Karla Holloway has resigned her position as race subgroup chair of the Campus Culture Initiative, to protest President Brodhead’s decision to lift the suspensions of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. “The decision by the university to readmit the students, especially just before a critical judicial decision on the case, is a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship,” said she. “I could no longer work in good faith with this breach of common trust.”
Holloway had not always been so concerned with the significance of “judicial decision[s] on the case.” This summer, she wrote that “justice inevitably has an attendant social construction. And this parallelism means that despite what may be our desire, the seriousness of the matter cannot be finally or fully adjudicated in the courts.” Therefore, since the presumption of innocence “is neither the critical social indicator of the event, nor the final measure of its cultural facts,” judgments about the case “cannot be left to the courtroom.”
Holloway’s departure from the CCI is a welcome development. Holloway’s comments over the last nine months had shown little or no respect for a wide variety of groups on campus, and so her occupying such a prominent place with the CCI seemed a basic contradiction in its mission.
- Male athletes? “The ‘culture’ of sports seems for some a reasonable displacement for the cultures of moral conduct, ethical citizenship and personal integrity,” reinforcing “exactly those behaviors of entitlement which have been and can be so abusive to women and girls and those ‘othered’ by their sports’ history of membership.”
- Those who defended the players targeted by Nifong? They believed that “white innocence means black guilt. Men’s innocence means women’s guilt.”
- Women’s lacrosse players who had worn armbands expressing sympathy with Seligmann, Finnerty, and Dave Evans? She denounced their “team-inspired and morally slender protestations of loyalty that brought the ethic from the field of play onto the field of legal and cultural and gendered battle as well.”
The sympathetic article announcing Holloway’s resignation from the CCI came in a publication called Diverse Online. Here’s how its author, Christina Asquith, described the scene last spring. “Initially, many at Duke supported the dancer. Students held candlelight vigils on campus and 88 professors, now known as the ‘Group of 88’ signed an advertisement in the student newspaper calling for the administration to take a stronger stand against the players.”
Apparently Asquith didn’t receive the memo on the new party line regarding the Group of 88’s intentions.