Diversity and Inclusion are values critical to Duke University. We are a community of students, faculty and staff of different demographic backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, income level, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. As educators we understand the importance of preparing our students to become members of a global citizenry whose workforce becomes more interconnected and interdependent with each new generation. In Student Affairs, one of our four strategic goals is to provide education in cultural competency so that students gain a consciousness, information and knowledge about world-views and perspectives different from their own. The opportunity to develop what many refer to as cultural fluency enables students to communicate, interact and engage effectively with people different from themselves.
My name is Nicholas Antonicci, I use the pronouns he/him/his, and I'm the Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity here at Duke University.
Yesterday, I woke to the news of tragedy of 50 innocent people killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a gay bar on a night celebrating Latinx people and communities.
I struggle to put feelings and emotions into words, to put pain into soundbites that appease and comfort those around me.
I struggle with balancing immense sadness for the lives lost, with anger at the forces which allowed this to happen and will continue to happen, namely homophobia and transphobia. I balance wanting to care for others, with frustration in the ways many of those who are responding are centering the feelings of heterosexual and cis peoples.
Dear Duke Families,
As I look out my office window, I have the privilege of seeing our students walking (and rushing) by between classes, meals, meetings and study venues. So many things are apparent on the rare occasion that I get to just pause and admire the passersby. I notice that many seem either immune to the winter chill or in denial about the need to wear warmer clothes! I notice that rarely is anyone walking alone. Students travel in pairs, groups and masses! I notice that some kind of technological device is apparently welded to their ears or their palms (hopefully talking or texting with you). But, I also notice how remarkably different they are, reflecting the substantial and wonderful diversity within the Duke student body.
Jack D explains what happened:
As many of you know, early in the morning yesterday someone entered my dorm and sprawled on the wall of the first floor, “Death to all fags @ Jack.” In just five words and an ‘at’ symbol, my sense of security and safety on this campus was shattered.
Efforts have been made to find the assailant but the likelihood of success seems minimal. However, the person who wrote on the wall is greatly unimportant.
I would like for people to understand who I am. I wish to be a peer and not a name. I grew up near Boston with a single mother and siblings. I played sports throughout school and spent summers volunteering. I am a freshman but have lived as a proudly out and visible gay man on Duke’s campus. I am Jack. I am the fag. I do not deserve this treatment. No one deserves this treatment.
The Pride Parade last month, despite the rain, was full of excitement and celebration as always. Of course there were protesters trying to dampen the spirits, but the best part about Pride is that the love far outweighs the hate. It is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community—the people, the history, the accomplishments—and it is one of my favourite events of the year. But as uplifting, validating and liberating as Pride can be, it can also be difficult, discouraging, and even invalidating for some.
Beginning next Monday, February 16th, Nutrition Services is partnering with many offices across campus to host a positive body image week. In the past, we’ve celebrated National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but found that students are already aware of eating disorders. Renaming the week and focusing on learning to embrace our bodies can help students to move away from some of the behaviors that might increase risk of developing disordered eating and exercise patterns.
Here’s a breakdown of the events we have going on next week, all of which are free and do not require tickets.
Monday, February 16th:
Weâre celebrating Ally Week. An important aspect of allyship is reflecting on your journey towards becoming an ally. Today we invite you to reflect on the following statements:
Come back tomorrow for additional reflection questions!
Become an Ally for the LGBTQ Community. Participate in campus training sessions and become part of the Duke Ally Network.
When Joshua Lazard started working within Duke Chapel less than a year ago, he noticed a rainbow placard hanging outside his supervisor’s office.
The card reads, “I am your ALLY,” and is given to Duke employees and students who go through ally training offered by Duke’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
Bernadette Brown has been named the new director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD) at Duke.