Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Stubbornness of Facts

Yesterday’s post traced events between March 16 and March 26, when the Duke administration possessed considerable freedom of action.

The post made three major points:

  • While the issue was fast-moving, Duke administrators had learned a considerable amount about the evening’s events, both from their reported discussions with local law enforcement and through their meeting with the captains. All this information pointed to the dubious nature of the accuser’s claims.
  • The last-minute cancellation of the March 25 game, after assurances the previous day that the game would be played, only intensified the public pressure it was meant to temper. The very act of cancellation implied guilt, as did Brodhead’s statement highlighting the assertion that “physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke.”
  • Judged by Brodhead’s own recently stated standards—a commitment to due process and the presumption of innocence—the administration’s conduct in this 11-day period fell short.

In his March 25 statement, Brodhead made clear that the last-minute cancellation did not imply a conviction in the players’ guilt. But the move certainly implied that Duke would do little or nothing to defend team members, despite administrators consistently (if privately) expressing their belief in the players’ innocence.

March 27

As the workweek started, Durham County’s “minister of justice” made clear that he had gotten the message. With his cash-starved campaign being kept afloat through personal loans, Nifong decided to exploit the case for all it was worth. Ignoring Rule 3.8(f) of the state bar’s ethics code, which requires prosecutors to “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused,” the “minister of justice” added a fourth task (de facto Police Department spokesperson) to his previous three—district attorney, supervising investigator, and candidate for public office.

“In this case,” said Nifong (covering all his political bases), “where you have the act of rape—essentially a gang rape—is bad enough in and of itself, but when it’s made with racial with racial epithets against the victim, I mean, it’s just absolutely unconscionable . . . My guess is that some of this stonewall of silence that we have seen may tend to crumble once charges start to come out.”

To this day, the leadership of Duke has not commented on Nifong’s habitual disregard for the bar’s ethical canons in dealing with Duke students.

March 28

The Herald-Sun published an editorial remarkable in both its factual errors and its conviction that a rape occurred: “When police officers arrived at the house with a search warrant on March 16, none of the players would cooperate with the investigation [sic]. Later, under threat of further penalty [sic], 46 members of the team were DNA-tested by police . . . the allegations of rape bring the students’ arrogant frat-boy culture to a whole new, sickening level . . . We agree that the alleged crime isn’t the only outrage. It’s also outrageous that not a single person who was in the house felt compelled to step forward and tell the truth about what happened [sic].” Duke, which knew the first and last statements were false, remained silent.

Facing Nifong’s verbal assault and the Herald-Sun’s defamatory writings, Duke folded almost immediately. Brodhead announced that the team would be suspended from competition until Nifong completed his work. In effect, this decision canceled the season. The move also contradicted assurances that lacrosse parents had received at the March 25 meeting that, until the legal process was completed, the team would resume play after the two canceled games.

The statement the president read at a press conference doesn’t appear on the Duke archive of Brodhead statements; but according to the N&O, the president said, “Sports have their time and place, but when issues of this gravity are in question, it is not the time to be playing games.”

The very same “issues of gravity,” of course, had been in question four days when the captains met with Duke administrators and had received word that the Georgetown game would proceed as planned. And these very same “issues of gravity” had been in question three days before, when administrators had assured parents that the suspension would last for two games, not the entire season.

The Herald-Sun editorial page, which had already deemed the players guilty, celebrated Brodhead’s remarks. The editors commended the president for “doing the right thing,” adding that the players “have themselves to blame for the current trouble.”

Public relations, not a presumption of innocence, dictated the administration’s reversal of course. As Bob Steel, chairman of the Board of Trustees and Brodhead’s most vehement supporter, informed the New Yorker, “We had to stop those pictures [of the players practicing]. It doesn’t mean that it’s fair, but we had to stop it. It doesn’t necessarily mean I think it was right—it just had to be done.”

Steel’s comments, perhaps unintentionally, offered the most powerful evidence yet to appear that public relations concerns, not a presumption of innocence, motivated Duke’s response throughout. There certainly seem few other credible explanations for the reversal, within 24 hours, of the March 24 assurances that the Georgetown game would occur as scheduled.

March 29

On campus, Brodhead’s decision to suspend the season only emboldened faculty ideologues. Indeed, Duke’s arts and sciences faculty was revealed to possess an unusually large bloc of professors for whom advancing their personal, curricular, or ideological agendas appeared to have more importance than upholding the the well-being of Duke students.

A public letter from English and African-American Studies professor Houston Baker opened the floodgates. Lamenting the “college and university blind-eying of male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain,” Baker denounced the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us.” To act against “violent, white, male, athletic privilege,” he urged the “immediate dismissals” of “the team itself and its players.”

That evening, the African-American Studies Department transformed a forum on black masculinity into a discussion of the case. ESPN reported that “there were two white women in the room, [Wahneema] Lubiano remembered, a few Latino and Asian students and a couple of white faculty members. Everyone else was black.” Anonymous student remarks allegedly made at this meeting would appear eight days later, framing the Group of 88’s statement denouncing the players.

Meanwhile, Faulkner Fox continued to facilitate linkages between extremist voices among the faculty and in the community. Her pot-banging protests attracted considerable media attention, and she used the opportunity to pronounce the players guilty. “The arrogance and bravado that they were above the law or they could think this woman is below the respect of the human community really outrages a lot of people,” Fox told WRAL. Displaying the kind of logic that would manifest itself in the coming Group of 88 statement, she declared, “The students need to realize they live in a community, and people are going to talk back if they do something, or potentially do something, that is disrespectful to women.” [emphasis added]

Events of the day, alas, demonstrated to Brodhead a basic lesson from history: appeasing irresponsible ideologues rarely yields positive results.

March 30

Less than 10 percent of Duke’s full-time faculty members attended an emergency meeting of the Academic Council, allowing the lacrosse team’s most extreme critics—who appeared in full force—to dominate the affair. To give a sense of the meeting’s tone, Paul Haagen (“helmet sports”) was among the gathering’s most moderate faculty voices. And, in fairness to Brodhead, administrators, especially Executive Vice President Tallman Trask, cautioned against precipitous action at the meeting. No administrator, however, proved willing to confront the faculty extremists.

From administration members came three announcements that would foreshadow events to come.

1.) At Brodhead’s request, Trask replied to faculty assertions that the lacrosse players had an excessive amount of problems. The executive vice president said that, based on inquiries into the matter he had conducted the previous summer, he had not seen anything in the lacrosse team’s university discipline records that didn’t seem to have been dealt with appropriately or that required further intervention on the administration’s part. (He reportedly prefaced his remarks by saying that he reached this conclusion “as much as I would have liked to have found something,” suggesting that Trask was not a figure who would sugarcoat data in the lacrosse players’ favor.) Since the players tended to do things in a group, he explained, if one was found with an open container, several others would be cited for the same offense.

Trask’s remarks previewed the conclusions of the Coleman Committee report, which revealed that the team as a whole consisted of good students with good records of on-campus behavior who had a disproportionately high number of minor alcohol-related offenses, joining hundreds of other Duke students in such offenses.

2.) Brodhead warned that the institution needed to be wary of disciplining the lacrosse team in a way that was consistent with Duke’s past performance regarding underage drinking parties, the hiring of strippers, or even a student using a racial slurs. The president noted the danger of creating a new policy and making an example of the players.

The administration, however, had already contradicted these admirable sentiments five days before; Brodhead’s canceling the Georgetown game differed from the traditional Duke approach to underage drinking parties or the hiring of exotic dancers. It also doesn’t appear that, in the past, Duke has meted out punishment to a group because one student in the group used a racial slur.

3.) Brodhead suggested that saying Duke could fix its cultural problems by hammering the lacrosse team would admit to the world that Duke’s problems were somehow more serious than what is normally reflected in society.

Exactly one week later, 88 of his faculty members did exactly what the president had cautioned them to avoid. Brodhead would say nothing.

Meanwhile, most assembled professors leveled vitriolic attacks against the team. One speaker claimed that Duke, as an institution, practiced drinking and rape, and the lacrosse incident reflected a University problem from the top down. Another suggested punishing the team by suspending lacrosse for three years and then making it a club sport. A third asserted that the team embodied the “assertion of class privilege” by all Duke students. A fourth called on the University to do something to help the “victim.”

Three professors overpowered the meeting:

  • Houston Baker stated as a fact that African-American women had been “harmed” by the lacrosse players and claimed that students in his mostly white, female class were terrified of the lack of an administration response. In an e-mail to me, Baker denied that he was suggesting that the accuser had, in any way, experienced physical harm (he had, of course, implied otherwise in his public letter). Rather, he said, his use of the verb “harmed” referred to the situation at the house eventually revealed in “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.” It’s not clear how the situation in these photos would have terrified a class of white female Duke undergraduates.
  • Wahneema Lubiano alleged favoritism by Duke toward the team and demanded a counter-statement from Duke denouncing the players. Lubiano would later edit the final version of the Group of 88’s statement. I e-mailed Lubiano to ask what evidence she possessed for the claims she made to the Academic Council. She refused to supply any, and replied, “Do not email me again. I am putting your name and email address in my filter.”
  • Peter Wood asserted that two years previously, the team was out of control, and demanded a hard line against the athletic director, coach, and team. Wood has refused to respond to repeated e-mails requesting substantiation for his allegations against team members.

Wood’s remarks, according to several people who attended the meeting, received robust applause.

March 31

Perhaps emboldened by the adulation from his colleagues, Wood granted an interview to the New York Times; in an April 1 article, Wood described the lacrosse players as “surly,” “hostile,” and “aggressive.” The Coleman Committee investigation found no evidence, even from his former teaching assistant, to substantiate Wood’s claims. (To my knowledge, despite the provisions of Chapter Six in the Faculty Handbook, the administration has not disciplined Wood for making unsubstantiated public statements about Duke students.) It would be interesting to know how many of the speakers at the March 30 meeting had taught lacrosse players, and what grades those supposedly immoral players received in the professors’ classes.

April 3

Duke Provost Peter Lange has been the only figure in the administration whose acts suggested a recognition that promoting due process and the presumption of innocence in what amounted to a witch-hunt environment required going beyond for-the-record rhetorical formulations. Lange issued a public statement terming Houston Baker’s diatribe “a form of prejudice,” the “act of prejudgment: to presume that one knows something ‘must’ have been done by or done to someone because of his or her race, religion or other characteristic.”

Brodhead, meanwhile, met with an unspecified number of professors from the African-American Studies department. Participants in that meeting have refused requests from me to divulge contents of their discussion, but it seems inconceivable that the professors did not mention the pending release of the Group of 88’s statement. That document would appear on April 6.

By this point, the story had exploded. The suspiciously timed release of the McFadyen e-mail led Brodhead to demand Coach Mike Pressler’s resignation. The latter act, of course, could not be seen as consistent with an administration devoted to upholding the presumption of innocence for its students.

Later Chances for Brodhead to Defend Due Process

April 6: The Group of 88 issued its statement, thanking protesters who had branded the players rapists and asserting definitively that something “happened” to the accuser at the party. In sharp contrast to Lange’s willingness to confront publicly Houston Baker, Brodhead remained silent amidst the Group of 88’s assault on the presumption of innocence. Even six months later, he couldn’t bring himself to question his faculty’s rush to judgment. Instead, he rationalized the Group of 88’s actions on the grounds that “these charges engaged people’s deepest fears, deepest anxieties, and dreads.”

Membership in the Group of 88 disproportionately included Brodhead’s closest academic colleagues, perhaps reinforcing his disinclination to challenge the Group. Brodhead is a professor of English and an affiliate of the Women’s Studies program (whose core faculty is overwhelmingly female); as a scholar, the president has written that he devoted his career toward “working in a more socially-oriented fashion, looking at the historical context that produced the texts we study while also seeking out the then-absent voices of women, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and others.”

Only the African-American Studies program produced a higher percentage of faculty who signed the Group of 88’s statement than did Women’s Studies, where 72.2 percent of the professors joined the Group. English, meanwhile, had the sixth highest percentage (32.2 percent) of faculty members who signed the statement.

The Group of 88, in short, consisted of the professors with whom the president shared the greatest intellectual bonds of any on campus: upholding the presumption of innocence for his own school’s students against this group of faculty members’ actions would have required him to go against his own pedagogical and academic values.

April 14: Acting under the direction of supervising investigator Nifong, the Durham police arrived on the Duke campus and surreptitiously entered Duke dormitories, seeking to question players represented by counsel. Brodhead, when approached by media during an appearance at North Carolina Central, said that he didn’t know enough about the issue to protest, even though the action violated the state bar’s ethics code.

April 20: After the arrest of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, Brodhead addressed the Durham Chamber of Commerce. His take on the allegations against the two players? “If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” (Like his March 28 statement suspending the season, these remarks do not appear on the Duke archive of Brodhead statements.)


A few weeks ago, in an e-mail sent to a parent of a former lacrosse player, Brodhead asserted that “the right role for the university is to speak forcefully for due process.” But his administration has failed to perform this commendable role, unless he mistakenly believes that “due process” constitutes demanding that even the most procedurally tainted cases go to trial.

Having committed himself to speaking “forcefully for due process,” moreover, Brodhead indicated that he would not join Professor James Coleman in demanding a special prosecutor. “It is my understanding,” relayed the president, “that in North Carolina the District Attorney himself would have to request such an appointment in these circumstances.”

Brodhead’s conception of due process thus appears to be limited to asking for things that an ethically challenged prosecutor might accept. (Imagine if, during the Civil Rights Era, university leaders had adopted this position, and spoken up for due process only on matters that they believed racist Southern sheriffs would endorse.) Since Nifong himself created the “separate-but-equal” system of justice for Duke students in Durham, Brodhead seems to believe that Duke’s role is to “speak forcefully for due process” by not challenging Nifong’s policies.

This conception of due process is Orwellian. In the Wonderland that is contemporary Durham, forcefully supporting “due process” means remaining silent about prosecutorial misconduct.


In all fairness to Brodhead, in late March and early April, he faced a poisonous combination:

  • a “minister of justice” who viewed himself as above the law, and seemed determined to arrest someone—anyone—before the primary;
  • a group of professors whose intellectual interests overlapped with his own; and who appeared determined to exploit their students’ plight to advance their own personal, pedagogical, and ideological agendas.

It would have taken a strong leader to have withstood these combined pressures.

Although he has refused to admit so publicly, I’m sure that Brodhead would do many things differently if he knew how events would develop. Nonetheless, the administration cannot erase the record of what it did and did not do in late March and early April. Moreover, whatever excuses existed for Brodhead’s behavior then, his subsequent refusal to demand that local authorities treat all Duke students according to the same procedures as all other Durham residents—including students of North Carolina Central—is inexplicable.

“Facts,” John Adams once said, “are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” The facts in this case stubbornly prevent an interpretation that Brodhead acted to defend either due process or the presumption of innocence. The record of his actions, and that of how his actions were interpreted by key players at the time, suggests a radically different thesis.


Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson is doing the reporting, providing the context and offering the critical analysis that newspapers once undertook. Except for Neff, and occasionally Niolet, journalism has performed terribly in this important case. No wonder newspapers are suffering and intelligent blogs are prospering.

Anonymous said...

This is a duplicate of a comment I just made on yesterday's column and is pertainent to the overall timeline. KC blogs so fast I just can't keep up :-)


KC. Regarding the following:

"1.) Several people have mentioned the McFayden email and the firing of Coach Pressler. Both occured on April 5--well after any events described in this post."

The McFadyn email may have been made public on April 5. But it apparently was known about earlier. According to the following link the email was written 03/14/2006 (the 3/7/2006 in the text looks to be a mistake - probably meant to be 3/17/06). The "Attachment for Application for Search Warrant" was made 03/27/2006 around your timeframe (see bottom of page in link).


It is not inconceivable that the adminstration as well as the "pot bangers" at that time did know of the email before the public did, either from the police or from the source that sent it to the police. Its content in itself is so startlingly that, at the time, it could have easily skewed (admin) opinion dramatically.

AMac said...

Anonymous commenters,

Please consider using a pseudonym when you write (Blogger's 'Other' identity does not require registration). This would help readers to follow your arguments in these threads.

Anonymous said...

I just posted this link on the previous thread. But, go here and listen to RB's statement.

See if he sounds like a leader.


Click on the very last video.

"Duke news conference regarding rape allegations"


Anonymous said...

Maybe this is easier...



duke09parent said...

Darby, thanks for the reference to the news conference. I just watched it all. It was done in the afternoon of the same day Brodhead met with the captains. The captains proposed the suspension continue past the first two games until the DNA results came back. Brodhead on his own suspended play until the investigation was resolved. Brodhead and Alleva tried to emphasize that the 2 game suspension was the punishment for the underaged drinking and hiring of strippers,but that the continued suspension of play was NOT to be considered a punishment or an indication of their guilt. (I wonder now if the basketball players were sweating once that was announced.) They also pointed out that the players had cooperated with police and given statements.

Prof. Johnson's post here is well presented and more balanced a critcism than previous efforts. No one should be surprised that a university's first priority in crisis is PR. That's what crisis management is all about. I take his main point is that the effect of the administration's actions was to encourange denial of due process even while the stated intent was to support due process.

Ultimately I am still not persuaded that Nifong would have been influenced by any different approach by Brodhead. Unscrupulous prosecutors are unfortunately not as rare as they should be, but most of us have been surprised I think at just how low and unethical and how consistently so that Nifong has been in this case. From the knowing lies he told in press statements early on to the scurrilous t.v. camera ambush of the Duke game announcer on election day, Nifong has really shown himself to be a complete snake.

bill anderson said...

I agree that Brodhead might not have been able to derail Nifong's agenda, but his silence when he had facts in hand only served to make things worse. Given what I have seen of Brodhead, he does not seem to be someone who relishes conflict. Furthermore, from what I understand, Bob Steel is a friend and supporter of Nifong, and he seems to be the "man behind the curtain" in this whole affair.

But Brodhead's comment about "sexual assualt has no place at Duke" really DID have an effect of throwing gasoline on the fire. At that time, he pretty much knew what happened, and even in those early days, the facts did not point toward sexual assault. However, by those words, he basically said, "The lacrosse players are a bunch of rapists." There is no other way to interpret those remarks.

Again, I do not know the man, but when people are being falsely accused of crimes, being deceitful or supporting the accusers, even when one knows that what they are saying is a lie, simply is beyond the pale.

If Brodhead cannot even stand for the truth, then he does not belong in that position. This was a time when the head person should have been doing something other than appeasing the Houston Bakers. However, he made his bed, and now must lie in it.

Duke is on the hook for a number of things, not least of which is having wanted posters put up across campus in which all the lacrosse players, save Devin Sherwood, are called rapists. Brodhead could not even get himself to say that certain people who had absolute proof they were not even in Durham were not involved. Instead, the man chose to be silent or encourage the accusers, and thus participated in the defamation of innocent people.

If some of the posters who are telling us to go to hell had to endure what the lacrosse families endured -- the "lottery" ID process -- they might be singing something different.

Anonymous said...

This is a much more balanced analysis by KC. I agree with his assessment that, while the administration's stated goal was due process, in hindsight some of their actions ran contrary to that goal. I don't think that was their intention, but it was a consequence, and some retrospective examination by the administration would be beneficial. We'll never know if the actions some wish they had taken (reinstating the season, challenging Nifong, etc.) would have had a better result--I think some of those actions might have helped, but some would have hurt.

I do not agree with Bill's assessment that the comment "sexual assault has no place at Duke" was paramount to declaring the players guilty of rape. Brodhead preceded that specific comment with a declaration of "innocent until proven guilty." The sexual assault comment was clearly made to calm the media and the extremeists who were at the time calling for heads to roll. This was a very delicate balancing act--I agree it wasn't successful (in hindsight) but he HAD to address that side as well. He could not simply say "the players are innocent" and ignore the outrage that went beyond this particular incident.

And Bill, I think the poster who told everyone "to go to hell" is ONLY one person, and one with extreme views. There are also some "extremists" who are anti-Brodhead (and often quite antigonistic)--I try to ignore them, too.

4virginia said...

maybe Duke should consider changing its motto to Abscidere quod fugere.
A question for KC.
How many other groups have had DNA testing done on such a scale in the USA done by group identity only?

bill anderson said...

I think that 8:06 AM makes a good point, but all Brodhead needed to do was to say that the players had fully cooperated with the police. Instead, he chose to hint that the players were being uncooperative, which would mean they had something to hide.

While one can say that he was trying to appease both sides, he did not tell the truth. Withholding the truth when one knows that others are spreading lies is NOT a sign of virtue.

I agree that Brodhead could not have controlled Nifong, but at least he could have chosen to speak to the facts, as opposed to helping to make things worse.

Now, I don't think that Brodhead is a marxist, like many of the Gang of 88, as he tends to fit the profile of the "guilty white liberal." These are the people who cannot embrace the marxist social agenda, but at the same time operate with such a sense of what Shelby Steele calls "white guilt" that they acquiesce to the marxists who perpetually are at the barricades.

On college campuses today, the VERY WORST THING one can be called is a racist, and sexist and homophobe follow closely behind. The speech codes, the star chamber-like disciplinary procedures, and the like are the direct result of this activism. Furthermore, departments like Women's Studies do not exist because of the need of real scholarship, but rather are the product of political activism.

These kinds of departments operate on the premise that the Ku Klux Klan is going to take over the college campus at any minute unless there is 24/7 "vigilance." Thus, any stray phrase or action is always going to be interpreted as a threat that drives people to the barricades. Furthermore, the very activist nature of these departments ensures that the faculty in them will be engaging in constant activism.

Most of us on college faculties basically do our teaching, research, and service, and go home to our families. However, with the race/sex/class departments, teaching, research, and service all are wrapped up in activism. Thus, these faculty members ALWAYS will be the loudest voices, ALWAYS will be the first to jump into leadership positions of the faculty senate and the like, and generally will shout down any dissenters, calling them racists and appealing to their guilty natures.

That is what has happened at Duke and Harvard, and is the case elsewhere. We may not like it, but that is the modern academy.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment of college campuses 100%. Your assessment explains (although it doesn't justify) why many on the duke faculty have been silent. It also puts the admin actions in a more appropriate context--again not justifying.

Anonymous said...

A person should read what they write before posting it. Exchange of opinions should stay civil on the log of comments. Verbal assualts should have no place on here.

Anonymous said...

To Duke09 Parent:
Let's assume that Brodhead had responded appropriately and that it had absolutely no affect on Nifong. Brodhead's words STILL would have had an affect on the public's perception of how Duke University viewed the lax team. His statements and actions were crucial to the public perception that the university must think the team was guilty. Why else would they fire the coach and end the season if they didn't think there had been a rape? After all there had been over 20 stripper parties on campus that year that had resulted in no serious consequences. Therefore, the adminstration must think they are guilty - right? (Of course at the time, Brodhead had access to substantial information that must have led him to believe this was a false accusation, but his public statements leaned toward the presumption of guilt.)
I remember watching Brodhead's television appearances and literally screaming at the television. He came across as a weak, stuttering representative who was scared to death he might offend some PC critic. It frankly shocked me that this weak individual was Duke's President. Having now listened to both the adminstration and the lax team members and their representatives, the lax team seems well spoken, intelligent, and honest compared to the adminstration.
Brodhead had to know (or at least should have known) how his actions/statements would be perceived by the general public. Had the public's initial opinion of the situation been different, Nifong MAY have been forced to change course.
I recently saw Brodhead at a men's soccer match. My daughter is a student athlete and was very offended to see this man attend an athletic event. What a hypocrite to present himself as a supporter of Duke athletes. Simply disgusting. As fate would have it, he sat right below us. It was interesting to observe no one spoke to him. Frankly, I kept finding myself distracted from the game, because it was interesting to observe people's reactions when they realized it was Brodhead. Let's just say no one seemed pleased to see him! The adminstration has caused serious damage to the Duke athletic department specifically in recruiting. My daughter's team lost several potential recruits - not because of the lax team party - but because of the knowledge that the university doesn't support its own students, that the students are targets of the corrupt police dept., and that Durham is a hostile environment to spend your college years. (By the way, her team has been ranked anywhere from 1st to 10th nationally the past few years, so until this year had top rated recruiting classes.) To date, they have not been able to sign one girl this fall. If you think Brodhead's actions won't have an impact on the recruitment of academically gifted student athletes, guess again. If a student is in the position of being a potential Duke recruit, you are also being recruited by at least a hundred other colleges. These recruits are the top academic/athletic prospects in the country and a very desirable commodity for colleges. Intelligent kids and their parents are going to choose to attend a school where they are supported by the adminstration, their professors, and their community. At the present time, Duke is failing in all three categories.

bill anderson said...

The reasons I believe that so many Duke faculty members have been silent are twofold:

1. Many fall into the "guilty white" category and simply do not think they have the moral standing to speak out;
2. Those who do speak out can expect retaliation from other faculty members and the administration. That means that future raises, promotions, grant awards, and the like will be less likely to come their way. In other words, if they speak out they will pay a high cost.

On the other hand, those who speak out on the hard left face NO retaliation whatsoever. In fact, their position at Duke now is much stronger. Marxists know that they have to look constantly for vacuums to fill, and that is why they are so quick to start public demonstrations and the like.

Anonymous said...

To 8:59--If Brodhead were not attending spoorts events, don't you think he'd be criticized for that as well?

Anonymous said...


I read on one of the blogs that Brodhead sent letters of apology to both strippers.

Was this ever confirmed by a credible source? And if so, where did it fit in the timeline.



Anonymous said...

What does anyone know about the release of the McFadyen email? That was a terrible day in all of this. The email made it sound like the team had depraved murderous members and the author's name and picture was published everywhere. Then the school got rid of the coach that same day. We did not hear until so much later that the email was based on a movie some of the team had recently watched. Brodehead must have known this or at least I'm sure it was explained once the email came out. When I think back, the Duke administration probably knew quite a lot of facts from the beginning but they let the public think the worst and even reinforced the public's impressions by doing things like firing the coach. I am not sure of the best way to handle a situation of this nature but I also do not think they were guided by the right principles. PR is not the only objective when you are dealing with people's lives. Also, didn't McFadyen get suspended that day too. That created a further impression of guilt. Was Brodhead starting to doubt their innocence or just worried about PR?

Anonymous said...

Wow..that is interesting info on recruiting.
This is what the BOT need to hear.

Re: Brodhead. It is a sad fact of life that each and every one of us is dispensable in our employment. Why is Brodhead indispensable in his?

Anonymous said...

Re: the McFadyen email. Isn't the email "owned" by Duke---ie., it was on Duke's server?
Did Duke not have any say in its public release? (I think it was despicable that Stephens unsealed it.)
I noticed there were more "privacy" concerns with the accuser's cell phone.

AMac said...

anonymous 8:59am --

You offered a fascinating account of the impact of the administration's handling of the hoax on recruiting for women's sports.

If I could inquire: has your daughter (or you) considered going on-the-record, say by writing an op-ed for the Duke Chronicle or the Herald-Sun*? What do you view as the likely pros and cons of such a step?

* the H-S reference was meant as a joke.

Anonymous said...

You can absolutely bet that other college recruiters are using the Duke hoax to lure 'prize' athletes AWAY from Duke! This whole mess will impact more than just the three lacrosse players aden the lacrosse team.

Anonymous said...

Well there are a significant number of Duke faculty who want athletics eliminated. Maybe Brodhead, through his "neutrality," is helping that process along?

Anonymous said...

To 8:59 AM,

When you are writing your op-ed piece about all the problems that Duke is having recruiting athletes, you might also want to mention that the incoming class of Duke basketball players who will be arriving on campus next year has been ranked by as the third best class in the country. The class includes Kyle Singler, the number one ranked small forward in the country, who recently committed to Duke.

Anonymous said...

To 9:32 re:the McFayden email--Brodhead has publicly stated that he did not know that Ryan's email was a quote from American Psycho at the time it came out, and was not informed until much later. Brodhead actually said that on that paricular day he was preparing a statement that was going to be very lenient towards the lax team, and then the email hit (and he was informed of the email while off campus addressing the lax incident with another group--possible at NCCU????) I would not expect him (or the admin)to know what books are taught in the humdreds of courses offered at Duke--but someone from the faculty obviously knew, and should have been on the phone immediately when that email was released. IMO, many of the failings in the initial weeks should be directly attributed to administrative staff--those who didn't inform Brodhead, assumed it would all blow over, etc.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the details of the Houston Baker departure? When did Duke know he was leaving? Did the 88 know of his coming departure before they signed the Listening statement? How is he doing at Vandy? Is Vanderbilt still so proud to have him in wake of the critizim he has received?

KC Johnson said...

One point on the issue of Brodhead in specific and Duke as an institution and influence on Nifong.

There are two points here:
1.) Duke is the county's largest employer, among its other roles. There were lots of informal ways Duke could have used its influence to express concern about how the allegations were being handled early on. No evidence exists that it did so.

2.) It's quite possible that nothing Brodhead could have said or done would have influenced Nifong. But all of this was occurring in both a legally and a politically fluid environment.

Duke's actions--canceling the two games, the 'sexual assault' statement, the faculty's actions, the almost complete lack of support for the players, and the complete silence regarding Nifong's misconduct--created an image, fair or not, that Duke wasn't troubled by Nifong's actions, and perhaps was even supportive of them.

Nifong won the primary by just under 900 votes. Does anyone seriously believe that Duke expressing concerns about his behavior wouldn't have persuaded 450 white Nifong voters to peel away from him and vote for Freda Black?

The counter to this argument often presented by Brodhead supporters is that such an approach by Duke would have produced a backlash. The backlash occurred anyway, fanned by Nifong; and I fail to see how the backlash could have been any worse.

AMac said...

anonymous 11:14am, perhaps I wasn't clear in my 10:25am comment, wondering whether a student-athlete has considered writing an op-ed. The contrast is between unverified information (e.g. anonymous blog contributions) and assertions whose provenance are known and which, therefore, can be evaluated.

You seem to like anecdotes that point to certain conclusions, and to disparage those that do not. That is of course your right, though it is not a very effective approach to fact-finding.

Anonymous said...

An important fact all, (including KC), have missed possibly due to its secrecy, is what transpired during the meeting between the team captains and Broadhead. In this meeting, (allegedly 'protected' by a non-existent academic/legal privilege Duke made up), the student-athlete captains told their President exactly what happened during the night in question. With this, Broadhead looked them in the eyes and told them he believed them and instructed them to pen an apologetic press release to smooth things over. The did.

In retrospect, this was a spineless, manipulative move by Broadhead against his own students to save face. A man is only as good as his word. Broadhead has never publicly stated what he believes actually happened that night, his feelings about Nifong’s hoax, and what he told the captains that day. More importantly, he has offered no support to the indicted and their families (until, ironically enough, right around the time of 60 Minutes’ airing; far too late).

Ask yourself: if this were a corporation, would this type of behavior from a CEO shareholders would expect? Whom should be held to a higher standard, 20 year old students or their president? Is this how you would like your son or daughter’s University President to treat him or her? Is Duke better or worse for having the type of man Broadhead is as its leader? Could no other individual chomping at the bit for such a job do better? What will his legacy be?

Anonymous said...

11:14 Doesn't make it any less of a problem...

Anonymous said...

I apologize for accidentally not signing my name to the previous (11:47) post.

Glenn Nick
Duke Lacrosse '06

Anonymous said...

Does anyone out there seriously disagree with the statement that physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and certainly have no place at Duke? I am especially interested in hearing from the women in the audience. Is there any woman out there who thinks that this statement is unacceptable and that it somehow proves that Brodhead should not be President of Duke? Fanatics like Bill take the position that with these words, Brodhead "basically said the lacrosse players are a bunch of rapists ... there is no other way to interpret those remarks." Of course, this is complete nonsense. The statement that Bill finds so outrageous was contained in a press release issued by President Brodhead on March 25. If you read the entire press release, which is quite short and which is posted on the Duke web site, you will see that Brodhead was careful to point out that the facts are not yet established, there are very different versions of the central events, no charges have been filed, in our system of laws, people are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and we know that many members of the team did not attend the party. Bill and KC try to dismiss these other statements, which are 100 percent favorable to the LAX players, by saying that they are just formulaic, even though these statements comprise almost one-half of the press release. They do this because they want to distort his words and demonize him. These kinds of distortions are not very helpful if you honestly want to understand the truth of what happened, but they sure do help to further the agenda of tearing down Brodhead and making him out to be the bad guy in all of this. KC and the LAX players and their parents are engaged in a collaborative exercise the purpose of which is to take the heat off the LAX players and shift it to Brodhead. Once you understand this, you will be able to see through a lot of the biased nonsense that gets posted on this web site.

Jim Clyne said...

re houston baker inquiry:

i exchange emails with gordon gee (v's chan) occasionally. i think he got a bit pissed off when i referred him to an article by the well-respected critic Terry Teachout in The New Criterion that basically characterized baker as a leonard jeffries

in the real world, smart people think he's a low iq loser while ultraliberals and blacks think he's the 2d coming

could we have some discussion posts on how to punish the prostitute and nifong?

that interests me--any takers?

Anonymous said...

jimclyne: May I suggest you stop over at the Liestoppers discussion board to engage in discussion on this issue of accuser and prosecutor punishment? There are threads on those topics and many posters ready to discuss!

12:14 said: "Does anyone out there seriously disagree with the statement that physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and certainly have no place at Duke?"

Context and timing are such that this statement was, indeed, a CYA attempt to assure that "if" a rape had occurred (which Brodhead had already stated to the boys' faces that he believed did not occur), Duke was taking the high road.

If the accusations had not been made, would Brodhead have been discussing sexual assault at Duke? I think not.

The mantra of "social disaster" was also big at the time, yet no social disaster had occurred, only accused. An allegation was taken seriously as an indication of a problem. The allegation was false, therefore the problem did not exist. To discuss the problem as if it did exist, despite taking only a NEUTRAL position on the allegations, is absolutely implying guilt.

You have taken ONE point out a very ordered chronology of the events and claim that it is biased nonsense. Look at the overall picture and what Brodhead has still failed to do and address. No thinking person can defend this man's behavior.

Instead of addressing the issue and the facts honestly, he hires a PR firm. That says it all.


Anonymous said...


Obviously, if there had been no allegations of sexual assault, there would have been no need to issue a press release addressing the allegations of sexual assualt. I think anon 8:06 AM had a much better take on this.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are correct that we are too excited about that one statement, but just as you put that one statement into the context of the full press conference, please put the press conference in the context of the the eight months we have had to observe the faculty and administration's response to the hoax. That response has been anything but forthright and honest. These vague calls for due process have only allowed the hoax and constitutional violations to grow and fester, tormenting three young men who based on all available evidence are the only primary actors who have been truthful and candid about the events. President Brodhead's management deserves to be examined in detail. It is a morality play that may be instructive for others. I am sorry it reflects so badly on him.
an Observer not related to Duke or Duke LAX families in any way

Anonymous said...

We can only imagine Brodhead's responses had the accuser been a non African American. In my opinion, he would not have twisted and turned in the wind like a puppet trying to please everyone. In this instance, he was clearly pandering to the black community every bit as much as Nifong, except for different reasons. The man either got the worst possible PR and legal advice available at the time, or he was simply over his head as a manager.

bill anderson said...

I believe that the 12:14 PM was the one who said I was lying about Brodhead's condemnation of the lacrosse players for getting attorneys. Thanks to whoever found the link to that statement.

I really have no interest in answering the person who calls me a liar and a fanatic. If I am a fanatic, I am a fanatic about wrongfully accused and convicted people. Yes, I am a fanatic about what happened in the Little Rascals case.

A few years ago, I had a black neighbor who was being wrongfully accused of some crimes. I called the DA and we talked for over an hour, and I was able to get him to drop at least some of the charges. (He should have dropped all of them, and I told him so.)

So, yes, by all means call me a liar and fanatic. If bringing false charges of rape against innocent people does not make you angry, then I really do prefer to have you being against me, as you and I have nothing to discuss.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone out there seriously disagree with the statement that physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and certainly have no place at Duke? I am especially interested in hearing from the women in the audience. Is there any woman out there who thinks that this statement is unacceptable and that it somehow proves that Brodhead should not be President of Duke?"

These comments are as irrelevant as Nifong commenting that he has received letters of support from women at Duke who "were raped by other Duke students." They have nothing to do with the price of eggs.

Brodhead did NOT have to address anything for the feminists and activists. (Interesting that he met with the potbangers, but refused to meet with the lax parents.)

This comment alone does not lead me to conclude that Brodhead shouldn't be President. It is merely additive.

Is it too much to ask that Brodhead say that he spoke to the captains, looked them in the eye and that he believes them when they said that the rape allegations are false?

As a woman, I am insulted that Brodhead deemed the 911 call as automatically credible (it was suspicious to ME); that a half-baked rape investigation is OK; that the NBPP and the kooky 88+ have the right to free speech but not McFadyen; that he chose to ignore the public threats to Reade, etc. I could go on but KC and Bill Anderson have documented everything quite well.

I do NOT allow feminists to decide my causes for me. Neither should Brodhead.
A non-Lax Duke Mom

Jim Clyne said...

if brodhead had a real job--say head of microsoft--he'd be given an atomic wedgie and thrown out the window

this PR defense is BS--this guy's a punk, and he should be treated like a punk

duke09parent said...

Bill, I listened to all of the press conference on the WRAL site reference above. I have never thought you have lied about anything I have read of yours. However, there have been times that I thought your interpretation of events or things said was incorrect or overstated the case.

The question of Brodhead condemning the players for hiring lawyers falls in that category. His statement about their hiring attorneys was in response to a question about why the players did not come to the press conference and categorically deny the charges. He said the players did deny the charges, through the captains, but that some had hired attorneys who may have advised them not to speak to the press for prosepective legal reasons. He did say he thought the decision not to come forward further and publicly deny the charges was "questionable judgment".

OK, one could interpret that as a condemnation and one could interpret that as disagreement over public relations tactics. But I think Michael Gaynor made similar suggestions for Colin to come out like Dave and speak to the press and he was pretty roundly criticised for that suggestion on this blog or FODu's (I forget which).

I was agreeing with 12:14 until the last two sentences.

I value Prof. Johnson's and your analyses of the administration response is as a history lesson in how to or how not to manage a public crisis situation. I do think it is important to realize that the analysis is retrospective, which is not quite fair to the those being examined and judged.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I guess I am the one you think called you a liar--but I am not 12:14, so don't blame that poster. And by the way, I did not call you a liar--I simply asked you to provide the link for your statement because I felt I had read all of Brodhead's speeches, and I had no recollection of the comment you referenced. I think that's a fair request. Everyone's getting a little touchy.....

Anonymous said...

I listened to the WRAL link and have to agree with dukeparent09's comment. Your conclusion that Brodhead questioned why the players hired attorneys in that speech is a stretch, IMO, and somewhat misleading. I remember several months ago many people were questioning why the players didn't speak out. I defended them and believed they were right to take their attorneys' advice. However, just as we are questioning whether Brodhead's actions at the time contributed to a presumption of guilt, I now question whether Michael Gaynor wasn't right--it seems the players silence also contributed to the presumption of guilt. At this specific news conference, after Brodhead said that the players did deny all the charges, it would have been powerful to have the captains there to emphasize the denial. Perhaps that would have encouraged the administration to take a different path as well.....

Anonymous said...

Bill, the fact is that you distorted the statement issued by Brodhead on March 25, and all the huffing and puffing in your 1:14 PM comment does nothing to change that fact. Also, I am not the person who challenged you on the other point.

Anonymous said...

Bill, no one thinks you are a fanatic because you believe the rape charges are false. We all believe the rape charges are false. The problem is that in your zeal to defend the LAX players, you take a lot of extreme positions, and in this case, you distorted Brodhead's statement of March 25.

Anonymous said...

I like 8:48's response to 8:06 and 12:14. Certainly President Brodhead's comments that "sexual assault has no place at Duke" and that the decision not to come forward and deny the charges publicly was "questionable judjment" are a miniscule part of why people are critical of President Brodhead. If this were the whole of the matter, we really would not have much to talk about would we? It's the overall picture created by many months of refusing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth that many of us find deeply troubling. We can quibble forever about the finest details, but President Brodhead's glaring omissions of truth coupled with careful, inoffensive platitudes are galling at this point. Let's start with the facts of the case (which includes prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional violations) and work from there.
an Observer

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE should listen to the entire news conference mentioned by Bill (and linked by Darby.) It takes a while, but it was very enlightening. It also changed my mind about some things. This conference took place before the players were indicted. Brodhead said over and over and over again that the facts were not established, the captains denied all the allegations, and that everyone must remember that they were innocent unless proven guilty. He and Joe Alleva talked about the character of the players on the team. Brodhead did NOT imply that they should not have gotten lawyers. What he said, in response to a direct question, was that he presumed the reason they were not at the press conference themselves to proclaim their innocence was that they had had different advice from their attorneys. He emphasized that that was their right, and what virtually every attorney would advise "even if he questioned" that decision. He said he wished the captains'expression of innocence would be heard more broadly.

He also disputed the accounts in the papers that the players had not cooperated--saying they had even given lengthy statements without requesting attorneys. In fact he said, multiple times, everything we have been criticizing him for not saying.

I'm copying the site where you can find the news conference. You have to scroll to the VERY end of the list of videos. It's called "Duke News conference regarding rape allegations."


Anonymous said...

i've noticed that google has tracked some of these posts--does anyone know why some are tracked, others not?

Anonymous said...

To 3:45 PM:

Thank you for proving the point I have been trying to make the past several months, that much of the criticism of Brodhead that appears on this web site is a bunch of biased nonsense put out there by fanatical LAX team supporters who want to punish Brodhead for firing Pressler, canceling the season, and not making loud public declarations that the LAX players are innocent. I look forward to hearing KC respond to your comment.

Anonymous said...

doofus 3:45:

how many times do i have to tell u? i like my burgers rare

it does not matter what fathead said: it's what he did, including, most pathetically, firing the coach

oprah started 15 minutes ago--get the potato chips--it's your favorite time of day

Anonymous said...

To 3:28 PM,

I find it interesting that KC and Bill have made a big deal out of Brodhead's statement that sexual assault has no place at Duke and that Bill has even characterized it as Brodhead declaring the LAX players to be a bunch of rapists, but then when they get called on it and their distortions are held up for all to see, you pop up and say well really that statement was not a big deal, it is all this other stuff that he did that is really bad. In other words, the tactic of the LAX team supporters seems to be that you distort until you get caught, and then you fall back to another position.

WJD said...

Something I have not seen mentioned KC. When police officers have a search warrant, the police are suppose to conduct the search. When this search warrant was executed, the three LAX captains helped conduct the search, what kind of search is that? At that time the entire LAX team were suspects, how could the police possibly let suspects help in conducting a search to convict the them. That is the last thing that the police will do, if a suspect gets to search he could not only contaminate the evidence found, but also remove the evidence. I am talking from experience I was a police officer for 25 years and the way the Durham Police conduct searches, no wonder they can't get convictions in court. If anyone knows a police department where a suspect is allowed to search for evidence with the police, please post it here. The Durham Police Dept. really needs some extensive training in investigating crimes. One more thing the fingernail found in the trash in the bathroom could have been found by LAX captain Evans and I think it was, that could possibly a close match of his DNA got on the fingernail.

AMac said...

anon 4:12pm and anon 4:23pm --

You write, repeatedly, to chastise other commenters and readers as fanatical LAX team supporters who spout biased nonsense and distort until they get caught and then fall back to another position.

There are many more commenters and readers without firsthand knowledge of lacrosse or for that matter Duke, and who are not interested in halo-fitting exercises. For us, the point is in the abuses of power that a prosecutor and police may visit on members of an out-of-favor group. KC Johnson's last two posts have gone into detail--sourced detail--about the specifics of the Brodhead administration's contemporaneous responses in the early stages of the hoax.

I, too, think that the description of the 3/25 press conference as implying players' guilt is incorrect (though I had trouble getting the clip to play properly). I'll be interested in KC's revisit.

I get tired of saying this: in yesterday's post, Johnson provided 15 hyperlinks, and added another 15 in today's, plus each post referred to bona fide communications Johnson has had with participants in the events he described.

In contrast, anon 4:12pm and anon 4:23pm have offered strong opinions unfettered with links to supporting primary sources.

How about less focus on knockdowns of straw men ("fanatical LAX supporters," etc.), and more attention to where you think KC has got the story wrong--with HTML links to the source material you're relying on? You've gotten into the habit of writing as though your righteous indignation is the strongest tonic to hand.

It isn't.

Anonymous said...

These people don't care about the truth, that is why it is so frustrating. They don't care about innocent lives being destroyed, the pain, stress and heartache this has caused the families, friends and supporters of these innocent young men. They don't care about due process of law and the Constituional rights of U.S. Citizens. They don't care about a corrupt power hungry DA, lying corrupt DPD, a University President and teachers who lie, slander and coverup for their own twisted reasons. The truth is there for all who care to see it. If you choose not to then you are left in the dark with all the other evil doers.

Anonymous said...

To 5:06 PM:

One of the things that I find kind of pathetic about this web site is the amount of distortion that goes on. You have accused me of all kinds of things that are not true. I believe the LAX players are innocent. I believe Nifong has engaged in a massive breach of legal ethics and should be disbarred, and I am disturbed by the actions of the group of 88. However, I believe that most of the criticism of Brodhead that appears on this web site is unfounded and that it reflects an agenda by KC and the LAX team parents to punish Brodhead for firing Pressler, etc. This does not mean that I do not care about Constitutional rights.

bill anderson said...

I remember reading an account last spring in which Brodhead said he was "disappointed" that the players had hired lawyers. No doubt, "condemned" is too strong a word, and I stand corrected.

However, most of the LAX parents to whom I have spoken are not as concerned with the season being cancelled as with the full frontal assault against their sons by the Duke faculty and by Nifong and the police. And they tell me that Brodhead refused to meet with them, and then said he was in "constant contact" with the families when he was not.

No one has complained to me about the "lost season," or has tried to paint their sons as angels. One told me that she was "furious" with the LAX captains for the party, and others have said they do not condone the hiring of strippers.

But the point is that even the non-indicted families had to shell out about $12,000 apiece for DNA testing, legal fees, and the like. Many of the LAX families are NOT wealthy people, and this was a major expense to them.

My main beef against Brodhead is that he failed to even question the personal attacks that some Duke faculty members made. Has he ever said anything about the over-the-top comments from Peter Wood about Reade Seligmann? What about Karla Holloway? I never have seen any comments from Brodhead that condemned the out-of-control faculty members.

Instead, he has rallied around the administration's talking points that the LAX players were especially bad actors and that "whatever they did was bad enough." Bad enough for what? For false rape charges? Bad enough to go to prison for 30 years? Bad enough to have wanted posters posted all over the campus with the pictures and names of people being falsely accused of rape?

Please tell me one time when Brodhead specifically dealt with these items. If the LAX players are horrible people for hiring strippers, then the basketball and baseball players also are horrible people, as well as many in frats and sororities. Should all of them be charged with rape, too?

K.C. and I both have said that we doubt Brodhead could have stopped the charges. But I sure wish he had been more forceful in defending the students, and when a large number of Duke faculty members went after those young men in as vicious a way as possible, he stood by and did nothing. Nothing.

I would ask any of you who have been going after me if you would want to be treated that way. Would you like your picture to be on a wanted poster with "rapist" below it? How would you deal with it? What if your boss KNEW you did not commit rape, but instead presided over a set of talking points that condemned you personally?

Look, Richard Brodhead may be a very nice guy. No doubt, he is -- or at least was -- a good scholar. But when faculty members are calling people rapists and there is no response from the top guy, then there is a problem. And I will not back down from saying that. Call me a fanatic if you wish, but I am sick of seeing people wrongfully accused in this country, and I am going to raise some hell about it. Guess that is what you call fanaticism.

bill anderson said...

To 5:14 PM:

Again, I have not had one LAX parent tell me that they want to "get" Brodhead for firing Pressler or ending the season. They are upset because of what happened to their sons.

Furthermore, the worst offenders in this episode at Duke were made committee chairs in order to help "transform" the culture and curriculum at Duke. In other words, Brodhead by permitting these people to be given huge amounts of power and influence gave in to their putting up "rapist" posters about the campus.

As far as I am concerned, not one member of the Gang of 88 should be rewarded for anything. Falsely accusing someone of a crime that until fairly recently was a capital crime is NOT an act of academic freedom, and it certainly should not be rewarded.

Anonymous said...

I wonder also if the gang of 88+ had so little respect for Brodhead that they jumped at the opportunity to announce to the world all the problems (racism, sexism, etc.) at Duke.
Isn't that a shot at the President (and his "leadership")too?
We all know what happens to leaders when the "no confidence" vote is cast.

Anonymous said...

I concur with 8:59am. I have 2 daughters at Duke. I have another high school sophmore daughter who is being actively recruited by Princeton, Yale, Columbia, play women's soccer. She has always wanted to go to Duke. She will not go there now for all the reasons 8:59am has stated.

Anonymous said...


You say that this case is about the abuse of power that a prosecutor and police department may visit on an out-of-favor group. I agree, and I wish KC had stayed focused on that issue because I am very much in agreement with him on that issue. However, as you can tell from the two feature length articles of the last two days, KC does not think this is just about the DA and police. He is devoting a lot of ink to beating up Brodhead, and in doing so, he and others are distorting the facts. I am not willing to sit by idly and watch that happen.

Anonymous said...

I am happy for the bb team. There are many other teams at Duke as well. I am quite confident that Duke bb will not suffer and all recruits KNOW that they will be supported by their coach and Duke......Lucky for them.

Anonymous said...

I think the point that bill Anderson and KC make are not what Brodhead did say but what he did not--and does not say, 8 months later.

For all the Brohead supporters, please answer this:

As massive amounts of evidence roll in to show the boys are innocent, why doen't Brodhead simply offer to let them come back to Duke for the 2nd semester?

Anonymous said...

Bill, I think you're being too sensitive. You spend a lot of ink expressing your opinion--I think you feel so passionately that sometimes your opinions get stated as facts. On a board like this you should expect others to ask questions. I've been questioned (and yes, called names) on my posts. The WRAL video clearly shows some things that both you and KC have either glossed over, or misrepresented. Please listen to it again with an open mind, and then tell us what you think.

As far as the legal costs the non-indicted lax players have had--since when do they have to pay for the DNA tests that the DA ordered???? We have a very close friend with a son on the team--he didn't have anywhere near $12000 in legal expenses.

Having said all this, I think you provide a great service, and I agree with many of your opinions--especially when you're discussing the real bad guys--Nifong, the AV, the DPD.... I also think everyone should leave the insults out--IMO nastiness only hurts one's credibility.

AMac said...

anon 5:41pm and/or ??:??pm (how can I tell which other comments are yours?) --

You may be missing my point.

Resolved: The Brodhead administration has worsened the stripper party/hoax prosecution crisis by failing to stand up for Due Process and Equal Protection, and by facilitating certain actions of a corrupt prosecutor, by tacitly condoning rash and unfair anti-student actions by certain faculty, and--at later stages--by misrepresenting its record on these matters.

In taking the Pro side, KC Johnson has offered 30 HTML links as well as new communication with participants in events.

In response, you and the other advocates of Con have offered opinion and invective. Instead, why not pick a point where KC is wrong ("beating up Brodhead/distorting the facts"), guide readers to your source material with an HTML link, and rebut his arguments?

Granted, there are know-nothings on both (or many) sides of this controversy who drop in to contribute barely-literate comments. That's a given in blog-land. We (= most readers) just ignore them.

Anonymous said...

To amac--read the 3:45 post and listen to the press conference in the WRAL link (the link is also shwon much earlier by Darby.) You ask for evidence, but you have to take the time to listen to it.

bill anderson said...

To 6:05 PM:

You are trying to be a nice guy -- and it is working.

And if someone feels strongly about Brodhead from the opposite side, I think it is fine for people to give their support for him. As a college faculty member, I could not imagine my employer putting up with a large bloc of faculty viciously attacking a group of students as has the Gang of 88. I do wish Brodhead had said at least something about that behavior.

However, I do not blame Brodhead for the Gang itself. These are people who have no conscience and who see the college campus as nothing more than a large re-education camp.

But, I must admit that I am Brodheaded-out. Tired, kaput, and my blood pressure is high today.

My future LRC pieces will deal forcefully with the renegade members of the Duke faculty and, of course, Michael Liefong.

By the way, I have talked to some prosecutors where I live and they think that people like Liefong make them look worse. When I tell them a few things he has done, they just shake their heads in wonder.

HMan said...

This is speculation, but here goes: Perhaps Brodhead quickly came to believe that there was no rape, that the DPD was dis-inclined to press forward, and that Nifong was not a crazed thug of a DA. Therefore, it might have looked to him like a clever tacking manuver to make noises sympathetic to PC/rape-activists concerns at the expense of the players public image BECAUSE they were in no real danger of proscecution. Then, soon after, Nifong started raving about how certain he was that a terrible rape indeed had occurred.
So now what was he to do? Tacking back to bolster the players reputation would have required him to sail directly into the hurricane of Nifongs faux certainty and the hysteria of the gang of 88.
In other words (trying to give him some kind of break) maybe he thought for a time that the LAX guys could have been thrown to the wolves - just a little bit - allowing him to placate the PC hordes without much harm being done.
Shakespeare indeed.

Anonymous said...

Bill--agreed, agreed, agreed. But I do hope, when you are less Brodhead-weary, you will listen to that press conference. I look forward to some anti-Nifong posts!

AMac said...

anon 6:20pm --

I will try accessing the 3/25/06 Brodhead interview "Duke news conference regarding rape allegations" at the WRAL lax website (Darby notes that it is the very last video). (I got no pic and poor sound this afternoon.)

Thanks, AMac

Anonymous said...

You and KC do an excellent job bringing this case into focus. Jason Trumpbour of FODU gave me a link to KC's place and I have been rivetted by the work that he does. Your (8:37 AM) post was fantastic. Please consider submitting a column to the Herald Sun. Do it with gusto. Everyone in the area needs to read that post of yours. For much too long, both the N&O and the Herald Sun have been DOA on the real dynamics of this case; however, only the Herlad Sun has in its employ an editorial staff who openly proclaims its "cosmic justice" stance.

Debrah Correll

Anonymous said...

To 9:32 and 11:27

Not computer knowledgeable so I do not know how to link it, but on September 12, KC did a post on the Mysteries of the McFadyen E-Mail..through the Durham-in-Wonderland site. A GREAT piece!!!


Anonymous said...

4virginia said...

A question for KC.
How many other groups have had DNA testing done on such a scale in the USA done by group identity only?

I think that there is a recent case of this happening. During the search for the BTK serial killer in Wichita, KS there was some serious speculation that a member of the PD was involved. Several members of the PD voluntarily submitted DNA for testing. As it turned out, the killers own daughter's DNA identified him.

bill anderson said...

Actually, I have submitted a letter to the H-S in which I point out that much of the "evidence" that Nifong and his supporters claim to be "proof" of a rape actually consists of mutually-exclusive items.

Now, will the H-S print it? I have no idea. I sent it this morning, but as of 7:12 p.m., no one from there has emailed or called my office.

The gist of what I said was that Nifong is trying to say that the accuser was too injured to go to work or even to sit up.

However, after we found that she was pole dancing immediately after supposedly being brutally raped, we hear from Nifong's supporters that rape victims often go right back to work. Thus, her going back to work ALSO is called "proof" of her being raped.

Thus, we have her not going to work and going to work at the same time, with both being equal "proofs" of rape. I also compare the accounts that were given. Nifong and his supporters tell us that the very fact that the accuser has given wildly different accounts of this "rape" serves as "proof" that the rape occurred, since she was so traumatized that she could not remember which story was which.

However, Nifong and Mark Gottlieb tried to tell us that the accuser told a consistent story, or at least that is according to Gottlieb's from-memory 33-page (single spaced) report. That, too, is demonstrated as "proof."

Thus, they tell us that the accuser told only one story and that the accuser told multiple stories, and both are trotted out as being "proof" of a rape. We are dealing with logical absurdities, but prosecutors today, not to mention juries, buy anything, and I mean anything.

Again, I have no idea if the H-S will print the letter, but at least the readers here know it was submitted, and its general contents.

Anonymous said...


If your daughter has always wanted to go to Duke, I hope the decision not to is her own. Despite this fiasco, the combination of elite athletics and academics at Duke is special. Only Stanford rivals it. For a vast number of students and alumni, the combination of sports and academics at Duke is a defining quality of the school, embodying everything that Duke stands for (without sports, would anyone in their right mind really pick Duke over Columbia or Penn?). And I think this view is shared on an institutional level too - you don’t get sports teams of that caliber unless the university is truly committed.

The down side of this is that there’s a minority at Duke (exemplified by certain members of the group of 88) who absolutely hates that the university’s athletics define it as much as its academics. I think they see the love of sports as the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Duke - i.e. that students care more about frivolous things like cheering the team, greek life and enjoying being young and in college than they do about marching through campus protesting various evils in the world and brooding over white privilege.

But I think you have to remember that the only reason that this minority position exists is that the sports loving culture it abhors is so dominant at Duke. Sure, you won’t find group of 88 style disdain for athletes at Columbia or Penn, but that’s because nobody at Columbia or Penn gives two shits about the athletes there. At Duke they do. My strong guess is that the dominant culture and love of sport was what your daughter originally found so attractive about the school.

Just remember that there’s probably a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of your daughter ever experiencing anything even remotely like the treatment the LAX team has received if she chooses Duke. I just don’t think a risk that small is good reason to pass up the Duke experience and culture that your daughter once really wanted to be a part of. Unless she goes to Stanford, I just don’t think she’ll find anything like it at any of the other school you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

To: 3:45 PM

Thanks for posting the link. I would now have to agree that Brodhead has done a better job than I previously gave him credit for - or more accurately, did not give him credit for.

I would have handled it differently, i.e more supportive of the players - but that is probably more a difference of personality and leadership style - which is the problem I still have w Brodhead.

But you have to listen to the whole interview to understand that Brodhead was more supportive than previously thought - not his prepared PC statements - which unfortunately got the 'sound bite' coverage.

He was not helpful, however, in how he commented on why the players were not out speaking publicly - referring to the presumption that they were legally advised not to - he should have just kept quite.


bill anderson said...

The following:

Just remember that there’s probably a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of your daughter ever experiencing anything even remotely like the treatment the LAX team has received if she chooses Duke.

I hope that is true. However, the Gang of 88 has been emboldened to the point where I would not be surprised to see them go after other people. Granted, so much energy has been expended that the next set of false charges might not have the same intensity, but nonetheless, we are seeing a terrible miscarriage of justice in Durham, and at least some people in the Duke faculty and administration bear some of the blame.

I still think Duke University owes a number of apologies, and I do know that the university is liable for that awful wanted poster that branded a number of people as being rapists. No, Duke did not produce the poster, but the university permitted -- and I would say encouraged -- it to be placed around campus.

The kind of slander that went on simply does not deserve a reward. I would hope that people write off Duke for no other reason than this "wonderful" mix of academics and sports certainly is not appreciated by some very influential people.

By the way, who do you think is a better human being: Kirsten Kimel or Karla Holloway? One is a coach and the other a prominent member of the faculty.

Anonymous said...

Duke University and all of Durham should have negative consequences visited upon them for many years to come for their role in helping Nifong in this travesty.

Anonymous said...


I was referring to your eloquent analysis of the current campus / academic culture....and how that dynamic has contributed to the treatment received by the lacrosse players.

That was the significant point about your post, IMO.

Debrah Correll

WJD said...

To: Bill Anderson, you don't live far from me I am in NJ. I am a retired P/O and have tried to express the same ideologue as you. The post I left on this site earlier as "wjd" said at "4:31PM" is also proof of incompetence on the part of the police and the DA. No one seems to want to mention that including the local press in Durham. I could e-mail you with my opinions, but don't want to ask you for that here, but I can give you a temporary address as: I hope you see this and read it. Thanks WJD

Anonymous said...

To 4:23,
I simply have not based my personal views of President Brodhead's performance on his comments made in the initial press releases and conferences. His comments sounded fine to me then. As I review those comments now I see that he placed his faith in the DPD and Mr. Nifong to separate fact from fiction and proceed in the best interests of the community (maybe some emphasis on upholding the law would have been better). Where I do find fault is with President Brodhead's unwillingness to confront the reality that the DPD and Mr. Nifong are not trustworthy and be specific about how hopes and expectations for due process have been disappointed. President Brodhead keeps repeating the beautifully phrased thoughts of the early days of the scandal now when those relatively innocent days are long gone. Something deeply sinister has transpired in Durham, and it has happened in plain view of President Brodhead. He has witnessed a crime against his own students, and I expect him to bear witness to Durham and the world.
an Observer

Anonymous said...

Regarding: "I just posted this link on the previous thread. But, go here and listen to RB's statement. See if he sounds like a leader. // Click on the very last video. "Duke news conference regarding rape allegations"

Darby, thanks for the link. I did watch it (BTW: What is the date of that interview?) Yes, Brodhead is not the best speaker under pressure (what’s with the hands and the “uhs”?). But given what was transpiring at the time (the same timeframe as the *topic* of this thread) I think he did an excellent job of being fair to both sides in the discussion. In fact the video improves my impression of him. If I had to guess from the demeanor at the meeting this was before the administration knew anything about the McFayden email.

Regarding: KC’s comment about knowledge of the McFayden email – that it was only known on April 5th. Well, it was written on the night of the party and it is clear that the police department knew about it on 03/17/06 (KC acknowledges this in his previous blog). And the search warrant was executed on 03/27/2006 and that apparently is when the administration became aware of it. Everyone should read the article in the link below which confirms the 03/27/2006 date. The *public* became aware of it on April 5th.

Brodhead cancelled the season after this email. I think that was pretty reasonable response given the environment at the time.

Finally, again, for reference is a link to the facsimile of the "Attachment for Application for Search Warrant". In it is the complete content of the McFayden email which is shocking even when you do know that it’s a reference to “American Psycho”

Anonymous said...

"Unless she goes to Stanford, I just don’t think she’ll find anything like it at any of the other school you mentioned."

I concur completely but then I'm biased: Duke undergrad, Stanford grad school :-)

And BTW: Look at the CVs of the Group-88. Lots of those profs (as well as Brodhead) are *products* of Columbia, Princeton, Yale... Doh!!

Anonymous said...

I notice that KC has been strangely silent about all of the comments relating to the videotape of President Brodhead's press conference back at the beginning of the LAX mess. I have reviewed the videotape, and Brodhead does in fact say in a very clear and unequivocal way practically everything that KC has been beating him up for not saying during the past several months. In light of this, I have a couple of questions for KC and also for Bill Anderson. First, how do you reconcile the comments made by Brodhead and Alleva in this press conference with your repeated accusations that they threw the LAX players under the bus? Also, how do you reconcile their comments with your repeated accusations that they did not stand up for the idea that the players are innocent until proven guilty and that their statements on that issue were merely formulaic statements for which they should receive no credit? Do you remember your famous analysis about how only 2 percent of the words uttered by Brodhead in regard to the LAX case involved the idea that the players are innocent until proven guilty and that this somehow means that he was sending a message to everyone that he thought they really were guilty? How do you reconcile Alleva's comments about what fine young men the LAX players are with the accusation made by Bill just yesterday that Brodhead in effect declared to the world that he regarded the LAX players as a bunch of rapists? You and others on this web site have engaged in a campaign of character assasination against Brodhead for the last several months and the truth is that the videotape of this press conference puts the lie to practically everything you have said about him during that entire period of time. If anybody has an exposure to civil liability for making false statements about others, I would think that it might be the two of you. What I want to know from KC is this: are you now going to publish a long feature article apologizing to Brodhead for all of the false statements you have made about him, as proven by this videotape, or are you just going to stonewall the situation and hope that it all blows over? If you fail to apologize for the false statements you have made, then I would say that your credibility on matters relating to Brodhead is zero, which is basically what I have been trying to tell everybody for a long time.

bill anderson said...

Regarding the McFayden email, my guess is that had it not been that, the Duke administration would have found something else in order to shut down the lacrosse team.

As for the last post, I think that what Brodhead said on "60 Minutes," his Chamber of Commerce statements, and the fact that Duke has not even permitted any transfer of credits for Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, despite the fact that Brodhead KNOWS they did not rape anyone, is enough for me.

Furthermore, I am waiting for the previous poster, as well as Brodhead, to say that the placement of the infamous "wanted" poster on campus was abominable. Did Brodhead say one negative thing about the Gang of 88?

Look I do not want to get into a spitting match here, but facts are facts. Brodhead could have told the Gang of 88 that they were out of line; instead, they were rewarded with committee chairs.

I think one thing needs to be said: Nothing that the LAX players did on that fateful night justifies the false charges of rape and kidnapping. Nothing. Let us not forget that.

Furthermore, let us not forget the administration's talking points that demonize the lacrosse team and say nothing, NOTHING, about the Gang of 88.

As a college professor, and as someone who has written for several years about prosecutorial misconduct, I have come to expect prosecutors to lie.

However, as a college professor, I do not and will never accept the vicious attacks by the Gang of 88. No, Brodhead did not make those attacks, but neither did he say or do anything to say that they were wrong.

Today, versus what we knew in March, it is even MORE obvious that the charges are a lie, yet the Duke administration continues on this "let the process work" nonsense. People, the "process" is the problem. In North Carolina, the "process" is a sham, a fraud, and is criminal in and of itself.

I do not blame Brodhead for that; I do think that as more and more facts come out, he should say what is obvious. He does not even have to say the players are innocent. All he has to do is to say that the procedures were dishonest (which they were), and that there are a million and one discrepancies that cast huge doubts over this case.

My goodness, even a comment like THAT would open some eyes. Instead, we get talking points that demonize the lacrosse players, and a "let the process" work nonsense that permits the sham to continue.

And, no, I am not going to apologize for my earlier comments. I know that the previous anonymous poster feels strongly about Brodhead, and I am glad to see that someone on the other side cares. It is just that I am furious at the legal sham and the lies that come not only from Nifong, but also from the Gang of 88.

Had Brodhead even hinted that these faculty members were out of line, I would have had more respect for him and would back off. That he continues to treat these people as though they were spouting Oracles from the Gods leads me to believe he values their opinion more than he values justice.

And you know something? His attempts to appease these academic frauds will win him no respect with them any more than Neville Chamberlain earned Hitler's respect at Munich in 1938. In many ways, Brodhead is like Chamberlain, a decent man who is out of his element. The Gang of 88 consists of seasoned activists who take no prisoners. Hitler understood Chamberlain's weaknesses, and the Gang of 88 understands the weaknesses of Brodhead.

(I know. What kind of an idiot writes a long post like this at 10:30 at night. A motivated idiot.)

Anonymous said...

Sure thing, 10:14, good of you to crawl out from under your desk in the Allen Bldg. long enough to hurl a brickbat at K.C. and Bill for continuing to point out your fearless leader's foibles. So you continue to complain loudly that no one is acknowledging that one time in public, Dick broadHead refrained from stiffing the students? Wow, what a hero. What have you to say about his comportment and public demeanor throughout the rest of the travesty? What about the suspensions, the wanted posters, the craven pandering to black racists and town apparatchiks? What about the thundering silence from Duke Admin. regarding the blatantly illegal process that has placed three young men from Duke in dire jeopardy? Not losing sleep over that, are you? Where have you been speaking out on the essential issue-- looking for your bullhorn, I'm sure? Aw shucks, the Pres. is just so charming in person. . . and you wouldn't want to jeopardize your retirement. Besides, where the hell elso could you go work-- some clown college like NCCU? You've had your say-- now feel free to crawl back beneath your desk, unless you've an appointment to get over to Nifong's office to lick his boots. Pathetic bureaucrat. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...


As I interpret your last statement, you seem to be saying that you realize that many of the comments you have made about Brodhead are false, as shown by the videotape of his press conference last March, but that you are not going to apologize for those comments because he has not hit back at the group of 88. I honestly am not trying to mischaracterize anything you said, I am just giving you my understanding of what you seem to be saying. If this is in fact what you are saying, then I think this shows serious intellectual dishonesty on your part.

bill anderson said...

To be honest, I have not seen the tape, so I cannot comment. All I can say is that on his watch, these young men have not had due process of law, have been viciously attacked by faculty members, and had their pictures on wanted posters.

Say what you wish, but I think that Brodhead at least could have said that something was amiss. He has said nothing of substance in the past six months, other than to tell us that the lacrosse players are REALLY BAD PEOPLE via the administration's talking points.

And, please, do not give me this "intellectual dishonesty" crap.

KC Johnson said...

My apologies for the delay in comments; I was otherwise engaged this evening, and am just now catching up.

On the timing of the McFadyen email and Duke's response. This is an intriguing question. The search warrant was served on the 28th. But the warrant was sealed, and only made public on April 5.

To my knowledge, Duke didn't know about the email until that time. But, if the administration did know about the email earlier, then it has a major problem: in effect, Duke's position would be that McFadyen was suspended not because of the contents of the email, but because those contents became public.

On the Brodhead tape, I've never said that Brodhead didn't comment about presumption of innocence: he did. He also made comments, however, that suggested otherwise--namely, his "sexual assault has no place" remark. Most important, however, was the action of canceling the two games--an action not consistent with a president who actually believed the players were innocent.

Brodhead defenders argue vociferously that he was merely punishing the team for the party. But, as my post yesterday showed, Duke had made a decision for a deferred (and relatively minor) punishment just the day before the cancellation of the game.

Anonymous said...

I think the 10:53 PM comment reveals a lot about the mindset of some of the fanatics who post comments on this web site. Based upon the videotape of the March press conference, we now know that many of the attacks that KC and others have made against Brodhead the past couple of months are false. However, instead of acknowledging that the attacks were false, the commenter just launches into a rant and hurls a bunch of new insults at him. In other words, once the lies are revealed, he falls back to a new position. I should also point out to Amac that the commenter has not provided any links to support his rant.

Anonymous said...

KC, the videotape of the March press conference shows that many of the accusations you have made against Brodhead the past few months are false. Are you going to publish a long feature article apologizing for the false comments, or are you just going to hunker down and hope this all blows over secure in the knowledge that most of the members of your audience are just as fanatical as you are and so are not likely to call you out on this? Your 11:09 PM comment is very disingenuous and does nothing to come to grips with the issues, which is typical of the tactics you use when your accusations are shown to be false.

duke09parent said...

11:25, you are out of line with that attack. We can disagree with interpretations of events and statements without accusing others of lying. I haven't seen any agenda by Prof. Johnson except to expose snd discuss the injustices of this case.

I might be mischaracterizing Prof. Anderson, but in addition to the particulars of this case he expresses concern that our universities are being dominated by faculty who push group identity politics to the disregard of truth. To faculty of this ilk, "justice" is a process of righting historical wrongs, not identifying the truth of a particular dispute. He sees much of what has happened here as an example of that.

Anonymous said...

If you review the tape of the press conference, you can see that Brodhead is doing an excellent job of balancing the two competing issues in the case. On the one hand, he acknowledges that the allegations are very serious and must not be taken lightly, but on the other hand he insists repeatedly that that there is no proof that the allegations are true, that there is a huge difference between rowdy behavior and allegations of rape, and that it is very important to remember that the players are innocent until proven guilty. Then, a couple of days later, the Ryan McFayden email explodes in the media. This email was so vile and disgusting to the average television viewer who has not read American Psycho that it was like a nuclear bomb going off, and it changed everything. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that the season was cancelled and that Pressler was fired, especially if there were other negative things going on with Pressler, as suggested by some comments posted on this web site. The idea that Brodhead should be fired for taking these actions is ridiculous. The fact is that the season was cancelled and Pressler was fired because of the Ryan McFayden email, which created a public relations disaster for Duke the dimensions of which were unprecedented. So if you want to blame someone for the cancellation of the season and the firing of Coach Pressler, you should blame McFayden, not Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

One last comment before bedy-bye. I may not always agree with what you say (mostly I do) but I *really* appreciate what you are doing. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It's a fair question to KC; below is the conclusion of "The Stubbornness of Facts":

"The facts in this case stubbornly prevent an interpretation that Brodhead acted to defend either due process or the presumption of innocence. The record of his actions, and that of how his actions were interpreted by key players at the time, suggests a radically different thesis."

In light of the WRAL video, do you stand completely by the above words or would you like to alter them in any way?

HMan said...

To 12:25
It must be very tempting to heap all of the blame on MacFayden and his American Psycho email. It is almost the same as blaming everything on the LAX party, to which some have clung tightly. But in both cases, the sensational accusations were false, mistaken, bogus, and wrong.
So, are you just saying that defending the LAX guys one time against false accusations (rape at a party) is 100% of what can be expected of a College President and any subsequent false accusations of bad intent/behaviour (wanting to flail strippers) must be left unopposed?
The email was him KIDDING. That is a fact. And facts are stubborn things.
I really hate it when authority figures try to nail young people by pretending they are being literal when they indulge in the natural idiom (for them) of gross silliness. There is no end to the damage that can result. Why not arrest the kids of Southpark for killing Kenny?

Anonymous said...

1:22, In the context of his other "actions", it is more than arguable that the speech of 3/25 carries little weight and significance. It plays like insincere boilerplate, sandwhiched in between overt and passive support of the the Vile 88 and the minister of evil justice. If he had challanged directly, even once, either the leftists on his campus or Nifong, it might actually signify his "position" and "beliefs". In any event it sounds like he (or are you he?) will trudge this little CYA speech out when the civil suits come marching down the road, which of course they will. In retrospect, maybe he (you?) should have "encouraged" the students to get lawyers a little earlier, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson,

As you say, the facts are stubborn, and the videotape of the March press conference shows very clearly that Brodhead took great pains to say that there is no proof that the allegations of rape are true, that he had met with the team captains and they had denied the allegations, that it was his understanding that the players had all cooperated with the police, and that it is important to remember that the players are innocent until proven guilty, a point he repeated several times. All of this would seem to contradict accusations that you and certain members of your audience have made on countless numbers of occasions to the effect that Brodhead threw the LAX players under the bus and did nothing to defend their due process rights. In addition, the tape shows that Coach Alleva was very complimentary about the players and called them outstanding young men, which would seem to contradict the statements that you and Bill Anderson and others have made to the effect that Brodhead and the Duke Administration were characterizing the players as a bunch of rapists. In other words, the tape clearly shows that many of the accusations you have made against Brodhead during the past several months are completely false. What is your response?

Anonymous said...

hman, so I gather that your position can be summarized as follows: the lacrosse players had absolutely nothing to do with creating the current mess, the mess was not created by their party or their decision to hire strippers or their shouting of racial slurs, and it certainly was not caused by the McFayden email, instead, it was all caused by Brodhead. Is that about it?

Anonymous said...

I think that speech was as light a feather , and registered nowhere with nobody. It's actions that matter, and the feckless Broadhead Chicken Little will eventually have his day in court where he can defend himself as effectively as he defended the 3 INNOCENT victims of prosecutorial abuse.

Anonymous said...

2:06, Urinating in public is not a crime punishable by 30 years in prison. They did not "create this mess". Broadhead did his best, but his best was, unfortunately, pathetic. Hopefully, the next University President will come from the applied sciences or perhaps the field of medicine. Those people generally have stiffer spines.

HMan said...

To 2:06
The source of this mess, really, is Nifong. Without him, there would be no prosecutions going forward of felonies that never occurred. In other words, no other DA on the planet would do this in response to the non-existent evidence. In the same way, Nifong could do this to anybody, almost regardless of anything else. For example, it makes no sense to me that Nifong exempted the black LAX player just because the AV said her attackers were all white; eventually he disregarded and negated everything else she claimed about what happened that evening in pursuit of his goal. I mean, the Nifongian method of Post - Modern legal process treats mundane facts as just another story - no more valid than a childs fantasy.
Nifong is evil and should be opposed with the same sort of delicacy appropriate to A. Hitler on his worst days or Hannibal Lector when he is hungriest. Just hammer the stake in and ignore the screaming.
Brodhead is not evil he is just a guy with a tragic flaw. Hamlet, more or less. If he were 30% braver in this affair all would have gone right. but he wasn't and so he is doomed. Shakespeare understood this and maybe nowadays, late at night, so does Brodhead.
I find it interesting that you guys who blame the LAX guys never differentiate between the team as a whole and the random three who were forced on trial for their lives. Your agenda is showing.

Anonymous said...

1:49 -

I'm the poster from 1:22. I don't think my opinions are that unlike yours on the affair (I think Brodhead should be canned for his actions/inactions).

I do see the question as legitimate -- KC's response might be identical to yours, but I'd like to hear what he has to say.

One excellent thing about this blog (aside from the enormous information contained inside that is virtually inaccessible elsewhere) is the access to the writer. Compare that with trying to get your opinion through to the Herald-Sun.

bill anderson said...

While I realize this thread is going to fizzle out, I do think one point needs to be made: the March 25 press conference is NOT the only thing by which to evaluate Brodhead's performance in this affair.

Furthermore, as K.C.'s post today demonstrates, Duke University was interested mostly in PR (when it was not actively seeking to encourage the Gang of 88 to help turn Duke into a re-education camp). Yes, Brodhead is a nice guy and most likely he believes the players are innocent. Yes, the McFayden email was nasty, but it was not "proof" of rape, and it is no nastier than the dialog of things that students read for academic credit at Duke (not to mention the various plays that appear on campus, and other things).

And we know the extent of the "racial slurs," yet the poster continues to preach the fiction that everyone was screaming you-know-what at the women.

So, by all means defend Brodhead's March 25 performance. It was eloquent, it was statesmanlike, it was Churchillian. Whatever. But he still threw these guys under the bus when the Gang of 88 and "PR" demanded it.

In fact, in light of that performance, his subsequent performance makes him look to be hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

No, the press conference on 3/25 is NOT the only thinkg by which this affair shoulc be judged. But many people have been saying repeatedly that brodhead NEVER defended the boys' character or their presumption of innocence, and that Brodhead in effect declared them guilty. This press conference shows that is absolutely not true, and anyone who wants to debate the point simply must at least listen to it (especially Bill and KC--I find it shocking that you have not listened to it, yet you take the time to pen lengthy denials of its content.)

I wonder how many other press conferences would conflict with our hindsight analysis of his performance!!! And for those who seem to think apologies are so important, where is the apology for the total mischaracterization of Brodhead's speeches (we ALL remember the 2% comment.)

Anonymous said...

To 1:32am

Thank you !!!

Anonymous said...

Whatever he DIDN'T do is bad enough. Sound familiar?

Until he shows some leadership and denounces the actions of the 88 and the Durham PD's Dukie policy, he should remain on the hot seat.

Since he is "so PC" and would never do this, the hot seat will burn him. Just a matter of time.

However, once this sordid episode is finally behind us, I see him being on both the list of victims of the Hoax along with the list of Enablers of the Hoax.

AMac said...

Late returning to the party.

Pro-Brodhead anonymouses (P-BAs), for pity's sake adopt pseudonyms so the rest of us can figure out who's building what arguments (it would strenghen your case(s), as well).

On this computer, I can play Brodhead and Alleva's ~30 min. 3/25/06 press conference, as linked by Darby early in this thread. The contents are as P-BAs describe.

Brodhead speaks cautiously and firmly about a developing case that, we know in hindsight, was already thoroughly corrupted by D.A. Nifong. Brodhead states that many facts are unknown, that due process is important, that a rush to judgement must be avoided. He also emphasizes the seriousness of the sexual assault charges, and that he and his administration cannot judge the guilt or innocence of the lacrosse team partiers. In a normal situation, all this would be appropriate.

The issue might look different if a timeline showed that Brodhead had certain information about player innocence or DPD/D.A. procedural misconduct at the time of the press conference. I haven't followed closely enough to say.

I join P-DA 1:55am in hoping that KC Johnson and Bill Anderson will comment more fully on Brodhead's performance at the 3/25/06 press conference:

... the facts are stubborn, and the videotape of the March press conference shows very clearly that Brodhead took great pains to say that there is no proof that the allegations of rape are true, that he had met with the team captains and they had denied the allegations, that it was his understanding that the players had all cooperated with the police, and that it is important to remember that the players are innocent until proven guilty, a point he repeated several times. All of this would seem to contradict accusations that you and certain members of your audience have made on countless numbers of occasions to the effect that Brodhead threw the LAX players under the bus and did nothing to defend their due process rights...

More dubiously, P-DA 1:55am continued:

... the tape clearly shows that many of the accusations you have made against Brodhead during the past several months are completely false.

My own interpretation is that President Brodhead got off to a solid start under confusing, emotional, stressful circumstances. That the 3/25 press conference did offer a reasoned interpretation under trying circumstances.

But alas, this is a snapshot, not a portrait of the administration's overall performance during the first few weeks of the stripper party/hoax crisis. The particulars that KC catalogs in this and the immediately prior post (30 links) stand. The wheels did come off the administration bus. And, to mix metaphors, in the months that have stretched from March through November, the Brodhead administration has been willing to throw lacrosse players under the bus, as it has tried to balance the demands of hard-left PoMo faculty, a corrupt and incapable law-enforcement establishment, irate alumni, a divided student body, and three individuals unjustly charged with felony assault.

This balance, alas, has not been the quality that the situation has demanded from Richard Brodhead.

P-BA, since you asked, I think that sic semper tyrannis' 10:53pm comment detracted from the discussion. There is no evidence that P-BAs are administration shills.

Anonymous said...

Boradhead most certainly should have reached out to the players, as he found the REAL information.
I know for a FACT that it took over 160+ days for either Broadhead or Steel to call these families.
How do you excuse that?

Anonymous said...

Unless Brodhead is made of wood and is Steel's puppet he has played a major role in distorting the truth, condemning these players. So to 5:14, why don't you explain his actions to these innocent young men who have had their lives ripped apart, who are forever changed, tell it to their families who have lived under incredible stress and scrutiny from the entire world, who have had to listen to lies and slander from all kinds of morons. Brodhead was the figurehead at Duke and everyone at Duke followed his lead. Steel is the man behind the curtain pulling the strings but Brodhead can stand up for what is right and start by acknowledging their innocence. Apologize for jumping to conclusions and making incorrect statements and innuendos towards guilt. We are not going to stop questioning, and analyzing until all the wrongs are made right and these boys names are cleared and justice is served. Better now then down the road when Federal Prosecuters step in.

Anonymous said...

What was the purpose of their call?

Anonymous said...

I am really appalled at what I hear from the Brodhead bashers on this website, many of whom by the tones of their messages seem clearly to be either lacrosse players or members of their families or close friends. They have been hurling accusations at Brodhead for months which have now been proven with videotape evidence to be false, and instead of admitting that they made a mistake and acknowledging that the accusations are false, they just get really mad at the people who are pointing out that the accusations are false, and then without offering any apology, fall back onto other criticisms. The level of bias and intellectual dishonesty here is absolutely stunning.

HMan said...

To 10:39
Two things:
1.No one is fooled by your refusal to pick a nym for posting. There is only one of you defending Brodhead. This reminds me somewhat of the fact that, for some time now, Fox News has not been able to find even one TV Lawyer willing to defend Nifong.
2. So what if Brodhead occasionally did the right thing? It is still no good pretending that one can tack gracefully between truth and lies, good and evil - in a well balanced sort of way.
There was no rape or assault. The AV is lying. Nifong is a reptile. So, what is the right balance here?

Anonymous said...

Hey, 10:39.. That one speech is not going to save your friend from his inevitable comeuppance. Playing both sides of the fence, inaptly and tepidly, is not going to alter the perception of this sweet fellow as anything other than an expedient, disingenuous , and ineffectual non-leader.

Anonymous said...

To 10:39,
If you reread Prof. Johnson's post, I think you will see it is very well reasoned, and he is careful not to demonize President Brodhead. He is showing how President Brodhead's comments, however balanced, well intended, and gracefully phrased, were unequal to the task of protecting the defendants from the condemnation of his own friends and faculty members and from the blatant breaches of due process perpetrated by the DA and the DPD. President Brodhead's comments were taken out of context by the media and ignored by many of his faculty. If he has the integrity you seem to believe he has, he will recognize these problems and take steps to correct publicly and in strong unequivocal terms the impression among those carefully watching that he has played the role, however inadvertently, of Pontius Pilate. The Group of 88 has had its way with the defendants. Nifong continues his rape of justice. And President Brodhead continues his gentle, not very public pleas for due process. Michael Gaynor says 60 Minutes will air a follow up program. What a perfect opportunity. If you truly believe in due process, President Brodhead, please boldly testify to the country and the world what has happened to your students. Your moment is now.

same Observer with no connection to Duke or the LAX families

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say that KC needs to offer some sort of accounting for the things he has said about Brodhead, many of which it seems were not true.

Anonymous said...

Re: “Late returning to the party.
The wheels did come off the administration bus. And, to mix metaphors, in the months that have stretched from March through November, the Brodhead administration has been willing to throw lacrosse players under the bus, as it has tried to balance the demands of hard-left PoMo faculty, a corrupt and incapable law-enforcement establishment, irate alumni, a divided student body, and three individuals unjustly charged with felony assault.
This balance, alas, has not been the quality that the situation has demanded from Richard Brodhead.”

Amac. First, great post. Puts a lot of perspective on the pressures that Brodhead is under. I definitely don’t agree with everything he’s done but then I neither know all the information available to him nor all the pressures that are bearing down on him. So, at times I give him the benefit of the doubt.

But on a slightly different topic regarding the above. Almost all on this thread agree that Nifong and at least a subset of the Group-88 are acting in a *malicious* fashion toward the lacrosse players, the students, the administration, and the university in general. How can we, on these blogs, reduce the pressure on Brodhead coming from these quarters? Seems like if we could, Brodhead might at least have a better chance at resolving a reasonable balance in the situation. Just yelling at Brodhead is a bit like yelling at an airport ticket agent when there’s been a plane cancellation. Here’s the only person in a position to help you fix your problem and you’re yelling at him. (And yes I already know the analogy is not exact but I think most get the general point).

Anonymous said...

This blog has obviously divided the lacrosse team supporters into two groups: those who think that while Brodhead may not have done a perfect job of handling this mess, he nevertheless has done a very good job under very difficult circumstances, and those who are determined to demonize him. I think it is very unfortunate that KC took us down this road, especially now that it turns out that some of his criticisms of Brodhead were not accurate. The focus of this board should be on the terrible and unjust prosecution of the players and on what the AV and Nifong have done to bring that about, not on Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

I guess I have to ask 1:07 and 1:35 to be more speicific. Perhaps some Comments have been too strong, but surely you are not referring to the post, "The Stubborness of Facts."


AMac said...

1:39pm anon --

I lack a connection with Duke or lacrosse, but I wish the best for Pres. Brodhead.

I'd peg it as a certainty that this post and its associated comments will make their way to the President's Office, for what that's worth. So to the extent that Information is the issue, they'll have that.

By looking at the situation's outline (rather than reading minds or assessing intent), it seems to me that Brodhead would benefit from the three students being tried on the felony charges. Acquittal, hung jury, or conviction reversed on appeal--the fact of a trial would suggest to most observers that there was some basis to the charges, yet that "the system worked." By contrast, a prosecution that collapsed prior to trial (with a disgraced D.A. as Exhibit A) would suggest that something in the process went seriously awry. "Well, where was the President of Duke during those many long months?" would be an obvious and awkward thought that would immediately come to mind.

Brodhead the President is going to get brickbats from many (and bouquets from some) no matter how this affair ends. Brodhead the Shakespearian scholar might do well to ask himself, again, what the right course of action would be. At any time, he is free to return to the path he had started to travel in the 3/25/06 news conference. Given the abuses that have come to light since then, he would have a lot of bully-pulpit material to work with--violations of due process, inequitable treatment under the law, the rush to condemn members of an out-of-favor group, and meritless prosecutions, for starters.

KC Johnson said...

If either the 1.07 or the 1.35 (or the 1.22 am) would like to point to specific things I have said about Brodhead that were untrue, I'd be happy to respond.

In this post, I analyzed Brodhead's two major statements on the lacrosse affair, those of April 5 and June 5. In those two statements, he devoted 1.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, of his words to anything approximating a presumption of innocence or a support of due process.

As the post noted, "At various points, he labeled the lacrosse players “arrogant,” “dishonorable,” “disrespectful,” and “irresponsible”. He said their behavior was “heinous,” “highly inappropriate,” and “unacceptable,” and blasted the team’s “culture of privilege.” And when given an opportunity in his June 5 statement to balance these characterizations with the Coleman Committee’s revelation of the many positive things about the players’ academic, athletic, social, and community service performance, Brodhead pointedly declined to do so. His characterization of the players’ character remained exclusively negative."

I try--I might not always succeed--to be very careful in what I say. I don't believe a post on this blog has ever claimed that Brodhead never defended the idea of due process--in the two statements referenced above, he did--1.6 percent and 2.3 percent of the time. He spent the other 97-98% of his texts either criticizing the players' behavior or laying out Duke's responses.

Regarding the criticism of the 1.22am: from what I can gather, the argument appears to be that Brodhead stoutly defended due process on 3-25, when he issued a public statement that every newspaper that reprinted it framed as suggesting a rape probably occurred and took the unprecedented act of a last-minute cancellation of the game; but that he then somehow lost his commitment to publicly defending due process and the presumption of innocence by the time his April 5 statement rolled around; and that he didn't rediscover his commitment either for his June 5 statement or any time thereafter.

I apologize if I don't find that a terribly convincing argument.

With regard to the March 25 statement, Wed's post went out of its way NOT to claim that Brodhead never defended the presumption of innocence or due process. It said:

Brodhead defenders have pointed out, correctly, that the statement included a for-the-record passage on the importance of presuming innocence. But no news outlet, for unsurprising reasons, focused on this section of Brodhead’s remarks—since his actions and other portions of the statement suggested his true beliefs were otherwise.

Accordingly, WRAL, the Herald-Sun, and the N&O each highlighted Brodhead’s two most newsworthy clauses: “Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke” and “The criminal allegations against three members of the men’s lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties.” The Herald-Sun article included a third, also highly negative, quote from Brodhead: “Whatever that inquiry may show, it is already clear that many students acted in a manner inappropriate to a Duke team member in participating in the March 13 party.”

Did Brodhead intend for the media to emphasize the “physical coercion and sexual assault” clause, thereby leaving the impression that he believed a rape occurred even if he didn’t know the identity of the criminals? It’s hard to believe otherwise: holder of a Ph.D. in English, he obviously possesses the ability to craft a statement to mean what he intends. Moreover, the almost unprecedented last-minute cancellation of the game suggested an act based on panic, not a presumption of innocence. Or, perhaps, Brodhead did intend to stress the presumption of innocence, but was singularly incompetent in doing so. Without access to contemporaneous e-mails between administrators, it’s impossible to know for sure what motivated Brodhead to say what he did.

ec said...

You know, I am sick of these Brodhead supporters who cannot even come up with an ID so we can at least follow their unfounded support of the embattled president. There must be a reason for this (probably a family member or friend) and I suggest to KC that he turns this blog into an account only commenting blog and forget these "anonymous" posts.

Second, for the Brodhead supporters, a perfectly poignant and apt question to them is, WHY has not Brodhead reinstated Seligman and Finnerty back at Duke knowing that the Hoax is just that, a hoax? IF he is such a great guy, why this glaring omission by your St Brodhead?

It was asked before by another person though no takers. Again, no surprise.

duke09parent said...

This might be the longest string yet.

The bricbats and bouquets post was surely right. I think Brodhead HAS continued to try to be consistent with his approach at the 3/25 press conference. Where I think he has gone wrong is that after the full discovery material was released and widely known, the prosecutorial abuse is much clearer and the DPD discrimination against Duke students has come to light. He should speak out against these.

Also on the WRAL site is an interview he gave to one reporter on 4/5 after the season cancellation and Pressler resignation. It seems pretty clear he didn't know the McFadyn email was a parody (I didn't either). In that interview he says there had been a shifting balance point between doing too much and not doing enough, and that that balance point shifts over time.

duke09parent said...

ec, since I've had criticisms for Brodhead as well as supportive statements, I'm not sure I qualify as a supporter anymore. I'll answer your question about reinstatement--I think they should be reinstated or at least offered reinstatement. If they have to go through a trial, I wonder if they will have enough time to finish the term, though, and they might not want to be reinstated for this Spring term.

Anonymous said...

To 1:35,1:07,10:39,1:55 and all your other permutations.. your suggestion that ..

"he nevertheless has done a very good job under very difficult circumstances"

is held only by you on this thread, even though you have repeated it a dozen times. A more palatable interpretation would be..

"he nevertheless has done a very inapt job middling his way through and covering his a$$, under very difficult circumstances."

Then I think you would get more subscribers, and you wouldnt be so alone (no matter how many times you repeat yourself)

KC Johnson said...

I believe '09 is correct that this thread exceeds any other at the blog in length.

Re the suggestion of foreclosing anonymous posting, my policy is this:

I read every comment on the blog (though I have a day job, and so I'll sometimes go many hours between checking in), and I want to encourage all viewpoints, including those that disagree with me. I always try to respond to questions, either in threads, or in Q+A sessions.

I don't want to do anything to foreclose people from commenting, and some people don't want to set up blogger accounts. So it's OK for me for people to post anonymously.

I will, as I said before, delete three types of comments (none of which apply on this thread):
--comments that make unfounded speculations about the case if I know these speculations to be untrue;
--race-baiting comments about the accuser;
--anonymous race-baiting comments directed at critics of Nifong or supporters of the players.

Anonymous said...

KC -

Thanks for your response. I asked the question at 1:22AM not as a criticism but as allowing you to change or add on to your words in light of a video that hadn't before been discussed.

I'm not making an argument for Brodhead; as I noted later, I think the man should be fired. Your blog and comments here explain your position well.

- 1:22

p.s. As a theory, I think Pressler being forced out largely due to a hurried (perhaps panicked) response to MacFayden's e-mail makes a whole lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

I would like to give Brodhead the benefit of the doubt but find that course difficult.

His defenders have correctly stated that Brodhead did include in his 3/25 statement a call for calm, reason, etc. As KC stated, the media inexplicably ignored those portions of his comments. Brodhead can't be held responsible for what the media did or didn't report. However, IF those feelings were paramount to him then he had the opportunity on 4/5 and again on 6/5 to more forcefully call for public calm, presumption of innocence, equitable treatment, fairness & due process. The fact that he did not do so speaks uncomfortably about Brodhead's apparent lack of sincere commitment to the principals he stated on 3/25.

I am a bit taken back by an under current of thought that holds 20 year old students to an apparently higher standard than the President of a major US university or tenured professors. It should be the reverse!

The discourse that has excused (or rationalized) some of the Lacrosse player's (or other college student's) behavior as understandable is weak. "Everybody's Doing It" is no justification at all. However, the consequences for misbehavior should be appropriate for the offense. Young men (or women) learning to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices is a part of their maturation process. Unfortunately, President Brodhead does not seem to have learned that he should take responsibility for his actions, his inactions, his statements and his silence.

ID said...

RE: "Second, for the Brodhead supporters, a perfectly poignant and apt question to them is, WHY has not Brodhead reinstated Seligman and Finnerty back at Duke knowing that the Hoax is just that, a hoax? IF he is such a great guy, why this glaring omission by your St Brodhead?"

I believe I read (somewhere on-line in the past) that in the Duke bylaws any student under a Felony indictment is suspended until the indictment is cleared. What latitude Brodhead has in these matters I don't know.

Also, as far as posting with or without an ID, well if someone really wanted to be duplicious and appear as many people they'd just make up a whole lot of IDs (thought that was obvious but maybe its not...)

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that some of the anti-Brodhead people use online names and also post comments anonymously.

Anonymous said...

In his 2:34 PM comment, KC said:

Did Brodhead intend for the media to emphasize the “physical coercion and sexual assault” clause, thereby leaving the impression that he believed a rape occurred even if he didn’t know the identity of the criminals? It’s hard to believe otherwise: holder of a Ph.D. in English, he obviously possesses the ability to craft a statement to mean what he intends.

This is a great example of the the absolute crap that permeates this website and that only a fanatic could subscribe to. Brodhead wrote a statement which was very balanced. The statement basically said that allegations of rape must be taken very seriously, but there is no proof that any rape occurred and the players are innocent until proven guilty. He reads the statement at a press conference, the one we have on videotape, where in response to questions he goes to great lengths to repeat over and over again that the players are innocent until proven guilty. Some of the local media then take his written statement, quote certain sentences but not others, which has the effect of distorting the statement, and KC takes the position that Brodhead must have known and even intended for the media to distort his statement and give everyone the impression that a rape occurred because he has a Ph.D. in English. Does anybody out there really believe this, or can we all agree that this is just one more classic example of KC being an over-the-top fanatic who takes a lot of extreme positions that do not make any sense? I would especially like to hear from Amac and Duke09parent, since their comments are usually more balanced that a lot of the other comments on this site.

Anonymous said...

KC, in your comment above you keep referring to the statement of March 25 but not to the press conference, which causes me to wonder have you reviewed the videotape of the press conference?

TombZ said...

It appears that the Duke/Brodhead crisis management PR firm has decided to participate in blog commentary.

So, for me, much like the use of Hitler or Nazi in other (non-D-I-W) web threads, this section has apparently run its course.

On to the next post!

Et tu Brodhead?

HMan said...

To 651
I am not on your list of "balanced" contributors. You seem to like the word "balance" in regard to this case. Like a lot of vague words that are popular it has feel good ambience. Its opposite -unbalanced - is generally a negative quality to ascribe to anything.
The catch is that if reality is un-balanced then trying to treated it in a balanced way quickly turns into mischief.
Of course the media guys picked out the parts of Brodheads statement to make into the story and none of us really knows what exact clues they were given as to what the "real" message was from him. The actual story they wrote afterwards was clear enough: Brodhead says LAX=BAD.
In order to claim that the media simply misunderstood what Brodhead was trying to say, or were too lazy to take it all down, one would need to show, it seems to me, a good faith effort by Brodhead to fix that initial miscomprehension. The thing is, one could look forever in all his subsequent utterings on the subject and not find any such thing.
We can debate why that is the case but there is no denying the truth of it. Presidents of large, prestigious universities can get their exact views accross in almost media they choose whenever they really want to, even if they are not Profs in English. Brodheads continuuing silent acceptance of the initial public interpretation of his 3-25 statement is therefore highly relevant to any question as to what he wanted to get across.

duke09parent said...

Since 6:51 flattered me and asked for a comment, I will comply. I do not think Prof. Johnson is an "over-the-top fanatic". I think he has done a great service to the case by gathering informational resources and analyzing events.

Sometimes when one makes a judgment about another person, all other perceptions of that person are distorted (informed?) by that established judgment. For instance, liberals despised Ronald Reagan so much they (including me) could hardly listen to him speak about anything. The same phenomenon occurred regarding Clinton. I think that phenomenon has been applied to views of Brodhead, too. He has indosyncracies as a speaker, lowering his chin and wrinkling his brow and rolling his eyes with sideways glances. If you like the guy you find those little habits endearing. If you despise him, they are further proof that he must be a weasel. In the end, though, they are just indosyncracies, neither admirable nor excreble.

For the example you raised, the conclusion that Brodhead intended the press treatment of his remarks is unwarranted in my view, for two reasons. First, no one can control how the press takes comments out of context and ignores what the original source statements intended. At the time, you will recall, both the H-S and the N&O created a narrative of arrogant, out of control, sex fiend athletes who didn't think the regular rules of society apply to them. So, those reporters or their editors picked the statements which fit their narrative. At least in this day and age the original source material can be recorded and preserved. Second, a retrospective view of someone's performance in a fast moving and pressured crisis, having all the later known facts, can often lead to unfairly severe criticism of the that person's performance.

I have a rather unusual type of disappointment in Brodhead. I don't think he's been terrible, I think he's been rather ordinary compared to other university presidents I have seen in action. But I think he could have been great, and he hasn't been. Great ones I've seen? Brewster of Yale, Bok of Harvard (back again as acting pres. with Summers gone), Hesburg of Notre Dame, Lyman of Stanford, Giamatti at Yale and of baseball. Weak ones? Schmidt of Yale, past presidents of Emory, Wake Forest. Those of Emory and Wake Forest rightfully take credit for large building campaigns, but to the students they were largely non-entities.

My first experience with Brodhead was at the freshman convocation in the fall of '04. I thought he was inspiring. I had heard great things about him from people I knew at Yale. I have seen him in action several times since and have met him a couple of times. The press conference we've been talking about is pretty typical for him - articulate and intelligent and he answers questions without evasion or equivocation, except when he tells you he can't answer the question. On a lot of educational issues he's visionary. Those are rare talents, even in folks at his level.

But, it's a big but, he has had an opportunity to go beyond all that and be truly great and he whiffed, in baseball parlance. Or maybe just watched three strikes without taking much of a whack at those curves. The presumption of innocence mantra was fine for the spring and the summer and might even still be OK where the prosecutor might be able to hold incriminating evidence under wraps until a trial. In NC though, the prosecutors must reveal all to the defense. That "all" has revealed Nifong to be extraordinarily derelict in his prosecutorial ethics, the weakest case imaginable against these three defendants, and a discriminatory law enforcement effort against Duke students.

The last excuse for his not speaking out against these outrages was the fear of voter backlash leading up to the election on November 7th. Speaking out now would not change the course of the prosecution. However, it might well turn around the negative perception of Duke by disaffected alumni and prospective students. It would also boost the morale of right thinking students and faculty at the university.

Duke students I talk to always knew elements of Durham were hostile to them. Now they feel official Durham holds them in contempt, too. They think Brodhead is OK for fund raising and diplomacy but they wish he were more of a wartime president.

bill anderson said...

For the record, I knew no one on the Duke lacrosse team (or any other lacrosse team, for that matter) when I started writing on this case on Lew Rockwell's page. I strongly suspect that was the case for K.C.

Thus, I really would appreciate it if Mr. Anonymous would quit saying that we somehow are "fanatical" LAX team supporters and somehow are acting as a mouthpiece for the LAX families. That is crap. Let me repeat myself; that is bullsh*t. (I know, I know, evangelical Christians are not supposed to say bullsh*t, but I am saying it, anyhow.)

When the Little Rascals case was going on more than a decade ago, I swore that if there ever was another hoax and I could join the fight against it, I would do so. THAT is what got me into this fight, not any relationship with LAX families. In fact, I did not hear from anyone associated with the Duke lacrosse team until June, which was two months after I had written my first of many pieces on this subject.

Furthermore, I would be fighting if this involved other people, and people who have faced legal problems elsewhere can tell you that I have been an advocate for them. So, please stop this LAX fanatic nonsense.

As for Dr. Brodhead, I am glad, glad, glad that he said something about due process. Furthermore, I think that he KNOWS Nifong has been pressing false charges, and I think he personally wants the Duke 3 to be exonerated.

My problem with him is that while he may believe one set of things, his actions helped to lay the table for the indictments, and for the absolutely vicious attacks on the Duke 3 and others by the Gang of 88. None of the Brodhead defenders on this page EVER have addressed the Gang of 88 and how Brodhead caved in to them. And, yes, "caved" is appropriate here.

Of course, I suspect that the critics in the future will still promote the fiction that K.C. and I were disinterested bystanders until a LAX parent contacted us and offered us BIG MONEY to shill for them. Sorry folks. I have not made a dime from this venture, and both K.C. and I have put off academic projects to do this.

You may be free to disagree about our views of Brodhead's actions, but you need to lay off the nonsense of our motives or why we are doing what we are doing.

Anonymous said...

To duke09parent:

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It was very interesting (and balanced).

AMac said...

P-BA 6:51pm --

I. General response to your question.

I agree with what was already said by hman at 9:35pm, and the contents of the first 3 paragraphs of duke09parent's 10:10pm's comment (later paragraphs concern his/her personal insights).

II. Specific answer to your question about KC Johnson's interpretation of Brodhead's 3/25/06 statement, and his and Alleva's press conferences.

Going through the links in the body of this "Stubbornness" post, they all check out. However, KC did not specifically link the WRAL archive of the press conference, or Brodhead's statement. In its entirety, it reads:

--[begin quote]--

Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke. The criminal allegations against three members of our men’s lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties. The facts are not yet established, however, and there are very different versions of the central events. No charges have been filed, and in our system of law, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. We also know that many members of the team, including some who were asked to provide DNA samples, did not attend the party.

I urge everyone to cooperate to the fullest with the police inquiry while we wait to learn the truth.

Whatever that inquiry may show, it is already clear that many students acted in a manner inappropriate to a Duke team member in participating in the March 13 party. I applaud Athletics Director Joe Alleva for responding to the conduct that is not in question even as we wait for the investigation to determine the truth about disputed parts of the events.

--[end quote]--

[Italics for sentences stressing proper procedure and due process and bolds for sentences suggesting student guilt (Brodhead urges cooperation at a time when he already knew of the players' extraordinary cooperation).]

As I stated earlier (8:47am), video of the press conference shows Brodhead emphasizing the importance of due process and avoiding jumping to premature conclusions.

So, for me, seeing Brodhead in action on 3/25 leaves me with a more favorable impression than does reading KC Johnson's interpretation. I disagree with KC that Brodhead would have been able to anticipate how the press would interpret his performance.

That said, the larger points KC makes in these two Brodhead-themed posts appear to hold. Certainly Brodhead knew after 3/26 that the media had presented his remarks as consistent with a stand that suggested his belief in the credibility of the rape allegation and in the involvement of the lacrosse players in the crime.

Where are the letters to the editor, the followup interviews, the corrective statements? Is it reasonable to ascribe no meaning to their absence?

More broadly, we've been looking at 3/25/06 through the microscope. Would peering more closely at other points on the time line reveal this level of ambiguity? Would Brodhead look like more like a leader concerned with protecting due process, and less like an enabler of a corrupt D.A. and agenda-driven faculty members? Perhaps. But neither you nor the other P-BAs have offered pointers to information that indicates that this is so. If you have links that suggest that the overall portrait of Brodhead that KC has sketched is misleading--why not make that argument?

KC Johnson said...

The "over-the-top fanatic" will attempt to respond to a few points . . .

Yes, I have viewed the press conference; as far as I know, I've viewed every video and read every document that's on-line regarding this case.

As those who read this blog regularly are aware, I have been most critical of Nifong; and second-most critical of the Duke faculty. I was, initially, somewhat favorably inclined toward Brodhead, knowing virtually nothing about the behind-the-scenes situation at Duke (I since have learned much more, obviously).

What tipped me into criticism of Brodhead was his June 5 statement reinstating the team. At that point, it was clear that Nifong has engaged in massive procedural improprieties--and that, at least with Reade Seligmann, Nifong had a non-existent case. The Coleman Committee report, meanwhile, had shown that the caricature of the lacrosse players in the media early on was just that--a caricature.

Yet Brodhead's June 5 statement was virtually unchanged, in either tone or substance, from his April 5 statement--a time when a person might have believed that Nifong had a legitimate case.

Those who argue that Brodhead's March 25 press conference represents some type of aha! moment therefore have a difficult problem: they are saying, in effect, that Brodhead was strongly committed to a presumption of innocence and supporting due process on March 25, and then, for reason or reasons unknown, became less committed to these issues by June 5. That seems to me a difficult argument to accept.

This post concludes with the following sentence, "The record of his actions, and that of how his actions were interpreted by key players at the time, suggests a radically different thesis."

Brodhead isn't responsible for how his statements are interpreted by the press. But if the press misinterpreted his March 25 statement, it was his responsibility to recalibrate his statements to increase the emphasis on due process. Instead, if anything, he did the reverse. That would seem to suggest he wasn't troubled by how the press interpreted his remarks.

On Bill's point, as I've said before: when this case started, I had no connection to Duke and knew no one associated with the Duke lacrosse program. The only person at Duke I knew at all (and only by reputation) was Group of 88 member William Chafe, whose scholarship I greatly admired. I must admit that Chafe's performance in this case has led me to wonder if he's similarly biased and closed-minded in his scholarship.

Anonymous said...

To Amac and KC:

Thank you for your comments. Obviously, I disagree with you on some of the issues in this case, especially as they relate to Brodhead. However, I appreciate your taking the time to explain your positions to me. As an expression of gratitude, when posting comments in the future, I will refrain from calling either of you an over-the-top fanatic, though I may still need to use that term with certain members of the audience.

ec said...

12:17 am,

I disagree with you on some of the issues in this case, especially as they relate to Brodhead.

Wow, that's great. I still have yet to hear why that is besides your oft repeated "unbalanced" and "fanatic" ad hominems. The evidence is quite damning against spineless Dick. I'm all ears to hear why you think otherwise.

Duke09parent 2:57pm,

That is my point about re-instatement. They at least should have been offered that, this past fall. For Brodhead to not have done so is inexcusable. Again, the Brodhead defender does not address this issue. Does he?

AMac said...

Pro-Brodhead Anonymouses (P-BAs) --

You've added to this discussion (sometimes in intemperate fashion) by inducing KC and some Alert Readers to review relevant information from March and present their views.

Now I have a question for you (plural) in return.

Links in KC's latest post point to:

(a) A Joseph Neff article in the Aug. 6 N&O that reviews the March and April accounts of the alleged victim, D.A. Nifong, and the DPD in light of the forced release of ~1200 pages of prosecution records under Open Discovery.

(b) An N&O sidebar detailing the A.V.'s ID of assailants in March and April.

Please check them out.


Neff's account starkly shows what most observers had already concluded: that D.A. Nifong had no case except that built around the A.V.'s claims, but that the A.V.'s claims are self-contradictory and unsupported by all other evidence. In particular: in addition to being completely inconsistent, the A.V.'s IDs are wholly tainted by the gross violations of procedure and due process through which they were obtained.

So--four questions.

(1) Do you agree with my characterization of Neff's article?

(2) Do you think that President Brodhead read about these developments in August?

(3) August-to-December, is there a record of Brodhead offering germane comments on these August developments, or modifying his earlier calls for "balance", or offering any support for the three accused Duke students or their families?

(4) If the answer to (2) is "Yes" and to (3) is "No," how can Brodhead's leadership in this case be considered to be adequate?

Four simple but open-ended questions. The P-BAs on this thread have asked a series of questions of KC Johnson and other commenters, and received detailed and considered responses. Thus, I think it's fair to expect expositions of P-BAs' (plural) points of view on this matter in return.

For my part, I will take the absence of responses as an indication that P-BAs have ceded positions that cannot be defended.

I hope, though I am not optimistic, that P-DAs can point to instances of strong, specific defenses by Brodhead against the abuses of due process that Neff cataloged, and against the three indictments obtained by D.A. Nifong under false pretenses.

duke09parent said...

Prof. Johnson identified the tipping point for his judgment on Brodhead going from satisfactory to unsatisfactory as June 5. Amac helped identify that point for me; it was Broadhead's stop at the D.C. alumni club "Duke Conversation" tour.

Brodhead was travelling a good part of the summer. He knew he had to address the hoax issue in some form at his freshman convocation speech in early September, so I figure someone briefed him on what had happened over the summer, including the discovery disclosures Neff reported. Giving him the benefit of doubt (I always do that with anyone) I gave Brodhead about a month to absorb what the Nifong's discovery disclosures really meant.

So, the D.C. event was the day after the general election. The "presumption of innocence, let the system work" mantra was clearly out of date by then; the system was corrupted. Nevertheless, when a lacrosse team parent in the q&a session asked why Brodhead had not by then come out to support his students, Brodhead stuck to his previous position. He took credit for being one of the few voices in the beginning of the crisis to emphasize presumption of innocence and said there was a need for the judicial process to sort out the truth of the allegations. He felt it would be inconsistent now to say that he knows the truth of the matter and that the judicial process should not go forward.

Parts of the crowd of alums and parents, nearly 800 strong, applauded both the question and response, but the support for Brodhead was louder than for the parent. I just shook my head sadly.

Anonymous said...

Guess we will have to wait and see if the "applause" translates into increased number of applications and donations!

Anonymous said...

I guess the presumption always favors the authority figure. Society depends on it. Just as there was a firm initial inclination to assume Mr. Nifong was an able and honest prosecutor acting in the interests of justice, so the Duke alums now assume that President Brodhead is an able and forthright leader acting in the best interests of Duke and its students. Intelligent, compassionate, but sadly ignorant of the details, these alums naturally applauded President Brodhead's well constructed, sensible sounding speech and helped confirm for him the complete the justness of his inaction. So pitiful.


id said...

KC, amac, duke09parent

I especially enjoy reading your posts. Articulate, well-balanced.

Although I have no issues with how Brodhead handled the initial issues (the timeline that KC has been discussing in this post) I too have been less than pleased with the *recent* (in)actions of Brodhead.

But I'm going too offer one *possible* explaination for his actions recently. Nifong through his own actions and actions of others (eg blogs) has been effectively painted into a corner - he has little or no real exit strategy at this point where he can save face. He will fight and the only way to do this at this point is to polarize the community further. Could it be that Brodhead sees himself as the ambassador to both Duke, the Durham community, yes, and even Nifong? Staying above the fray at this point may pay dividends later.

Please realize I'm not looking for apologies for Brodhead's actions but rather for explainations.

duke09parent said...


I don't think Brodhead is taking his stance as a strategy. I think he believes it is a principled stand. I know it's speculation on what he's thinking, but there it is.

The "60 Minutes" piece aired in mid-October. The unaired part of Bradley's interview with Brodhead is linked here:
In it he said if the players are found guilty they committed an abominable act. But if they are victims of false accusations, "That's a pretty serious injustice, too. And if it's been further aggravated by a case being brought that didn't have strong legs under it from the beginning, that's an injustice, too." The prosecutor's case will be on trial just as much as our players will.

I don't know when that interview took place.

bill anderson said...

I think that the posters have made some good points. Perhaps Brodhead wants to stay "above the fray." I know that one difference between Brodhead and me is that Brodhead still "believes in the system." I don't.

As one who has written for many years about criminal injustice in the United States, I now find it to be shocking when someone in an official capacity actually does something that is morally right and serves the cause of justice. Judges, prosecutors, and many defense attorneys are not even capable any more of doing anything but playing the CYA game.

Yes, Nifong might be painted into a corner, but he was doing the painting, and the State of North Carolina supplied the paint. However, the state also will miraculously provide another way out for this guy, while protecting his backside all the way.

The more this case goes on, and the more nonsense I read from Duke and Durham, the more I admit that I will be shocked if there is an outcome other than a conviction. I'm not trying to be a pessimist or to spread despair among the lacrosse families; it is just that I have watched cops and prosecutors frame people, lie, suborn perjury, withhold evidence, and do whatever they can to pervert justice. When there is an outcome that they HAVE NOT perverted, that is cause for rejoicing.

Anonymous said...

ec, I have made many posts on this website over the past two and a half months defending Brodhead on various matters, so if you have not yet heard what I have had to say, then you have not been listening very carefully, or perhaps you are just too biased to have given any serious consideration to my views. As far as offering reinstatement to the indicted players is concerned, it has been pointed out several times before on this website that Duke has a long-standing policy of suspending any student who has been formally charged with a felony. This is a very reasonable policy which was put in place long before Brodhead ever arrived on campus. Brodhead is simply following the established policy, which in my view is the correct course of action for him to take. If he were to depart from this policy, he would in effect be declaring to the world that there is no need for a trial to resolve the accusations against the players because he already has perfect knowledge of the case and has concluded that the players are innocent. Not only would this set an unwise precedent, it would be highly offensive to a substantial portion of the black community in Durham, many of whom do not share your opinion that the players are clearly innocent and instead think that there should be a trial, which after all is the normal procedure in criminal cases. I assume you would contend that this is just a bunch of PC nonsense and that the due process rights of the players are far more important than these other trivial considerations. However, you should note that the group of persons who would be offended by a reinstatement of the players is likely to include both employees of Duke, which could create labor friction for the university, and the political leaders of Durham, who are in a position to do a lot of damage to Duke, such as pulling the plug on the development of Central Campus or other projects which require approvals from the city. Reinstatement of the players prior to dismissal of the charges could also reinforce a stereotype of Duke as an elite institution controlled by rich white people who arrogantly believe that they are not subject to the same rules and procedures as others lower down on the socioeconomic ladder, such as poor black defendants who are required to wait just as long as the rich white LAX players before their cases go to trial, even though there may be exculpatory evidence in their cases, too. Brodhead has absolutely no obligation whatsoever to defend the lacrosse players or to take action to insure that they receive due process of law in the current criminal proceedings. That is the function of the highly paid army of attorneys that is representing the players. Brodhead is charged with the task of representing the best interests of Duke University. As a result, he cannot simply blow off the considerations described above, which you would characterize as PC nonsense. He is in a much more difficult position in regard to this mess than you or me or any other person posting comments on this board. It is very easy to take shots at someone when you have the benefit of hindsight and no responsibility for representing the best interests of the university. You call Brodhead spineless for failing to defend the due process rights of the players and supposedly caving in to the group of 88, though I note that Houston Baker is no longer with us. I call him courageous for not caving in to the demands of the lacrosse team parents and their supporters and for continuing in the face of relentless and often unfair criticism to do the things that he in good faith believes are necessary to protect the best interests of the university.

ec said...

6:43 pm,

Can you please give yourself an ID so we do not have to go round and round about the "anonymous" commenting? Thank you.

Also, thanks for the mild mannered and extensive reply despite me not being so mild mannered. I agree with this...

As far as offering reinstatement to the indicted players is concerned, it has been pointed out several times before on this website that Duke has a long-standing policy of suspending any student who has been formally charged with a felony.

Of course this is fair and just and is meant to protect the university and the remaining students on campus. And I would have agreed with it say in April or even May, however we are in December and we KNOW FULLY that there was no rape and the three defendents are innocent despite being "charged with a felony". We even knew this in the summer. Their charges have as much merit as you being charged with attempting to assassinate the president of Indonesia. We all know this to be a hoax, including Brodhead. He following this rule of Duke's keeps him within the boundaries of normality however the attachment of the spineless label is more than fitting for him for this very same reason. A man with courage and decency would have done the right thing and in this situation, the right thing is to protect his students and give them a show of support when the evidence clearly points in this direction. What better show of support than to offer reinstatement?

As far as the other points in your argument; points such as the community, Brodhead's lack of obligation to defend the Lax players etc, no offense though it makes very little sense to me or what is reality as opposed to the purely hypothetical. Brodhead wrote a letter to a foreign president (though the country and circumstances escape me presently) in order to be an advocate for the foreign student of Duke. He HAS set a precedent for speaking on behalf of his students and when the evidence in this case is so clearly in favour of the players, now he wants to be "moderate and balanced"? Yeah right.

As far as the community or political leaders are concerned, they do not pay for anything nor do they fill the endowment coffers. The students and their families do. I would LOVE to see Duke pull up roots and move. Then we'll see just how resolved these community leaders are. That would be a truly just response to the vile invectives thrown at the university by the community. The community knows they have a captive audience and play it that way. No more. It does not mean that Duke has no power in demanding fair treatment for them and their students. They most certainly do and everyone knows it though in this day and age, there are certain taboos that are not allowed. Upsetting the black population by whites is one of them.

ec said...

BTW, I am not affiliated with Duke nor anyone or anything to do with Lacrosse. My opinions are strictly mine and are based on fairness and decency.

Anonymous said...

Amac, due to the fact that I have already provided a lengthy response to ec and have a social obligation this evening, I will not be able to respond to your questions until tomorrow. By the way, I have been considering your suggestion that I adopt an online name. At first, I thought I would call myself Socrates on the theory that we are all engaged in the search for truth, but I thought that others might find that arrogant. Then, I thought of calling myself Bozo the Clown, but I soon realized that if I did that, I would be making it too easy for the over-the-top fanatics in the audience. This will require some careful thought.

AMac said...

P-BA 7:26pm --

No need to apologize for having a life other than online (this goes for everyone except KC Johnson, who is required to be always working on a post).

In your response to ec, you have also largely answered my questions of 9:16am this morning.

I appreciate the careful arguments and the sober tone of your comment.

I am reflecting on two contrasting meanings for "President Brodhead's Administration." The first emphasizes president a word connoting leadership, aspiring to build positions around a moral center. The second stresses administration, meaning that compromise is necessary to adequately satisfy the fractious mix of key interests, within and outside of the university; by doing so, fiduciary responsibility is discharged.

It would not surprise me if many Southern university presidents faced somewhat analogous pressures after the beginning of the era of desegregation in higher education, on the matriculaton of James Meredith at Ole Miss in 1962. I would imagine that many were personally sympathetic to students and aspiring students like Meredith, and yet were faced with many on-the-ground factors that argued for taking actions to preserve the status quo. But I am no scholar--just guessing here.

With the benefit of 40 years' hindsight, I wonder how these presidents would advise Brodhead to act in the current hoax case.

On picking a pseudonym, heck, anything will do: try two letters from your license plate, or an anagram of your nickname.

Regards. AMac

Anonymous said...

To 6:43
I believe Houston Baker was under contract to fill a Chair at Vanderbilt well before the LAX incident.
Also, I know that in his address to parents of incoming freshmen Chancellor Gee emphasized that their children would be "safe" at Vanderbilt. He did not refer to the LAX incident, but I hope he recognized that some northeastern parents are quietly wondering if their children will be safe in the South. At any rate town/gown relations will take on greater importance in college selection.

bill anderson said...

Remember that Nashville is a much different place than Durham. For one, Durham is a declining city, while Nashville is growing and bringing in new businesses. It also is the capital city of Tennessee, and I can assure you that no one like Victoria Peterson would the kind of spotlight she has in Durham.

While prosecutors are pretty bad everywhere, I doubt that the Davidson County DA would be able to pull the nonsense that Nifong has done.

Now, I have no respect for Vanderbilt in hiring Houston Baker, but if I had to live either in Nashville or Durham, it would be no choice at all. I only hope that when Gee was telling incoming students they would be "safe," that he was saying they would be "safe" from Houston Baker.

Anonymous said...

To 10:55 PM:

My understanding is that Vanderbilt had some discussions with Houston Baker prior to the LAX incident because they were trying to build up their English Department and wanted to hire a big name in the area of African American Literature but that no agreement had been reached as of the date of the LAX incident. My guess is that after Baker sent his open letter to the Duke Administration about the culture of racism on campus and received the angry response of Peter Lange, presumably acting in consultation with Brodhead, he realized that he was persona non grata and needed to make other arrangements, which he did by concluding an agreement with Vanderbilt.

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed to hear Vanderbilt hired Houston Baker after the publication of his open letter to Duke. Thankfully, Bill, you are right, Nashville could hardly be more different from Durham, and Vanderbilt and its students enjoy excellent relations with the surrounding community. It is impossible to imagine this LAX incident playing out there as it has in Durham, Houston Baker or no.

Anonymous said...

6:43 said..

"Brodhead has absolutely no obligation whatsoever to defend the lacrosse players or to take action to insure that they receive due process of law in the current criminal proceedings. ... Brodhead is charged with the task of representing the best interests of Duke University."

I believe that Broadhead will find out soon enough that those 2 things are not mutually exculsive. After all, if he doesent care about alumni contributions, then why does he spend so much time pimping for them? And do you think subsequent to the criminal trial and later civil trials Duke's reputation as a protector of their student's "rights" will be enhanced? Just like the expression " penny wise, pound foolish" suggests; this feckless, expedient lightweight will have dug his own grave.

bill anderson said...

By the way, if anyone thinks that the schools of engineering, medicine, law, and others are safe from the Gang of 88, think again. Faculty from these particular programs are extremely imperialistic, and believe that ALL disciplines must come under the marxist thumb.

Lest anyone believe that medicine and engineering are exempt from academic claptrap, they are not familiar with the modern academy. There are ways to make these people conform, and I can assure you that the "campus intitiatives" people and the Gang of 88 already are plotting to make further inroads at Duke.

Should you say that "academics" rules in engineering and medical programs, you have to understand that to the Gang of 88, academic rigor is just another code word for racism. The fact that these programs demand high-quality students is further proof of the racism that permeates them, something that MUST be smashed.

You see, in the areas of AAAS, English, history, and the like, there are no real immediate consequences for being wrong, or even stupid, as there are in engineering and medicine. (Try driving over a politically-correct bridge. I dare you.)

Because of that, these folk believe that ALL academe should fall under the "no consequences" rubric, and if consequences occur, well that the RESULT of racism.

So, the engineering people need to learn to go to the barricades, because I can assure them that they are next in line to feel the force of the Gang of 88.

Anonymous said...

" would be highly offensive to a substantial portion of the black community in Durham, many of whom do not share your opinion that the players are clearly innocent and instead think that there should be a trial,..."

Well, I guess Duke needs to decide whether it wants to become a nationally-ranked university or "City of Durham University." Parents who have children at Duke do not expect the latter.
Get a dose of reality---the town of Durham will always fight Duke on anything it does. The Central Campus issues have been ongoing for 3 years now. Offering up 3 innocent Dukies as sacrificial lambs won't get those approvals.
So Duke should just do the right thing here.
YOUR child could be next...

Anonymous said...

Funny, I would have thought that "the best interests of the University" would be to protect ALL students?

Anonymous said...

6:02 PM, funny, I would have thought that the best interests of the university would be to protect the 12,000 students who did not create the LAX mess and let the lawyers protect those who did.

AMac said...

I asked Pro-Brodhead Anonymouses (P-BAs) a four-part question at 9:43am ("So--four questions"), on how Brodhead's leadership could be considered adequate.

P-BA#1 gave a the long and thoughtful answer at 6:43pm ("ec, I have made many posts").

P-BA#2 offers the in-a-nutshell version at 11:18pm, supra.

They help me understand Brodhead better. Were I a Dukie, I'd find his stance quite unacceptable, for exactly the reason that P-BA#2 cites approvingly.

Anonymous said...

8:01 AM, I really do not attach much importance to comments like yours because I seriously doubt that you are in a position to control any significant portion of the alumni contributions to Duke.

Anonymous said...

To 11:55 PM, Despite your confidence I can assure you there are rumblings in the alumni base (from personal knowledge, I speak)
We'll see how much you're smiling a year from now when this thing has a chance to "wash through" the system. I doubt you'll be so sanguine about the prospects of Duke maintaining its "attraction" amongst out of staters, and white males, in particular (although I'd guess you could care less).

Anonymous said...

"They help me understand Brodhead better. Were I a Dukie, I'd find his stance quite unacceptable, for exactly the reason that P-BA#2 cites approvingly."

I agree. I feel that the interests of the 12000 are EXACTLY the same as the Duke 3s.

Anonymous said...

One of the games that is being played here is that the LAX team parents and their supporters want every parent who has a student at Duke to think that if Nifong can file false charges against the three indicted LAX players, then their child may be next. The goal of the game is to give these parents and their children and the alumni of Duke an incentive to put pressure on Brodhead to make loud public declarations in support of the players because that will help the players, even though it may not be in the best interests of the university, as some commenters have pointed out. Accordingly, these LAX team parents and their supporters say things like the interests of the 12,000 are exactly the same as the interests of the Duke 3 because they want to make it appear that if Brodhead does not speak out on behalf of the players, then he is not really protecting the best interests of the university. Of course, this is not true and is basically just a tactic to generate support for the players and to further the agenda of the LAX team parents, who are mad at Brodhead and want to put pressure on the trustees to remove him as president of the university. The truth is that the interests of the 12,000 are not identical to the interests of the 3 because the 12,000 are not under indictment for rape. The lawyers are protecting the indicted players. Brodhead is doing what he believes to be in the best interests of the university in order to protect the 12,000 and insure that they receive the best possible education during their time at Duke. This is as it should be. There is no reason for Brodhead to inject himself into the criminal proceedings.

HMan said...

To 8:14
Translation: Brodhead (and Duke in general) are afraid of Durham and this fear makes speaking up for the civil rights of the three seem like a foolhardy and un-necessary provocation.
You are doing more to convince the wider world to keep out of Duke and Durham in Wonderland than any other poster I have seen.

Anonymous said...

To 8:56 PM:

I doubt that very much, and I suspect that most people with a brain recognize your comments as a bunch of extremist nonsense. By the way, what is your connection to Duke and the LAX players?

AMac said...

P-BA 8:14pm/10:32pm --

It doesn't seem that as though pre-postmodern ideas like "right" and "wrong" contribute very much to your view of how a university president ought to behave.

Your perspective appears to be fairly widely shared within the larger Duke community.

Suppose that it had been three baseball players, or three feminist professors, or three of Duke's cleaning staff who had been charged with a felony that they didn't commit because it had never happened. Assume further that some of Duke's baseballers, feminists, or janitors behave crassly, although not feloniously.

By your standards, lacrosse players and their silly families (the entire roster of folks who "care" about the actual case) should turn their backs on the unjustly accused. Why not?

Which brings us back to the final sentence in anon 8:56pm's comment.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason why Brodhead needs to defend the lacrosse players when they are already defended by an army of highly paid lawyers, especially when that may lead to negative consequences for Duke. The lacrosse players got themselves into this mess, and they need to dig themselves out of it, with the help of their lawyers.

Hman said...

10:32 and 11:04 The Same Person

My connection with Duke?? Less than zero except that I am smart and rich and atheltic. But I have been fucked with in regard to political correctness and I will happily spend the rest of my life getting even for it.
And everyone who says that the LAX guys got themselves into this is simply re-iterating their deep-seated terror of Nifong/Durham/etc.

Hman said...

10:32 and 11:04 The Same Person

My connection with Duke?? Less than zero except that I am smart and rich and atheltic. But I have been fucked with in regard to political correctness and I will happily spend the rest of my life getting even for it.
And everyone who says that the LAX guys got themselves into this is simply re-iterating their deep-seated terror of Nifong/Durham/etc.

Anonymous said...

10:32 and 11:04

Look how many times you have posted! You must be on Broadhead's payroll! Otherwise, why would you so adamantly defend a milqutoaster like him? What possible principle does he defend? The rightness of expediency?

By the way, keep an eye on male enrollment and average SAT scores of the Duke Freshman class come next September. See if you can spot a trend..You, shill, are in for a surprise, methinks!

Anonymous said...

To hman:

You forgot to mention that you are also very modest but have a very foul mouth. Also, if your connection to Duke is less than zero, I guess I do not see any reason why Brodhead or the board of trustees should pay any attention to your opinion.

Anonymous said...

"To 8:14
Translation: Brodhead (and Duke in general) are afraid of Durham and this fear makes speaking up for the civil rights of the three seem like a foolhardy and un-necessary provocation.
You are doing more to convince the wider world to keep out of Duke and Durham in Wonderland than any other poster I have seen."

Bingo. Be very afraid of very, very afraid...

HMan said...

To 9:53
It is revealing that you should say that Duke/Brodhead only pay attention to individuals who have a "connection" to Duke.
One could notice that this case is a huge injustice to the kids involved and a huge indication of quite serious derangements in the workings of the criminal justice system.
I do not have a connection to Duke but I live in the same country and in my estimation that makes me an interested party.
Brodhead and his ilk seem to have no idea how non-Durhamites see this situation. It may be a fringe concern as of now but the process of broadcasting this story is at an early stage.
If I had a kid looking at a school, there would be no higher priority than keeping him or her away from the clutches of a Mike Nifong.

Anonymous said...

To hman:

In your 12:24 AM comment, you state that you are a rich and smart person who has been f***ed in regard to political correctness and also that your connection to Duke is less than zero. Since you were f***ked in regard to political correctness, I gather that you have a very deep anger about anything that you regard as PC and that you are driven to make very strong or even extreme comments on that subject. At the same time, I gather that you do not give a damn whether your comments damage Duke or whether the course of action you recommend to the Duke administration is really in the overall best interests of Duke because you have no connection to the university. Which takes me back to the question why on earth would the trustees of Duke give a damn about your opinion? Oh yes, now I remember, because you live in the same country. Good point.

AMac said...

P-BA 4:04pm --

There is an ironic aspect to an anonymous and thus wholly unaccountable commenter attempting to discredit others' arguments not on their merits, but on their provenance.

I have no idea what hman is referring to in being "****ed with in regard to PC" (12:24am). Whatever--it has nothing to do with the questions about President Brodhead's conduct raised in the original post, or in the following thread.

Anonymous said...

to 4:04,

You have asked this several times: " why on earth would the trustees of Duke give a damn about your opinion?"

I would say because his opinion will likely resonate with others. Because he acknowledges the likelihood that there will be blowback on the University when these guys sue. And because the quality of enrollment will be affected despite your protestations that absolutley nothing but goodness and light will come from the Duke President throwing the lax students under the bus since they were accused of rape and 12000 werent and theyre RICH RICH RICH so why piss of the Durham Blacks??

Thats why

Anonymous said...

To 5:25 PM,

What is your connection to the university and to the LAX team? Also, how do you know the players are going to sue? Are you their legal advisor? Finnerty said his son would be proud to return to Duke. it does not sound to me like he is planning to sue. The truth is that you do not know squat about any of this so your comments are completely worthless.

HMan said...

To 4:04
My encounter with political correctness did indeed leave me with deep anger about the subject. I consider PC to be high on the list of the worst enemies of civilization and so I feel justified to bash it without mercy or restraint. By the way, how do you think the attitudes of the 3 LAX guys (and their families) will be affected for the rest of their lives? Do not expect anything mellow.
I am struck by the fact that there is no trace of idealism in your arguments here. I detect a post-modern indifference to guilt/innocent, truth/lies, what's good for the country, etc. Everything seems to come down to the question of whether or not the Duke BODs have a direct stake in what I think. Money, in other words.
So much for debating the nature of TRUTH.
As for the best interests of Duke University - my concern for that, per se, is identical to the extent in which Duke serves the cause of right and truth as I conceive of those things. In other words, right now, I think the leadership of the place deserves a good spanking.

Anonymous said...

To hman:

You accuse me of having no trace of idealism and a post-modern indifference to guilt or innocence, truth or lies. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think the idea that all citizens are entitled to due process of law is one of the most important principles in our system of law and that every step should be taken to insure that the three indicted players receive due process of law in the current proceedings. I also believe that the players are innocent, and I look forward to the day when the false charges against them are dismissed. However, I believe that the attorneys are the ones who should be defending the players and taking the steps necessary to vindicate their due process rights, not the university. This is especially true when you consider that the players are represented by a large group of highly qualified attorneys and that it may not be in the overall best interests of the university to jump into the proceedings on behalf of the players. It seems that many of the comments on this board come from people like you who feel very strongly about what they regard as a PC issue but who also have no connection to Duke and thus do not care whether jumping in to defend the players is really in the best interests of the university. To me, this represents an unbalanced view of the case. The attorneys have one duty and one duty only: to protect the best interests of the three indicted lacrosse players. Brodhead has a different responsibility: to protect the bests interests of the university and all of its students, not just the best interests of the three indicted lacrosse players. Since Brodhead is responsible for protecting the best interests of the entire university and not just the best interests of the three players, he does not have the luxury of looking at the case the way you do.

AMac said...

P-BA 6:51pm wrote --

> Brodhead has a different responsibility: to protect the best interests of the university and all of its students, not just the best interests of the three indicted lacrosse players.

Once the straw men have been pared away, this is what remains. And it's precisely the point on which P-BAs and Brodhead critics agree. Obviously, Brodhead's supporters and detractors disagree on what the pursuit of "the best interests of the university and all of its students" would look like.

P-BAs, thanks for bringing up good points, and for an overall illuminating discussion. I'll sign off with that, as "Stubbornness of Facts" is about to be bumped off D-i-W's front page.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Over and out.

HMan said...

To 6:51
Thank you for the serious response. I am not unsympathetic to the idea of the leadership at Duke giving top priority to the welfare of the entire academic community over that of any tiny group.
But WHY should taking a public stand in favor of due process for the 3 be seen as a risk to the entire community? Nifong has behaved in an un-mistakably aggressive and harmful way towards these kids. And believe me, that is the way the various to-be-written books on this story are going to tell it. You guys would not be going out on a limb. Except, of course, in the context of Durham politics (and perhaps PC thuggery).
Don't you see why it looks from here that fear of Durham is the missing piece of the puzzle?