Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Proportionality

Most elite colleges and universities offer courses that in some way expose students to the thinking of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, the Enlightenment theorist known in part for his theories of proportional responses to offenses against the law and ethical mores.

Instead of Kantian ethics, the transformation of Duke and Durham into Wonderland has featured grossly disproportionate outrage over items that, with one exception, in other contexts would have passed with little or no condemnation; and rationalizations or even praise for conduct that in normal contexts would be worthy of severe criticism.

The Party

We all know the basics: during the 2006 spring break, the lacrosse captains held an annual team party. They hired two exotic dancers. They served beer, even though some of the players weren’t 21. After one player made a tasteless remark, the dancers stopped their performance. One dancer was incapacitated and behaving in an erratic fashion. The evening ended on a very sour note, with a racially charged argument between the second dancer and one lacrosse player. By her own admission, the second dancer, Kim Roberts, initiated the racial taunts.

Just as we all know the basics, we all also know the torrent of criticism. In two editorials (March 28 and 30), Mike Nifong’s local propaganda organ, the Herald-Sun, said that the “consistently awful behavior of this team” demanded canceling its season. Such “obnoxious fun and games” as the party proved that the players “have themselves to blame for the current trouble. We shouldn’t pronounce anyone guilty, but sympathy is hard to muster.”

From Duke came a similarly one-sided and overpowering reaction:

  • In a public letter released in late March, then-Duke professor Houston Baker opined, “It is virtually inconceivable that representatives of Duke University’s Athletic Department would allow its lacrosse team to engage in regular underage drinking and out-of-control bacchanalia.”
  • Baker’s colleague, William Chafe, suggested the whites who lynched Emmitt Till as an appropriate reference point for the lacrosse players’ actions, and later added that the players having “sanctioned underage drinking, hurled racial epithets at black people, and hired a stripper” were “all facts that by themselves warrant censure and disciplinary action.”
  • The Group of 88 selected the moment to publicly denounce their students for creating a “social disaster.”
  • President Richard Brodhead, after the arrests of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, told the Durham Chamber of Commerce, “If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”

The latter comment was a particularly dubious assertion. We know exactly what Seligmann and Finnerty did: they attended a party they played no role in organizing, and they presumably drank some beer. They had departed the house by the time of the racially charged argument between Roberts and one of the players.

How uncommon—or common—were the actions of Seligmann and Finnerty? For some anecdotal evidence, take a look at webshots.com, a photo hosting service. Typing in “spring break party” reveals 79,229 photos; “spring break drunk” reveals 44,761 pictures; and “spring break beer” brings up 30,809 snapshots.

On the statistical side, five days before the lacrosse party, the American Medical Association published a survey of college-aged women—a group that would seem less likely to drink, at least according to popular concepetion, than their male counterparts. Among the survey’s findings:

  • 83 percent of college-aged women “had friends who drank the majority of the nights while on spring break.”
  • 92 percent of college-aged women “said it was easy to get alcohol while on spring break.”
  • 40 percent of college-aged women “agreed access to free or cheap alcohol or a drinking age under age 21 were important factors in their decision to go on a spring break trip.”

Does Richard Brodhead believe that as the vast majority of these college-aged women appear to have had some beer and done some spring-break partying, “whatever they did is bad enough”? Would Houston Baker use the phrase “out-of-control bacchanalia” to describe the nearly 80,000 photos of spring break parties? Would William Chafe support “censure and disciplinary action” against the 40 percent of college-aged women who “agreed access to free or cheap alcohol or a drinking age under age 21 were important factors in their decision to go on a spring break trip”?

I haven’t seen any indication that Brodhead, Chafe, or Baker would answer yes to any of these questions. Their silence in not condemning behavior by others that they deemed so worthy of censure by lacrosse players is, therefore, puzzling.

Perhaps the vitriolic censure from the Duke and Durham elite resulted from the team captains hiring strippers for the party. “One can’t imagine a team coached by Mike Krzyzewski,” harrumphed H-S editors, “ever being in a situation like this.” Well, actually, we don’t have to imagine it. Thanks to the reporting of William L. Anderson, we recently learned that the Duke basketball team had a party with strippers just two weeks before the lacrosse party. So did around 20 other Duke student groups—men and women—during the 2005-2006 academic year.

As a college professor, I don’t spend much time passing judgment on the private behavior of my students—just as I wouldn’t want them passing judgment on my private behavior. The Duke faculty and administration, obviously, has a different point of view. (So does the faculty and administration of far right-wing schools, like BYU or Liberty University, institutions with which Duke increasingly has much in common.) But, as with the issue of underage drinking, there seems to be a disproportionate response on the issue of the strippers: vehement, vitriolic public denunciation of the lacrosse players, but silence regarding identical behavior by other Duke students.

At least one Group of 88 member, in fact, seemed to celebrate stripper parties. Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African-American Studies, reasoned,

The strip club is the new church. That raises all kinds of interesting possibilities around spirituality and black bodies, dealing with issues of spirituality outside traditional notions of what spirituality in a church is supposed to be . . . When we think about women who work in strip clubs, the key component there is that word “work.” In some ways this is legitimate labor, and we need to be clear about that. And women make these decisions based on what kind of legitimate labor is in their best interest. While it’s important that black women’s sexuality not be exploited, at the same time, I don’t want to get into the business of policing black women’s sexuality, which is just as dangerous.

Another Group of 88 member, Alex Rosenberg, criticized the lacrosse players for engaging in the wrong type of sexual exploitation, while revealing himself to be prejudiced toward many of the females he taught. Rosenberg told the New York Sun that he signed the statement to express outrage at “affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.”

A proportional response to the offenses related to the party, therefore, leaves one issue: the one player who engaged in a racially charged argument with Kim Roberts. Unlike the drinking or the hiring of strippers, this act, in and of itself, is worthy of what Chafe would term “censure.” It is a normal principle in the United States, however, that we do not hold groups accountable for the thoughts or words of one of the group’s members. It would be hard to argue that the entire lacrosse team deserved the massive public censure, their season cancelled, and three players accused of a crime because one player responded to Roberts’ taunt with a despicable slur of his own.

---------

The 60 Minutes Broadcast

In a recent “Our Collective Voice” posting at Liestoppers, Cash Michaels wrote about,

the disgraceful behavior of a predominately white university team at a drunken, perverted party - pictures of which were shown on “60 Minutes” and literally shocked, saddened and dismayed Durham's Black community (I know for a fact that those still pictures of the players sitting around, alcohol in hand, watching two Black women making out with each other for the pleasure of white males, may have locked in Nifong’s Black vote).

Since Michaels has unparalleled sources within the Durham African-American community, it seems reasonable to accept his portrayal of the Black community’s response to the broadcast.

Michaels’ reporting was echoed by Houston Baker, who recently denounced “the disgusting Ed Bradley 60 Minutes piece with those disgusting photos that looked like white privilege meets exotic dancers in a horrible circle of degrading (yes, of course, legal) labor.”

Among other items, the 60 Minutes broadcast featured:

  • James Coleman vigorously denouncing prosecutorial misconduct;
  • Coleman accusing Nifong of using the case to pander to the black vote;
  • A blow-by-blow, documented demonstration of Reade Seligmann’s alibi;
  • Kim Roberts dismissing critical aspects of the accuser’s account;
  • Roberts revealing that, before they sought indictments, police had never spoken to her about aspects of the accuser’s account that had Roberts as a witness to the “rape” but directly contradicted Roberts’ statement to police;
  • A detailed discussion of how the medical evidence failed to support the accuser's myriad, mutually contradictory, versions of events.

And yet, for many Durham voters, the photos appear to have been so powerful as to have overcome the broadcast’s overwhelming delineation of ethical misconduct by their “minister of justice.”

Such a response, to put it mildly, seems very much out of proportion, especially since this vehement denunciation of college students drinking or hiring strippers (not commendable behavior by any means, but not unusual behavior, either) has been accompanied by total silence, or worse, regarding the issue of a local prosecutor and police ignoring basic ethical and legal obligations.

  • The Group of 88? Silence.
  • The Duke administration? Silence.
  • The N&O editorial board? Two milquetoast editorials questioning Nifong’s actions earlier this spring, followed by silence.
  • The Herald-Sun? Gushing support for Nifong, in both editorials and in the “news” section.
  • The state NAACP? Reversing 70 years of positions on criminal justice matters to help prop up Nifong’s case.
  • The local African-American community? Overwhelming political support for Nifong.

There’s something disproportionate in a community response that considers underage drinking and hiring strippers by one group (but not, apparently, by anyone else) as more significant than ethical misconduct by the county’s chief law enforcement officer.

This spring, Mark Anthony Neal announced that he hoped to leverage the case to bring about “an innovative and brave curriculum that will allow our students to engage one another in a progressive manner.”

It would seem to me that Duke and Durham need a little more Kant and a lot less of Neal and his allies.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Dukie and I'm disgusted with the utterances emanating, and NOT emanating from the faculty and administration. Mark Anthony Neal's proposed "innovative and brave curriculum that will allow our students to engage one another in a progressive manner” is sure to increase the number of students taking Duke off their short list of college choices.

Anonymous said...

This is such a shocking case of misconduct by the prosecutor, inflammatory and inaccurate news coverage by the New & Observer in late March and an agenda-driven rush to judgment by the 88 Duke professors — it's hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why some people have acted like the lacrosse team has engaged in behavior that is unprecedented in the history of this country.

I graduated from college a few years ago and frankly, with the exception of the racial exchange, I don't think anything that went on at this party is all that shocking. I drank just about every weekend when I was in college and strippers weren't strangers to the campus of my Alma Mater which is 3000 miles away from Duke. I went to a stripper party in college. I didn't think it was THAT big a deal. Well, it's not the kind of behavior that would make Mom and Dad proud but it isn't as terrible as some people want to make it either. Suddenly they're acting like it's 1955 or something.

Anonymous said...

nice try in trying to imply the duke basketball team behaved like the lacrosse team in having a stripper party. only you have failed to realize:

1.no strippers accused the basketball team of rape and using racial epithets

2.there was no report of inderage drinking or sex show at the basketball party

3. the team that was cited with the MOST CRIMINAL AND SCHOOL disciplinary problems for Duke for several years was the lax team not the basketball team and this was in the Coleman report(a relative whitewash trying to absolve duke of criminal liability in case a civil suit arises about their knowledge of problems at 610 and doing little to stop it).

the bottom line is that the duke lax players were assholes in( so say the very professors who taught them and know them PERSONALLY) and out of the classroom and now is the time to pay the piper. if there is no evidence, they walk. if there is evidence, they go to central prison and find out about the joys of sodomy first hand!

Anonymous said...

to 6:07,

In all of the Discovery that has been turned over to the defense (several thousand pages) please show us what evidence there is that would warrant even the indictment of these players. They were railroaded by a DA who engaged in blatant prosecutorial misconduct, and the investigation was pathetically conducted, with exculpatory evidence ignored.

You say that because some people thought some of the players were ******** that these particular players have to "pay the piper" by being charged with crimes they never commmitted. How casual you are about sending innocent young men to jail to experience its "joys". You have a very twisted mind to get some kind of perverse pleasure from that thought. Have you considered how you would feel if it was someone you loved who was being wrongfully charged? I am sickened by your post.

bill anderson said...

K.C., I am wondering how many of the Gang of 88 smoked pot when they were students, or engaged in underage drinking. However, when I was in college in the early 1970s and when many of that Gang were in school, the drinking age was 18, not 21. So, the relevant question would be how many of the Gang of 88 drank alcoholic beverages before they were 21.

When the members of the Gang of 88 were in school, smoking pot WAS illegal. Now, if any of the signees EVER smoked pot, then they have no right whatsoever to criticize any of the lacrosse players or any other students who are younger than 21 and drink.

As for the disgusting comments, when I read someone glorifying homosexual rape, then all I can say is if that person is typical of those people who support the prosecution, then it tells me what I need to know about Michael Nifong and the electorate in Durham. By the way, I have not found ANY credible source who says that Reade Seligmann was anything but a good student who was a good personal example to others. (Sorry, Peter Wood is NOT a credible source.)

Since I was the one who broke the news regarding the basketball party, I have serious doubts that basketball players at Duke somehow are the hallowed angels that their supporters would want to portray. As a former collegiate athlete who was part of a national championship team, I can tell you that from what I saw across the board, the Duke Lacrosse players hardly differed from athletes I have known.

In fact, from everything I have picked up from others, the lacrosse players were better behaved than others. It was the Duke administration that chose to portray the lacrosse team as being out-of-control when the facts have not warranted such a judgment.

AMac said...

anonymous 6:07am --

You have made a series of charges in a McCarthyite fashion. They might be true, partly correct, or entirely false. You've given the reader no way of making a judgement--other than on the basis of the scurrilous tone of the comment itself.

If you intend to participate in a conversation rather than simply acting the part of a troll, please substantiate your charges with references and links. And withdraw those that you can't elevate above the level of fourth-hand gossip. Or fabrication.

Not that I expect a civil, relevant response. Just thought I'd mention what appropriate standards are.

bill anderson said...

I need to add a comments on the 6:07 AM in which the person says that if "there is no evidence, they walk." First, we have seen that there is no real evidence that demonstrates rape.

Second, apparently Seligmann's evidence of being gone was not acceptible to Nifong and the Durham community, as Nifong promptly had the cab driver arrested on trumped-up charges and then changed his account of the non-rape to better fit his own timeline. Apparently Cash Michaels, Irving Joyner, and the NAACP and ACLU chapters of Durham had no problem with these obviously false charges. That tells us what we need to know about them.

Third, we have seen the people of Durham explain away literally every piece of exculpatory evidence by using conspiracy theories. So far, we have heard:

1. Duke University Hospital "tampered" with the DNA samples (no evidence presented for that),
2. The Duke lacrosse players used condoms (condomns leave residue that was not found, and even with condoms, there likely would have been DNA left from such a "brutal" attack -- as Cash Michaels has called the non-rape),
3. The players cleaned up, because everything they needed to know they had seen on CSI (This is a good one. From what Nifong has described of the alleged attack, it is hard to believe that these guys could have made a huge mess, and then miraculously cleaned it up in a minute, as Nifong now alleges),
4. The accuser told wildly different and multiple stories, so this is proof of trauma (and had she told just one story, that, too, would have been given as proof, so we have another post-modern moment in which no evidence is evidence and different stories and consistent stories both "prove" guilt).

I could go on, but what I have laid out IS what people in Durham have chosen to believe. Now, if one of them were accused, I doubt they would be willing to accept such "proof" against themselves, but in this age of political correctness, I guess anything that is hand will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

To 6:07

Are you serious...you think the basketball hired strippers and were not drinking...do not think so. This is college people...kids drink...so what!! So did most of their parents and grandparents before them.
You are right on one comment. The basketball team was not accused of rape. WE ALL KNOW THAT CHARGE IS A 'FANTASTIC LIE'. Get over it. There is NOT ONE OUNCE of evidence to prove these players did anything wrong to be accused of this crime.(ONE racial slur...not excusable..I know..but not worthy of what has happened to this team)

I beg to differ on these guys being****. Actually the reports from Duke show a very different picture. A polite, respectful group of guys...sorry...nice try though!!!
Criminal past ...nice try again...they DID NOT Have this horrible record you think they have. Bogus reporting to trump up the HOAX.
Would be nice if people had the facts straight before making such horrible remarks of their own.

Anonymous said...

Just one of the unfortunate aspects of the rape hoax is that it has made the falsely accused players fair game for all manner of commentators willing to pronounce public character judgment on 19-23 year old men whom they have never met on the basis of the flimsiest evidence. Even commentators who are willing to acknowledge that the rape charge is almost certainly a fabrication nonetheless feel free to opine in the media that the players have done bad things and are not of good character. These individuals should only pray that their own children's private lives are never subjected to such excessive and misguided public judgment.

GPrestonian said...

1:11am Anon - 1955? Well, at least there was no toga party ;>)

6:07am Anon - "if there is no evidence, they walk" should be If there is no evidence, the charges should be dropped.

"1.no strippers accused the basketball team of rape and using racial epithets" - none that we know of, anyway, since the b-ball soiree wasn't reported at all, apparently, until W Anderson reported it. So we also don't know the race of the strippers, or of the majority of the attendees.


"2.there was no report of [u]nderage drinking or sex show at the basketball party" - again, the b-ball party wasn't reported. As to underage drinking - highly unlikely that there wasn't. Sex show? - that's what strippers do.

I don't think that all strippers make false charges of rape, but the charges made by this particular, seriously disturbed stripper/escort appear to be devoid of corroborating evidence, and contradicted by quite a lot of other factors.

I say seriously disturbed because of her drug abuse, aborted military service, and children out-of-wedlock. Sounds like the b-ball team was fortunate enough to get strippers of the more centered, well-rounded, and less mercenary persuasion.

AMac said...

In the post, KC Johnson contrasts the outraged response of (parts of) the Duke community to the lacrosse team captains hosting a bawdy stripper-themed party, and the tacit acceptance of similar actions by basketball players.

Here is a N&O story from April 9 that reports that members of the Duke baseball team have also hired exotic dancers for parties.

I have read plausible but unreliably-sourced comments that other groups of Duke students have done much the same thing.

The response of the Group of 88-aligned faculty and the Administration thus does seem lacrosse-team-focused, rather than dispassionate and proportionate.

GPrestonian said...

6:07am Anon seems to use the apparent 'fact' that there were no rapes reported at the b-ball party to indicate that the LAX accuser's story thus has more credibilty.

LiesStoppers has a great post this AM on "Comparison of the Twenty Nine Indicators of False Accusations to the Hoax"

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

People should remember that these white lacrosse players did not request black dancers, that is just what was sent over. So anyone upset at white guys watching black girls dance should keep in mind that it was not a specific request, rather, it is what the place sent over.

Anonymous said...

Bill-

With out naming names and going into detail I assure you that you are correct. I can give KC and you specifics if you would like but I lived in Durham for 3 years and attended tons of parties and I can give you over 10 examples of Duke basketball players who are now picking up large paychecks in the NBA drunk out of their minds and smoking pot.

Anonymous said...

8:31 To be exact, 22 parties were held on Duke campus involving strippers during academic year 05-06. This included both male and female strippers. The details of these parties exist. Brodhead and the group of 88 will get to see them (as if they didn't know!) soon enough.

That's why these foolish, lying, hypocrites must be busy practicing how to "act shocked and surprised."

duke09parent said...

The big difference between the lacrosse party and other teams' is that the lax party hit the news big time and the allegations were certainly more serious than just drinking and watching strippers. The facts that the sport, increasingly undeserving, has an image of northeast prep and that not so many care about it as much as the "major" sports made the team's season more expendable.

I have said before that it is a sad fact of life that large corporations will cut loose anyone who causes them public embarrassment, whatever the level of guilt or innnocence of the actor. That doesn't justify this prosecution, which came from a different corner and different motivation.

Forcing Pressler's resignation was disproportionate, but suspending the season was not. How many of our now supporters, outside the immediate lacrosse team family, were a little surprised at the Coleman report? Didn't the team have a reputation of party-hard guys? Coach Pressler did have to rein in their participation in Tailgate.

I also believe that calling for the resignation or firing of Brodhead or the Group of 88 is disproportionate to their offenses. Baker seems to have a screw loose (I wonder if he condemns interracial marriage?) but at least he's a moot point now as far as Duke is concerned.

duke09parent said...

Correction to my characterization of lacrosse:

It is still perceived as a northeast prep school sport, a perception which is increasingly undeserved. It is reaching into the public schools. (I didn't mean to say it was an undeserving sport. I like it.)

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it have been nice if Nifong had taken the mature approach of Queens DA Richard Brown in the awful incident that occured over the weekend?

"I will be guided only by the law and the facts," Brown said in a statement. "I will reach no conclusions until the investigation is complete. There will be no rush to judgment."

"No rush to judgement" is not in Nifong's vocabulary!

Anonymous said...

duke '09 parent
Surprised at what? What did the Coleman report reveal about the Lacrosse players that is different than ANY other student on campus?
The surprise to many is that they were not at all like they were portrayed in the MSM by NIfong and Duke professors.

Anonymous said...

"I also believe that calling for the resignation or firing of Brodhead or the Group of 88 is disproportionate to their offenses."

Disagree---they are responsible for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lost donation dollars as well as lost opportunities in terms of highly-qualified prospective students.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the poster boy for the squeaky clean Duke B-Ball team recently arrested and convicted for drunk driving? He should have called Elmo for a ride!

Phillip said...

Doesn't the Justice Department also have ethics codes that apply to DA's? And 6:07 there is not a smoking gun you know all of the evidence where the hell do you get off saying what you did? I hope you get a little but of karma and get arrested for a trumped up charge by a lying whore and get sodomized in prison waiting for your appeal to overturn you bogus conviction. Any conviction in this case will be overturned before it leave Durham.

duke09parent said...

10:24--Surprised that they are well above average students with well above average records of public service. Part of my own misperception of them (before Nifong and the MSM got into it) was fueled by exposure to my neighborhood public high school lacrosse team (some saw their attitude as esprit de corps, others as arrogance, and they had a reputation for more drinking than other teams). There was also a locally well-publicized SAT cheating scandal 2-4 years ago involving lacrosse players at an elite program in my metropolitan area. My perceptions of the Duke team were wrong, but not completely unjustified or (more to my previous point) not unusual among even thinking people.

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

JJ Redick was NEVER the poster child for squeeky clean. Most Duke fans know that. Now if you said Shane Battier, that would be more in line.

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember that there were very slight disciplinary measures taken against a sorority at Duke last year when it was disclosed that they, too, had hired a stripper for a Spring Break party. Anyone know a verification for that?

Anonymous said...

Chicago also writes:

I agree Broadhead needs to be removed and the Group of 88 needs to face discipline and potentially dismissal.

Anonymous said...

Chicago,
During his time there, JJ most certainly WAS the poster child for Duke B-Ball, which the MSM portrays as a squeaky clean program. Real Duke fans may know different but the general public was SHOCKED when he got a DUI. My only inference from the post was that 6:07 is clueless, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

12:22


You are correct.
JJ absolutely was the poster child for the program...but not for the squeeky clean part of the program. The kid was a party animal his first two years and his commitment to partying is well documented in Sports Illustrated and other sources. JJ is on record admitting that he had a tough time letting go of the life style in order to focus more on hoops. In fact, Coach K did an intervention of sorts with him between his soph and junior year. I lived in Durham while JJ was there and with out going into details I will just say his DUI did not surprise me in the slightest.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

10:28 AM, would you please provide us with a link to the source you are relying on for your statement that Brodhead has cost the university millions of dollars in lost financial support. During its most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, Duke received by far the highest amount of financial support that it has ever received in its entire history, and a very substantial portion of that financial support was received in the last three months of the fiscal year after the LAX mess had hit the national media, so I am just wondering where you came up with your information. Or did you just decide to make this up because you are a fanatical LAX team supporter and you thought this would be a good way to stick it to Brodhead?

AMac said...

anonymous 12:51pm --

You ask questions, some of them good, but AFAICT you have yet to respond to any that have been addressed your way over the past few posts.

Your answers would be interesting, given your passionate defense of the Brodhead Administration.

Conversation is supposed to be two-way.

Anonymous said...

The lax team DID have a reputation for being wilder than other teams and fraternities. And if you ever went to Tailgate or walked down Buchanan after 7P on a Wed, Thurs, Fri, or Sat, you would KNOW why they had a reputation. They are a very large group (as opposed to the basketball team) so it's probably easier for them to gain a reputation. But the point made by others is still the most important--none of this wildness warrants the false allegations or the total disregard of the tenants of our judicial system displayed by Nifong. While I could rationalize the reaction of the ordinary citizen (after all, most people DO trust the DA to indict only when there is evidence of a crime), it is impossible to understand the silence of those who would normally rise to the defense of the wrongly accused, of those who make it their purpose in life to speak out against the injustices of our system.

12:47--the low IQ references are out of line, IMO. Durham is no different from any other city--and the RTP area (including Durham) has one of the highest percentages of phD's in the country.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TombZ said...

6:07: Are you a Duke professor in the liberal arts?

The tone of your email suggest that because the LAX players are a**holes (all of them; really?), they should go to trial despite the lack of probable cause or any reasonable standards of judicial review for evidence and the charges.

I've met many professors who are a**holes, but not all of them (I can make the distinction, you haven't). By your standard, as well as willingness to label them as an impersonal, homogenized group (as racists do), then you should be put on trial solely because someone thinks YOU are the a**hole here, as I do. Perhaps you'd like me to charge you with sexual assault? Next time I see you in your classroom you might want to make sure you have a chaperone around.

12:47/1:31: You are on your own here - you won't get any support for your comments.

GPrestonian said...

OK, a bit OT to this thread, but here's some scary poll results:

Are you satisfied with Nifong's DA election victory?

This is on the Duke Chronicle site (if the link doesn't work, go to the Sports main page, scroll down on right), and the results thus far are 63% Yes / 37% No.

Anonymous said...

From 1:22pm:

"after all, most people DO trust the DA to indict only when there is evidence of a crime."

At least for me, I USED to trust the DA to indict only when there is evidence of a crime. Not now, not ever again.

Anonymous said...

above poster:

the findings of "the bell curve" are shared by most intelligent people, but they keep it to themselves--get it?

i'd love to give Brodhead a polygraph test:

Q: hey babe, isn't it scary how stupid most of the black faculty is?

that's the real deal: everything else is BS

Anonymous said...

The Duke 88 have proven their lack of intelligence. The fact that the majority of them are black also prove that no matter what the evidence of innocence blacks will side with blacks, whereas a white person is more prone to look at the evidence and decide not based on color but truth.

Anonymous said...

right on: the relationship between morality and IQ was 1 of the more fascinating findings in murray and herrnstein's masterpiece (principal author was murray, by the way)

Anonymous said...

The "Big Disconnect" is this;

The Brodehead "camp" - those who condemn the "bad behavior" of the Lax team - juding them as "misbehaving boys"

vs

The same "camp's" treatment of the players as "adults who need to stand on their own" - alone - in the face of the legal process.

The players are getting 'smacked' both ways --- treated as kids and alternatingly as adults when it serves the "camp's" needs.

Brodehead, P Wood, Stuart Rojstaczer, the "88", etc can't have it both ways when it serves their needs.

If they see the Players as "kids", there's a moral obligation to not "smear them", if not stand up for them.

If they see the Players as "adults", then they have no position to condemn their behavior.

Can't have it both ways - Dick.

Anonymous said...

To 10:41

"not unusual among even thinking people. "

Judging "all" lacrosse players by those in your local community is NOT evidence of a thinking person.

Why, you might even call it "knee-jerk", or "close minded", or if you (someone else) "thinks" about it - YOU DID NOT THINK AT ALL.

AMac said...

tombz wrote at 1:47pm --

> 12:47/1:31: You are on your own here - you won't get any support for your comments.

Charles Murray may be right or wrong, but he always argues with great care, referencing his source material and refraining from simplistic conclusions. Especially those concerning the heritability of G (IQ).

There is something jarring about certain commenters ratifying their preconceived notions by offering lower-than-lowest-common-denominator bowdlerizations of Murray's theories. Somehow, I don't think he'd fully approve.

KC Johnson said...

On the Group of 88:

A majority of the signatories are (as far as I can tell) white, though the American-American Studies Department has the highest percentage (80%) of any signatories.

And, of course, the two chiefs of unethical behavior (Nifong and Gottlieb) are white.

Anonymous said...

To 1:51--
Vis a vis the poll on the Chronicle site--when this item was first posted, the response was overwhelmingly (more than 70%) negative. It's possible there has been some manipulation of the results by people who would prefer the positive outcome, as anyone can vote on the poll questions and all can vote multiple times if they want to. I think it's unlikely the percentages currently shown on the site represent the true feelings of the Duke community (especially the students).

Anonymous said...

I am tired of hearing the "agenda nuts" refer to "underage drinking" as bad behavior. At 18 your old enough to sign up for the draft, old enough for your Country to send you off to war --- and old enough to make the ultimate sacrifice and die for your Country, but oh boy, if you drink a beer, that's bad behavior. You are asking for trouble.
Those boys are innocent, and everyone knows it!

Anonymous said...

Well, if you ask me, 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.

huesofblue said...

Making this about IQ is absurd. Whatever else you can say about the staff of the New York Times, they're not stupid. We haven't seen any evidence that Nifong or his investigators have low IQs either (UNC law may not be Duke, but it's still a damn good school). Moreover, even if the members of the group of 88 can't stand toe to toe with your average physics department, their IQs are still going to be well above average for the population as a whole.

And this cuts the other way too. Out of the 51 percent that voted against Nifong, you can rest assured that they didn't all possess top tier IQs (the Monks voters prove that much).

You don't need to be rocket scientist to weigh evidence and come to your own conclusions about a case.

huesofblue said...

Making this about IQ is absurd. Whatever else you can say about the staff of the New York Times, they're not stupid. We haven't seen any evidence that Nifong or his investigators have low IQs either (UNC law may not be Duke, but it's still a damn good school). Moreover, even if the members of the group of 88 can't stand toe to toe with your average physics department, their IQs are still going to be well above average for the population as a whole.

And this cuts the other way too. Out of the 51 percent that voted against Nifong, you can rest assured that they didn't all possess top tier IQs (the Monks voters prove that much).

You don't need to be rocket scientist to weigh evidence and come to your own conclusions about a case.

Anonymous said...

We should also keep in mind that we have here a lacrosse team many of whose members exhibited boorish behavior and who seemed to have little regard for upholding the university’s reputation in their private conduct.

Anonymous said...

We should also remember that we're dealing with a lacrosse team many of whose members exhibited boorish behavior and who seemed to have little regard for upholding the university’s reputation in their private conduct.

hueofblue said...

4:16,

Their "boorish" behavior is a non-issue. Drunkeness, public urination, hiring strippers and being a bad neighbor aren't felonies. These "crimes" aren't even enough to get kicked off the team or suspended for a semester, much less expelled. Arguing that a rape prosecution is a fitting punishment for general boorishness is exactly like arguing that a woman in a short skirt deserves to be raped. It's just plain wrong.

bill anderson said...

Give me a break with the "bad actors" talking points from the Duke administration. Is the commentor trying to tell me that the lacrosse players are the only students at Duke to have been drinking at (horrors) under 21? Did any administrator or faculty member at Duke ever go to or participate in a college party where there was underage drinking? Did any of those guys smoke pot or snort cocaine?

In other words, I am sick of this "the Duke 3 should be prosecuted for rape because some teammates drank beer and peed on the sidewalk" nonsense. Duke's reputation is taking a much bigger hit because of how the faculty and administration CHOSE to handle the aftermath of this situation. They threw the lacrosse players under the bus, accused them of being rapists, and now Brodhead and company want me to think of them as VICTIMS? Again, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

KC,

If, and when this case goes to trial, how long will it last? What repercussions do you expect Mr. Nifong to face? Lastly, if these stud nets are acquitted, what legal redress do they have at their disposal?

Thanks,

RM PAM

Anonymous said...

Those who wish that everything is A-OKAY at Duke may well challenge assertions of fundraising losses. And Duke may post an increase this year-- but remember: there is a lot of inertia in the system. Speaking as a former development person, I think you are whistling past the graveyard if you think this debacle will not have a significant effect on development income. My bet is that it will come to light, eventually, that a sizable contingency of major contributors are very seriously and thoroughly pissed off about Duke's disastrous handling of an outrageous Hoax and miscarriage of justice against our own students. Any successful business or professional person (you know, those people who actually do something to earn a living rather than wanking their wooly thinking colleagues and stiffing waiters at conventioneers' restaurants at meaningless conferences about nothing,) can see that much of the situation could have been averted had Broadhead stood up like a leader and asserted the boys' rights, instead of mewling and fingering the drapes, pandering to insane black racists, and coming off like some simpering old uncle with Alzheimers who thinks he's getting cleverer rather than losing his marbles. As for regular folks, my family, for one, had already contributed before the awareness dawned of just how dastardly the behavior of Broadhead, his flunkies and the Despicable 88 and others have been. We have contributed to Duke every year for many years. I am now monitoring the Duke Hoax and continue to be appalled at the dishonesty, stupidity, posturing and sheer mean-spiritedness of many at Duke. There will be no contribution next fiscal year and my feelings about the place are fundamentally different; perhaps irrevocably. I am deeply disappointed in an institution I love-- or did love. And I doubt I am isolated in having those feelings. Free the Duke Three, Disbar Nifong, Fire Broadhead. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

to 4:10 and 4:15/4:16;

If this were true then 90% of college students probably fall into this category. They did nothing to embarrass their university...Nifong, Brodhead, and the group of 88 DID do everything to embarrass Duke!

Anonymous said...

I would never blame the lacrosse players for the predicament they are in. And I agree that many college students across the country binge drink, hire strippers, etc. We weren't angels when I was in college either--drinking at 18 was legal, but pot was not and plenty of people did that. HOWEVER, 4:44 is incorrect to say that their offenses (drinking, public urination) were not enough to have gotten them suspended or kicked off the team. those exact offenses have gotten non-athletes suspended for a semester, kicked out of dorms, etc (I know of specific examples.) There are those that felt the lacrosse team (and some other athletes) got special treatment in that the administration looked the other way for offenses that would have gotten "ordinary" students in major trouble. The LAX team DID do something wrong--but they certainly didn't deserve felony charges.

Likewise, the administration deserves some criticism--but they did not create this mess either. Anyone who believes a different reaction from Brodhead up front would have deterred Nifong hasn't been paying attention--it would only have provoked him more.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
European Dukie said...

To put the heinous offense of "under-age drinking" into proportion, the Wikipedia article under that heading shows that the US is virtually the only non-Islamic country where it's illegal for a person over 18 to drink alcohol at a private residence.

Anonymous said...

7:34--I have not yet met a parent who doesn't think that beer and wine (at least) should be legal at 18. I believe the strict drinking laws are largely the reason for the binge drinking that takes place among today's teens. If drinking were legal, it would occur ON CAMPUS instead of off, and kids wouldn't have to "pre-load." However, the problem is that drinking is against the law, and there have been precedents for law suits by parents when their college students drink on-campus. It is not Duke's problem, but a national problem, and it won't change unless a lot of people speak out. The MADD lobby (which I think is largely responsible for the drinking laws) is very powerful and well-intentioned, but misdirected.

KC Johnson said...

To the 6.08:

It's my sense that, in fact, the Duke judicial process on minor (alcohol-related) issues skewed disproportionately against athletes in general and lacrosse players in particular. I'm working on a post on this issue that should appear within the next couple of weeks. So, in theory, I would agree--the popular conception is that all college disciplinary procedures favor athletes. But the reality in this specific case appears to have been different.

The 15 "offenses" consisted of 13 open cans of malt and two claims of public urination. If Duke started suspending students for these offenses, hundreds would be suspended every year. As I've said before, if Duke wants to become Liberty University, it can--it's a private school. But it has to be consistent in how it enforces rules.

To the 4.16: The "boorish" behavior of the players was similar to that of hundreds of other Duke students and thousands upon thousands of students nationally. Based on what I've seen over the past six months, if I had to choose between the behavior of the Duke student body, including the lacrosse players, and the Group of 88, this choice wouldn't be a hard one.

Length of trial: impossible to say at this point, because the key pre-trial motions haven't yet been decided on. How those motions are decided will affect how both sides would go about their strategies.

Anonymous said...

6:08's comment about Broadhead and Nifong again misses the point. The poster speaks as if Broadhead's option was to play the situation differently. No! Broadhead's option was to stand up and speak the truth-- that the students were innocent unless proven guilty through due process. Broadhead could also have worked through the documents and timelines as so many of us have and if he had done so, could have concluded that several elements of the "investigation" and the behavior of the District Attorney were seriously amiss, and could have used his bully pulpit to declare that Duke citizens have certain rights that other citizens share. Not to speak to the obvious breach of ethics and morality involved in the patently false prosecution of the students is an act of moral cowardice and dishonesty. That cowed acquiescence to Nifong and the political pot bangers has only enouraged that this farce continue-- to the lasting detriment of the University he is charged to care for and to the students who too are his charge. He and Duke are way wrong throughout this process and we who are affiliated with Duke University will pay for his failure to understand the basic issues for a very long time. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

the pros's "strategy" is obvious:

all-black, all-durham jury

i'll have my jury nullification with a twist

bye, bye evil lakros playahs--precious done turned you into bitchas

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

People should remember that these white lacrosse players did not request black dancers, that is just what was sent over. So anyone upset at white guys watching black girls dance should keep in mind that it was not a specific request, rather, it is what the place sent over.

9:51 AM


The players made no request for racial preferences for dancers. If they had, it may cause some people some discomfort and cause them to postulate that it is improper for white males to view non-white exotic dancers. This is a dangerous path to take. The logical next step of such an illogical position would be to reinstate Jim Crow Laws.

Anonymous said...

1.kim said the players told her they wanted a hispanic and a white girl. kim is half black and half asian so they accepted that she might be hispanic. she said they were upset when the other stripper walked in. still, they did not send either woman back.

2.KC and Bill anderson, let us imagine that you are called by the defense as character witnesses for the duke 3 and also Wood, who you both have termed non-credible. Which person would the judge or jury think has the most experienece with the accused, the person(Wood) who taught them for a semester or you two WHO HAVE NEVER MET THEM IN YOUR LIFE. You got it. Wood is more credible as he has first hand experience.

3. why do people on here persist in saying only one person said the n word. kim said it echoed on 60 minutes. an echo is a repeat so more than one person said it and Bissey stated they were screaming epithets. this is one more attempt to white wash the players actions.

4.Why single out Redick? I did not as i know his history of marijuana use well.

Anonymous said...

nigger nigger nigger

so now i'm a rapist?

the above poster would make an ideal durham juror, given his/her low intelligence

Michael Filteau said...

"3. why do people on here persist in saying only one person said the n word. kim said it echoed on 60 minutes. an echo is a repeat so more than one person said it and Bissey stated they were screaming epithets. this is one more attempt to white wash the players actions."

Methinks you need to refresh your memory of the definition of echo. Kim said that ONE utterance echoed, not that more than one person said it and not that it was said more than once.

The screamed "epithets" that Bissey refers to is more likely than not that one exchange, which includes the n-word and the cotton shirt remark.

Anonymous said...

Someone answer this now:

Why is uttering the over-hyped "N-word" so much more of an issue than a rat's azz black person using words like "hymie", "wap", "spic", "redneck", "honkie", or "cracker"?

The blacks in this country seem to be like children. They think they should be allowed to get away with their trash, but try to put others in prison for using an epithet on them.

The lacrosse players asked for white or Hispanic strippers. When these ugly skanks showed up with an attitude and wanted to take money for a few minutes of "dancing", the arguments began.

Indeed, things were said that should not have been said, but Kim Roberts prompted the exchange by telling one of the lacrosse players that white men have small "d*cks".

No one should be proud of themselves in this mess, but it is only the white lacrosse players who are paying for giving these black ho's the same verbal taunts as they gave first.

All of this has been to get revenge.

Even the biggest Liberal will tell you in private that they have to placate blacks. Just how much respect and confidence in their intellectual abilities does one have when they think that way?

Even the disgusting coward Richard Brodhead will no doubt admit the same in private.

Why don't black racists work on themselves and stop expecting a free ride from society? That mentality is like a disease with most.

God help the Duke lacrosse players from RACIST DURHAM, NC.

Anonymous said...

In answer to anonymous:
Don't be fooled. The "n" word is the favorite word of choice for many blacks. Would blacks use that word if they were really so hurt and humiliated by it? And let's say they were offended by it, so? Since when is hurting someone's feelings a crime? And should it be?
Here is a link to the video of the black parents who call their 8 or 9yr old children "nigger" no less than 20 times in the process of videotaping them as they force them to fist fight.
http://compfused.blogspot.com/2006/11/jr-ghetto-street-fights.html

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 12:19 AM--So what you're saying is that black racists get Affirmative Action treatment in this country even when they argue with someone who is white. Ha!

They fake shock and emotional damage to extort whatever they want from the "offenders".

Pretty repulsive. One thing this unfortunate Duke lacrosse case will do is show everyone nationwide how the black community thinks and behaves on a pretty consistent level..

This awful mess will backfire on them. Good and decent people will begin to demand civilized behavior from these clowns.

If the stripper "Precious" isn't prosecuted and sent to prison for this fraud, then every citizen should rise up and demand it be done.

Anonymous said...

1.it is not right even when blacks use the n word. many younger blacks use it to try to rehab the word and to try to "own" it but most older blacks view it as perjorative regardless of the race who uses it. it does hurt more when a white person uses it as white people used in slavery to dehumanise blacks and strip us of our cultural identity. they would separate the different tribes when they captured the slaves so they all had to learn english to communicate and then they used the word n-----r to strip them of being a Yoruba or a Hausa, etc. You were now not a tribesman with a history and a king, etc, you were now a n-----r, who could be sold, raped, worked to death, ill clad and with no shoes and forced to eat the remains of the food like pig feet and chicken feet. you could be whipped, killed, etc. you were a n---r and therefore were not supposed to feel pain or be tired. black women were forced to return to the fields within hours after giving birth. black children were sold from their mothers at age 8 or even younger, as they were just n-----rs and did not have the same feeling as a white child did. A n----r was also lazy, dumb,worthless, etc. this is the legacy of the n word and it is difficult to "overhype". when a white person uses it, all of that comes back up in the black person's mind. we had a black lady push and kill a white elderly lady here in nc and the black woman got off on an absurd plea deal because several independant witnesses reported the white woman called the black woman a n---r several times over cutting in line at a store. the white woman's last words were n----r. the da gave the black woman a plea deal as the death was an accident and the black woman was provoked but no way in hell was he going to try that case here with all the blacks here in nc. he got rid of it instead.

Anonymous said...

What a stupid story.

Are you proud of yourself?

That a looney black woman was unable to control herself and killed a white elderly woman?

Then the black hag got off for killing someone because of the "N" word?

Seems nothing defines that word more than lowlife people who enjoy someone being killed over it.

Are all black racists thrilled by such a death?

Then perhaps that word applies. Get used to it.

But do something first. Go after the African brothers who captured sold their own tribesmen into slavery. If not for them, the Southern plantations would never have been able to produce the slave trade..

And you don't know how much some of us despise those plantation owners. If not for their ill-advised institution, we wouldn't have to endure all this whining. And our tax dollars could go for things more productive than incessant pro-creation and a drug and gangsta culture.

Life in this country would be elevated tremendously.