As Liestoppers observed yesterday, Duke professor Thomas Crowley has penned an op-ed in the Herald-Sun, in recent weeks Duke faculty members’ home away from home. The professor expressed concern “at the number of letter writers . . . who, although they have no legal qualifications, seem to assume they have sufficient knowledge about the Duke lacrosse case to conclude that the case should be thrown out before even it goes to trial.”
(Crowley, it’s worth noting, just completed a three-year term as a member of Duke’s Committee on Appointment, Tenure, and Promotion—meaning that he cast a vote on every Duke tenure decision during the past three years.)
On the pages of the Herald-Sun, the earth systems science professor offered three claims of fact that I hadn’t previously seen, so I e-mailed him to ask about his evidence.
The Coleman Committee, however, uncovered no evidence “that the cohesiveness of this group is either racist or sexist,” and said that its investigation showed that the players’ conduct before March 13 “has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment, or racist behavior.”
THIS [claim] WAS BASED ON A LETTER WRITTEN TO THE DUKE STUDENT NEWSPAPER BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN I BELIEVE SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE NEWS BROKE. IT MADE A NUMBER OF CHARGES ABOUT RACIAL SLURS.
I searched the archives of the Duke Chronicle and could find no such letter. In any event, it seems to me extraordinary that a professor would disregard the conclusions of a faculty investigation and instead rely on his recollection of a months-old alleged student letter to publicly testify that students at his own school had a “previously established history” of “racial comments.”
I know of no location in the country—even Mike Nifong’s
This is an extraordinarily serious allegation—a claim that some of the state’s finest lawyers have engaged in unethical conduct and are attempting to “manipulate the law and the public.” I asked
I DON’T HAVE POINT BY
THIS. ALL I KNOW IS THAT, EVEN THOUGH I DON’T FOLLOW THE LOCAL NEWS VERY CLOSELY I HAVE BEEN SURPRISED HOW OFTEN I HAVE SEEN ONE OF THE LAWYERS (A BEARDED ONE) MAKING SOME STATEMENT. ONE OF THEM EVEN HAD AN OPINION PIECE IN THE HERALD SUN YESTERDAY. POINT DOCUMENTATION ON
The only mention of the accuser in the Herald-Sun column penned by Joseph Cheshire (who wears a goatee, and thus presumably was the abovementioned “BEARDED ONE”) was the following: “Justice is not done in any criminal prosecution when a DA who assumes the role of chief factual investigator and does not bother to talk with the chief prosecuting witness about her allegations to assess her credibility.”
There have been, of course, many newspaper and television reports that have cast serious doubt on the accuser’s veracity and integrity. Yet newspapers or TV networks aren’t “defense lawyers.”
Again, it seems to me extraordinary that a professor would level such serious allegations against attorneys representing three of his institution’s students without performing even a rudimentary check to determine whether his allegations had any merit.
While ignoring the mountain of evidence that does exist,
The earth systems science professor stated in the Herald-Sun that he had “no preconditioned preference for whether the accused were guilty or not.” He also told me to “NOTE THAT I DON’T THINK THE ACCUSED ARE NECESSARILY GUILTY.” [emphasis added] But asking why photographs don’t exist of an “alleged event” strikes me as a pretty strong indication of what direction
Of course, after stalling on the item for several months, Nifong recently conceded that a toxicology report done by the state was negative.
I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE TOXICOLOGY REPORT.
Yet again, it seems to me extraordinary that a professor would publicly suggest that a student or students at his own institution could have used a date-rape drug without checking as to whether the state had performed a toxicology test; and, if so, what results that test produced.
He added, [original all caps]
I STILL THINK GOING FROM APPEARING SOBER TO BEING DROP DEAD PASSING OUT IN A MATTER OF A HALF AN HOUR SEEMS VERY STRANGE.
The earth systems science professor concluded his Herald-Sun opus by revealing his motives: he wanted to counter the efforts of “a group of lawyers and advocates who seem to be doing their best to confuse the public.”
Some might argue that the only people “doing their best to confuse the public” are Nifong and
As with Grant Farred’s “phantom insights,” in one respect Crowley’s musings are almost comical, the latest manifestation of a Duke faculty member’s detachment from the reality of Mike Nifong’s Durham.
Chapter Six of the Duke Faculty Handbook opens with the following passage:
Members of the faculty expect Duke students to meet high standards of performance and behavior. It is only appropriate, therefore, that the faculty adheres to comparably high standards in dealing with students . . . Students are fellow members of the university community, deserving of respect and consideration in their dealings with the faculty.Can anyone seriously maintain that the columns of Farred or Crowley—or various other actions and statements by the Group of 88—conform to this standard?