The Duke LGBTQ Network, representing Duke's LGBTQ alumni, their families, and allies, read with dismay that President Brodhead was "pleased" by the so-called repeal of the harmful HB2 law. To call the compromise "far from perfect" is a gross understatement. The compromise that was reached by the legislature continues discrimination against vulnerable minority groups by preventing municipalities to pass nondiscrimination ordinances, which is especially important given that there are no statewide protections.
We were heartened by the university's statement after the passage of HB2 in which Duke "deplore[d] in the strongest possible terms the new state law, HB2, that prevents municipalities from establishing laws that protect members of the LGBTQ+ community and others from discrimination and eliminates some economic advancement opportunities for underrepresented communities." Considering the compromise allows the exact policies the university deplored, we call on the university to take a stronger stance against this continuation of discrimination against the citizens and residents of North Carolina.
We are also disappointed that the university did not consult with LGBTQ student groups and the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity on campus nor groups like the LGBT Task Force and LGBTQ Network ahead of this statement. These organizations and structures are set in place for this exact purpose and we are more than happy to advise and support the university in this arena.
In light of the frustrating news that the NCAA lifted its ban on hosting championship events in North Carolina despite saying it was doing so "reluctantly", we hope that the NCAA, businesses, other educational institutions, and especially Duke remain steadfast in their protection of LGBTQ+ people in North Carolina and vigilant against discrimination.
Jin-Soo Huh T'09
President, Duke LGBTQ Network