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Letter to the editor

At Duke, basketball is more than a game. Basketball teaches us lessons about upholding high standards, rejecting complacency and striving for new heights. Once again, through basketball, we are learning another lesson – that discriminatory legislation in Raleigh has the effect of limiting Duke’s access to the rest of the world. Rightfully, Governor Cuomo of New York is concerned about the safety of his athletes and is not convinced that they will be safe from discrimination in North Carolina. As a result, he has canceled Albany’s previously scheduled Nov. 12 game against Duke citing travel restrictions put in place following the vote on HB2. Governor Cuomo understands that if New York’s athletes were to endure discrimination while competing in North Carolina, they would have no legal recourse in North Carolina courts.

HB2’s impact runs deeper than basketball. HB2 makes it difficult to recruit students and researchers to campus. Because of HB2, we can only half-heartedly assure our LGBT students and prospective students that they will be safe and protected when they leave campus. Regardless of varying opinions regarding the substance of the bill, we can all agree that these discriminatory effects are untenable for any institution of higher learning, and especially for a school like Duke with a global reach and a desire to include diverse perspectives in our community.

This message is not just about HB2’s impact on Duke. The cancellation of the Duke-Albany basketball game is a highly visible way to appreciate the distance HB2 creates between North Carolina and people across the world who desire to visit. I urge you to contact the North Carolina General Assembly and ask that our representatives repeal the discriminatory HB2. I also encourage students to sign the HB2 opposition letter below. Let’s act as one Duke, wherever we are in the world, and urge the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal, not revise, HB2. Let’s send a clear message that our doors, our restaurants, our restrooms and indeed our basketball courts, are open for all to enter.

North Carolina General Assembly

16 West Jones Street

Raleigh, NC 27601

Phone: 919-733-7928

HB2 Student Opposition Letter:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfHCkrhmEFpQGdeJdXe3vIbT6YKDKhEE-BsKwzuGJYcevY8Q/viewform?c=0&w=1

Marcus Benning

Duke University School of Law J.D. Candidate, 2017 

President of the Graduate and Professional Student Council

Disclaimer: I write this letter in my personal capacity. Opinions expressed herein have not been endorsed by the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Editor's note: Marcus Benning is also a member of the Duke Student Publishing Company board.

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