Duke and Durham Remain Great Places for LGBT Students

FuquaPride members and allies gather to watch the NC Pride Parade, one of the reasons why Duke and Durham are great places for LGBT students
Fuqua LGBT students and allies gathered to watch the NC Pride Parade in Durham

As a newly elected co-president of FuquaPride, Fuqua’s LGBT Network, I had the opportunity to attend Reaching Out MBA’s (ROMBA) Leadership Summit in Chicago last April. There I met and networked with other leaders of LGBT MBA organizations. Given this was only weeks after North Carolina passed its now-infamous HB2 law that limited state LGBT protections, I wasn’t surprised I kept getting the exact same question: “Why would any LGBT individual get their MBA in North Carolina now?”

Luckily, it was an easy answer: “Because they have Duke.”

Fuqua, the broader Duke community, and the greater Durham area will always remain safe, inclusive, supportive places for LBGT students. In the days and weeks following HB2’s passage, the reaction against the law in our community was palpable. Our MBAA (Fuqua’s student government) and other student organizations issued immediate statements in support of the LGBT community, Duke administrators doubled down on reconfirming their commitment to protecting diversity, our Dean spoke out against the legislature’s decision, we completed Fuqua’s first gender-neutral restrooms, and you would have thought Durham was celebrating Gay Pride Month early by the number of rainbow flags flying in local businesses.

While it was deeply moving to see such open support for my community last spring, I wasn’t that surprised by it. As I wrote in a blog post last year about our LGBT Weekend, FuquaPride is already a central institution at Fuqua, with events like trivia nights, our sold-out Drag Show, and our Ally Week bar crawl that attract hundreds of students and allies. And with UNC, NC State, and other universities just down the road, you’re living in a student-heavy region that has always been more willing to embrace diversity. That said, it’s the everyday life as a member of FuquaPride that really demonstrates why Duke is fantastic place for LGBT students.

 

#FuquaPride is celebrating its 20th anniversary and we had the chance of meeting Laura Gadd (Fuqua ’98), co-founder of the club. She shared her amazing life experience: “Fuqua has always been a place where tolerance and diversity are celebrated”

A photo posted by FuquaPride Official Account (@fuquapride) on

FuquaPride is a community within a community, and we take everything that is special about the Team Fuqua culture and put it in a smaller, more familial package. With 40 plus out LGBT members (a number that continues to grow every year!), and an even bigger network of allies, there is always someone ready to drop what they’re doing to provide you with the support you need—whether that’s a second pair of eyes on your resume before you head to the annual ROMBA Conference, help with mastering a concept in your core statistics class, or just a group of friends to share a drink with when you need to celebrate a job offer (or mourn a rejection).  I’ve made many close friendships at Fuqua in just one year, but the relationships I developed through FuquaPride are some of my most important.

If you think Fuqua is a perfect fit for you, do not be worried that being LGBT in Durham will set you back! Our LGBT Weekend, hosted by Admissions and FuquaPride, is typically held in early December each year and provides a great opportunity to come see for yourself why Duke and Durham are great places for LGBT Students.

Ross Boomer, Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger

Ross Boomer

Daytime MBA, Class of 2017

I was living in L.A. working in energy before coming to Durham for my MBA. Fuqua Admissions' LGBT weekend showed me how this school was the place where I could have a transformative MBA experience.

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