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.
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.