on campus

Justin Robinette Tells Dept. of Education That Duke University Did Nothing To Stop Anti-Gay Harassment

Justin Robinette, the gay Duke student who’s been fighting with his school and the College Republicans over his ouster as chairman, filed a formal complaint with the Department of Education.

The College Republicans weren’t the only ones who discriminated against Justin because of his sexuality, the grievance says, but Duke administrators too. That’s because they failed to take action after Justin reported on-campus harassment and intimidation, which included graffiti scrawled on walls. The group of student Republicans, meanwhile, have faced little to no disciplinary action aside from the wrist-slap of probation.

After he and fellow former CR member Cliff Satell met with administrators including dean of students Stephen Bryan and president Richard Brodhead to discuss the harassment aimed at them by their peers, their complaints went exactly nowhere. “The meeting with Bryan proved to be the most humiliating,” said Robinette at the time. “He told me he had a theory that as a closeted gay guy in the organization, I had developed sexual feelings and was rejected, and that explains this scorn I have towards them.”

So the pair met with attorneys, who advised them to take it all the way to the top. “We feel that (the complaint) would be the most effective and least burdensome,” says Satell. “You’re never guaranteed anything in a court of law, but the Department of Education is looking at a very narrow issue of whether Duke’s response was sufficient.” The complaint heads to DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, which will see if Duke is guilty of violating policies including Title IX, which bar discrimination based on sex, and has been used by the Obama administration to weigh in on sexual orientation discrimination.

As if either of these young men need more proof they continue to be harassed, let’s look at the first (and only) two comments left on The Daily Tar Heel‘s article page:

• Really? This is so silly. Why do Justin and this Cliff Satell (don’t google him) keep coming up? No one believes them anymore
— 10:11 AM November 18, 2010, by silly

• Yes, please beware of Google-ing Cliff Satell’s name if you’re sensitive to allegations of child pornography.
— 12:11 PM November 18, 2010, by Rachel Smithson

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  • Shouldn't certain gay sites & their commenters stop bullying gays too? ( John from England)

    Yep this is what happens when you become a republican! Sorry Queerty but the more you and your commenters hate on the Dems….well, this is what the other side think of you.

  • Nick

    lie down with dogs, etc.

  • Queer Supremacist

    @John the Slimy Limey: Your smugness in this situation is sickening. Take it from me as a victim of bullying, school administrations are bullies’ best friends.

  • Pete

    So, the school told him he made passes at the Republicans, and that’s why they treated him that way? Even if it were true that’s not right. Come on Duke, really?

    Still, I bet it’s pretty DAMN miserable being gay at Duke

  • Froshguy

    I thought Title 9 protected only women???? Has a student ever sued his school before saying they violated Title 9?

  • Who Cares?

    Piece of shit pedophile!

  • Sophie

    @FROSHGUY Title 9 has been interpreted to extend protection to people from discrimination based on expected gender roles, so I think that would include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  • Ryan

    If the guy is guilty then he deserves a fitting punishment. But until he is convicted by a jury of his peers, just stfu. Sick of people being tried in the court of popularity before they receive an actual trial.

  • Ryan

    the alleged pedophile, not you know the guy who was getting bullied

  • AdamAnt

    Isn’t it defamation too to call someone a pedophile when they aren’t? I go to Duke, and I’ve been following this story (and seen the lawsuit), and the crap that Justin had to go through was much worse than people calling him and his supporters “pedophiles” and “child molesters” and “faggots.” There’s a document on Scribd that tells of all the hate that Rachel Provost, Carter Boyle, Samuel Tasher, and even the Dean at the school said and did to Justin…I think it’s Robinette and 10 John Does v. Duke College Republicans). It’s just shameless. And now they’re calling anyone who ever witnessed what those jerks did to him “pedophiles” and harassing THEM now for it. I can’t believe this has gone on as long as it has, but I’m glad Duke and not just the hooligans that did that stuff will be forced to answer.

  • Dukie

    One of the main ones bullying Justin, that girl Rachel Provost, is downright hideous! Oh my GOOOOOD, look that girl up on Facebook. I’d turn gay too if I had to be in the GOP with her. Ugggggggggggh. For real, though, why is that the ugliest and I am guessing as a result, probably most self-conscious, people turn out to be homophobes?

    Justin’s a nice guy. It’s been very difficult being on campus and hearing about what has happened to him, his friend Cliff, and I think there’s about 3 other people who Rachel Provost and her boyfriend, Carter Boyle, have sent death threats to.

    Duke should have done something, I agree with JR.

    And I can’t stress enough how gross that girl Rachel Provost is.

  • Amazon

    It’s amazing what electronic channels people will go through in an attempt to communicate, humiliate, or get a reaction from others. Such people are considered very disturbed and destroy their careers, but many have only themselves to blame for seeking the seductive pleasure that revenge offers.

  • greaterendnewyork

    I agree it is very unfortunate what this man has to go through just because he chose the wron political party. I can understand being uncomfortable with your sexuality but to join the republicans, well, son, that’s just dumb. In light of what we read about Tyler Clementine I think Duke is in some trouble for how they handled this debacle. It looks like Stephen Bryan is going to be thrown under the bus by the university, I wouldn’t be surprised, to give the appearance of making something out of this mess. I am shocked at Duke’s administrative response the more and more I see of it. They clearly are not welcoming of gay people.

    I would urge everyone to read the suit uploaded to scribd online. Chair Carter Boyle, Chief Of Staff Rachel Provost called Mr. Robinette some downright creative but disgusting epithets (you thought “faggot” was bad just wait until you see the things Boyle and Provost emailed to this man), “mimicked male masturbation” at Duke Republican meetings and slipped Mr. Robinette death threats with nude men, and the report says they threatened his life, threw trash at him on campus, and assaulted him with a garbage can from a window after meetings while calling him the name “shit on your dick,” and indeed like this article mentioned with photos, the two of them allegedly scrawled his name and epithets on the campus’ buildings.

    This is like middle school. The report is so crude these kids deserved to be expelled, not harmless like friends. People like Steven Bryan are responsible for this behavior when they explain it away as Mr. Robinette’s fault for making passes at boys in the club…I’m curious how he came to that conclusion.

    Duke, you can do better in the way of civil rights than to keep the likes of Boyle and the girl Rachel. There is no excuse for students to intimidate other students because they are gay. We should remember how young this boy is, and that while he could have done better with his politics, and we hope he learns from this treatment, what he did was join a studentrun club with the expectation he would not be permitted to be abused for showing his gayness. Justins right and the above poster is right.

    I will not comment on the physical attractiveness of the Rachel girl, as it has little bearing on anything. Shame on you for posting that, that’s a form of intimidation too. I imagine Carter Boyle and Rachael Provost never imagined what they did would make news so for that we should be a little sympathetic, at least so much not to make fun of her for the way she looks.

    Nate, White Plains

  • Trav

    Still Team Justin! I knew a lawsuit was coming beginning when they impeached him for being too gay. There are such things as gay Republicans!!! I like this boy’s capacity for putting up a fight against a school that clearly isn’t a place to send a gay child to.

  • Allen

    Cute guy. Hotttttttt I’d do him even if he does support tax cuts for the rich.

  • Eric

    Not as hot in person unfortunately. From the perspective of another gay guy at Duke, Justin’s case is bs. Before any of this came up, he was notorious in the community for being a royal jack ass and god knows this came through in his leadership. By all accounts, even with the homophobic language he published (and corroborated with) in some personal emails between him and fellow exec board members, he was impeached for legitimate reasons, probably why even the LGBT center and student org have been silent on the ordeal. Rumor around here is that he actually tried to coerce them to issue a statement of support before he took Duke to trial…

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