The other day, I received a seemingly unprompted e-mail from
The prompt appears to have been the recent Peggy Reeves Sanday article, which Rud greeted with a cry of “Amen,” overlooking its myriad factual errors. “Terrific commentary,” raved the professor of Education, “especially in light of the sickening display of sham virtue by the students involved and the parents determined to ‘get’ Nifong. So much of the commentary on the Duke case overlooks the disgraceful culture of privilege, racism, and simmering gang rape.”
One could say that “so much of the commentary” by Rud “on the Duke case overlooks” basic facts; it turns out he posted on the issue here. A “culture of violence and privilege” existed at the lacrosse house, contends Rud, of “young privileged men behaving badly, how elemental urges (bonding like organized crime) take over at an elite liberal arts environment that is fragile and impotent to prevent such.”
I checked through the
[Update, 10.59am: In his blog, Rud writes, "Why do most of these comments above concentrate on the supposed 'facts' of the case, rather than the culture of violence and privilege that I discuss?" As Rud appears not to understand, his getting the "facts of the case" wrong means that his analysis of the "culture of violence and privilege" will likely be similarly off-base.]
On the Liestoppers Forum, Tony Soprano continues to break new stories. Last week, he had details of an impromptu interview with the accuser’s spokesperson, “Cousin Jakki,” a/k/a Clyde Yancey. Tony S. approached “Cousin Jakki” as she left court following a recent appearance on criminal charges.
“Cousin Jakki” wanted to know if Tony S. worked for the Enquirer, and complained that the tabloids hadn’t covered the story sufficiently. After demanding cash from Tony S. in exchange for speaking, Jakki/Clyde promised to “get you pictures of the baby, but it's going to cost thousands.” She further claimed that Clyde Yancey was her alias, because “the Duke boys have their lawyers looking” for her.
Tony S. also snapped this photo of Jakki/Clyde, posing as an “international woman of mystery,” traversing the mean streets of Durham.
Two more Liestoppers threads are worth a look. In the first, Tony S. details the ever-changing, mutually contradictory stories of the accuser’s father, Travis Mangum. Mangum has claimed that he visited his daughter at the hospital—for which no evidence exists. He has claimed that her face was swollen—yet photos from the night and two days after show no indication of swelling, or virtually any other “injury.” He claims that a neighbor heard terrible screams from the house—yet no one else has been able to locate this “mystery witness.”
In the second thread, Liestoppers uses newly released material from the discovery file to uncover a glaring discrepancy: both the accuser and the person described as her “driver” claim that the lacrosse party occurred on a Sunday. Yet it took place on a Monday. What happened in the mysterious lost day? The police never appeared to have inquired into the matter.
Duke Student Government president Elliot Wolf had a fine column last week on the Campus Culture Initiative. Wolf, a CCI member, said that he had “spent the last several months (literally) banging my head against a wall,” expressing his concerns about both the CCI’s process and its recommendations. And he delivers a devastating assessment of the CCI report:
To begin, the Report probably wouldn't have mustered a grade higher than a “C” in any course at Duke. Only two sources were directly cited in the entire document, one being Rolling Stone magazine. The most salient and controversial recommendation- the proposal to eliminate selective living groups- was justified in a mere half page that did not cite any supporting data or weigh any alternative solutions.Wolf also, correctly, notes that events of last spring provided an opportunity to achieve meaningful change, had the CCI not focused instead on implementing the Group of 88’s increasingly discredited agenda. Accordingly, he urges increased student engagement in the CCI review process currently occurring on campus, especially now that a neutral figure, Provost Peter Lange, is in charge of the review. This whole process, however, has been so badly flawed that it seems to me beyond repair.
And to top it all off, the Report contains sentences like this: “The University must work to recognize and empower those whose conduct of the conversation has been most enhancing for the community and those in whose lives and work the conversation has borne most fruit, and to identify and alter behaviors and habits that inhibit or devalue the conversation to which Duke aspires.”
As the Duke administration and student body do their best to move beyond the CCI’s recommendations, an editorial in the Daily Tar Heel, almost incredibly, urged UNC to adopt a CCI-like agenda.
The editorial argues, “Let’s not make Duke’s mistake and wait until we have a nationally publicized scandal to re-evaluate our campus culture. A pre-emptive self-criticism could save us from the scrutiny it has suffered. Besides, it might even have the byproduct of making UNC a safer and nicer place to go to school.”
It’s hard to imagine why Duke would want to adopt the CCI’s recommendations. It’s almost inconceivable that any other campus would want to do so.
Along these lines, a central premise of the CCI’s report is that athletes receive special treatment, both in admissions and in the classroom. (Alas, the report provided no data to substantiate this assertion, especially for non-revenue producing sports.)
A recent across-the-board NCAA study suggests flaws in the CCI’s underlying premise. The report discovered that:
Eighty-eight percent of student-athletes earn their degrees.
Eighty-three percent of student-athletes have positive feelings about their choice of major.
Ninety-one percent of former Division I student-athletes have full-time jobs, and on average, their income levels are higher than non-student-athletes.
Twenty-seven percent of former Division I student-athletes go on to earn a postgraduate degree.
These are the sort of students the CCI wants to exclude from Duke?
One troubling issue raised by the behavior of the Group of 88: to what extent do they exhibit the same intellectual quality in their academic work as they have in their commentary on the case? Take two items from Steve Veres' fine article in this month's Towerview:
- Diane Nelson's claim that between March 29 and April 6, "The lacrosse players' voices were being heard… our sense was that these other students who have an equal right to be heard were not at that moment."
- Group members' assertion of a "conspiracy" involving person or persons unknown against them, perhaps including an organized campaign of harassing e-mails.
Do Group members similarly disregard facts while making intellectually untenable claims in their scholarship, as well?
Of the many figures associated with this case, few have performed more strangely that Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers. He’s been on vacation, or on leave, or tending to an ill parent as his department has become synonymous with investigative misconduct. Chalmers’ response to inquiries on the rare occasions when he actually seems to come into work is generally no comment.
Johnsville News has a useful summary of the “best of Chalmers.”
From January’s Academic Council, this question to President Brodhead from an unnamed professor, regarding the readmission of Reade Seligmann of Collin Finnerty:
President Brodhead, you have worked diligently to ensure fairness for all parties involved in this difficult situation and also to find common ground among fair-minded members of the greater Duke and
Some of the facts of this case are still in dispute and yet to be decided. Some may never be known. However it is apparently clear and generally agreed that a party was held, a stripper engaged and that the hosts of this event were the co-captains of the Duke lacrosse team.
Many will think it unwise and indeed abhorrent for such an event to have occurred. However, had it simply been individuals exercising poor judgment, many might also believe that the judicial system however imperfect be allowed to run its course before making a judgment as to whether these individuals should continue to be members of our university community.
wishes to discourage such events from occurring in the name of and as a result of actions by an officially sanctioned group that represents Duke in a very public way. In light of this, did you consider simply ruling that such individuals, who abused their right to represent Duke, be no longer allowed to do so as members of the lacrosse team, while holding in abeyance any judgment regarding their removal as students until such time as the facts were sufficiently clear to make a judgment on that matter? Duke University
Recognizing that it is always easier after some time has passed to see things more clearly than in the heat of the moment, do you think that if such an unfortunate event should occur in the future that banishment of individuals who participate in such a function from any participation in a group holding such a function would be appropriate?
It doesn’t appear as if this professor, whose line of argument comes across as a combination between Karla Holloway and William Chafe, used the Academic Council question session to wonder whether Duke should “banish” any member of the African-American fraternity where an alleged rape occurred a few weeks ago; or any of the other groups that hosted stripper parties; or any of the estimated 75%-80% of undergraduates who consume alcohol. The Group of 88—from whom this question likely originated—isn’t subtle in its double standards.