September 10, 2012

A Letter from the LGBT Alumni Association

Normally we would have anonymous posts for y'all on Mondays, but this week we didn't get any. Instead we're publishing a letter from the LGBT Alumni Network that they sent to Larry Moneta on Saturday. Here it is:

Dear Larry:

We write to express our concern about recent developments related to the relocation process for the Center for LGBT Life.

As you know, some of the LGBT Network’s members were involved in the working group assembled by Janie Long earlier this year. Those participants, as well as our board members and other alumni have followed the developments of the process closely.

Recently we received a letter from the leadership of Blue Devils United outlining a gap in what was promised for the new LGBT Center space earlier in the process versus what is being delivered at this point. Their analysis, along with analysis posted on the BDU blog, was based on the architect’s drawings.

Our board members have first-hand experience attending some of the magnificent events held at the Center. We agree with the BDU assessment that the current programming space is insufficient for the foot traffic the Center attracts for such events, and we are discouraged by what appears to be the decision to sacrifice other LGBT Center staff-designated space to inflate the square footage of programming space in the new design.

We have corresponded with the leadership of BDU, and we believe this analysis is not only accurate, but shows a disturbing disregard for the needs of the LGBT community at Duke. Having had several Network members involved in the advisory process for this relocation, we are also concerned that alumni volunteer time and enthusiasm dedicated to a project your office designed is not being taken seriously. In addition, we are concerned at the lack of transparency with which this process has been carried out.

As active alumni volunteers, we take great pride in Duke, and we take the time and effort we dedicate to the University seriously. As members of Duke’s extended LGBT community, we watch closely when the campus community is affected by the administration’s decisions. And as a body that believes in conducting negotiations and consultations transparently, we are concerned when it appears that important voices were sidelined in the process.

We understand the Student Affairs office is charged with difficult decisions and negotiations every day. However in this case, the evidence we have seen suggests the LGBT Center relocation process was not carried out as promised – neither in protocol nor product. We encourage your office to take seriously the concerns of the Blue Devils United group, meet with their leadership, allow their input into the process before it is finalized, and adjust the current plans for the new space to reflect the promises made earlier in the process.

We look forward to hearing from you about your plans moving forward.

The Duke LGBT Network Board

Kyle Knight, President
Tom Clark, Chair
Jules Torti
Butch Trusty
Maneesh Goyal
Christopher Ventry
Darren Spedale
Todd Sears
Harry Harkins
Todd Montgomery
Ariel Levin

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