When one thinks about Duke University, the word ‘inclusivity’ may not come immediately to mind. Duke University, after all, is a university that has struggled in recent years with issues of race relations. From the Duke lacrosse scandal in which three Duke lacrosse players were falsely accused of rape to the senior “thesis” of a Duke senior detailing many of her sexual escapades with members of various Duke varsity teams, these sorts of issues were an issue for Duke fifteen years ago and they remain an issue fifteen years into this new century. But ‘inclusivity’ is the word that comes to mind with respect to one of Duke’s questions on their application for admission.
According to an article on Duke admissions in “USA Today,” “Duke University recently became the first Common Application school to explicitly ask about students’ sexual orientation and gender identity. The optional LGBTQ-inclusive essay question, which has a 250-word maximum, is intended to promote diversity and show Class of 2019 applicants that Duke is a welcoming community for all students, Christoph Guttentag, the university’s dean of undergraduate admissions, wrote in an e-mail.” The article goes on to state, “Duke joins three other undergraduate institutions who have also opted to include LGBTQ-inclusive application questions — Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Iowa and Elmhurst College in Illinois.”
Sorry, Rachel Chason, a collegiate correspondent from Duke University for “USA Today,” but you have not done your homework! How about Dartmouth College? They’ve had an explicit question on their application for quite some time! And there are other schools with questions like this, too. But that doesn’t take away from our salute to Duke for joining the club. The question on Duke’s application reads as follows: “Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better — perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background — we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.”
Ivy Coach salutes Duke University for their LGBT inclusivity! Go Blue Devils.