Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday News, and Information Request

Some interesting items in recent days:

1.) Expanding on a theme initially raised by Stuart Taylor in Slate and Cash Michaels in the Wilmington Journal, yesterday's N&O contained a feature story on Sgt. Mark Gottlieb (who article authors take pains to observe has no degree beyond high school). The N&O reveals that the Duke case lead investigator is on leave, for unspecified reasons.

The article offers statistics suggesting that Gottlieb treats Duke students differently than other members of the Durham Police Department in comparable positions. District 2, which contains the area around Duke, has four squad supervisors. Between May 2005 and February 2006, here are the relevant arrest figures:
  • Gottlieb: 28 arrests. Of the 28, a total of 20--or 71%--were of Duke students. Gottlieb took at least 15 of the 20 Duke students to jail. All arrests, according to the N&O, were "on misdemeanor violations such as carrying an open beer on a public sidewalk or violating the city's noise ordinance."
  • The other three squad commanders working in District 2: 64 arrests. Of the 64, a total of 2--or 3%--were of Duke students.
These four officers were responsible for the same area. Gottlieb arrested ten times as many Duke students as the other three officers combined, for the exact same time period. [Update, 11.54am: A commentor notes, "The statistical odds that Gottlieb's arrest of more Duke students than the other supervisors in his district was not due to random chance (i.e. he was intentionally targeting them) is: p raises an issue that most interests me: "Duke parents might want to ask what the administration was doing about a policeman who was targeting Duke students for harsh treatment."

Is it any coincidence, by the way, that Editor Bob ("Eyes Wide Shut") Ashley seems uninterested in pursuing such issues? I guess Herald-Sun readers will just have to wait to the trial and hope that Nifong urges the local paper to discuss the question.

2.) The Duke Chronicle has an on-line poll asking its readers to rate President Brodhead's handling of the lacrosse affair. The results?
  • "Brodhead was terrible": 42%
  • "not very well": 16%
  • "as well as anybody could do": 31%
  • "exceeded expectations": 10%
The poll is unscientific, but it's intriguing to compare the results to a similar poll the Chronicle did around a month after the story first broke, which asked, "How well do you think Duke administrators responded to the LAX crisis?" Those results:
  • "They should have responded faster with swift action against the team": 60%
  • "They acted as well as they possibly could have": 25%
  • "Administrators acted too quickly without knowing what happened": 4%
Again, both polls are unscientific, but it's hard not to see a strong shift against Brodhead's anti-lacrosse team response among Chronicle readers.

3.) A reader alerted me to the recent news that Duke Law professors are increasing their protests of civil liberties abuses at Guantanamo. He notes,
Would it really be too much to ask of these protectors of civil rights for suspected terrorists to speak up against abuses of the constitutional rights of American citizens who happen to be Duke students?
And, finally, a question from me to readers.

Five months ago last Wednesday, the Group of 88 ad appeared in the Duke Chronicle. Despite the discrediting of its central assertions--that "something happened" to the accuser; that campus protesters who branded the lacrosse players "rapists" deserved a "thank you" from Duke's faculty--the statement remained proudly perched atop the webpage of Duke's African-American Studies program until two weeks ago, when it mysteriously disappeared.

I remain puzzled as to the statement's funding. Five times I have emailed Professor Charles Payne, AAAS program director, to ask if the fee for the ad came from official Duke funds; five times, I have received no reply.

Perhaps Payne will respond to Duke students or alumni who ask him the question? I'll post the information if any DIW reader can obtain it.


Anonymous said...

BTW, since you are an academic, you may be pleased to know that the statistical odds that Gottlieb's arrest of more Duke students than the other cops in his district was not due to random chance is:

p < 0.000000000007

That would be considered highly statistically significant.

Anonymous said...

The simplest way to find the answer to your question (how was the Group 88 Chronicle ad funded) is for a Chonicle staff to leak it. I would be curious to know if the Chronicle staff have been given special directives not to disclose this information. If there were special directives, that would smell really bad. The next question would be "who gave those orders and when".

Steven said...

If the department did fund the ad, it would not be the first time left-leaning professors have illegally run an ad in the Chronicle:

-Steve (Duke '06)