Sunday, April 16, 2006

Duke News

There aren't too many people who have come out of the current Duke controversy looking good, but there are two that have performed about as well as possible, it seems to me, under current circumstances. The first is the editor (and by extension, the reporters) of the Duke student newspaper, the Chronicle, whose coverage has been first-rate. As the Crimson demonstrated last spring during the Summers controversy, student newspapers with talented reporters can actually outperform the regular media on campus stories.

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.]

3 comments:

rabbi-philosopher said...

I'm writing this comment April 15th, 2007.

What changes a year has wrought. Seligman, Finnerty and Evans declared "innocent" by N.C. attorney general Roy Cooper about 4 days ago.

Michael Nifong, Durham prosecuting attorney totally disgraced and on his way to being disbarred, and possibly removed from office.

New phrases have taken root:

"Nifonged" the art of being smeared guilty while innocent.

"Angry Studies" and the "hate 88" which symbolize African American Studies and Womyn's Studies and their ilk. The "hate 88" are the 88 professors at Duke who posted their now infamous "listening" statement which strongly suggested that the Duke Lacrosse team was guilty of terrible things indicative of white, male privilege.

Three Duke sets of parents just calmly going along with their lives; sons doing well at a pretigious college when their lives and bank accounts were turned upside down. At this stage each family owes approximately 1 million dollars in legal fees. The family's are actually working families; they're not to be confused with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Huge bills for them. Initial bail was set at an astronomical amount, $400,000.

TV pundits; embarrassed themselves in a rush to judgement; particularly WRONG: Nancy Grace, Georgia Goslee and Wendy Murphy. None have yet to repent of their rushes to judgement. All were staggeringly wrong in their theories.

Unknowns became heroes:

1) Dr. Robert K.C. Johnson, Joan Foster, John in Carolina.
2) Defense attorneys: Joe Chesire, Wade Smith, Brad Bannon and the late J. Kirk Osborn.
3) Roy Cooper - next governor of North Carolina.

An incredible year; every morning I would wake up and eagerly head to Durham-in-wonderland to find out the latest.

Ya gotta love K.C., he is a little anal retentive! grin Dr. Bill Anderson and Michael Gaynor also added regular insights that high-lighted truth.

Civil lawsuits to follow.

Biggest remaining questions: Will Richard Brodhead still be president of Duke University next year.

When will Mike Nifong beforced to step down as D.A. in Durham. Soon I hope.

Purps said...

Wonderful comment, rabbi-philosopher

Daniel said...

KC, I began to follow your blog only in the middle of this year (2007) when I found out the outcome of the Duke case, and have been reading your amazing writings ever since.

As your blog is finally coming down from the daily output, I just have to visit your writing from the beginning. And I have to say, how very happy I am to be the third commenter to your first entry of this blog.

As my first comment on your blog, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!