Former Duke Republicans Chair Leaves Party
April 26 2010 4:30 PM ET
The ousted chairman of Duke University’s College Republicans chapter has disaffiliated himself with the party after what he alleges was a vicious campaign earlier this month to remove him from the group’s executive board because he is gay.
In a Saturday e-mail, Robinette, a 21-year-old junior at the university, also resigned from his position as cochair of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans, citing his impeachment from the Duke group and the media attention that followed as the motivating factor.
“Following much moral reflection, talks with my family, friends, administrators, and helpful allies at Duke, I cannot in good faith serve the Republican Party of North Carolina at the state level,” Robinette wrote. “Please consider this my courteous resignation from the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans and the last of any correspondence with the same organization, my disaffiliation with the College Republicans, as well as with the Republican Party.”
First elected chairman of the Duke College Republicans last year, when he was a sophomore, Robinette claims that he was subject to antigay harassment beginning earlier this year, when members of the executive board made offensive and graphic comments about gays in front of Robinette and a gay male friend. “I asked them to stop, and when they asked me why, I told them that my friend is gay and that I am gay as well,” Robinette told The Advocate.
In a closed-door meeting April 14, the executive board of the group voted to impeach Robinette on the grounds that he had fixed elections, exhibited unbecoming conduct, and misappropriated funds. Robinette denies the allegations but chose to resign a day later, alleging that fellow members had called him “ironic,” “disgusting,” and “supportive of the ‘faggot center’” — apparently a reference to the campus LGBT center. Unnamed College Republican members floated a rumor that Robinette was engaged in a sexual relationship with the Duke student government’s finance committee chair, Robinette said. He denies the claim.
Robinette also alleges that a member of the executive board chose to conduct impeachment proceedings in a closed-door session for fear that Robinette “would invite his gay cronies to stack the room.” Several College Republicans board members did not respond to requests for comment.