Brodhead Meets with Robinette; First Involvement of President in Republican Hate Mail Controversy

Search words Duke University student Republicans Justin Robinette

✔Fact Checker here.

My fellow Dukies, the last several days have been very encouraging for those of us who believe that this university should not harbor prejudice of any kind, and should take an affirmative, unequivocal stand when hate surfaces.

1) As the Chronicle story indicates, the student judiciary has agreed to hear a new case against Duke Campus Republicans.

2) President Brodhead -- after weeks of refusing to meet with Justin Robinette -- welcomed him into his Allen Building office on Friday. Also present: Cliff Satell and Brodhead's special assistant, VP Richard Riddell.

This could well mean that the university is at last taking the ouster of Robinette as GOP president after other members learned he is gay as a fundamental violation of its principles, not just a matter to be resolved by students. Not to mention the possibility of a university response to the e-mails between Republican leaders overflowing with hate, homophobia, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.

✔✔✔3) A new witness has stepped forward, motivated the extent of the vile e-mails and venom directed at Robinette and others.

Vice President Moneta and his staff who handle student misconduct now have devastating testimony of racism: date, time, place, people, specific actions (not merely words) targeting an individual not at all involved in the Republican Club or gay life. Fact Checker knows more, is holding back. This alone could lead to suspensions; combined with other deeds, expulsions.

✔4) On Wednesday, the student Senate is expected to consider a resolution that would suspend student funding of the Republican Club for one year. The club would be allowed to function during this period.

✔5) A $1,000 reward is planned for information on people involved in homophobic acts, including last spring's ugly painting of the East Campus bridge. Apparently the donation of an alumnus.

Now the details:

In one of the all-time dumbest strategic moves, the current leadership of the Duke Republican Club tossed several students off its e-mail list, and presumably off its membership rolls as well. These people were not notified; they figured it out because they were not receiving the usual club notices.

Dumb because this set the stage for another appeal to the student judiciary -- and indeed Chief Justice Matthew Stauss has summoned GOP coup d'etat leaders Carter Boyle and Rachel Provost to a hearing next Sunday at 3:30 PM.

The case could proceed in one of two ways:

A) Narrowly, with the justices examining only the apparent violation of a guarantee that every student will be allowed to participate in a chartered (key word) organization that receives money from student fees.

B) More broadly, by examining who was excluded from the club and determining a pattern of homophobia. Strauss has indicated the judiciary will seek to limit testimony, indicating that this path, which would open the way for all the e-mails and other vile conduct, may not be taken.

It is unclear as Fact Checker writes, precisely what sanctions the judiciary might impose if it were to find the GOP club guilty.

Now the meeting with President Brodhead. Originally his secretary allocated five minutes, but it stretched to 15. Some elements disappointed the students, for example Brodhead knew no details of the vile and vulgar e-mails. He does now, given a sheaf of printouts.

FC has been thoroughly briefed on this meeting, is going to pass -- at least for now -- on most details, to join in the spirit of moving forward.

FC stresses that this was a meeting granted at Robinette's renewed request. It did not occur during the President's regular open hours for students, when anyone is free to show up and the first four are usually given time after some initial staff screening.

Fact Checker learned of the Brodhead-Robinette meeting yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and immediately sought Brodhead's version of the meeting. His PR man, Mike Schoenfeld, got back within 40 minutes, explaining "To protect and respect their privacy, President Brodhead doesn't publicly confirm, discuss or comment on meetings he has with individual students."

Fair enough. The unusual rapid response in the middle of a holiday weekend is perhaps indicative of the seriousness that Allen Building sees.

A mole says one fear is that any university action might be incorrectly portrayed as a move by a liberal school against conservative Republicans. Yes, FC can just hear Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck bloviating.

Behind closed doors, FC believes something is stirring. Last Monday -- in the specific context of student misconduct -- Moneta himself referred to "materials we're reviewing." Other readings of Moneta contradict this, "pretty sure nothing is going to happen."

The potential targets of misconduct accusations are running scared. One has repeatedly texted potential witnesses, asking what they may say, reminding them of old friendships, which is curious, making FC wonder if this is a request to lie.

Dangerous move. The line between a discussion and witness tampering, the line between a discussion and subornation of perjury is thin. Watch it.

At the student activities fair, Robinette and Satell were lobbying the Duke Conservative Union and Duke Democrats, when the GOP's coup d'etat chief of staff, Rachel Provost, and an unidentified male started taking pictures with cellphones. Duke Police told Provost and the male to stop the harassment and had them delete the pictures.

Robinette is a senator, but may sit on the sidelines Wednesday as other members of the Student Affairs Committee carry the resolution to strip the Republicans of a slice of student fees. It's expected that students -- as well as some advocacy groups -- will be present and during Open Forum read aloud vile e-mails.

Key point: the presentations will be aimed at showing that the GOP itself -- not just individuals aligned with it -- are responsible. Quote from a resolution draft: "The Executive Board, Chairman, Chief of Staff, and Executive Director perpetrated traceable cyber-conduct which was lewd, unwelcome, sexually perverse, depraved, prejudicial, and discriminatory."

Fag!! S-O-D. Naggar. All Jews are pigs. These are the words of these people. What!! You don't know what an S-O-D is?
Read from the Fact Checker archive:


Details of the reward are still being negotiated with Duke Police.

Thank you for reading Fact Checker
Email Duke.Fact.Checker@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please send comments directly to Duke.Fact.Checker@gmail.com if you want a response. The on-line form is anonymous and we cannot get back to you.

We hope with transfer to a new website in the near future to have open discussion. FC also welcomes Guest FC columns, a complete essay that will be posted just like our own.