An Open Letter to Dean Brownell on Pat McCrory

Dear Dean Brownell,

We, graduate students at Duke University, are disappointed and disturbed to learn that the appointment of former Governor Pat McCrory is being considered by the Sanford School of Public Policy administration. We strongly urge against any formal affiliation between the Sanford School and McCrory. The Sanford School prides itself on evidence-based policy, effective public leadership, and diversity and inclusion, and the appointment of Pat McCrory would undermine those principles.

During his governorship, McCrory repeatedly eroded North Carolina’s democratic institutions. He welcomed undemocratic “special legislative sessions” that let him pass unpopular partisan legislation quickly and without public debate. He spearheaded the dismantling of voting rights around the state, disenfranchising black voters with “surgical precision.” He signed and became a spokesman for HB2, a bill that has brought significant harm to the LGBT community in North Carolina and impaired the state’s economic development. Even after the Charlotte Observer documented substantial increases in violent hate crimes against LGBT individuals in the wake of HB2, McCrory continued to belittle the community and make harmful, unsubstantiated claims about transgender people that put LGBT individuals in substantial physical danger. After losing the election to Governor Roy Cooper, he repeatedly manufactured false claims about voter fraud that continue to threaten the legitimacy of North Carolina’s electoral system. Through these actions and others over the course of his governorship, Pat McCrory continually demonstrated a strong antipathy toward evidence, contempt for dissenting opinions, and indifference toward marginalized populations. He is deeply ill-suited for any position at an institution that champions reasoned debate and fairness.

We agree that a diversity of viewpoints allows for deeper discussion and better solutions. We welcome opinions that challenge our own on the basis of reason and evidence, and on that basis believe that inviting Pat McCrory to be a part of our institution would be a mistake. We do not oppose McCrory’s appointment because of his political or ideological affiliations, but because he sets a poor standard for public leadership, civil political discourse, and compassion for marginalized populations. We urge you to discontinue any efforts to affiliate Pat McCrory with the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy.

Signed,

Graduate Students
Duke University

Kavya Sekar, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Michela Roberts, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Shaiesha Moore, MPP
Michael Burrows, PhD Student, Public Policy
Pete Mills, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Colleen McClean, MD/PhD candidate
Benjamin LaRiviere, MS (Duke ’16); PhD Candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Luke R. Horvath, MPP Candidate, 2017
Anastasia Kārkliņa, PhD Student in Literature & African-American Studies
Claire Ravenscroft, English PhD student
Abhishek Chhetri, PhD Candidate, Biochemistry
Jess Issacharoff, PhD Candidate in Literature
Hunter Buckworth, Candidate, Master of Public Policy
Bennett Carpenter, PhD Candidate, Literature
Gina Turrini, Economics PhD student and former MPP
Breanna Kalmeta, Neurobiology Ph.D. candidate
Ugonna Ohiri, Ph.D. Candidate in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Kevin Ramseur, II Master of Global Health Candidate
Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm, Biomedical Engineering PhD Candidate
Safa Kaleem, Medical Doctor Candidate
Rev. Andy Oliver, Duke Divinity School Alumnus
Alyssa Bernanke, MD/PhD student
Lindsey Lassiter, MPP/MBA Candidate 2018
Ankur Singh Chawla, MPP Candidate (2017)
José Vargas-Muñiz, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology PhD Candidate
Ceri Weber, PhD Candidate
Kate Lohmeyer, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Cullen Roth, PhD Candidate
Demarcus Andrews, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Jamie Croucher, MD/PhD Candidate
Thuy Hua, Neurobiology PhD candidate
Ashley Wilson, Ph.D. Candidate, Neurobiology
Jeffrey Mohl, Neurobiology PhD Candidate
Sushmita Samaddar, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Jessie Love Bristol, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Marielle DuToit, PhD Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Joshua Jones Macopson, Ph.D candidate
Sarah H. Cross, PhD Student
Emily Pakhtigian, PhD Student, Sanford
Chelsea Anderson, Master Candidate
Nivedhitha Subramanian, PhD Student, Sanford School of Public Policy
Zachary Abzug, PhD Candidate
Zoelene Hill, Ph.D. Candidate
Steven Marinero, PhD Candidate
Madhu Vulimiri, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Ade Olayinka, PhD Student
Surabhi Beriwal, Junior, B.S. in Mathematics Candidate
Lidia Klein Art History, Graduate Student
Bethany Schmall Senior, Masters in Divinity Candidate
Jordan Sjol, PhD Literature Student
Gregory Swan, PhD immunology
Annu Dahiya, PhD Candidate, Literature, Duke University
Ashlee Johnson, Master of Science in Molecular Cancer Biology Graduate
Max Kramer, Senior, Philosophy & Psychology
Scott Barish, PhD Candidate, Biology Department
Shreya Ahuja, Undergraduate Student, Public Policy Major
Keesler Darden, Juris Doctor
Samuel Brudner, PhD Candidate
Carolyn Laubender, PhD Candidate, Program in Literature and Women’s Studies
Matthew Hambro, PhD Candidate in Literature
Sydney Roberts, Undergraduate Sophomore, Literature Dept
Valerie J. Parker, MSc-GH Candidate
Alisha Pinto, MPP 2016
Lavanya Singh, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Christopher Boswell, Master of Divinity
Alexander Kovach, Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry Candidate
Elma Hajric, MPP
Olivia Bowles, Duke Undergraduate in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Mario Ayoub, MPP/JD Candidate
Jeannie McKinney, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Keri Hamilton, PhD
Kelly Hunter Sanford, PhD Student
Jonnathan Singh, Alvarado BS
Jenny J Wang, JD Candidate
Sara Khatami, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Puneet Kaur Chehal, Public Policy PhD Candidate
Leah Abrams, Undergraduate
Himanshi, MPP
Senita Portlock, Undergraduate in Trinity
Patricia Bass, PhD in Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
No appointment, Postdoctoral associate
Caitlin Saunders, MPP ’17
Demarcus Andrews, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Hillary Hoffman, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Chase Gregory, Duke Literature PhD student
Richard Gittings JD/MPP candidate
Phillip Stillman, PhD English Candidate
Stefan Waldschmidt, PhD Candidate
Valerie J. Parker, MSc-GH Candidate
Anna Martin, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Allegra Panetto, Master of International Development Policy Candidate
Ben Siegelman, Master of Environmental Management
Natalie Garrett, Master of public policy candidate
Brianna Elliott, Master of Environmental Management Candidate (2017)
Sara Cleaver, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Kelley Robbins-Thompson, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Jennifer Acosta, Undergraduate student
Jacob Soule, PhD Candidate, Duke University
Gabrielle Lucero, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Hannah Borenstein, PhD, Cultural Anthropology
Kevin Gallin, PhD student, English Department
Laurel Pegorsch, Master of International Development Policy fellow
Oluwatomisin Oredein, ThD candidate (Duke Divinity School)
Caitlin Starks, Master of environmental management candidate
Hannah Rogers, English PhD Candidate
Lili Pita, Master of Environmental Management
Sarah Maniates, MPP Candidate
Ann Krabbenschmidt, Master of public policy candidate
Kelly Meehan, Master of Environmental Management, 2016
Justin Pearce, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Katherine Guerrero, Master of Divinity
Melissa Whaling, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Kristin Murphy, Master of Environmental Management
Seth Sykora-Bodie, M.P.P. and current Ph.D. in NSOE
Adebimpe Femi-Oyewo, Master of International Development Policy
Valerie J. Parker, MSc-GH Candidate
Colleen Cox, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Kristina Smith, Undergraduate Public Policy Major
Celeste Whitman, Master of Envirommental Management Candidate
Eileen Molzberger, PhD Candidate of Biochemistry
Nicholas Jones, Grad student
Liz Hendrix, Master of public policy alumnus
Kevin R. Fish, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Alex Rudee, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Dominic MacCormack, MPP Alumnus, Class of 2016
Diego Calderon-Arrieta, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Casey Williams, PhD Student in Literature
Danica Schaffer-Smith, PhD Candidate, Environmental Science and Policy
Sarah Kerman, Undergrad in Sanford school
Kathleen Myers, Master of Environmental Management Candidate
Lilli Baldwin, Master of International Development Policy
Jonathan Winkle, Doctoral Candidate, Psychology and Neuroscience
David Dulceany, David Dulceany, PhD Candidate Romance Studies
Eleanor Hanna, Doctoral Candidate in Psychology & Neuroscience
India Schneider-Crease, PhD Candidate, Evolutionary Anthropology
Alison Petro, Master of Environmental Management candidate
Rhajaa Wright, Undergraduate Public Policy Student
Natasha Parikh, Graduate Student in Cognitive Neuroscience
Kerry Condon, Master of Public Policy Candidate
Nicole Solomon, PhD Candidate in Biostatistics
Adaiya Granberry, B.A. of Public Policy Undergraduate
Devon McGhee, Master of Environmental Management

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