Duke University will implement a new program designed to train college athletes on how to advocate for gay rights according to a report from The College Fix.
The program called “Sports & Social Justice Leadership Initiative” is a product of the Duke University Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity teaming up with “Athlete Ally” to put on the program.
The Center’s director Bernadette Brown said in a press release that The Sports & Social Justice Leadership Initiative, “is specifically for student-athletes, recognizing that they are in an influential position to advocate for social justice and inclusion with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE).” (RELATED: Princeton Player Becomes Only Openly Gay Player In College Football)
The press release also states that, “the initiative is voluntary for participants and will include training for student-athletes that covers a history of sports activism, discusses current activism in sports, provides the latest research on sports and SOGIE, and encourages student-athletes to become social justice leaders.”
Duke’s chapter of Athlete Ally was started by Lauren Miranda who told the Duke Chronicle that, “This is a huge thing for visibility. Not only are we doing the educating, but now we’re sending the message that it’s part of our [athletes’] moral responsibility to advocate for sports as the culture that we want it to be.”
Brown said in an e-mail to the Duke Chronicle that the program is important because, “Student-athletes and professional athletes tend to have very influential voices. There’s a rich history of athletes impacting change when they speak out against violence, harassment and discrimination, and promote equity and inclusion across a range of social justice causes.” (RELATED: Public Universities Around The Country Allow Special Cords To Gay Graduates For Being Gay)
Duke won the 2015 National Championship in basketball, but there’s no word from the program if any basketball players will be participating in the program.
This isn’t the first time Duke has ventured into controversial waters over sexuality. In 2014, Duke University gave incoming freshman students the opportunity to elaborate on their sexual orientation and gender identity during the application process in an attempt to showcase the diversity at Duke.
The essay prompt in part encouraged students 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.”