairman of the College Republicans at Duke University, who was forced out after fellow students found out he was gay, and subsequently subjected to harassment by vandals via anti-gay graffiti and threatening emails from members of the club.

Robinette On Wednesday night, the organization lost its funding and charter due to the homophobic harassment, the Daily Tarheel reports:

"The university’s student senate de-charterd the club by a two-thirds vote and de-funded them by a 20-3 vote. If the university’s Student Organizational Finance Committee approves the senate’s decision by a majority vote, the ruling will stand for the next two years. Senators were presented discriminatory e-mails and anonymous threatening messages received by former chairman of the club Justin Robinette and his supporters, who say they were harrassed by the members of the club. The senate’s actions were a big victory for Robinette, who has claimed since April that he was impeached by the organization’s executive board for being gay. Their actions come after Robinette and eight other plaintiffs were denied a hearing against the College Republicans by the student judiciary last month on allegations of harassment and discrimination. The judiciary had ruled that those allegations fell outside of their jurisdiction."

Said Robinette: "It has been such a long journey to get here, but I am glad to feel supported.  The Duke Community has shown in this action that it does not tolerate homophobic conduct."

The blog Duke.Fact.Checker called for the Duke administration, which Robinette has accused of being negligent in its attention to the harassment, to speak out:

"The depth of the bigotry Justin endured, the repetition of it, the slurs, the innuendo, the unwanted sexual e-mails — not to mention anonymous death threats — are not just an issue for students to resolve. But rather, the homophobia — as well as other discrimination by Boyle and his ilk — cry out for a response from our administration as well."


  1. Martin Murray says

    Good news. Although you do have to question Robinette’s intelligence. I mean he’s gay AND a Republican. Considering how viciously hateful the republicans are, is he really surprised by how he was treated?

  2. Rin says

    Is it awful to ask the question: why in hell he was the president of the college Republicans in the first place?

    If you have to hide who you are to be in a club, or to make certain friends then why do it? These people are not your friends if they don’t accept you for who you are in your entirety.

  3. Yeek says

    You know, I always try to remember that I have met some VERY honorable conservatives in my life. It’s basically impossible to say the same thing about Republicans.

    I’m sure this kid is going to get a lot of scorn from the left in addition from what he’s already gotten from the right. I think he’s probably gotten more than enough venom, and I support him for having the courage to get out of that existential hellhole he must have been living in. He’s Ken Mehlman with guts.

  4. CMW says

    Interesting that it is “The Daily Tarheel” which gets quoted here. That paper isn’t the Duke University paper, it’s the UNC paper. UNC is down the road in Chapel Hill, NC, while Duke is in Durham. The Duke University paper is “The Chronicle.”

  5. TampaZeke says

    “The Daily Tarheel”?

    Wouldn’t that be a UNC paper rather than a Duke paper? Maybe it is the Duke paper, but I can’t imagine them naming their paper after a rival university’s nomer.

    If so, why not quote from a report in the Duke paper?

  6. TampaZeke says

    Martin, he’s no longer Republican. He renounced the Party once they were mean to HIM personally.

  7. Alex says

    He’s cute!

    Sorry all that happened to you man, that’s terrible. What are his plans now? Is he going to take this to court?

  8. Terrance says

    He sooooo looks like a fuzzy widdle puppy, I just want to pet him on the head and rub his belly…

    I have to admit, his is one of the more spectacular comings-out that I’ve seem….!:-)

    I can’t bring myself to bash him. I suppose he’s learned a ‘life-lesson’ or two; he’s what, 19? 20? I’m willing to give hime the benefit of the doubt as to what he’ll do in the future; let’s just consider this embarrassing association with known republicans and, worse, conservatives (wtf?!?) to be just a youthful indescretion…

    …his college republican party associates, however, have learned a good lesson, too: when you threaten, smear and trash someone, it’s gotta be completely anonymous – or else it blows-back to you Big Time…! (Key knowledge if you intend to work in politics!)

  9. Lordy says

    Awww, Justin Robinette is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Looking at the lawsuit online, hot darn, I’m wondering how Duke can even call itself a tolerant place when it allows that kind of thing to go on…for so long. Did he just not know any gay people, or do they just not let gay people in at Duke?

    At least he fought for his inclusion in an org. that told him he couldn’t be. That makes him a good soldier in my book. Plus, don’t we always fall on the side of the attractive ones?

  10. Gabe R L says

    Such a beautiful boy. I’m going to pursue a two different Master’s degrees at Duke soon, so maybe I will meet him…