Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Butler's Latest

In this morning’s Chronicle, the always astute Kristin Butler provides a bureaucratic-politics analysis to discover that “President Richard Brodhead’s first major decision after the release of the Campus Culture Initiative report was… not recommended by the CCI at all.”

Indeed, as Butler notes, Brodhead’s proposal for a new dean for undergraduate education “effectively demotes both the CCI’s chair and vice chair, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Bob Thompson and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta.”

Coupled with Brodhead’s tepid reception for the CCI, the message here seems to be clear.

Meanwhile, Butler provides critical insight into the heretofore backroom dealings of the Board of Trustees. Four of the ten members of the Executive Council must retire in June, their replacements to be selected by the remaining members. The significance?

For those of us who have wondered aloud why Chairman Bob Steel-whose high-profile job in the Treasury Department prevents him from fulfilling his ex-officio role on the board of the Duke Management Company-has stubbornly refused to resign his chairmanship, we may now have our answer. Steel, who headed the committee that hired President Brodhead and who has been Brodhead’s most vocal supporter over these past 12 months, will soon be poised to stack with enough pro-Brodhead members to consolidate the president’s power base for good.
A fascinating theory.

27 comments:

Jay said...

It's better than a theory, it's almost certainly true.

Chicago said...

Wow, President Bush would be so proud of Steel, surrounding himself with "yes men" like that.

Anonymous said...

one of the things I have taken from this story is the behaviour of Brodhead. I think that he was a key player in casting the students adrift, and encouraging the media storm. It may have been because he believed Nifong, but i don't see that excuses him.

If we now are meant to rejoice in a decision he has made, I am not convinced. If Brodhead is ruthlessly changing the guard at Duke, demoting people and moving them on, I cannot see that as a "good thing". Brodhead was ruthless with the LAX coach, and he got that wrong; just as wrong as he got it with the players.

per

Chicago said...

Coach G left Duke today for Texas. The greatest Duke staff members have had enough it seems. The great ones still around (Coach K for one) remain silent.

Anonymous said...

KC,
I think many would be surprised at the support that the fraternity system has on campus. I was at a dinner two weeks ago where the provost, who's step-son is in a fraternity admitted that he was against his son joining, but had come to see the benefits of the Fraternity system. My son asked me if I'd taped the speech!!

It was a very moving speech from a Northern academic who only saw the Frat system originally through the stereotypes. After having really seen the system, he admitted he was wrong about it. Very honest and very hard to do.
Campus battles are often won, one son at a time.

Kemp

Gary Packwood said...

KC,

I happy to see that you gave Kristin Butler a little ink today.

She is so talented and I find myself waiting for her Tuesday column.

GP

gak said...

I guess the Duke of yesterday is all but gone. Its sad to see these people use Duke that way to further their agenda's. I guess the alumni better get working if they want to stop this. such a shame

Anonymous said...

Good news, if Thompson and Monetta are, in effect, being demoted. The question is: Who will fill this new position of dean for undergraduate studies and what will be his/her agenda?

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

The thread of arrogance runs through the fabric of this saga. Brodhead has the tapestry of Steel, a $7 billion endowment and quite soon the entire board to cover himself with. Surely he feels all that will not unweave simply because of a few loose strands of innocent students accused by a black prostitute. But Brodhead should look at history to see how a few loose strands can unweave something even mightier than a university endowment.

In July 1863, Lee marched into Virginia to achieve his brilliant plan of using the most massive Confederate army ever assembled to engage and defeat the Union troops - after which Lee would dictate terms of surrender to Lincoln. It merely depended upon Lee reaching the battlefield first, ahead of the unsuspecting Union troops, to set up his brilliant plan of attack. And Lee nearly succeeded.

The thread of disastor must have seemed so insignificant at first - merely a sweating Colonel 'begging Lee's permission' to enter a small town they were passing to get shoes for his men who were barefoot. Who could have known Union Colonel Nate Buford would be waiting in that town to fight the barefoot soldiers so ferociously that within hours Lee's entire army, to Lee's shock, would be turned away from their original battlefield to instead fight in a small town called Gettysburg.

All historians date that battle as the start of the downfall of the Southern cause.

I think Lee's ghost would be sadly amused that an insignificant skirmish in another small southern town - a minor skirmish which an arrogant Brodhead and his billions feel certain they can defeat - was started by nothing more than a black prostitute entering a house on 610 Buchanan to retrieve her shoes.

Anonymous said...

I think many would be surprised at the support that the fraternity system has on campus. I was at a dinner two weeks ago where the provost, who's step-son is in a fraternity admitted that he was against his son joining, but had come to see the benefits of the Fraternity system. My son asked me if I'd taped the speech!!

It was a very moving speech from a Northern academic who only saw the Frat system originally through the stereotypes. After having really seen the system, he admitted he was wrong about it. Very honest and very hard to do.
Campus battles are often won, one son at a time.


Holy Cow! That guy was Peter Lange? I had NO idea! His wife seemed like she would be a "listening ad" signer but I guess since she's in the econ department, she isn't .

Anonymous said...

To second what Kemp said, the speeches to which he referred were parents talking about their senior sons and about the frat. It was unrehearsed and unexpected that this one boy's mother and stepfather spoke independently about his experience in the frat. Both admitted that they were firmly against him joining and both confessed that their minds had been completely changed.
I didn't know who they were except that my son had her for econ his freshman year and they both obviously taught at Duke. Both my husband and I were impressed with their speeches, though. It was clear that it was difficult for them to admit that they were initially wrong but they both said sincerely that they had been mistaken.

Gary Packwood said...

Carolyn 3:47

That was beautifully said.

Why don't you send a copy of your words to Kristin Butler.

I think she would enjoy what you had to say.

GP

Anonymous said...

I nominate Roy Goodman to fill the newly created position of Dean for Undergraduate Instruction, or if he doesn't qualify because he is not a faculty member, I urge Brodhead to hire him as a consultant. He displayed much good sense on the NPR program described in KC's previous blog. Good sense among the administrators has been in short supply during this year-plus of the hoax.

AMac said...

Carolyn 3:47pm --

Eloquently said.
Typo: "marched into Pennsylvania", not Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Re: Carolyn and Gettysburg, Buford of the cavalry was John not Nate and he was a General. Bob

Anonymous said...

If it seems to you as though many are acting with a set agenda, using any opening as a pretext for doing things in furtherance of that agenda, ask the obvious question: “why?”

Try this on for size – does it seem plausible or even likely that this explains the words and acts of Brodhead/Steel? In my view, they are much harder to understand than Nofing, G88, CGM, etc. I think that seeing them as bumbling mush-heads only goes so far – there has got to be more to it than this.


Background: The top-tier American Universities have similar demographic make-ups, with Duke moving in the direction of becoming more similar to those ahead of it in prestige. The taxonomy follows:

- The meritocracy: Some fraction of the population of Duke undergrads is there by dint of out-competing their peers. They have naturally high test scores and have managed to get the highest marks in our pre-college educational system. They reflect aptitude, ability, ambition, and the results of hard work. Often, their parents can afford all or a significant portion of the tuition; if not, Duke will cover things. These students are here to enhance Duke’s reputation, by becoming Rhodes Scholars, winning other major awards, going on to be recognized for substantial achievement in their chosen fields, getting into the best graduate and professional schools, and so on. Some of these will become luminous and successful Professors, Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Doctors, Lawyers, and the like. Many will remember Duke as they move through life and pay to send their kids to their beloved alma mater. Note that these tend to be kids who are well rounded and who might do well in a number of different careers. Duke tends not to attract so many students who might match themselves to MIT or a similar school and most at Duke go through a liberal-arts curriculum – I think this makes some difference.

- The diverse: There is legitimate reason to seek diversity: in majors, gender, geography, and interests. It is better if every student is not cast from the same mold and is not competing for excellence with the exact same self-identity and goals. However, top-tier schools go well beyond this – here we are talking about those who are admitted not on merit, but only because they are from groups that have been “othered”. (This is not my word!). Duke will try to get numbers of these students who are more meritorious than others from a given group, but the need to get numbers here is all the reason that is needed to lower standards. No end of spinning is brought to bear to justify or hide this, but the result remains. These students are here to make sure the institution is not seen as elitist or discriminatory. Also, to eventually provide leadership in the communities where they identify. Of course, Duke will make it possible to manage the costs and will even use aid to aggressively compete for these students. Some of these students will benefit as graduate and professional schools, those who issue awards, those who hire, and on and on, find themselves in need of diversity, in turn. In other words some from this grouping become virtual members of the meritocracy.

- The athletic: Many of these students also fall under one (or both) or the preceding categories (or the following category) but there are some who do not, who do have standards lowered because they have demonstrated excellence in a competitive sport. They bring many things to Duke, including a very nice revenue stream and many fond memories for alumni, friends, and sports fans in the general public. They very visibly and viscerally demonstrate an association between Duke and excellence. Duke actually doesn’t give out all that many athletic scholarships and very few of these are total, but if an athlete has something important to offer and can meet the admissions standards, Duke will pick up the tab. Note that many, many athletes who could contribute to a team actually do not make the cut in admissions. These students are often very successful in life. To me, this group is one group that is being targeted – at least by the preceding group.

- The wealthy: First, these students are subsidizing the others. Those that are not also in the other groups do have some lowering of admissions standards in exchange for family development contributions. Some of these students also benefit from gaming of the admissions criteria: expensive and effective coaching for standardized tests, private schools that groom them to make the bar and may help out with grades, recommendations, and other items in the admissions file to increase the odds of getting in. In exchange for their important support of the University, they emerge with a pedigree (and the preparation) that will get them aristocratic jobs. Here there is a pool of economics majors who do follow a pipeline to Wall Street jobs with real power, along with those being groomed to be society spouses, and many others. This is a means of perpetuating wealth and may be seen in nearly all cases as a very good investment. This group is also being targeted in the same way as the athletes. I think the “merits” would be prime targets as well, but the other two groups seem to be higher on the list.

In part, the administration has to decide how to divide the total pie. This can be done in admissions but it is also shaped by the image that is projected – after all, Duke ultimately has to compete with other schools for the same students. At the same time, top-tier Universities have a critically important role to play in maintaining social order. Not only do they indoctrinate their own students, they also create the trickle-down ideas that are taught to nearly all others. They produce the good social activists, who busily devote themselves to making the world better (the bad ones act in self-interest, to exploit those they purport to aid or just act vindictively, causing great harm). They act as an escape valve for social pressures and help to shape the debate, by training the press, publishing meta-narratives, and the like. They set a high standard for public behavior and help to keep the peace.


In my view, the top-tier Universities really push the diversity angle because it is a way of ensuring that social order is preserved. Those who are making the decisions don’t have to live with the very real costs when this goes too far since they are far removed, but they do get to manage the risk of major disruptions that would impact them. In a way, this can be seen as similar to provoking disagreement between two potential competitors. If you take a step back and look at the whole thing in terms of dynamics and see the very large gaps between stated positions and projected imagery and the actual power structures, things make a whole lot more sense. I guess my argument boils down to this: Top-tier Universities willfully push “diversity” well beyond the point of reason, because this brings about desired results. This is the hidden agenda; it is not just that they are accidentally filled with delusional extremists. It really only takes a comparatively minor adjustment at a few such institutions to have a much larger effect, so they are an irresistibly attractive target. Duke seeks to become an indisputably top-tier university, and at least those in control see this as the price to be paid.


Sorry this was so long – and thanks for reading…

Anonymous said...

I am writing from Austin, Tx., the new home of Gail Goestenkors. Without revealing any secrets, I can say the Duke administration's failure to rein in its virulently anti-athletic faculty contributed significantly to UT's good fortune today in signing GG. Great athletes and coaches go where they feel welcome and wanted. Duke wouldn't pay GG market rate, and Brodhead & Co. demonstrated they won't support their athletes from public (and even academic) bias from an agenda-driven faculty. We may well be seeing the beginnings of a long, slow decline of Duke athletics to club status. Do I hear the Gang of 88 cheering?

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 8:53 ...said

...Duke ultimately has to compete with other schools for the same students.
::
How about in the year 2030 when all Tier # 1 in the United States will have 25% of their total undergraduate population from countries other than the USA.

If Duke moves now, they could have 25% of their undergraduate population from countries other than the USA in about five years. Satellite campus' also.

And who might these students be? Intellectual gifted young women with private high school educations...with parents who are the political and economic leaders in their various developing countries e.g. Middle East, Africa, Brazil and India.

And where are the young men from these countries. They come to Duke for graduate or professional school.

And where will the young women go when they graduate from Duke? Why, Duke, Medical, Law or Business school or other Tie #1 schools in the network who serve these students.

If Duke is seen as World experts on racism and sexism and how to change the system in developing countries, I would suspect Duke and three or four other schools could change the world in 30 years.

Finally, the Duke Safe Haven will have something to do.

Now if the elected politicians agree.

I enjoyed reading what you had to say. Thank You

GP

Anonymous said...

The loss of Coach Goestenkors is interesting, but probably not significant. It is, afterall, womens basketball. That is a side show and a most unwatchable and uncommercial sport that is being rammed down our throats by PC types.

When Krzyzewski goes, then I will believe that the gang of 88 is winning. Until then Duke can lose all of their other coaches and it will signify nothing. Ok, except maybe Lacrosse - that's another story...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:53 - well written, I liked it. Post as much as you want - it is good reading.

MTU'76 said...

Re 9:57

Yes dear, you hear them cheering - the g88 and the Dickhead, and Nifong, and the new and improved black panther pampers, and from here I can see wahneema doing cartwheels and showing her ass. Crystal is the only sad eyed one in the bunch because she might be loosing victim base (those fluffy haired athletic white boys) and she is wondering how she will pay for grad school.

Is it just me or are the Dukies (there are thousands of them) except for Ms Butler, of course, passively waiting to collect their solid gold diplomas and in the mean time hope someone asks them to the prom, while the adults do all the heavy lifting.... Are the Dukies, who have the biggest dog in this fight, so above everybody in SAT, GMT, PAP, PTA, and BAT scores that they don't know what to do. Someone on this board said the students should rise up and demonstrate to Dickhead that enough is enough. The students should present a list of demands to the board and er uh demand action. So what if a few students get arrested posting the g88 wanted poster (you know, with Karla et al pictures and email address) so what if they miss a few classes manning the barricades (Gary Packwood can help them organize a system so that least one of you takes notes.) So what? Some black kid student frat boy whatever threatened Coach Presslers' kids and he is so valuable to the other side he gets to represent Duke on national radio! WA-La!

Come on Dukies, I want to see some GOALS SCORED and GOALS SAVED! You can still be polite while on the barricades. If you don't want to or can't save your own goals who is gonna save em?

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Gary Packwood - thank you for the kind compliment.

Amac and anonymous at 7:09: Thank you for the needed corrections - it was Pennsylvania and General John Buford. My bad.

Matthew said...

10:20

"The loss of Coach Goestenkors is interesting, but probably not significant. It is, afterall, womens basketball. That is a side show and a most unwatchable and uncommercial sport that is being rammed down our throats by PC types.

When Krzyzewski goes, then I will believe that the gang of 88 is winning. Until then Duke can lose all of their other coaches and it will signify nothing. Ok, except maybe Lacrosse - that's another story..."

Shows how little you know. The Duke message boards, mens and womens hope, bemoan the loss of Coach G and for Joe Alleva to go. Also, the ratings for womens college basketball goes up every year on ESPN. In fact, the 2004 women's championship game was the highest rated BASKETBALL game of all time ever on ESPN (it has since been broken).

People watch and is not just a PC thing. I wonder why so many coaches, with the LSU, Texas and Florida opening, have went around giving extensions and pay raises to current coaches...

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Anonymous at 8:53: That was incredible. You should share that with Ms. Butler.

mtu'76: Sadly, I ask the same question. When ARE the Dukies going to kick some Gang of 88 and Brodhead butt? Of course, if the anger in Reade's face during his 60 Minutes interview are anything to go by, there is at least ONE Dukie who will be kicking serious ass (and assets) once the civil suits start.

david page said...

Prof. johnson,

Perhaps you might have contacts that may be able to determine if the current questionable support of Duke Division I sports that a large percentage of faculty appear to have has contributed to Coach Gs decision to go to Texas as some Iron Duke members have speculated. The Woman's Lacrosse team that publicly supported their male counterparts were soundly chastised by some of their faculty.

It could be all sour grapes but it would be helpfull to have an objective study of why she would leave a school that apparently matched the Texas offer (per Joe Aleva, Duke AD) .

This post is more of an attempt to cominucate with you rather than to place on the web.

miramar said...

I am not a big fan of Brodhead's initial reaction to the case because it only added to the general assumption of guilt at that time. Nevertheless, if he and the board are intelligent (which I hope they are) then this whole episode should have served as a wake up call about some of the problems that Duke has with a small group of faculty. The announced changes in the administrative structure should serve to counteract that negative influence, particularly as it relates to the CCI. I wish they would name Professor Coleman as the new dean of undergraduate education, but since he's in the law school I know that's just wishful thinking..

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 9:57 said...

...I am writing from Austin, Tx... Great athletes and coaches go where they feel welcome and wanted.
::
Well Said!

The G88 know that truism very well...and if they are allowed to continue their work, others on campus will feel that they have been nearly 'pecked to death by a hundred chickens' ...and go where they are welcome and wanted.

GP - Tx.