Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The full report of the Campus Culture Initiative is now out. President Brodhead’s reaction was, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic.

The highlights of Brodhead’s letter announcing the report:

1.) Brodhead will not tolerate faculty overreach into athletics.

Under the principles of shared governance, the administration and the Trustees, not Peter Wood, William Chafe, or their faculty colleagues, “have final oversight of athletics policy.”

Brodhead says he would welcome “knowledgeable faculty advice to the administration and Trustees”—a qualifier that would seem to exclude virtually anything said by Wood, the chair of the CCI’s athletics subgroup. In any case, he expects this issue to be handled through a new procedure: “A major revision of the Athletic Council that has been vetted by ECAC and approved by the Trustees will make its deliberations more substantive.”

2.) The curricular recommendations will move forward, but mainstream Duke faculty have a chance to stop them.

One of the most controversial of the CCI’s recommendations—the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative, which would effectively require all Duke students to take a course from a Group (or “clarifying” faculty) member, can be referred to another committee. Brodhead notes, “Processes already exist to deliberate and act on the Report’s recommendations.”

3.) The non-ideological aspects of the space housing recommendations make sense; the ideological aspects need “far more detailed study.”

Brodhead’s discussion of the non-ideological space recommendations uses the most enthusiastic language of his missive, but his comments about the CCI’s attacks on the current housing policy are tepid. While “there is nothing magic about the status quo system of housing assignment,” Brodhead notes, “at the same time, Duke’s selective housing system is quite varied, with a complex array of benefits and challenges.”

4) The CCI was not inclusive enough in its considerations.

In an implicit bow to critics of the CCI’s composition—led by the Duke Chronicle, which editorialized, “Stacking the CCI with critics of ‘white male privilege’ suggests that the initiative was created to pacify countercultural professors, rather than to shape a new and improved campus culture”—the report will be considered by a new, and presumably more broad-based, committee.

Indeed, this broadening was demanded by the Trustees. Brodhead writes, “At its meeting last weekend, the Board of Trustees discussed the Report and supported this approach to broadening the conversation, involving more students, as we resolve these issues.”

The chair of the new committee is Provost Peter Lange, a figure untainted by the CCI process. Lange is also the only member of the Duke administration to, at any point, condemn last spring’s rush-to-judgment attitude among some quarters of the arts and sciences faculty. (He did so in response to Houston Baker’s racially inflammatory open letter.)

The timetable for Lange’s report? The middle of fall term 2007.

Those who want to find more about the CCI could go to its website, but they would discover a message that says that the site is “experiencing problems.” The same could be said for the CCI as a whole.


Eric said...

I have an image of the CCI report being rolled into the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Michael said...

I haven't read the source documents but the summary provided sounds great.

It sounds like pressure has been brought to bear on Brodhead. It appears that the CCI machinations over the last few days assumed that they would get what they wanted. I'll say that the CCI folks are an optimistic bunch.

George Weiss said...

Your summery of Brodhead's letter is reads into what he is saying a far more realistic spin than I see in his statements.

Brodhead's letter contains almost nothing of substance and is devoid of concessions one way or another.

The statement is simply another in a series we are begging to see from Brodhead where he tries not to alienate the Group of 88, but also tries not to alienate defenders of the lacrose students.

This has led to the both you and the group claiming Brodhead as an ally (you in this post-and them when they said Brodhead had sanctions their ad)

KC Johnson said...

The key new item in the B'head letter was the Trustees vote for another committee.

The CCI made a bunch of recs. Why not simply adopt them? In part, because it seems the Trustees weren't on board.

Anonymous said...

Where is Brodhead's letter and comments?

Your summary is extremely encouraging. The most important factor is that it indicates that the CCI folks no longer have a monopoly on the discussion of diversity and its ramification in the curriculum and campus life. That is a very good thing.

It is a tribute to the persistence of this blog and the others blogs detailing the lacrosse case that the strange culture behind this travesty is getting unraveled.

Let's hope!

Gayle Miller said...

That's the thing about would-be petty tyrants - they always overreach themselves long before they have achieved any of their objectives.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the university faculty reacts to the CCI's recommendations. It was nice to hear Broadhead will submit some of the CCI's recomendations to established comittees for review. Bet most of recommendations are never followed up on. I hope that ever undergrad is spared the requirement to attend a class taught by one of the 88/87. Oh the humanity!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe another committee can then review the results of the committee that reviewed the CCI - and so on until Brodhead retires.

Gary Packwood said...

This is the headline from the Bloodberg news service concerning the CCI.

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg)
Duke Should Reduce Campus Drinking, Change Culture (Update1)

Anonymous said...

Peter Lange and the potbangers:


Lange: "We don't know the facts about what happened in the house."

Potbanger: "Bullshit!"

Lange: "It's not bullshit!"

Anonymous said...

As an experienced hand at bureaucratic in-fighting, assigning the work of one committee to another committee for analysis and possible revision with further review by a third committee (namely the board) is tantamount to a death sentence.


Anonymous said...

4:31 - a link to Brodhead's response to the CCI is provided in KC's post....

Click on "full report" -- to the right of the WRAL story under Related Links you'll find a link to "Broadhead's [sic] Response to Duke Committee's Report"

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with housing in the West Campus of Duke that the CCI finds so objectionable?

This is not a rhetorical question. I'm not familiar with the Duke campus at all so I don't know which students are living on the West Campus. Are they referring to fraternities and sororities? Married student housing? Single sex dorms? Upper class vs freshmen dorms? Allowing students to choose a friend to be a roomate? What specifically is the issue here?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

I have not read the CCI report but I agree with George Weiss that after reading Brodhead's letter, I view him as trying to play it down the middle. The good news is this means Brodhead is not comfortable enough to publically support the 88 gangsters and is perhaps not comfortable accepting his recent nomination as an honorary gangster. But I suspect the gangsters who know Brodhead personally are right and he is or would be with them, if he felt he could be with them and maintain his position.

Jamil Hussein said...

well, at least these professors were not Cuban spies

Carlos Alvarez, a psychology professor at Florida International University in Miami, was sentenced to five years in prison.
He admitted that for nearly 30 years he had supplied the Cuban Intelligence Service with information about Miami's exile community, the heart of opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro and his communist government.
His wife, Elsa Alvarez, a counselor at the school, was sentenced to three years in prison

Michael said...

re: 4:31

The links to the two documents are in the box with the picture at the top of the article. It took me about three minutes to find the links as I read the article first and went back to the DIW page to find the link to Brodhead's reply but couldn't find it so I went back to the article.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead redeemed? No. How did Brodhead excuse his ultra-PC reaction to the charges? Essentially, but...but...the DA seemed so sure! And now Brodhead believes that any criticism of his words and (in)actions is merely 20-20 hindsight.

Well, Brodhead has been worse than useless. He has done nothing to rein in or to personally object to absolutely outrageous statements from his own faculty. In fact, Brodhead himself made at least one public comment that was unforgivable ("...whatever they did do was bad enough")... and he has never apologized.

Brodhead is no champion of due process, he did not reserve judgment, he has not shown strong leadership, he has not show personal moral courage, and he should not be President of Duke.

kbp said...

Thanks KC

Anon 4:31
Go to the link at the top of the post, marked "full report", then you'll see Broadhead's response link in the sidebar.

Most of what you posted has to be read between the lines. Hope it's right on.

On the motion post just prior to this one, you questioned about a "criminal investigation of Nifong". Have you looked into what charges could be made in NC against him?

LS had a poster, one that has my trust, state that he could not be charged for anything more than contempt in NC for lies told to the court or obstruction of justices.

I have not seen anyone post what STATE laws he could be charged for violating. Looks like a good topic to research and get input on.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

KC, people - Brodhead's response to CCI was nothing to nothing.

To read a real response, see Joan Foster's "LieStoppers" reply to ESPN's Bomani Jones.

Anonymous said...

Bill A...What do you think this all means? Is there a chance, the gang is not as high in the stirups as they have been? Would you and they consider this letter a set back for their agenda? As always, thanks for your insight.

Anonymous said...

Lange's a good guy, amongst the considerable rot at Duke. Poor guy.

Would anyone send their kid to Duke save the Krzyzewski worshipers? Jesus Lord this place is as bad as a 3rd world banana republic.

Anonymous said...

You know what the most ironic thing is about the CCI? Peter Wood had some of the most jock friendly classes ever while I was at Duke. Nearly 50% of Native American history were athletes, and Michael Thompson (basketball player) literally walked out of the final exam 10 minutes after we started. I was the next person to leave, 2 hours later.

Anonymous said...

Did Karla see this coming? Did she quit the CCI to avoid being embarrased?

Jim said...

The CCI has worked as intended. A construct, a valve to vent off outrage and exhaust the emotions of the moment, like the wheel in the hamster cage. The rodents had a good run and now its over. Even if the lacrosse players were guilty, did anyone truly believe that anything would be allowed to mess with the ACC athletics, basketball in particular?

Anonymous said...

As I watch Brodhead's actions from the other side of Durham, I like to imagine what his former colleague, the late A. Bartlett Giamatti would have done and said in a similar situation. While we can never know, I like to think that he would have been much more decisive and intelligent in his choices. Brodhead is not a very bright or strong individual. Accomplished, certainly, but not a leader.

Perhaps he will do the right thing now, and implement none of the CCI demands. Time will tell...

Anonymous said...

It just dawned on me that the Gang may have overreached. Ok - of course they did - but they finally stepped where they shouldn't have - they are messing around with the one person on campus more powerful than Brodhead, and that is Coach K. He earns millions for himself and for the school every year - he is an all time great coach, headed for the hall of fame - and my guess is that he is a truly powerful person at Duke. The Lacrosse mess has gotten too close to what he has worked his whole life to achieve. He will not let a bunch of underachievers take that from him. Just a hunch. He will not work in a public way, but the changes the Gang want will not be allowed screw up his team, career or system.

don t. said...

I obviously have not seen the source documents but based on your comments, I detect a boatload of mealy mouth by the Board and brodhead...and a degree of acquiescence on your part that is very disappointing.

That these clowns (CCI/88) are still employed by Duke tells you all you need to know about the BOT and brodhead.


don t. said...


amen, amen, amen, amen, amen ad infinitum.


xyz said...

Lange is also the only member of the Duke administration to, at any point, condemn last spring’s rush-to-judgment attitude among some quarters of the arts and sciences faculty.

This statement is not quite true.

Tallman Trask also specifically defended the lacrosse team, publically, as having a good university record overall and not having had a prior disciplinary record that was out of the ordinary.

Recall that President Brodhead removed Trask from any ongoing role, abruptly, early in the case. Brodhead said the change was because the case was too important to be delegated. One wonders, however, if Brodhead's decision was because Trask thought the team did nothing particularly bad, a view obviously in conflict with that of Brodhead.

What happened re Trask is important because Trask was directly responsible for athletics, so he had direct information. He met the team and parents. And, he has not critized either the team or coach Pressler, publically or privately, so far as I am aware.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What is the deal with housing in the West Campus of Duke that the CCI finds so objectionable?

This is not a rhetorical question. I'm not familiar with the Duke campus at all so I don't know which students are living on the West Campus. Are they referring to fraternities and sororities? Married student housing? Single sex dorms? Upper class vs freshmen dorms? Allowing students to choose a friend to be a roomate? What specifically is the issue here?

Feb 27, 2007 7:05:00 PM

On Duke's West Campus the dorms are a series of interconnected buildings. Most individual rooms are small. There are a few large rooms, called lounges or common rooms, but only a few. Students use these rooms to have parties. At Duke fraternities occupy sections of the dormitories, rather than separate houses, and each of the "sections", as they are called, includes one of the common rooms. Thus, as the report says, fraternities control much of the available social space.

The report downplays the fact that there are other commons rooms in the dorms and buildings nearby that can and are used by other student groups.

An advantage to fraternities is that they control their commons rooms all the time. That means they can install more or less permanent furniture and fixtures, so it is much easier to have parties there, with minimal preparation, than it is for groups with no common room to set things up and take things down, which requires both work and some fairly stiff fees to the university.

Whether this system is "fair" or not is mostly in the eyes of the beholder. There are students who feel very strongly on both sides.