In perhaps the least surprising development at Duke of the past year, the Campus Culture Initiative, whose leadership was dominated by extremist critics of the lacrosse team, has produced a report recommending the agenda of . . . extremist critics of the lacrosse team. (The Chronicle obtained a copy.)
There never, really, was any doubt about what the CCI would produce, with Peter Wood and Group of 88 members Karla Holloway and Anne Allison chairing or co-chairing three of its four subgroups. As a Chronicle editorial noted a few weeks back, “The composition of the CCI’s steering committee has hurt its credibility . . . 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 recommendations include:
1) A mandatory “diversity” course for all Duke students. This proposal could be called the “Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative,” since Group members disproportionately teach such classes.
2) Residential changes to prevent “the practice of assigning housing to selective living groups and social/affinity/interest groups.”
3) Reducing time athletes can spend on travel and practice—a proposal, as one Chronicle commenter observed, effectively demands the withdrawal of Duke from the ACC. The report does not appear to have demanded a reduction of time that non-athletes are allowed to spend on extracurricular activities.
4) Raising the “low end of the admissions standards” to ensure a better-qualified student body—a fine idea in theory, but one that almost certainly seems to be hypocritical, since advocates of “diversity” in admissions almost always advocate broadening the range of admissions standards.
One of the few CCI members not tainted by connection to the school’s response to the lacrosse case was Elliott Wolf, president of Duke Student Government and a member of the CCI committee. His comment? “I think the CCI has come to a premature conclusion on the matter. I also think that anything that is implemented in an academic setting has to be backed with legitimate arguments and data and different alternatives, and that just hasn’t been done.”
As Wahneema Lubiano has written, the crusade will continue “regardless of the ‘truth’” in the lacrosse incident. Will Duke students and—especially—alumni sit idly by?