Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Baldwin's Significance

In one of the most important publications of the case to date, Chemistry professor Steven Baldwin yesterday became the first member of the arts and sciences faculty to publicly criticize the “despicable” rush-to-judgment denunciations of his colleagues.

For Duke students, Baldwin wrote, “the day they set foot on the Duke Campus for the first time they became members of the Duke family. For most this was the beginning of a life-long relationship that generates intense loyalties and deep love. The assumption is that the relationship is reciprocal, that Duke holds all of its students in high esteem-loves them-and will support them through the rough times as well as the good. Instead, Duke has disowned its lacrosse-playing student athletes. Their treatment has been shameful.”

He noted, correctly, that he did not “believe that a faculty member publicly describing any student in pejorative terms is ever justified. To do so is mean-spirited, petty and unprofessional, at the very least. The faculty who publicly savaged the character and reputations of specific men’s lacrosse players last spring should be ashamed of themselves.”

What was the context for Baldwin's words?

The process began with Houston Baker’s open letter, dated March 29. Baker has since departed for Vanderbilt, but the “emotional tyranny”—to borrow Kim Curtis’ phrase—he helped spawn remains prevalent on the Duke campus.

How is a Duke community citizen to respond to such a national embarrassment from under the cloud of a “culture of silence” that seeks to protect white, male, athletic violence and which apparently prevents all university citizens from even surveying the known facts? How can one begin to answer the cardinal question: What have Duke and its leadership done to address this horrific, racist incident alleged to have occurred in a university-owned property in the presence of members of one of its athletic teams? . . .

There is no rush to judgment here about the crime - neither the violent racial epithets reported in a 911 call to Durham police, nor the harms to body and soul allegedly perpetrated by white males at 610 Buchanan Boulevard. But there is a clear urgency about the erosion of any felt sense of confidence or safety for the rest of us who live and work at Duke University. The lacrosse team - 15 of whom have faced misdemeanor charges for drunken misbehavior in the past three years - may well feel they can claim innocence and sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness. But where is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again? And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys? [As we know now, such passersby never actually existed.] Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives. There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.

Duke University’s higher administration has engaged in precisely such a tepid and pious legalism with respect to the disaster of recent days: the actual harm to the body, soul, mind, and spirit of black women who were in the company of Duke University lacrosse team members as far as any of us know . . .

There can be no confidence in an administration that believes suspending a lacrosse season and removing pictures of Duke lacrosse players from a web page is a dutifully moral response to abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us . . .

How soon will confidence be restored to our university as a place where minds, souls, and bodies can feel safe from agents, perpetrators, and abettors of white privilege, irresponsibility, debauchery and violence?

Surely the answer to the question must come in the form of immediate dismissals of those principally responsible for the horrors of this spring moment at Duke. Coaches of the lacrosse team, the team itself and its players, and any other agents who silenced or lied about the real nature of events at 610 Buchanan on the evening of March 13, 2006.

Baker’s letter, appropriately, drew an impassioned rebuke from Provost Peter Lange, in a document that represents the only time in this entire affair that a high-ranking Duke official has unequivocally stood up for due process.

But by this point, Baker had been joined by a powerful and widely respected voice: History professor and former dean of the faculty William Chafe. Chafe, whose work on the Greensboro sit-ins remains among the finest scholarship about the civil rights movement, penned a column for the Chronicle on March 31.

Sex and race have been intertwined since the beginning of American history. They remain so today, throughout America and here at Duke. The events that occurred on Buchanan Boulevard two weeks ago are part of a deep and troubling history . . .

Worst of all, sex was an instrument by which racial power was manifested and perpetuated. Why are most African Americans of a lighter hue than Africans from Nigeria? Because at some point in the past, or present, white males have “had their way” with black women. White slave masters were the initial perpetrators of sexual assault on black women . . . To make matters worse, white men portrayed black women as especially erotic, more driven to sexual pleasure and expressiveness than white women; and then, in a perverse form of projection, created the specter of black men seeking to rape white women. That is why most lynchings of black men in the late 19th and early 20th century were justified by accusing black men of lusting after white women-even though there was little evidence that such attacks ever took place.

So sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power, privilege, and control. Emmett Till was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1954 for allegedly speaking with too easy familiarity to a white woman storekeeper . . . What has all this to do with America today, and with Duke? Among other things, it helps to put into context what occurred in Durham two weeks ago. The mixture of race and sex that transpired on Buchanan Boulevard is not new. Whether or not a rape took place (and this is an issue that needs to be assessed objectively and with full fairness to everyone), there is no question that racial epithets were hurled at black people. Nor is there any question that white students hired a black woman from an escort service to perform an erotic dance. The intersection of racial antagonism and sexual exploitation is all too familiar.

Some people might consider an argument that contextualizing their actions by citing the lynchers of Emmit Till was hardly conducive to assessing the question of “whether or not a rape took place . . . with full fairness” to the lacrosse players. When I asked him about this issue, and whether he had any concerns with the district attorney’s procedural misconduct, Chafe responded, “Whether or not a sexual assault took place is something we will not know for months and is a task for the criminal-justice system to establish,” and therefore it wasn’t appropriate for him to comment on such matters.

A week after Chafe’s horrific column, he joined 87 other Duke faculty members in the statement of the Group of 88, which unequivocally asserted “something happened” to the accuser; and said “thank you” to the protesters who had publicly branded the lacrosse players rapists. The author of the statement, Wahneema Lubiano, told ESPN that she understood many would see the Group of 88’s statement as a “stake in the collective heart” of the lacrosse team. She subsequently explained her motivation in a blog posting:

Within the terms of the responses to the incident, I understand the impulse of those outraged and who see the alleged offenders as the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus. Further, this group has been responsible for extended social violence against the neighborhood in which they reside. In short, by a combination of their behaviors and what they represent in terms of social facts, and by virtue of their relation to the alleged victim, for those who are defenders of the victim, the members of the team are almost perfect offenders in the sense that Crenshaw writes about. As more information circulates and the stakes are raised by virtue of considerations of Duke’s and the nation’s long-standing class, race, and gender disparities, they are increasingly “perfected” as offenders. As part of this dynamic, the young woman, black and non-wealthy, made even more vulnerable by virtue of being employed by the perfect offenders and outnumbered, approaches the state of perfect victim. However, even within the media circulation of narratives, neither the offenders’ nor the victim’s “perfection” is absolutely complete; our own imaginations and our own language has to complete it . . .

Against this solidification of their perfectness as offenders, their defenders have to reinforce and heighten the circulation of rhetoric around a narrative, among other things, of their wonderful athletic ability, understandings of them as fine, upstanding young men or boys who are good students, the products of good homes, and the possessors of good characters attested to by their grades, their performances, and the fine characters and records of those who support them. Their perfectness as offenders has to be lessened, mitigated, or disrupted to the point that any bad behavior is forgiveable by virtue of the mitigations – mitigations such as “they aren’t any different from other young men” who drink and party in boisterous manner and, occasionally, slip over the line of acceptable behavior; therefore, what is happening to them is a horrible injustice. Their offense has to decrease in size and severity . . .

This fight of desires then extends to the question of evidence – a demand for perfect evidence on the part of the defenders of the team (a demand most spectacularly articulated by, but not limited, of course, to their lawyers). The idea that evidence, like all other aspects of the incident, is part of a circulation of narratives seems to be lost as the newspapers and the television move from one flash point to another . . .

Regardless of the “truth” established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house on N. Buchanan Blvd., the engine of outcry in this moment has been fueled by the difficult and mundane reality that pre-existed this incident and that continues to occur in everday and non-spectacular life in this place. Whatever happens with the court case, what people are asking is that something changes.

And, finally, there’s Peter Wood. After issuing a series of bizarre public statements (he told the New York Times, “The football players here are often rural white boys with baseball caps or hard-working black students who are proud to be at Duke,” unlike the upper-class lacrosse team), Wood gave a remarkable interview with Hal Crowther, whose article stated that Nifong’s critics needed to “catch a glimpse of your inner racist in the mirror”; the lacrosse players themselves, he asserts, are “subhuman.”

In the interview, Wood offered one major revelation: he had taught two of the indicted players. Since Reade Seligmann’s transcript is on-line, it was easy to verify that he had taken Wood’s “Era of the American Revolution.” Right after the mention that Wood had Seligmann in class, the professor described the lacrosse players’ personal character: “Cynical, arrogant, callous, dismissive—you could almost say openly hostile.” He also posed for a photo—in front of the lacrosse field.

Wood’s going out of his way to mention he had taught two of the indicted players suggested that his descriptions of the players’ character applied to Seligmann. But I wondered whether he had been misquoted, or hadn’t intended to attack Seligmann. Surely, if there were a misunderstanding, it seemed to me that any professor would rush to correct the record, lest he appear to have falsely slandered one of his students.

Five times I emailed Wood to ask him if his comments applied to Seligmann, as the article suggested; and, if so, what evidence he had to substantiate them. (I have retained all of these e-mails.) Wood never replied. He has, in short, allowed the comments to stand.

If we’ve learned nothing else from this controversy, it’s that Duke’s faculty needs far more people like Steven Baldwin and far fewer people like Peter Wood.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did some of the 88 group's ads and statements venture from fair criticism into slander and/or libel of the three indicted and the 40-odd unindicted?

Judith said...

After some searching on Duke's website, I was finally able to find the link to the names of the professors who are part of the group of 88, using the link posted on this website.

I was surprised (or maybe not) to find Kim Curtis' name on the list, since she railroaded my son into the the Duke Judicial system, which caused him to be suspended for two semesters.

He was in Army ROTC, a student athlete and an outspoken conservative.

When his Roller Hockey Club team won the regionals, and were sent to the Nationals in LA for 10 days (paid for by the University), he visited all his professors to tell them of his absence. They all approved, assuming he turned his assigned work in beforehand.

Only one of his professors, Kim Curtis, claimed she never received his work, and automatically FAILED him for the entire course (this was second semester of his junior year). She also brought charges against him of Lying to the Duke Judicial system.

He was notified of this by mail during the summer, well after the incident had occurred. Because he was at ROTC training, he was unable to respond in a timely way, nor was he able to connect with any of a list of Judicial Code Advisors, who act as respresentatives for the accused at these hearings, because many of them were not available during the summer.

During the first week of classes in the Fall he was put on trial. His Judicial Advisor, who did her best to help him put together a case in such a short amount of time, expressed shock at the charges and the way that they were handled. She said in her rushed amount of research, she was unable to find ANY other cases of a student being charged through the Judicial System of Lying about turning a paper in late.

He was convicted and expelled for two semesters. He was ordered to vacate his dorm room within 48 hours. Since he did not have a car, I immediately started the long drive to Durham to help him move out. Since his DukeCard had been IMMEDIATELY invalidated, he could not get a meal on campus, or even get into his dorm to start moving his things out.

Of course this pales next to the horrific ordeals that the Lacrosse players have endured. But I thought that I would share this story to show that some of these professors are potential serious threats to our students and their rights. I have a son who is a freshman this fall, and I am going to make sure that he is not assigned classes with any of these 88 professors.

PS. If you would like to verify this story, you can call Dean Bryan's office. I will be happy to sign a release so that you can review the files.

Anonymous said...

Wood has taught TWO of the indicted lacrosse players? "Cynical, arrogant, callous, dismissive - you could almost say openly hostile" may describe the second indicted player and not Seligmann at all.

I think Wood should clarify the situation though. Seligmann doesn't deserve to have his character attacked like that. But if the second indicted player Wood has taught is who I think it is he deserves that and more. I think you know that.

Anonymous said...

You may find a list of Group 88 professors here.

Duke Group of 88 Professors

Anonymous said...

It appears to me Wood must have been looking in the mirror when he commented on Seligmann as all of his words describe his own peronality and conduct.

Anonymous said...

To Ms. Lubiano: As one of the supporters of the Duke three, I don't demand "perfect evidence" to prove that the accused lacrosse players committed the charged crimes, but I certainly do demand some reasonable quantity of credible evidence -- and not only do I demand it, but the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the State of North Carolina demand it as well. To Mr. Wood: I think you should look at your own "inner moron in the mirror," because you're obviously a fool. There is nothing "racist" about wanting, and demanding, due process for those who've been accused of crimes.

Anonymous said...

For the record all of the three wrongly accused are really fine,smart, hard working, polite young men that anyone would be so proud to call their own...!!!

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.16:

Please contact me:
kcjohnson9@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

kc, i see you are once again dredging up your and the duke parents' negative views on duke's administration. but since you call your blog durham in wonderland, maybe you should actually report on what is going on down here in nc. you and the duke parents need to know the raleigh paper has a story in it today with a poll on the da's race and nifong is ahead by a double digit margin. apparently, a lot of people in durham do not share your opinion on nifong but i have been posting that to you yankees for a while.

DukeGradNCResident said...

Since you will be at Duke Thursday, I would like you to ask one question of your ACLU hosts. When did it become acceptable to single out minority members of a University community for ostracization?

You would think from reading comments over the past few months, the Duke campus is overrun by white males acting boorishly if not criminally. The fact is Duke is a decidedly heterogeneous campus with over 40% of the students claiming minority ethnicity. Of the remaining 60% not claiming minority ethnicity the split between males and females is roughly 50%/50%. So the maximum percentage of students on campus that could theoretically hail from the dominant social hierarchy (white males) is a whopping 30%......

Anonymous said...

The Duke 88 must go along with Brodhead. They are a danger to the young minds in their charge. These people have gone out of their way to cause harm to so many. They are pompous, arrogant, racist, idiots who deserve nothing better than the boot. All the names listed on the Duke 88 have shamed the instituion of learning. To true academic professors thoughout the world, they have sullied their profession.

Anonymous said...

There are many articles in the Chronicle today. First, an editorial slamming Steve Baldwin for his "tar and feather" comment. An editorial by Baldwin apologizing for his "insensitive" remarks. In addition, an article about the lacrosse blogs and their significance. Finally, a story about the CCI - two dozen faculty members in attendance with various demands (basically they want to take over the university and run things their way.) Almost forgot, an editoral piece about diversity touting Mark Anthony Neal as one of Duke's success stories.

Anonymous said...

So poster 4:11 thinks it ethical for a professor to announce his assessment of a student's personality to the press as long as it is negative. Your special brand of logic would indicate affiliation with the Despicable 88-- pantywaist lightweights who think discerning right from wrong is beside the point; that the real game is deconstructing the situation into various post Marxist assemblages of jargon packed drivel. Pathetic.
Sic Semper Tyrannus

Another Duke mom said...

Judith- I am shocked by your son's story! I truly don't understand how such a miscarriage of justice could occur! Did your son not have any proof that he had written the paper (his computer?). How could they accuse him of lying for simply turning in a paper "late"?
Did he graduate from Duke? What is the situation with your younger son? I have to say that I am surprised you would send him there given your experience.

TombZ said...

To Baker, Chafe, Wood, et al -
(Follow me closely here, you fancy-pants, degreed morons.)
Re: Your Bloviated Pontifications.

At the time you made your public statements and/or wrote your pompous attacks, since it was far from proven the rape of the alleged victim actually happened, why draw your projected racist parallels between this current non-event and past events?

What the hell was your fucking point?!?! That violent racism existed? That racism still exists? That resentment smolders in your hearts? That you have an opinion? So what? High school dropouts have opinions too, and state them with equal conviction and often better purpose.

To the non-academic world:
These bozos crap all over their students, using an unproven allegation to somehow remediate sins of the past? Where is the logic? Where is the consideration? Where is the 'perspective' stemming from years of study and contemplation? It isn’t just a rush to judgment, it's a rush to hate.

The Duke Group of 88, abetting faculty and administration are guilty of academicus ejaculatus. They should be made to clean up the mess. First step? Resign.

(Sorry for the outburst, sorta.)

Anonymous said...

To poster 8:42: Durham remains a cesspool. But you can help clean things up by buying yourself, and your fellow traveler in lying to maintain a facade of propriety, one Richard the Rat Broadhead, a one way bus ticket, north or west, your choice, as long as it's out of Dixie. Before this is all over, the boys, who are certainly innocent of any crime, will be free, and Nifong will be disbarred, tried, convicted and imprisoned. Most of the other Durham city and Duke admin fools and the Despicable 88 and other corrupt dissemblers, will carry on with barely a pause. But they, too, will be tried, in books by social historians, journalists and legal scholars, and they will be named and placed centrally within the moral squalor of this sordid episode. For all the world to see. What a legacy for their families and community.
Sic Semper Tyrannus

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.42:

Re the claim about the post's "negative views on duke's administration," I invite you to re-read the post. Its only reference to a member of the Duke administration is an unequivocally positive statement about Provost Peter Lange.

Perhaps you were referring to another post?

The Dude said...

What possible use could any professor have for giving descriptions of a person(s) who is accussed of a crime? Liable and slander come to mind as well as violation of some privacy laws. The people providing descriptions of the accussed lax players are not witnesses in the case. The only intent is to maliciously malign the accussed for their own personnal agenda. The accussed have much to lose(ie personnal freedom, monetary concerns) and this would make an excellent civil matter against the persons releasing this information. My guess is the Nifong contingent is behind them and they will squel like pigs when sued personnaly. Some pro bono lawyer will have a field day in federal court with the Durham hillybilly system. Who cares about his double digit lead. He is toast when this case concludes(either result).

Michael said...

judith @ 3:16 - please contact me too - mrg(at)duke.edu. Among other things, I am a faculty member at Duke and I have served on the UJB before.

Anonymous said...

to anon at 8:42AM

Maybe you didn't read that poll carefully. 24% of those polled were undecided. I don't think Mr. Nifong should be so confident when 28% of those polled have already decided to vote for a candidate who will not serve. The ones who are undecided are most likely feeling uncertain about voting for a noncandidate in order to get Nifong out, and that is understandable. It's pretty unusual to have such a large undecided group so close to the election. When this happens, polls are NOTORIOUSLY inaccurate.
So I wouldn't boast about this poll just yet. If the Durham republicans and the former Frida Black supporters vote for Cheeks, Nifong loses.

Anonymous said...

KC, I think you should caution your readers about their language. I am referring specifically to the 10:26 AM post, which I found really offensive. As educated people, we should all be able to express ourselves without using indecent language or swear words. This kind of thing just brings down the level of discourse on this web site.

Anonymous said...

Peter Wood was captain of the LAX team at Harvard. In light of this, you would expect him to be sympathetic to the LAX players. If he had two of them in class and is not sympathetic, then maybe they gave him good reason not to be sympathetic.

KC Johnson said...

To the 1.12:

If Prof. Wood had "good reason" for his comments, he has refused to supply it to me.

It's worth noting, perhaps more importantly, that the Coleman Committee, which investigated the issue, deemed Wood's complaints unsubstantiated. Even his TA couldn't provide evidence to back up Wood.

To the 1.06:

Point well taken.

I don't have time to moderate the comments, and try to check in a few times a day. So please avoid off-color language.

Anonymous said...

Does not poster 1:06 realize that when the people, that is real people, not educated elite-type people, express themselves with genuine emotion, curse words and street language take on a numinous quality that lends an aura of the sacred to the speaker, making his utterance a kind of poetry of the street, of the neighborhood. It's a signifying and a sanctifying communication that informs the racist and classist and capitalist status quo that the people (that is real people as opposed to you, know what I'm saying?)do not accept your old imperialist use of what was once known as English language. If you are so easily offended, I suggest you go look in a mirror for a glimpse of your inner racist-- whoa; was that offending poster white? (kinda hard to critique someone's words without knowing his skin color) Cause if he's white, forget what I just said, cause then he's just a racist thug trying to keep that poor working girl down-- and she a priest of the new church at that.

duke09parent said...

Prof. Johnson: Perhaps you can find some history of a racial connotation to "tar and feathering" and "riding out on a rail". In my limited look I did not find one. www.answers.com/topic/tarring-and-feathering www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/13/messages/428.html

Prof. Wiegman says this is language of lynching, which seems absolutely wrong. Perhaps you have resources in the academic community (linguistics, AA History) who could answer the question.

Is this a reprise of "water buffalo"?

Anonymous said...

KC:

I grew up with David Evans, and have known him since he could crawl (I'm a little older in other words). His family is exceptional, and he is a great guy, intelligent and dedicated to whatever he does. During the period when he was indicted and still in school, he would come home to our community, and basically hide. He said he was scared for his safety in Durham. Naturally, we, who know him, kept that to ourselves. It's a gated community, so we refused to allow reporters in.

I just wanted to extend my compliments to your blog, and say that it has not gone unnoticed by me or anyone else who really knows these kids. The reaction by the faculty was shameful, and I also commend Professor Baldwin for his moral rectitude in calling it for what it is.

Keep up the good work. Oh, and I have never seen a better wrongful prosecution case in my life. A Federal District Court Judge in NC will most likely hate Nifong for what he has done. I hope Durham has insurance.

All the best.

-BCM, Esquire-

disgruntled student said...

Fact:

Peter Wood is hardly an educator. He would put in a video every Friday for his students to watch so he didn't have to teach. His class only met three times a week, and the videos were available to rent out in the library. Not exactly the eduation I was hoping for.

Another Duke mom said...

to BCM- If you have not done so already, please email Professor Baldwin at https://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/Chemistry/faculty/steven.baldwin/email.html

He is getting a lot of heat from the pot bangers and needs all the support he can get. Maybe in hearing from the rest of the world (instead of just Duke West campus) he will take comfort in knowing that he is not actually a pariah!

Anonymous said...

So - who is the other indicted player Wood has taught? That could explain his comments perfectly.

Anonymous said...

From time to time I have been privy to the results of polygraph and background checks for job applicants and security applications. I learned that no one has a perfect record. If they weren't caught, they did things they would like to hide. I'd like to see the results of a full background check of the Group of 88. They were quick to condemn the Duke players. I wonder if any of them have criminal records. I wonder if any of them lied on their resumes. I wonder if any of them were ever charged with underage drinking or a bar scuffle or worse.

Anonymous said...

1:45 PM, let me see, Peter Wood, oh yes, here he is: B.A. Harvard University, Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, PhD Harvard University, research fellowships from the Charles Warren Center at Harvard, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, winner of various awards and prizes from the National Historical Association, one of the highest rated professors at Duke on RateMyProfessor.com, but really not much of a professor, right? In fact, we could all probably just agree that he is a real dummy and could not possibly have any good reasons for the opinions he has expressed about the LAX players, right. Just pure prejudice against people who, like himself, played LAX at an elite university. Does that pretty much sum things up?

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.39:

In this particular instance, what sums things up for me is the Coleman Committee report, which found Wood's allegations unfounded.

I've never maintained that he's a good or bad professor (I have no way of knowing). I have maintained, and continue to do so, that his comments about the lacrosse players raise deep concern about his professionalism.

Anonymous said...

I hope the people of Durham who know that these boys are innocent but want a trial anyway "for the past transgressions done to the black population", that a very costly and long trial will cost the tax payers of Durham alot of money. The civil suits that will be filed afterwords will cost Duke, Durham and several of the newspapers alot of money. Before you vote you should consider how your vote will affect you and your bank account. Your taxes will go up, your property value will go down because no one will want to live in Durham, businesses will eventually close. If you think Duke has not already felt the financial ramifications your kidding yourself. If you are willing to support Nifong, it will come as a personal financial loss to each and every tax payer of Durham. Please remember that. I do not want my taxes to go up and my family to suffer to carry a DA who has been called, nationally and internationally the "WORST DA IN THE WORLD". VOte for Cheek, lets all have a fresh start and start building Durham back up and heal. We will never heal with Nifong in office.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

To 8:42am

I find it so humorous that you are so proud of the fact that Nifong is ahead in the polls. You are the laughingstock of America right now!! HOW EMBARRASING!!!! Keep your head up that you have a very corrupt police department and the most morally and unethical DA in America!! Now that is something to be proud of!

Anonymous said...

To 4:27pm

You have shown us there are some intelligent people who reside in Durham, NC.

Anonymous said...

The Coleman report doesn't rule out the possibility that one of the indicted players is arrogant, callous and openly hostile.

Anonymous said...

You sound pretty arrogant and callous to me, 7:49, and the Coleman Report, does not rule out the possibility that you raped a ten year old child today. Let us then have your splendid man of the people, Nifong, charge you with several felonies, while Duke turns its back upon you as the community waits to "let the legal system work as intended." I'm sure you won't mind undergoing a trial in order to "prove your innocence."

Anonymous said...

I find it quite amusing that a regular Nifong enabler here, no doubt one of the Despicable 88 who would be happy to have the boys spend their lives in prison mainly because they don't appreciate the utter fabulousness of the Chardonnay swilling Duke Forest humanities soiree-- so third world chic with the dashikis and all those primitive wood fertility figures and batik everywhere-- this vicious fascist is very concerned that an LAX player might be hostile, arrogant, callous. Perhaps if so, it is in direct response to a silly professor who hates caucasian athletes.

Anonymous said...

Judith, there should be a website set up for Duke students who have been bullied by intolerant professors who despise dissent and tolerate NO diversity of thought...to document their stories.

That accumulation of outrageous data could be helpful to ALL going forward. It could be useful in VERY many ways.They need to be exposed..to donors, trustees and the general public.

Roger said...

To anonymous 3:39, you talk up Peter Wood by talking up his academic credentials, all those letters by his name from Harvard and Oxford. However, I can tell you-- as a Harvard graduate myself-- that a goodly number, if not a majority of the graduates of that place with non-science or math degrees, did little in the way of real scholarship to get their degrees.

Especially if they major in the various "PC studies" (feminist studies, minority studies, Marxist victims' studies of one sort or another), they've done little more than kiss up to the contemporary Marxist Pooh-Bah in power in that department's administration. Little intellectual challenge there, which is why so many of these people develop into asinine slanderers and finger-pointers. Kim Curtis, I'm sure, is similar.

My own advice to the Duke 3 and to law-respecting Duke students, alumni and faculty in general-- people like Wood have declared war on you, and when being attacked by such unscrupulous opponents, you need to fight back, and hard. Sue them in court for slander and libel, hire mean attorneys to pick through their records and hit them hard not only in court but in the media, make them hurt. Make them know there are consequences for their unacceptable public behavior.

I'll conclude here on a very pessimistic, but unfortunately realistic note-- I have no confidence, NO CONFIDENCE in the future of the USA as a united nation anymore. In my own home state of Illinois, they did a poll of Whites and Blacks in various regions throughout the state. Well over 90% of the Whites, in light of the 60 Minutes broadcast, found the White defendants to be innocent and called the Duke lacrosse fiasco a "grave miscarriage of justice." Roughly 75-80% of the Blacks continued to express rage at the defendants and wanted them to be convicted, basically ignoring the facts so obvious on 60 Minutes, when even a Black witness demonstrates the young men are innocent!

This is the reality-- we are two (or more) separate nations in the US right now, and if such an obvious example of innocence can't get us to agree, then nothing will. The wounds between the races in the USA are too grave and deep to ever be healed. The best thing would be to split the country up. Barring that, we'll just progressively and painfully fracture from the inside.

A good number of my best friends from Harvard (especially with a tech background) are now no longer in the US-- they spent a couple years studying French or Chinese or Italian, German or Japanese, or Portuguese or Spanish, and they've emigrated. They've gone to East Asia, South America or Western Europe, places like France or Italy or Germany. Almost all of them are very pleased with their choice, and right now, I don't blame them. They've sensibly decided to leave a sinking ship, and with my own French still fresh enough to improve on with a little work, a move to a place like Switzerland, Belgium or France to work and raise my kids looks increasingly attractive to me as well.

Anonymous said...

An editorial that I wrote appeared in The Chronicle Tuesday that was critical of the way the lacrosse incident has been handled by the Duke administration. Although my position is unchanged, I now realize that some of the language I used in the editorial was insensitive and inappropriate. I truly regret that my words have caused pain for some members of our community.

In particular, in the next-to-last paragraph of the editorial I used some terms that I have now learned have racial connotations for some. I certainly did not intend them that way. I grew up in the western U.S. and, quite frankly, associate the terms I used with the western frontier of the late 1800s. I saw a lot of cowboy movies as a kid.

I deeply regret that what for me is a totally non-racial issue has assumed that character. I wish I had used other language; I wish I had bounced a draft of the document off someone who might have steered me straight. While there is room for disagreement on the lacrosse issue, there is no disagreement on the importance of providing a welcoming environment for all people who study, learn and work at Duke. I have spent much of my career advocating for diversity at Duke by supporting the hiring of minority faculty and the recruitment of minority students.

I am very sorry that my naivety has offended any members of the Duke community. That was entirely unintentional and I should have been more careful in my selection of words.


Steven Baldwin

Professor, chemistry department

LearnedHand said...

10:03 - forgive me, but i, for one, do not share your pessimism...and although i have no idea who you are, i also have my doubts about the poll you mentioned (and which you have not supported with any evidence). i do not disagree that we as a nation still have serious difficulties, but i believe you to be making much too much of this.

case in point - a recent poll conducted online by BET (black entertainment television) stated:

Posted Oct. 23, 2006 – Over the past several days, new questions have surfaced about the credibility of the dancer who accused members of the Duke University Lacrosse Team of raping her. Three former teammates professed their innocence to CBS’s “60 Minutes,” while a second dancer suggested the alleged victim had lied.

Last week, we asked, "In light of the investigation by '60 Minutes,' what should be the impact of this new report?"

And here's how you voted:

About 41 percent of you said, "The Duke alleged rape case should be further investigated."

About 33 percent of you said, "The Duke alleged rape case should be dropped because of lack of evidence."

About 26 percent of you said, "The Duke alleged rape case should continue to trial."

Thus - THE television network dedicated to the black community conducted a poll in which only 26% of people believed the case should continue to be prosecuted. have faith, man.

as said before, i do not print this to say that this country is fine and that we do not have racial problems - BUT, i also do not believe we are as divided a country as you declare. if that is naive - please enlighten me, starting with a link to this poll you mention. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Without logging into ratemyprofessor.com, here is what's shown as comments for Peter Wood.

"he sees everything in terms of class and race...if you see everything the same way, you'll love his class."

"Spectacularly boring but a very easy class, get on his good side early. Don't express anything other than the most ridiculous liberal views and you'll be fine"

Just because someone has all the degrees in the world doesn't make him a good and/or moral educator.

Michael said...

11:38 anon:
to be fair, *with* logging in you get a totally different set of critiques, with the ones you reference only coming since this September. Professor Wood scores a 4.3/5, overall, and I feel like in presenting the *valid* criticisms of what he has done, it is important to not make unfounded comments. THAT, after all, is what most of us are fighting against... Three example comments
from the 11/14 positives:

*This guy really knows what he's talking about and is so enthusiastic about teaching students, in a very infectious way. I loved learning from him and now - two years later - we're still excited to see each other; he's even been eager to help out with my continued engagement with history :)
*Professor Wood is a great professor. While my class, Native American History, wasn't always the most exciting content-wise, Prof Wood was exceptionally knowledgable and friendly. He really cares about students at Duke in general, and I always see him in the Marketplace meeting with students.
*Very engaging. He cares a lot about academics. Impress him by actually saying orignal stuff-- he's not a fan of regurgitation. Very nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Why are some of you posting a BET poll? Was it only of people in Durham? How come no one on here is talking about the poll in the Raleigh paper today on Durham county voters? Professor Johnson, please comment!

Judith said...

I wrote originally above about the bringing of Judicial Charges by Kim Curtis against my son in May 2004, I believe unfairly. As far as I know, he is the only student ever brought before the Judicial Board charged with Lying about turning a paper in late. He was charged by Kim Curtis, who had already FAILED him for the course for turning this paper in (supposedly) one day late.

The good news is, he did reapply to Duke, finished his additional two semesters of classwork, and officially graduated in May 2006, a year late.

I am a Duke grad (BS '74 MHA '78). I had a wonderful experience there, and it was my dream that all four of my children would someday attend.

My husband and I have made substantial contributions of time and money to the University. We recently endowed a scholarship fund for future students who cannot afford the (ridiculous) price of attending.

But I cannot express to you how disappointed I am in the Duke administration and (certain) members of the faculty for their failure to support the ideas of justice and due process for these students. Their actions contributed to the local and national idea that these young men were guilty, and have brought shame and disrepute on this wonderful institution.

Heartbreaking for the students, but even more heartbreaking for Duke.

Anonymous said...

As a professor at another university let me just say something about ratemyprofessor.com. I have done some reseach into student evaluations and found a strong relationship between grade and student evaluation. Of course you will have several people saying they loved his class. (They probably got A's) If you look hard enough you will fine some students that thought he is the next Stephen Hawkins (and I will wager they are just as liberal and arrogant as him.) Why not judge him for his ignorance shown in this case? I actually want to see tihs go to trial (sorry Durham tax payer), but to see Nifong and his supporters get embarassed by the quickness of the not guilty.

Anonymous said...

Let's all remember that while these three young men may be innocent of the crime of rape. That at least some of the members of the lacrosse team hosted a party where underage students were served alcohol and a stripper was brought in. The first is illegal and the second I would hope is against the Duke student athlete code of conduct. While there may have been a rush to judgement on the rape charge, it seems to me that the lacrosse program was not under control at the time. Hopefully that will change with a new coach.

Locomotive Breath said...

A poster on the Baldin article at the Duke Chronicle website wanted to know how he could divert his Annual Fund giving directly to Dr. Baldwin. This is an excellent idea. I believe it's possible. Duke can and does accept unrestricted gifts in the support of individual research programs. Contact Dr. Baldwin's Department Chair to ask how. And if you do this, make sure the Annual Fund knows that you've diverted your money.

Anonymous said...

To Michael 3:38AM: Have you not read any of the quotes coming out of Wood's mouth? The person you described is not Wood. To nationally, put forth in the press slanderous, unfounded, incorrect statements about Reade Seligmann, a young man with integrity, character and manners. Every remark he made about Reade was the opposite from the truth. What kind of person would use an innocent kid to further his own agenda and get publicity and press is beyond me. I simply can't understand what is going on in the minds of the Duke 88 and Brodhead. Or maybe I just can't understand how someone can be so evil on purpose.

Anonymous said...

to 11:21 post,

Underage drinking at college and the hiring of a stripper is not a felony. And to say that these students were out of control for doing so is truly ignorant. There were 21 other incidences of hiring strippers at Duke last year. Students at Duke, and every other university behave similarly. They drink, and occasionally act irresponsibly. Does that make them out of control?

Let's look at the big picture here about what's going on. These boys are being accused of something that never happened (as per evidence, not opinion). The fact that they're being accused is criminal. So how about we stick to those topics that are pertinent to discussion. Please save your side-tracking bs critisms for another blog. They are meaningless and a waste everyone's time.

Anonymous said...

10:53 AM, you are missing the point. Peter Wood made some negative comments about two of the LAX players based upon personal experiences he has had with them in class. KC and some of his audience have tried to dismiss those negative comments by saying that they have no basis in fact. I have responded by pointing out that not only does Wood have a very distinguished background as a student and scholar but that he also was captain of the LAX team at Harvard. Given his LAX background, you would have to figure that he is not prejudiced against LAX players, and given his distinguished educational background as a Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Harvard and Oxford, you would have to figure that he does not generally make comments that have no basis in fact. So when he says that he has had some unpleasant experiences with some of the Duke LAX players, maybe we should be listening to what he has to say.

LearnedHand said...

12:36pm:

Being a former lax player on a mediocre team does not mean anything. furthermore, neither does the fact that this guy is obviously learned (like me?), intelligent (well beyond me), and has a long-resume of accomplishments - inside his professional community.

why do these things MEAN anything regarding his willingness to be biased, to have a personal agenda, or to cast dispersions and ugly lies? being a former lax player myself, i might be more inclined to understand the stories and viewpoint, but it doesn't mean i would be any more willing to defend a lax player accused of rape or murder or, even, grand theft than the next joe. in fact, given the general sentiment of liberal elite schools' faculty and the dogmatic alliegance it requires of its members, wood's comments would be MUCH more likely to be in line with the '88'ers - NOT a young man playing a game Wood played MANY years ago.

Most importantly - why do you feel that Wood's intelligence and educational resume make him LESS likely to lie or make absurd or slanderous statements? do you know who bill clinton is?

wood's statements should not be viewed in a vacuum; i have always agreed with context. and the context here is his resume/intelligence AND his employment AND affiliations AND the status of the case and community at the time of the remarks. Forget about your faulty assumptions - the man has made very dangerous attacks on the character and person of two men, of whom he taught in ONE class at a university where most "professors" spend most of their time writing, researching and publishing - NOT preparing for or teaching this class. THAT is the state of his remarks. HE must be held accountable NO MATTER what your previous assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Over the years, the LAX players have shown a lot of contempt for university policy, the laws of North Carolina, and their neighbors in the Trinity Park area of Durham. They have a long history of irresponsible behavior, which includes loud parties, underage drinking, throwing beer cans all over the neighborhood, public urination, etc. They have refused to modify their behavior despite repeated requests from their neighbors and from the police. In March, they held a party which blew up in their faces and led directly to the current mess. So there is a very clear link between their history of bad behavior and the problems they now face. No reasonable person would suggest that the LAX players should go to prison for 20 years on a phony rape charge just because they had a party and drank beer and hired some strippers. However, it really is not realistic for the LAX team supporters to continue to try to minimize what the players did by saying that everybody does it, and it is not appropriate for them to accuse others of being ignorant just because they focus the spotlight onto this bad behavior. The fact is that the LAX players bear a large measure of responsibility for creating this mess, and I think that may help to explain why some people, especially those in the Trinity Park neighborhood, may not feel an enormous amount of sympathy for the players.

Anonymous said...

The responsibility for initiating this catstrophe belong with thee 10 of so Trinity Park "neighbors" who precipitated this catastrophe by using their wealth and influence to push Durham police into an illegal and dangerous clampdown on Duke students.

It remains some of the most deeply despicable and unneighborly behavior in this entire episode.

You want to lay responsibility for this mess, it belongs with Lee Coggins, the Dagenharts and the small cadre of Trinity Park fascists.

End of story

LearnedHand said...

bear some of the blame? interesting concept. it is not that i don't agree that no one is entirely blameless here, but don't you think this is absurd criticism? forget about the "other" parties for the moment...these guys had a party with beer, etc., and had two strippers come over. in turn, they have had everything else happen to them...hmmmm, yep - seems fair and reasonable to blame both sides at this time.

oh - and as i have said before - give me a break about your tortured complaints about how bad it has gotten.

"They have a long history of irresponsible behavior, which includes loud parties, underage drinking, throwing beer cans all over the neighborhood, public urination, etc."

i have been in and around that area and duke since the eighties (don't know if you have) and i can tell you that it has not gotten ANY worse. in fact, i believe i can find many who would chuckle at the recent events and how life was in the middle eighties. as i have also said before - no one is saying, "oh goody, what great actions! i wish i lived next to these guys!" but, your lame and weakly-disguised attempts to mischaracterize this situation for your personal gain is sad.

Anonymous said...

1:47 PM, your post is another great example of the LAX team and its supporters trying to blame everyone but the players. If there had been no party, there would be no LAX mess. If there had been no long history of loud raucous parties going until the wee hours of the morning, underage drinking, beer cans thrown all over the neighborhood, public urination, etc., there would have been no reason for the neighbors to complain to the police. What you are saying in effect is that the LAX players had the right to do all of these things without any interference from the neighbors or the police. In other words, if the neighbors do not like it, they should just go to hell. If the LAX players view this situation the same way you do, it is easy to understand why so many people thought they were arrogant and out of control.

Michael said...

Anon 12:18 PM - please read my post again. In this challenge, the important thing is not to stoop to the level of misrepresentation and obfuscation that has been employed by some. The ratemyprofessors.com site, aside from being utterly unpoliced and generally arbitrary, was also thrown in as "evidence" of Wood's behavior, without giving the whole truth of what information *is* there. There is more than enough to question Professor Wood about his comments to the press and his assertions about the lacrosse team without undermining the legitimacy of such questions with such pointed omissions of fact. The team has been very forthcoming about the mistakes they did and did not make - we should all seek to do the same.

Anonymous said...

2:30 posters
Your constant justification for why the lax players deserve this is absurd. By the way, if Trinity Park is known for Duke students that party why on earth would you move there? Duke students seem to have a history of living in that neighborhood. Did you not do your research on the neighborhood? There are two universities in my town and no intelligent person would move right in their back door because of the many student occupied houses. That is a fact in any college town. So, I could turn it around and say you got what you deserved by moving to a neighborhood known for college parties.
I get the feeling this is how Trinity justifies their rush to judgment about these young men.
"Party" equals "you deserve to be accused of rape". Yeah, that makes sense to me. You think the students were bad neighbors. What does your behavior say about you? I'll take a neighbor that has some beer cans in their yard and loud music anyday over a neighbor who gleefully accuses me of rape.
The lax players have expressed remorse for the party. What more are they supposed to do? Everyone agrees they should not have hosted the party. However, they are not charged with hosting a party and underage drinking to my knowledge. So, it is of no bearing on this case. Perhaps you should look at yourself in the mirror. From where I am standing, the Trinity Park neighborhood should apologize for helping to railroad three young men. The lax players' behavior pales in comparision to the disgusting rush to judgment of some Trinity Park neighbors.

Anonymous said...

No one in the neighborhood has accused them of rape, and no one in the neighborhood owes them any apologies.

Anonymous said...

To 12:36: Hundreds of people who have made it clear to the world that Reade Seligmann is an upstanding young man, a wonderful son any parent can be proud, a generous and thoughtful friend and neighbor an honor roll student, an outstanding athlete, a person with integrity, honor and strong character who has morals and values. Reade is anything but arrogant and has gone out of his way to help people in need. He has tremndous respect for women. He was taught to respect other people. These people know Reade personally and have nothing to gain from standing up and declaring his innocence. They declared his innocence even before any evidence was released to the press because they knew it was not in his moral fiber to do such a thing let alone even think it. There are thousands of people who have never met Reade but can see he has been falsely accused, can see in his eyes on "60 Minutes" that he did nothing wrong. Body language tells alot. Ninfong in court goes through tremendous girations, rubbing his face, his forhead, pulling his ear, smirking, shifiting from foot to foot and even putting his head on the desk. Reade has held his head high and looked everyone in the eye and said "I am innocent". Mr. Wood on the other hand seems to like the press and attention and is using the skin of these young men to gain notariaty. Mr. Wood outright slandered Reade Seligmann and he should either make the correction in the press or crawl back under the rock he came from. Unless you know these young men personally you should refrain from making your incorrect assumptions.

Anonymous said...

4:44 - Wood didn't slander Seligmann if he wasn't refering to him. Wood should clarify his remarks. I admit they seem very unfair to Seligmann. But Wood taught two of the indicted players. It's highly probable he was accurately describing the second player when he used words like arrogant and hostile, and NOT Seligmann at all. I do think Wood owes it to Seligmann to clarify his statement.

Anonymous said...

To Judith,

I am the mother of a Duke lacrosse player who Prof. Curtis gave an unwarranted "F" to last semester. Please contact KC with contact information. He has left his e-mail on the comment section for you.

Anonymous said...

4:28 Post.

"No one in the neighborhood has accused them of rape, and no one in the neighborhood owes them any apologies."

You have got to be absolutely joking with this statement. Who stood in front of their house banging pots and pans? Who participated in a candlelight vigil on their lawn? Who posted "Rapists" signs on their house? Who waved signs at cars as they passed by saying "We Believe Her"? Who took turns waiting on their lawn for the three boys that lived in the house to show up? Who called up reporters whenever someone was in the house? The answer, you guessed it, THE NEIGHBORS. They were THE FIRST ONES TO RUSH TO JUDGEMENT! They started the storm which news reporters flocked to. The neighbors should be ashamed of themselves. And 4:28p poster, I'm assuming that means you.

Anonymous said...

3:17 PM, I think you just won the award for the most twisted logic ever presented on a web site. In effect, you are saying that since rowdy Duke athletes and frat boys have been living in Trinity Park for many years, although none of the current athletes or frat boys has lived there for more than 2 or 3 years, then anyone who is thinking of buying a home in that neighborhood and indeed anyone who has lived there for the last 10 or 15 years is basically on notice that Trinity Park is owned by the athletes and frat boys, that the laws of North Carolina do not apply in that area, that the athletes and frat boys have an inalienable right to hold loud parties until 2 AM, engage in underage drinking, throw beer cans all over the place, and urinate in public, and the neighbors and the police have absolutely no right to complain or do anything about it. Now I definitely understand why so many people think you guys are arrogant and out of control.

Judith said...

Regarding my (Politically Incorrect) son's being failed for the ENTIRE COURSE by Professor Kim Curtis for turning one paper in one day late, and then several months later (in May after finals) bringing Judicial Charges against him for Lying:

I have been in contact with Dr. Johnson, primarily to thank him for his work on this important Lacrosse case. Another Duke professor who is actually on the Undergraduate Judicial Board (but was not involved in my son's case) has emailed me asking for further details on my his case. He is also concerned about "selective" justice.

If enough alums and parents write and share their stories, hopefully we can expose the hypocrisy and ideological corruption of this group of 88 professors.

By the way, in that same Spring 2004 semester that Professor Curtis failed him, he was taking 4 other courses: Hist 115 Intro to African Studies (final grade B+), Hist 118, Warfare in the 20th Century (final grade B-), PolySci 157 Foreign Policy of the US (final grade B+) and MiliSci 114 Tactical Warfare (final grade A).

I have no desire to revisit my son's case. He has moved on. My concern is justice for the Lacrosse players and other students who are presumed "guilty" because they are white and privileged and maybe even, according to the NY Times, live in affluent neighborhoods ("ouch!")

I was a student at Duke during the turbulent early 70's. After Duke, I worked with the Justice Department on Voter's Rights, monitoring elections in Mississippi and Alabama. I grew up in the segregated South. Believe me, I have seen injustice based on race and identity on an up-close and personal basis.

In those days, my dream was that justice and due process would be never denied based on race or class. Of course the work is never done....

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster describing a few neighborhood fascists as bringing unwarranted focus on Duke students in Trinity Park. I owned a home in Trinity Park for four years. My wife was a medical student and our daughter was born during this time. Very studious and middle class. I walked everywhere with her in a stroller and jogged all the time through the area to campus and to Ninth Street (to Regulator Books, the Wellspring, Eno River Traders, and so on. We had many friends in the area who also were TP homeowners. We never heard of any problems with Duke students. I loved the proximity to Duke. As a matter of fact, Trinity Park would probably be a slum if it were not located adjacent to the East Campus of Duke University. Have these loser Durhamites who live and die on the pronouncements of a bitter old crank like Hal Crowther stopped to consider what Durham would look like without Duke? Stupid people. So many stupid people.

Anonymous said...

here's the latest of the 88 on the road...do these people know what they're getting?
Duke professor to discuss race, culture of sports
Karla FC Holloway, professor of English, Law, and Women’s Studies as Duke University, will be the keynote speaker at McDaniel College’s Holloway Lecture, “BookMarks: Reading Race, Reading Sports, and Other Public Preoccupations,” at 8 p.m. Nov. 1 in McDaniel Lounge. The annual lecture is sponsored by the department of English.


http://www.mcdaniel.edu/4727.htm

FODU

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