Friday, March 02, 2007

Quirk on the Group of 88

Great column in today's Chronicle by 2005 graduate Chris Quirk on the Group of 88. He notes,
As their rhetoric becomes more evasive, it is clear that those who endorsed the "Moving Forward" piece (Feb. 23) are reluctant to move beyond their stance with sincere reflection. Some of them had self-appointed, leading roles in the unfolding plot last spring-it's a perilous road from that to then telling the narrative with any semblance of detachment, much less framing it without bias . . .

Based on their credentials and inclusion in a top-notch institution, our professors ought to be held to a very high standard-a hybrid expectations and admiration. As such, I am disappointed to see these men and women-who have shown their brilliance to so many of us in the classroom-go to such great lengths to isolate themselves, offering this patchwork recontextualization. For some, you are not in the position to teach which lessons are learned from this scenario because of, what you would have to admit, was a reckless self-injection. But, there is more to lose as there are more lessons down the road: Don't forfeit your ethos as it is your greatest tool as an educator and scholar-one which I think is a lot easier to reconstruct than your treatise on race, gender, tolerance and class as evidenced by the lacrosse incident.
Read the full text here.


Anonymous said...

Don't forfeit your ethos?

Is this guy a grad student?

Anonymous said...

Good lord- this guy graduated? Sounds like the gang of 88 taught him to write.

Anonymous said...

sounds to me like a wannabee AAAS professor in training hoping to keep the pendulum from swinging against his desired profession.

Anonymous said...

OMG, LOL, talk about fancy-pants! Perhaps he should sip tea with the G88 on a warm spring's day to hash out their differences.

But to clarify one thing: Is he English or is he gay?

becket03 said...

With all due respect, KC, the column is far from "great." Mr. Quirk writes clumsily, hiding his points behind awkward and obscure phrasing.


Anonymous said...

That kid got into Duke before the SAT had a writing component. He tortures syntax.

Anonymous said...

What a pompous blowhard ! But at least he's come down on the right side of the issue. . I think.

Fast Pete said...

Oh jeez! I love this place for the laughs. Among other things.

At least the guy has the guts to stick his neck out to make some quite telling points, however garbled.

In my experience (in the UN!) a large minority of the global population - yes even those with doctorate degrees - sucks when it comes to writing, and absolutely must have a good editor to save them from themselves.

Why did the paper not sub-edit his piece, to give him the best shot at putting his points across?

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Fast Pete. Perhaps the AWOL subditor was a G88 member?

Anonymous said...

What he said was dead-on. Could have used smaller words...

"Never use a 50-cent word when a 10-cent word will do."

Anonymous said...

Posted by TBN on Liestoppers on 3/2/07:

This is a copy of the questions my husband and I handed out earlier tonight- we did not stay for the 'Duke Conversation' because our stomachs are not strong & we had heard that the prior Q & A sessions were tightly scripted. Sure we missed a lot of good points, but hopefully we got some people thinking..........

For President Brodhead- Questions About the Lacrosse Incident

1) In light of the seriousness of the charges why did Duke officials advise the lacrosse players not to tell their parents and not to seek legal counsel?

2) Why did your early public statements urge the players to cooperate with authorities when you knew that they had already cooperated extensively by giving statements to the police, volunteering to take lie detector tests and providing DNA samples?

3) Speaking to the Durham Chamber of Commerce on April 20th, you stated "If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn't do it, whatever they did was bad enough". Did you not recognize that this was inflammatory and prejudicial against the lacrosse players-your students-who faced, and continue to face, serious criminal charges?

4) You have stated that your actions were driven by your belief in the statements made by Durham authorities, particularly the DA. This presumes that you did not believe the lacrosse players, who met with you and proclaimed their innocence. In light of the rapid unraveling of the case-and the DA-why did it take you more than NINE months to publicly call for an independent prosecutor?

5) Why did you refuse to meet with the lacrosse parents last spring? Why did you wait more than six months to reach out in a supportive way to the indicted players and their families?

6) Do you support the stated, implemented and documented policy of Durham authorities to unfairly target Duke students? If not, what have you done to get this policy changed?

7) Why did you remain silent when:
a. 88 professors rushed to judgment, issuing a public 'Listening Statement' condemning the lacrosse players and encouraging protesters who branded the players as rapists.
b. campus protesters distributed wanted posters with the lacrosse players' pictures and carried signs with slogans such as 'Castrate' and "Time to Confess" creating a lynch mob mentality and endangering the lacrosse players
c. one of the indicted lacrosse players received death threats in and outside of the Durham courtroom
d. the District Attorney continued to victimize the lacrosse players through blatant acts of prosecutorial misconduct

8) The defense attorneys for the lacrosse players have cited the extreme prejudicial statements and actions of the 88 plus faculty members in a motion requesting a change of venue contending that these actions have helped to poison the Durham community against the lacrosse players. What is your position on having your faculty members singled out in such a manner?

9) Do you believe that the 88-plus professors have complied with the requirements in Chapter 6 of Duke's faculty handbook relating to treating students with respect and consideration?

10) In a recent public letter 87 Duke professors attempted to clarify the original Listening Statement. In this letter these professors stated that sexual violence and racism are PREVALENT on Duke's campus. Do you agree with this statement? If yes, what are you doing to address these issues? If no, why have you not publicly challenged the validity of the statement?

"To make a mistake, to recognize it as such, and to take responsibility for making a change might be said to be the essence of education"
President Brodhead, June 5th, 2006

Anonymous said...

"Don't forfeit your ethos" would be a great catchphrase for a professor character on a sitcom.

Zombie said...

typical G88 phrasing, but the RS reporter did try to set them straight on the fact that CGM is discredited but NPR still defended the allegations

Higher Ed and the Fight to Change Campus Culture

Listen to this story...

Talk of the Nation, March 1, 2007 • Duke University releases a report on making the campus a safer and more welcoming place for all students, after allegations of rape shook the campus last year. Can the culture of American college campuses be changed for the better?


Trisha Bailey, Duke senior, member of Campus Culture Initiative Committee

Larry Moneta, Duke dean of students, co-chair of the Campus Culture Initiative Committee

Janet Reitman, contributing editor to Rolling Stone

Anonymous said...

When Quirk says, "don't forfeit your ethos," what does he mean by "ethos"? Values? And if so, what particular values? Impartiality? Does he mean "don't continue neglecting," rather than "don't forfeit," since it is not clear the Group of 88 had much to "forfeit"? Instead of "don't forfeit your ethos," does he mean "don't continue neglecting the need to be impartial"?

Then when he says the Group of 88's "ethos" is "a lot easier to reconstruct" than is its race,- gender,- etc. treatise, does he mean "harder," rather than "easier"? Maybe he means that for educators, impartiality is more valuable than theories ("tretise" was the wrong word, wasn't it?) about race, gender, etc.

As a whole, Quirk's letter seems to suggest two valid and obvious points: (1) professors need to strive for impartiality or objectivity (which few relativist academics will buy) and (2) the lacrosse party had nothing to do with social inequalities (which few in the Group of 88 will buy). However, Quirk garbled his simple message with lots of gobbledegook.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he does speak in "academish," (LOL), but he is driving home a good point. He is giving the G88 an opportunity to get out of the rock they found themselves under by jumping to conclusions -- sort of a "peace with honor." Everyone will recognize that the G88 is backing down, but they can at least tell themselves they won in the long run. I thought it was a good article, and clearly aimed at the G88.

Anonymous said...

Sorry it is not a good article if reasonably literate readers can't figure out what the hell it says.

Cedarford said...

Meanwhile, over at University of Wisconsin Law School, a Pathet Lao student "channels" Wahneema in trying to bring off a PC Show Trial for a Law Prof who she heard "offended Laotians.
A large meeting was demanded so all the "offended and aggrieved" could speak out. UW Madison Administrators to attend, Law Prof Kaplan to "explain himself" and apoligize for racist remarks he said he didn't make.

The students, who would not elaborate on what Kaplan had said, said in the beginning that their main goal was for faculty and students to be educated about the Hmong community and culture. But two of the students later broke down in tears as they talked angrily about the way Kaplan and the administration had responded to their concerns, with one student telling the crowd, "You have alienated us."

The fallout began when law student KaShia Moua, a Hmong who grew up in Eau Claire, circulated an e-mail among a dozen classmates accusing Kaplan of making "racist" comments during a class that focused on the intersection of culture and the law. Moua was not in class that day; she compiled the remarks from others. (ahh, so she was "listening" like Wahneema)

Althouse - So this is how the quotes came to be quoted. Did no one record the class?

Kaplan, who has refused the students' request to apologize publicly, did not show up at the forum even though he was expected to.

Althouse - Expected to by whom? The faculty knew he wasn't going to be there.

Extract from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, courtesy of Ann Althouse's blogspot:

Surely the students there are as right as the Group of 88! Surely something happened there, we do not know what, but it must be deplorable and someone should pay!

It would be funny except that the Communists filled up the death pits with some 80 million people with similar ideas on how tolerance and law should play out.

Anonymous said...

1:24 Amateurs in the race to the bottom; however, they do show promise.

Maybe if they had a Gang of 88 mandatory indoctrination class, as described in the CCI, they would be better prepared to deconstruct Western society.

Anonymous said...

I say we find this college boy and give him a blue collar beating, and a wedgie.

He probably reads like, books and stuff.

Anonymous said...

"He probably reads like, books and stuff." Unlikely. People who read books would tend to think more clearly.

Anonymous said...

Funny article in The Onion on the case...

BTW: How do you include links??

Anonymous said...

The “group of 88” and others feel that American historical atrocities towards blacks justify overlooking and even utilizing the framing of innocent white men, in order to advance the greater social cause.

Obama’s presidential campaign feels differently. It’s been reported that his ancestors owned slaves. Here is their response:

“An Obama spokesman did not dispute the information and said that the senator's ancestors ‘are representative of America.’”

"’While a relative owned slaves, another fought for the Union in the Civil War,’ campaign spokesman Bill Burton said last night. "And it is a true measure of progress that the descendant of a slave owner would come to marry a student from Kenya and produce a son who would grow up to be a candidate for president of the United States."

So, if a person’s relatives fought for the north in the civil war, does this finally mean his ancestors get a pass for slavery? Do any of the lacrosse accused have ancestors who fought for the north? Perhaps this will get them a pass for a crime they didn’t commit.


Anonymous said...

Tell me. Are you the blog artist formerly known as Esquire?
You write like him.

Anonymous said...


Is everyone kidding?

The Gang of 88 needs an "out"?.....a way to save face?.....a way to back down with honor?

What planet is this doofus Quirk, and those who go along with this largesse, on?

These so-called professors caused irreparable damage to three young lives....along with the entire Duke student body.

They feed at the table of Duke University when many of them would fit better teaching at a community college in AnyTown USA.

These are bizarre creatures who accept an embarrassing amount of largesse as it is.......only to demand more.

Only to show their asses and force themselves and their semi-educated and insular ways on unsuspecting normal people.

This Gang of 88 aren't youthful idealists. Just looking at them, most are ready for retirement...or at least knocking on the menopausal door of life. They should know better than to behave the way they do.

That these low-rent urchins would stage a relentless and selfish demarché against young students of their own university is unforgivable.

There is no exit door to honor for such troublemakers and vengeful parasites of society.


Gary Packwood said...

Debrah 5:30:00 PM

Don't hold back. Just tell it like it is. No need to be shy.

I take it you have no (NONE) intentions of purchasing a radio that can be tuned to their station.

Unsuspecting Normal People?

That is so funny.



Anonymous said...

Thanks GP. Ha!

In the interest of total accuracy, I should correct a little mistake.

The accent should have been on the first syllable of "démarche".

Ah, well.....such is the blogging life and that of the tiny faux pas.



Anonymous said...

Debrah, I total agree with you and the G88 needs to GO, go, go, out the door!!! However, I don't think that is going to happen, unfortunately. Quirk's message -- as I took it -- was that the G88 needs to apologize before they can be taken seriously. I will never take them seriously. I personally hope they run these freak-show carnies out, but alas, political correctness has legitimized these hacks.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately, you are right as it currently stands. That's why none of us must allow this horrific injustice to fade away and not count for something positive.

With enough pressure on Brodhead, the Gang of 88 would have to come down to reality or at least be forced to make a public apology.

The Duke alumni could force this to occur with relentless pressure. It's the only just thing to do.

If there's one thing I learned from my very youthful journey through the snakepit of Liberalism, it's that you must fight fire with fire.

You have to show such bullies as the Gang of 88 that you will not back down and that you will not take their crap under any circumstances.

Let them have it right between the eyes.

Then they will learn that they have to go by the rules like normal people if they want any kind of respect.

These people are basically scum. Bullying the invertebrates around them is their game.


Anonymous said...


I am afraid you had a lapse in judgment. This is an atrociously written article. If I was able to decipher it, I might agree that it made a valid point. The primary point that it proves to me is that I should never hire anyone with a degree from Duke because Duke is willing to graduate the utterly uneducated.


Anonymous said...

10:16 Who Cares?????

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to try to parse Quirk's verbose and obsfucating style. While most of us here believe it would have been more fitting for Mr. Quirk to state his case more directly, perhaps his tortuous writing style and veiled meanings are the only commentary The Group of 88 can understand. Lord knows they don't understand or respond to KC's well reasoned writings....

Orange Lazarus

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Gang of 88 warm up to the same silly way of speaking that many "officials" in Durham use:

"We've got to be about the business of........"

"On yesterday........."

"Our people need access......."

"The majority culture......blah, blah, blah.......yada.....yada.....yada."


don t. said...

To 11:07

brodhead will never answer these or any other legitimate questions..he is too gd busy trying to spin his way out of this mess. This feckless stumblebum needs to go.