The second is Duke's president, Richard Brodhead. He--quite appropriately, it seems to me--suspended and then cancelled the lacrosse season; based on the most benign interpretations of their actions, many of the lacrosse players were guilty of conduct unbecoming university students and gravely embarrassing the school. He's reached out to students and administrators at NCCU. At the same time, he's avoided any rush to judgment--unlike a handful of Duke professors, led by Afro-Am studies professor Houston Baker, who essentially advocated dismissing the lacrosse students from school. (Baker, alas, looks mild compared to Jesse Jackson, who yesterday promised that the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition would pay the accuser's tuition, even if her story proved false.)
That said, I was somewhat troubled by Brodhead's rather weak response to events of last Thursday. In the latest in what has seemed a poorly managed investigation, the Durham police gained entry, without warrants and apparently without the assistance of the Duke police, to Duke dorms and attempted to interrogate several lacrosse players, who all sides knew had lawyers. When asked about the matter Friday, Brodhead said he didn't know enough about the issue to comment, and hasn't said anything since.
While Brodhead is obviously in a very difficult position, if I were a Duke parent, I would have expected more from him on this matter. From the standpoint of legal ethics, the police were clearly in the wrong; pragmatically, the DNA and photo evidence of the past week, while not exonerating the players, substantially boosted their presumption of innocence. In an era of speech codes, when universities often improperly act in loco parentis, there are times when administrators ought to act in loco parentis. Police offers attempting to gain access to dorms to question students without their lawyers' presence is one such instance.
[Originally posted at Cliopatria.]