Former Duke College Republicans chairman cuts Republican party ties

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Justin Robinette announced his resignation Sunday.

The former chairman of Duke University’s College Republicans has decided to cut all ties with not only the chapter at Duke, but also the statewide College Republicans organization and the Republican Party itself.

Justin Robinette, who also served as co-chairman of the N.C. Federation of College Republicans, resigned from the position Sunday.

Robinette said in a statement that the decision was in response to recent events at Duke, which spurred rumors about him that he needed to stop.

 He was impeached April 14 by the Duke College Republicans for what members say was poor leadership, fixing elections and neglecting to coordinate events with UNC’s chapter, among other reasons.

After his impeachment, Robinette filed a suit with the student government’s judiciary, claiming a hostile environment was created and the College Republicans impeached him because he is gay.

The judiciary sided with the College Republicans and said they did not find enough evidence to prove that Robinette was impeached only because of his sexuality.

“I could no longer be effective in the capacity I was elected to as a result of this environment,” Robinette said.

Cliff Satell, president of the Duke Conservative Union and supporter of Robinette, said Robinette had been debating his resignation ever since he received an e-mail from UNC junior John Eick, who serves as the chairman of the N.C. Federation of College Republicans.

“I am in no ways asking for your resignation, but I, as will be the case with all my state officers, will expect only the highest commitment from you,” Eick said in his e-mail.

Satell said Eick’s e-mail implied that Robinette should resign.

“It essentially said you don’t have to resign, but wink wink, resign,” Satell said.

But Eick said his e-mail clearly told Robinette to re-evaluate his standing with the College Republicans and asked him not to resign twice.

“It certainly is a loss,” Eick said of Robinette’s resignation. “But we will certainly put all of this behind us.”

Duke’s Senate decided Thursday not to suspend or de-charter the College Republicans. Instead, it passed a resolution requiring all student organizations to amend their constitution to include non-discrimination policies.

“I think it was a victory for Justin, but I wish it was stronger,” Satell said.

The Senate was scared to pass a harsh punishment for the College Republicans, Satell said.

 “I do remember some senators saying, ‘What’s CNN going to say about this?’”

Contact the State & National Editor at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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