Senior Lukas Gschwandtner, the co-director of this year’s Greek Ally Week, noticed he had received an email from Emilie Dye, Duke’s associate director for fraternity and sorority life in Student Affairs while leaving work Tuesday evening. Dye was apologizing for a comment on Instagram.

Gschwandtner quickly found the comment himself, which read, “Quit whining and being a p****. Live your life. Quit making a big deal outta things and it won’t be.”

The surprising part? The account name: @duke_barber_shop.

Earlier that afternoon, the popular @dukestudents Instagram page reposted a photo of Gschwandtner wearing a rainbow flag and holding a handwritten sign intended to promote Greek Ally Week, reading “Greek Ally Week helped me become more comfortable with my authentic self.”

The caption for the photo included an excerpt from Gschwandtner’s guest column about the personal meaning of Greek Ally Week to him. The photo received over 500 likes after being uploaded.

Then an account called @duke_barber_shop commented two hours after the post went up. The account had approximately seven photos, including the interior of the barber shop, which is located in the basement of the Bryan Center and owned by Duke University Stores. 

The account has since been deleted, but Kristen Brown, associate vice president of news, communication and media for Duke, told The Chronicle via email that “the Duke Barber Shop does not now and has never had an Instagram account.”

Gschwandtner said Dye apologized for the comment and that Duke reported it to Instagram, asked the @dukestudents Instagram page to remove it and notified the administration.

“Out of everyone to protest the event, I definitely never would have considered the Duke Barber Shop,” Gschwandtner said. “It wasn’t even them protesting an event. It was just them protesting people speaking freely and openly about their experiences and their emotions and narratives and things that have happened to them.”

Gschwandtner said he considered the possibility that the comment was meant to be posted through someone’s personal account, rather than the @duke_barber_shop handle, but that ultimately it didn’t matter what account it came from.

“People comment hate just to comment hateful things and have their voice heard,” Gschwandtner said. “Maybe commenting it through an organization’s account gives more anonymity.”

Though Gschwandtner said he has also received many supportive messages from members of the Duke community, he described feeling concerned that a member of the Duke community believes such issues shouldn’t be talked about.

“It showed that wow, there are people who work at the barber shop who are not very affirming and very misogynistic and think Duke students are just talking about a load of crap and complaining,” he said. 

The Blue Devils United Executive Board wrote in a statement that “queer voices and bodies are already quietly institutionally marginalized by the University, and for explicitly discriminatory remarks to be directly made by part of Duke University Stores marks a huge step backwards in Duke’s efforts to create an LGBTQIA+ friendly campus.”

Gschwandtner said he hopes the administration will address the issue in some way.

“It’s a systemic issue of ignorance and hate, and I would hope that the Duke administration wouldn’t just view this as, ‘Oh this is a little thing one of our employees said,’ act like nothing really happened, and sweep it under the rug,” Gschwandtner said. “So what I would like to see is the Duke administration make some kind of action or pledge something. This isn’t the first time an aggression like this has happened on Duke’s campus. It just seems like it keeps happening and happening.”

Gschwandtner mentioned the noose incident, the vandalism of a Black Lives Matter flyer and a death threat including a homophobic slur targeting a particular student being written on the wall of a freshman dorm as other examples of problems at Duke during his undergraduate career.

Last month, the University received criticism from LGBTQIA+ Duke Divinity students and allies when an official Divinity School address was interrupted by protestors. In a list of demands, the students wrote that they had been “disrespected, mistreated, tokenized, marginalized, and ignored.”