Monday, April 09, 2007

Channeling Selena Roberts

Columnist Steven Marcus does his best imitation of Selena Roberts in a column just up on the Newsday website. (This is the same columnist who recently criticized Chaminade High School for having Collin Finnerty as a volunteer assistant coach.) Marcus' column features lengthy quotations from John Burness, plus a brief remark from an unnamed "administrator," with no pretense of balance.

Burness' comments reinforce the remarks yesterday of Bo Carrington--that Duke will not apologize in part for fear. The article concludes,
"We're expecting that there's probably going to be civil suits from folks trying to get money out of us, that comes with the turf." Burness said there is a segment of the population that has asked him if Duke will apologize to the players if their legal problems disappear. "I said," Burness replied, "for what?"
Marcus also has lengthy quotes from the Coleman Committee Report. But he chooses items solely dealing with the team's alcohol-related behavior, and avoids any mention of the many positive things the report had to say about the team. He also praises the institution for its self-reflection, with no mention that the University has adamantly refused any self-reflection regarding faculty conduct. Selena Roberts couldn't have done it any better.

But perhaps the most explosive line is the following:
None of the three have attempted to return to Duke, where as one administrator said, they are "no choirboys," regardless of the outcome of the legal matters.
President Brodhead's decision to lift the suspensions of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty represented a welcome change of direction by Duke, a sense that the institution wanted to reach out to the two families. It appears as if the unnamed administrator disagreed with the president's decision and has decided to lash out under the cover of anonymity. I'd invite the unnamed administrator to look through this petition on Reade Seligmann's behalf, and ask him or her exactly how he or she would define "choirboy," and how many "choirboys" he or she thinks actually attend Duke.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep running your mouth, Burness. You're just increasing the damages that will be recovered in the civil suits.

bill anderson said...

K.C.,

Once again, Duke University gives its most loyal families and alums the middle finger. I have never seen anything quite as despicable in my life as watching the NC "Justice" system at work, and then watching what has gone on at Duke.

Perhaps an honest person will emerge from those two institutions, but I am not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Hope Coach Mike gives Burness and Duke Admin what they deserve in his book. Looks like Burness didn't like the Coach/

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that Burness was misquoted or quoted out of context. If not, he should not be a spokesman for the university. What a provocative, almost pugilistic, statement from a top administrator. No PR skills whatsoever.

What's so bad about not being a choirboy?

Anonymous said...

It would seem that Duke is only interested in ChoirBoys from among the male applicants.

That makes them perhaps the most selective college in the US.

Perhaps they are looking for a gig with the Rolling Stones.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Newsday has a history of trashing Chaminade, arguably the best high school on Long Island. This article is no different. Ironically, the author looks foolish by saying:
"Duke as a institution has a reputation to repair and that is paramount over clearing the names of the players involved in last spring's party at an off campus residence populated by lacrosse players."

What decent institution cares more about its reputation than its students?

Not one I'd pay for.

Anonymous said...

This is how ‘losing’ must sound like.

Both Brodhead and Burness sound bitter and angry, like losers. They must know they are losing big. I cannot wait to hear what they will have to say when the dismissal news hits the media. They should be careful not to use up all their venomous statements before the main event.

Anonymous said...

From Marcus' column:

"We said at the beginning of this the ultimate test is not the issue itself, but more so five years from now when people look back and say how we dealt with it," Burness said...

Burness said there is a segment of the population that has asked him if Duke will apologize to the players if their legal problems disappear. "I said," Burness replied, "for what?"


Note to Burness: With one year down and four to go, you're not looking real good on that ultimate test. Do you imagine that people are so stupid as to believe that you genuinely cannot see anything that might be eligible for an apology? Or do you believe that when problems loom what Duke needs is an arrogant fool as senior VP and media contact?

Jacqueline said...

Hey Bill, how would you define "most loyal families?"

As the mom of a recent duke alum, I think I can safely say that a university that takes care of its reputation is also a university who cares about its students (as well as alum) and vice versa.

rrhamilton said...

If a dumb redneck from Texas who didn't learn what a bagel was before he was 23 can spell "mensch", why can't The New Yorker?

Also, did Burness really say "There's no ambiguity about that"? What's he doing at a major university when he doesn't know the difference between "ambiguity" and "ambivalency"?

Finally, he says this is a "teachable moment" and then answers questions about apologies with "For what?" Given that this university has failed to punish at all any of the culpable faculty, staff, and students, I would say that Mr. Burness will soon be having a "teachable moment" all his own.

bill anderson said...

Remember, Duke University covered up the sexual assault charges made against Houston Baker by a female graduate student. This will figure in the lawsuits against Duke, as the university clearly operated according to a different standard while dealing with Baker.

Anonymous said...

Read and weep all, because this man is the voice of Duke. No apology, throw the accused under the bus, echo some enabler bullcrap to placate the 88 and slander the former coach. Thanks for not waiting, Burness!

bill anderson said...

Hey Bill, how would you define "most loyal families?"

The LAX families not only have bled Duke blue, but also have been big contributors to the university over the years. I see you are also joining in the hatefest.

These families WILL sue Duke, thanks to people like Burness, Brodhead, Steel, and Sam Hummel, not to mention a cast of other villains.

A university that covers up a sexual assault charge by a professor, and then champions lying police officers and a lying professor does not give a damn about its reputation.

Jacqueline said...

Please, Bill. No no no. No hatefest here. Honest. I was only wondering. Please don't judge me- especially on this where I feel the injustice as a physical pain. I am only now beginning to blog- perhaps my tone was wrong. I guess I thought our family was loyal too. Maybe just not the most.

Anonymous said...

Who is the cowardly Duke administrator willing to continue the character assasination of these boys and trash their reputations by innuendo (but only behind a cloak of anonymity of course)? Perhaps Marcus and his sources should read the NYT article from last summer which quoted Pat Crapo, one of Reade's teachers at Delbarton, as saying that, in the letter of recommendation that she wrote for Reade's college applications, she stated that if she could have had a son, she would have wanted him to be just like Reade. She also said in the article that in 24 years of teaching, she has never written that about any other student. So Mr. gutless adminstrator, if you are looking for choir boys among your male student population, you'll be looking for a long time before you find whose character is any higher than the one you already lost.

emmy said...

Burness is a cruel man...he is purosefully antagonizing the players and their families (like Nifong, with his, I can make this all end, quote)...I just can't understand his motivation for disparaging these guys, who were wronged by HIS institution! He is just depraved, and his heart is full of hate...it must suck to be him...

Duke JD said...

"No choirboys"

When will the people in charge at Duke learn? Stop publicly bashing your own students! It's not just mean; it's terrible PR and further diminishes the university.

Anonymous said...

7:26 pm

So true, my father who was a professor often quoted the cliche, "The politics in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small".

This is the case with Burness who is nothing more than small minded, petty man.

bill anderson said...

Ok, Jacqueline, no problem. I think that we have seen the university really show its colors here. It would have been one thing had the things alleged been true. However, it was not even the wild drunkfest that Cash Michaels has been claiming.

The party itself was a bust. Guys were so bored they were watching Letterman in the bedroom. The women danced for a few minutes, with Crystal being drunk and falling down. The vaunted "racial slurs" involved someone answering Kim Roberts' despicable comments with something from a Chris Rock routine.

Nearly everything that Crystal and, for that matter, Duke University, has alleged to be true simply is false. The worst misbehavior has been by some Duke students, Duke employees, some Duke faculty members, and by the administration.

Anonymous said...

KC,

What would be appropriate for this matter to be settled between the objects of the hoax and Duke University is the following:

The civil lawsiuts should seek such an extreme amount that the University's insurance could not , or would not pay and have the families settle for an out of court settlement that would not be public, that would require the board of regents to FIRE the group of 88 and the president of the universith and any other administrator that was part of the " let's hang 'em and then give them a fair trial".

Georgia Girl said...

Much emphasis is being placed on the statement "they're no choirboys"? What was Burness's intent by making such a statement?
What information does Burness have about the lax team that is not being conveyed by those of you on this blog?

Also why is an "apology" so important? What will an apology accomplish except to put the G88 on their knees. No individual or group will tolerate being forced into a corner, so it's highly unlikely the lax team will ever get their apology.

rod allison, detroit said...

As bad as that article was, it can't touch the last one written by the Westport Wonder.

At least in this one, there was something we could learn if we combed through the bullshit, even if the nugget of info was discouraging; that is, a Duke VP is a dishonest, double-talking schmuck (as opposed to mensch).

The Westport Wonder's piece had zero information or ideas to think about. It was a collection of every race/class cliche that has already been said 1000 times. Only this time with an unmatched moral conceit that would be astonishing even it it hadn't come from someone who, along with her fellow NYT staffers, had been so wrong about the case at every stage of its development.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the venom and abuse that is still being spewed against the three defendants in the Duke Lacrosse incident. The relatively minor offenses of the three defendants and the behavior of certain (though, by no means, all) members of the team (which the Coleman report finds not to have been racist or sexist) pales in comparison to the fact that the three defendants have been the victims of a false criminal charge that has been pursued by an unethical DA whose agenda has nothing to to with justice. The venom is completely inexplicable with respect to Reade Seligmann, who has, like Collin Finnerty, continued his education, done charitable work and is coaching, and whose disciplinary record is clean. Messrs. Marcus, Burness and their ilk should wake up and realize that Reade and his co-defendants are not going to lie down and be the demons they want them to be.

hman said...

I posted a rebuttal of sorts on their comments section. It was nice enough in tone but evidently not what they wanted to hear; so it was disappeared after about 30 minutes.
I am learning to hate.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that Burness was misquoted or quoted out of context. If not, he should not be a spokesman for the university. What a provocative, almost pugilistic, statement from a top administrator. No PR skills whatsoever.

What's so bad about not being a choirboy?

Apr 9, 2007 6:21:00 PM


Boy does this nail it on the head -- that was my first thought too. This guy is the PR point man for the school?? The last thing a PR person should ever do is make himself a lightning rod for blowback. What in the world did he hope to accomplish? The only thing Burness' comments do is to inflame. A smart PR guy would have declined comment because he believed lawsuits are imminent, or made some banal comment about the legal system running its course, not engage in pointless personal attacks. Nothing to apologize for? Surely you jest. Are you trying to get sued? Is Duke this clueless about what happened or the hit its reputation took? Memo to Burness: Duke slipped in the US News rankings because of its feckless and poor leadership, not because some students threw a party. Or is it simply living in an echo chamber where time stopped last April? My goodness, are these folks trying to denigrate the school?

Tis better to keep the mouth closed and be thought the horse's rear end than to open it and remove any doubt.

Anonymous said...

Okay, granted, Burness has a tin ear or he would not say half of what he does. But I think it's worth distinguishing between his statements and those of the reporter or the anonymous administrator.

It's Marcus who says, "Duke as a institution has a reputation to repair and that is paramount over clearing the names of the players involved in last spring's party at an off campus residence populated by lacrosse players," not Burness. To me this sounds like Marcus taking a statement by Burness that the University's reputation is the key consideration for the University (and, as another Duke parent, I would agree with Jacqueline here, who got blasted because people read things into her comment though I think she was making a good point--that as a general rule, universities take care of their students by taking care of their reputations--the students are primary beneficiaries of the school's reputation) and adding his own idea of the specific lesser concern--which simultaneously fits Marcus's spin on the subject and makes Burness sound heartless and callow. (A twofer for any reporter worth his salt--make it so your interviewee says what you want to hear, and at the same time skewer him. Oops, is my bitterness about the press showing through?)

Similarly, no evidence that Burness is the on-background administrator who said the defendants were "no choirboys."

As to "what for?"--This seems callous and wrongheaded to us, but the man is in charge of public relations for the university--and there may be litigation on the way. Without explicit authority from the Board of Trustees (and/or the general counsel), how could he say anything else? He might be fired on the spot for admitting any error here. (This is not to say he couldn't have found a less confrontational way not to apologize--as I said above, he seems to have a tin ear.)

All this being said, Burness's performance as Duke's spokesperson is, at best, very unimpressive. He could have walked a middle ground much more carefully here--and if he was familiar with Marcus's recent article on the case (which presumably he should be, in his job), he should have known he might need to be careful. I don't faulth him at all for focusing primary on protecting the university's reputation--that is what he is supposed to do. I just wish he had done a much better job of it.

Anonymous said...

To 8:06 p.m.:

What Burness means by "they're no choirboys" is the same garbage Duke has been saying since last April, such as when Brodhead announced that "whatever they did was bad enough." Duke has obviously learned nothing frmo this debacle. Duke has made its bed with the radical faculty and Nifong, and is fearful that the chickens will come home to roost via civil lawsuits and books. The truth will out, and Duke will not look pretty. Lord only knows what Duke was REALLY doing last spring to help perpetrate the hoax. Admitting that these three (and Pressler) were railroaded and the narrative a fraud is simply unacceptable, both from a legal and an ego perspective. Breathtaking arrogance. The only way they can sleep at night is to prove that these guys were awful people who had this coming.

I used to think that Duke could evade civil lawsuits because as a school there is a serious legal question about what they owed these guys, but Duke as an institution keeps doubling down on a narrative it knows to be false for no apparent reason.

Anonymous said...

see - its the public urination that gets Duke Admin so mad. Admin is "standing tall" but surley must know in their hearts how badly they have blown this event. Like the potted plant, for many this will be the first line of ther obituary. I am sure Dick hoped for something from the classics.

Anonymous said...

I notice that many people who contribute to this blog keep referring to a deluge of civil suits against everyone who has acted badly in this affair. (And that's a LOT of people.) They often mention this as if all wrongs will be righted through litigation and those who have escaped justice will be punished financially.

I'm sceptical that there will be so many lawsuits. (Notwithstanding the fact that this is the USA.) They are expensive for the litigants, can drag on for years with appeals, and the results are uncertain.

Also, it just seems like wishful thinking on the part of some people. THey crave justice and see the civil courts as the route to it. This seems naive to me. A strange kind of faith in the very same legal system that has been shown in this affair to be inefficient, incompetent and perhaps even corrupt.

rrhamilton said...

If you want to read my comment on the Newsday website, better hurry before they pull it down again.

Anonymous said...

"Both Brodhead and Burness sound bitter and angry, like losers. They must know they are losing big. I cannot wait to hear what they will have to say when the dismissal news hits the media. They should be careful not to use up all their venomous statements before the main event".

More wishful thinking. Brodhead seems pretty safe in his presidential chair. The Trustees have proven to be his pets. If he hasn't gone by now, he won't be going. Dismissal of the remaining charges will be an anti-climax. He has weathered the worst. He's far from being a loser. Despicable, yes, but not a loser, I'm sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

rrhamilton--

"If a dumb redneck from Texas who didn't learn what a bagel was before he was 23 can spell "mensch", why can't The New Yorker?"

There's always smug, ugly northern prejudice to fall back on when nothing else occurs to one.

Meanwhile, in the pedant's corner...

"Also, did Burness really say "There's no ambiguity about that"? What's he doing at a major university when he doesn't know the difference between "ambiguity" and "ambivalency"?"

hman said...

The statement that repairing Dukes reputation is more important than proclaiming the actual innocence of the Lax players provides a nice window into the attitudes of Duke Administration.
The statement, on its own, is almost incomprehensible; after all,why shouldn't the innocence of the students help Dukes reputation?
But it does make sense if we take a trip into the dark recesses of their thought patterns. The "reputation" of which they speak is solely in respect of the PC crowd at Duke and like institutions. With this in mind, it becomes clear why they find the actual innocence of the Lax guys to be something of an embarassment. They were white male athletes - how can they escape punishment? Duke failed to deliver and they are getting away unharmed. So now Duke must make extra PC genuflections to make up for that.

Anonymous said...

6:33,

I agree with your other remarks and my son went to Chaminade but "arguably the best school on LI", are you kidding? Perhaps, if one were to consider only catholic high schools. Academically, it is not even in the same league as the best public schools like Jericho, Great Neck or Cold Spring Harbor, as well as probably a dozen others.

emmy said...

"What will an apology accomplish except to put the G88 on their knees." Georgia Girl...

That's a good start, for one, at least for me! As several of us said on Liestoppers, Duke's reputation is in tatters precisely because of the way the administration treated the team! Not over the stupid stripper party, which was to me regrettable (call me old-fashioned!), but over the fact that the school immediately distanced themselves from the team, cancelled the season, fired the coach, leaned strongly towards believing the charges were true, or that at least the racial aspect of the accusations were true...and what's more stunning is that even now, over a year later, with the case on its way to TOTAL collapse (to paraphrase Stuart Taylor Jr.), this fat mealy-mouthed asshat Burness *still* disparages the team...still throws them under the bus! This is unbelievable! Let's see...why would Duke be in trouble today? Would it be in trouble because the lacrosse team had an off campus party that hired a stripper? Well, as a parent, I wouldn't be too keen on that...but I'm sure that if I send my son to UVA, that very thing could happen there, too...would Duke be in trouble because they all but abandoned their own students? I think that might be the case...how about refusing to meet with the lacrosse parents? That wouldn't make me too keen to send my son there...how about Duke's advice to the players to not tell their parents, and going so far to get a lawyer (their lawyer) to speak to the players about speaking to DPD...oh, gee, I don't know about you, but that would really cause me to think twice before I sent my son there...thanks, but no thanks...and Burness has pretty much said a great big F*ck you, to the players, their parents, the alumni, Coach Pressler...I think the disgraceful words that have spewed from Burness' mouth in that interview has pretty much sealed the deal in terms of the VICIOUS lawsuits that will be heading Duke's way...and Burness even gets a dig in at that, saying that people want money from Duke...yes,it's just about money...not at all about getting their son's GOOD NAMES back! This man really makes me sick...he has no business being an administrator of even Acme College..

Anonymous said...

"The LAX families not only have bled Duke blue, but also have been big contributors to the university over the years".

Probably true. And they have enjoyed years of lower sports and legacy admissions standard for their offspring as a result. Quid pro quo. Burness is wrong, but not because so-called LAX families deserve special treatment for their contributions.

Anonymous said...

"As the mom of a recent duke alum, I think I can safely say that a university that takes care of its reputation is also a university who cares about its students (as well as alum) and vice versa. "

Apr 9, 2007 6:47:00 PM

The present administration is a failure on both counts. By failing their students in the most public fashion, they did irreparable harm to Duke's reputationas well.

Burness and Brodhead have both a tin ear and lead foot. They can not ever seem to get it right...ever.

A Duke senior, Dave Evans, stood before a hostile press and gave a moment of dignity, leadership and moral courage, this hapless duo could never achieve.

As long as they are at Duke...Duke's reputation will be as "unseemly" as they are.

Anonymous said...

Burness' comments are "taking care of it's (Duke's) reputation" ? Only if it's the post lacrosse party reputation as found in the metanarrative of the 88. I have no connection to Duke and I'm ashamed the man would represent the university like this. I wouldn't hire this man to mow grass.

Anonymous said...

KC- Speaking of lawsuits against Duke..Will you be exposing the identity of the Duke administrator who gave Durham police access to the passwords and login ids of the Lacrosse team.

This is likely the most significant violation of federal law committed by Duke administrators in the first weeks.

Will this be in the book?

Anonymous said...

8:55-Please show us how the lacrosse team members have benefited from "lower sports and legacy admissions standards" I'm calling bullsh!t on that one!

Anonymous said...

Where are the Trustees? Surely at least one of them cares more about the students at Duke than he or she cares about the perks from being a Trustee. I hope that if I were a Trustee, I would have long ago said, "either this nonsense stops and we act like like grown-ups or I resign." Since the nonsense has not stopped, I also hope I would have resigned (kept quiet until put under oath at a deposition, but resigned nonetheless).

rrhamilton said...

to Anonymous 8:52 PM

First, I am the "dumb redneck" to which my original comment referred.

Second, I needled Burness for incorrectly using "ambiguity" instead of "ambivalency", true. You find this pendantic; I would agree if I were correcting an ordinary speaker. Burness, however, holds one of the top positions at one of the top universities in the world. As he is such, I regard him, when he mixes up words, as fair game for needling.

Anonymous said...

To Bill Anderson, one of my favorite posters:

I think what Jacqueline is saying in her recent and earlier posts is not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I think most posters on this blog are justifiably upset, even enraged by the words and actions of particular people and groups on campus. But some of the posters in their statements seem to want to nuke Duke, all of it. I wish they would refine their targets. It would make for a better battle.

As you know, Duke University did not cover up the sexual assault charge made against Baker. Some Duke administrators and professors did, according to the few accounts I've read, and perhaps some trustees knew. Most of the thousands of people at the University knew neither Baker or the charges against him at the time. Refine your target. I'd love to know who was involved in the cover-up and to what degree.

I enjoy your articles and posts very much and learn much from them, but you lose your effectiveness when you overstate. I expect bludgeoning from some posters, but you can wield a rapier and hit the heart of the matter.

madder than a hornet said...

Jacqueline, welcome to our world! I didn't know how to blog a year ago either. We welcome those that seek the truth. KC, Bill and JIN are beacons of truth. Kudos to Liestoppers too.

Thank you fellow bloggers for your comments that highlight how reprehensible Burness' comments are. Can you imagine how the Presslers, Finnertys, Selignanns and Evans feel when they read his arrogant comments? Isn't it stunning that someone could be so insensitive who has intimate knowledge of the real facts, no crime/ the greatest case of prosecutorial misconduct ever?

Don't forget Larry Moneta, Dean of something at Duke, was the source of quotes that condemned the female Duke student who filed rape charges about 6 weeks ago. Moneta pointed out to media "this is a consequence" of campus life. WHAT? I suspect his words opened new wounds for the student and her family.

We should all watch the accusation of the 3 Minnesota (do I have the school correct?) football players. So far EVERYONE seems to be operating on the presumption of innocence when they comment about it. If only we have been given the same.

wayne fontes said...

The phrase "teachable moment" needs to be ambulated behind the barn and shot. In the context of the Duke lax affair the adults have not come off well. Law enforcement was criminal The administration cowered in the face of PR concerns and the radical elements of the faculty. The radical faculty showed themselves to be seriously deranged. The press was out performed by a college newspaper (at times) and newly started blogs which were started by a few private citizens with funds out of their own pocket.

For these economy scale hypocrites to speak of "teachable moments" invites comparison to Ted Haggard and Jesse Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to some commenters here, I do not believe Brodhead has weathered the storm. Also, I do believe that the civil lawsuits will have a profound effect on Duke.

Once the charges are dimissed and the investigation opened to the public, the boys' attorneys are going to go full-court press (pardoned the pun) on Duke. The Trustees will have to put a price tag on everyone. Once that number is reached, the person will get jettisoned. Remember, Duke is a private school. It has no public funding stream or support. It also will appear to be a rich target to the jury.

President Brodhead is likely the first bargaining chip and will get axed in the first round. He and Duke will play the line"just doing what in the best interest of the university" line and will try to make it look like he humbly resigned to help in the healing process. But anyone with sense will know he failed miserably at a criticial moment and in the following periods.

Duke will lose in court. The individuals involved may lose less, but a civil trial is coming and it will only help Duke if the Trustees are seen as working to restore the boys and the university. That means the enablers are toast.

Anonymous said...

Very curious: in a Jan 18th article about Danowski, Steven Marcus clearly acknowledged the flimsiness of the LAX case: "While the case against the three players seems to crumble by the day...The scandal, such as it was..."

So what gives with this reversion to character assassination just a few months later? This has happened before. Did these people ever take a tour together in Manchuria? Do they each get a phone call where a voice uses their special trigger word (Marcus's is "choirboys"?), then shuffle like zombies to the keyboard to spew some more bile?

Anonymous said...

For a group so acutely and correctly aware that the MSM lies frequently to push a good story, it's amazing that folks here are so willing to believe that Burness said what he's quoted as saying (and if he did not, how ever would he get a chance in Newsday to protest). Doesn't the story sound best, to a NYT competitor, when Duke appears to be run by fools? In whose interest is it to portray Burness as off the reservation? Come on, folks.

And by the way, there is not one bit of "evidence" that Baker did what he is here being constantly accused of doing. If you say that that is because "Duke covered it up", then you think that the fact that there is no evidence of it whatsoever means that he did it. Isn't this exactly what we say Nifong was doing, saying that since there was NO DNA, then for that very reason then the Dukies wiped it off? Get serious.

Anonymous said...

Read the article carefully before commenting. Whatever Burness said was bad enough, but it was the reporter who commented that repairing a reputation is paramount to clearing the players' names. Nor was it Burness who said they were "no choirboys," but some unnamed administrator.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

A number of points:

1. I suspect the reporter is playing fast and loose with the "not choir boys" quotation. I think I remember the "not choir boys" phrase from about a year ago or so. I wonder if the columnist got some recent quotes from the moron Duke spokesman speaking out of school and dressed them up with an old quote from the unnamed Duke administrator.

2. As I said Burness basically comes across as a moron in this column. He almost certanly was speaking out of turn? I wonder if he thought he was speaking off the record?

3. If there was any doubt about coming civil litigation, I would say these comments draw a line in the sand. Duke sounds like they are with the local paper, the 88 gangsters, Goslee, Murphy, etal in saying something must have happend. Now to clear themselves in the public's mind the accused will have to sue to Duke. Duke can not afford discovery in any civil action and will be forced to settle and the accused will not settle for less than money damages and an apology. They may also demand a head or two on a pike. I would nominate Burness and the foolish Dean of students. In fact a conspiracy minded person might wonder if Burnes was sent out to say these things setting him up to be a scapegoat that Duke will throw over the side this summer?

Gary Packwood said...

No Sense of History

John Burness is talking about SEGMENTS of the population and a five year window to improve the universities reputation.

And...he is making these statements to a writer employed by a magazine that advertises Ranch Salad Dressing in the middle of the page.

The PR consulting people are at work here and ...PR people are notorious for their short term thinking. They have no sense of history...past five years.

Expect a different message from Duke for each segment of the population.

The 'Ranch Salad Dressing' folks want to hear about 'demon rum' and new rules for students while the pseudo monarchy who worry about the reputation of high schools on LI will need to put on their decoder ring to understand the Broadhead PR which will be crafted just for their group...eventually.

Do you suppose that any population segment cares that a large group of college professors at Duke tried to send three of their students down the river?

Everyone believes their own truth during the heat of battle but the historians will tell the truth about those professors and their Pottbanger friends...and that story will exceed Burness' five year time frame by a generation or two.

Even white male athletes have a right to the proper telling of history that impacts their lives and the lives of their families.

Anyone writing a book about white male athletes at Duke who are guilty ...Until Proven Innocent?

GP

Anonymous said...

Who here expects Burness to hold a presser tomorrow at 10:00 am to correct these "misquotes"? I have to believe that 99.9% of the people reading this blog are capable of understanding that not all of the article is direct qoutes. I predict that Burness will be holed up in his office with paper taped over the windows like a famous D.A. once did to avoid the press.

WEGL WEGL said...

"Georgia Girl said...
Much emphasis is being placed on the statement "they're no choirboys"? What was Burness's intent by making such a statement?"
To justify .... no... to rationalize the actions of Duke & the 88Goons. Why else?

"What information does Burness have about the lax team that is not being conveyed by those of you on this blog?"
Absolutely none. If he had information, he would have given it. He meant to incriminate through insinuation.

"Also why is an "apology" so important? What will an apology accomplish except to put the G88 on their knees. No individual or group will tolerate being forced into a corner, so it's highly unlikely the lax team will ever get their apology."

Why were the lacrosse players expected to apologize for having alcohol at a party and for hiring strippers? Why are former confederate states apologizing for their part in fostering slavery? Why did the US apologize to its citizens of Japanese ancestry who were interned during WWII? Why do courts apologize to prisoners freed by DNA evidence after decades of false incarceration? Why does anyone who has done wrong apologize to those whom they have wronged?

Why do some people not think through the questions they're asking before they ask them?

Sometimes, the answers are quite evident.

Mike Lee said...

I think it's interesting to note that none of the players have said anything about the University while the charges are still out there. Once these guys open up and start talking to the press about how badly they were tossed out the window, Duke's PR problems will really begin.

I can envision Dave Evans with a bank of microphones in front of him discussing the "support" he received from his alma mater.

I am looking forward with great anticipation the things Dave, Collin, and Reade have to say about Duke when they open up. Perhaps they can adequately convey to Mr. Burness exactly why the University might owe these young men an apology.

Anonymous said...

"8:55-Please show us how the lacrosse team members have benefited from "lower sports and legacy admissions standards" I'm calling bullsh!t on that one!"

Simple. Athletes are commonly admitted with lower academic credentials than non-athletes. This is well-known and not disputed. I know it myself for a fact. Some non-athletes with higher academic credentials are routinely denied places in favour of athletes with lower academic credentials. Universities do this because they know that sports success is an important part of fund-raising. Quid pro quo. That's how universities in the US operate.

I made this observation in reply to an earlier posting. I think that it is ENTIRELY irrelevant to this particular case. I am 100% behind the accused lacrosse players. But it remains a fact and may explain some of the ressentiment against them from some (predictable) quarters.

Anonymous said...

the players and their families are the ones who owe Duke an apology not vice versa. their poor behavior caused the ensuing incident to occur and lead to their own reputations being damaged and that of Duke. they will wait a long time for any apology. mostly for the reasons above and also to apologise indicates guilt and will be used againist them in a civil suit. they will also wait a long time for any monetary damages as the civil suits have to filed in durham and the people of durham are not going to award these people a lot of money on this as the locals are the ones who have had to put up with disrespectful behavior from dukies for years and also duke employs most of the local people. dream on.

Foaming at the mouth said...

Can someone tell this Goy what is the exact definition of a "mensch" ?

Anonymous said...

The Newsday article was deplorable and strongly biased. I cannot imagine why this low-rent sports writer was allowed to pen this and how it could be published.

As far as Burness, his is the most inept public relations effort I have ever seen on over 30 years in marketing. There has been no effort in crisis management. To make a statement that the college owes no apology to the three students proves that he and Brodhead are completely blind to their own actions.

The longer the two of them, and others (including the Gang of 88), stay to further down the road Duke goes in its decline incredibility.

I hope the Newsday columnist earned his own chapter in your book K.C.

Anonymous said...

8:55-Again, how did these lacrosse players benefit from lower standards for atheletes ? Not all atheletes in general, that's not the debate here. Your comment about resentment from others is well made and is a good reminder to us of the prejudice that the players continue to confront.

Gary Packwood said...

Academic Standards
::
Anonymous 2:35 and others
::
If people would teach in a university environment it would become evident that the phrase 'academic standards' should have been retired several decades ago.

For those of us who have taught undergraduate students the issue becomes student 'competencies' and not the old concept of 'academic standards' that was so popular with incompetent professors many years ago.

Universities need to define 'competencies' that they value instead of talking about tests scores and GPA's.

Your SAT Score vs. my SAT Score mentality creates a hostile environment that is so antiquated and inappropriate.

Just how many Baby Boomers live in the little tiny world so that others won't find out that they were not the highest SAT test score on campus.

Silly.

If you need a leader for a team project in a course, the students themselves will pick one of the athletes.

That is competence recognized.

GP

Anonymous said...

Test scores are a reliable predictor of academic performance compared to the alternatives. What's do you propose instead? How else do you suggest universities determine who merits admission and who doesn't? However you answer that, I don't see how prowess on the playing fields can be considered academically relevant. For that matter, I don't think that skin color is either. Just as some on the right resent affirmative action admissions, some on the left resent athletic and legacy admissions, which disproportionately favor white applicants. That's how many of the Gang of 88 would look at it.

Anonymous said...

"8:55-Again, how did these lacrosse players benefit from lower standards for atheletes ? Not all atheletes in general, that's not the debate here. Your comment about resentment from others is well made and is a good reminder to us of the prejudice that the players continue to confront".

OK, I'll make it even MORE explicit, if that's possible.

They benefit from being lacrosse players because that enables them to gain admission to a better quality institution as students than they would on the basis of their academic attainments alone. If it weren't for their sporting abilities, they would not be at Duke (with some exceptions). Athletes are admitted with lower academic requirements. That is a fact. If you still don't know how they benefit from this, then I don't think I can make this any clearer.

Anonymous said...

Universities do not exist (and should not exist) to train "leaders". They are intended to educate and stimulate the mind. If you want "team leaders", then see the US Marines...

Foaming at the mouth said...

Got it! Mensch=
Etymology: Yiddish mentsh human being, from Middle High German mensch, from Old High German mennisco; akin to Old English man human being, man
: a person of integrity and honor
This seems to be a good thing. Is it some sort of ethnic, sarcastic slur?

Now if someone could help this ethnically challenged Goy research the real meaning of "nappy-headed ho's" (hose?)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous@4:46AM, I suggest you look up the concept of a different kind of diversity..."legal diversity":

Paragraph six here gives a pretty good overview:

Understanding the Federal Courts

'A case also may be filed in federal court based on the "diversity of citizenship" of the litigants, such as between citizens of different states, or between United States citizens and those of another country. To ensure fairness to the out-of-state litigant, the Constitution provides that such cases may be heard in a federal court.'

As the students live in states other than NC, I believe this would apply to them...so look for civil suits to be heard in Federal courts, not those in the Banana Republic of Durham.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Gary, what's wrong with ranch salad dressing? It makes a great veggie dip!

Deklan Singh said...

Duke '01. Trinity BS.

Never a choir boy. Three misdemeanor driving infractions while attending Duke. Two were removed from my record. I attended 4 Superbowl parties with my fraternity, 2 bachelor parties and 1 coed party for my athletic team at which strippers were present. Never raped anyone. "Coerced" several others into sexual relations with only my wit and charm. Guess I'm also "no angel", but I can't seem to get any press. Such a shame.

I'd love to see a comprehensive study of stripper interaction and underage alcohol consumption at Duke throughout the years. I'm sure that'd be interesting information. Anyway, I've done my part.

Anonymous said...

My SAT scores were terrible - Got thrown out of the English part for talking - In spite of this, I managed to get an Rn education, Manager of 75 people and made over 120,000 for twenty years. For a nurse, this is good money. Its all about drive,curosity and the ability to read and retain information.

Duke 64 said...

I very much want to email Dick Richardhead about Burness' outrageous comments-- the man should be summarily fired-- but have found in the past that the email link given for him at duke.edu does not work. Does anyone know how to reach him, or has he gone underground??

Anonymous said...

The following is now at the bottom of the article. "On Tuesday, Burness stressed that any opinions he suggested did not reflect the university's administration. "I apologize for the content and tone of my comments,'' he said. "They are not consistent with the viewpoint or sentiment of the leadership of Duke University.""

I think he just got his wrist slapped and exposed his own lack of judgement. I would not have someone who as an employee made such a statement. Whether he believes it or not, it's clearly not in the interest of Duke for him to say it.

Anonymous said...

"My SAT scores were terrible - Got thrown out of the English part for talking - In spite of this, I managed to get an Rn education, Manager of 75 people and made over 120,000 for twenty years. For a nurse, this is good money. Its all about drive,curosity and the ability to read and retain information".

Nursing is a vocational course. Nothing wrong with that. On the contrary. But for academic, non-vocational university students academic and intellectual accomplishment and potential should be paramount. If "character" matters more, then someone should propose how it will be measured. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

No - Registered Nurses are Professional nurses not vocational. Licenesed Vocational Nurses are a different breed.

Anonymous said...

Registered Nurses have four years of study and graduate with a nursing degree and BSN. After passing their boards are then Rns.
Licenesed Vocational Nurses have two years of study and after passing their boards are LPNs.
The difference between a liberal Arts major and nurses, of course, is nurses can get a job - anytime, anywhere and at good money.
.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Burness had a wee talk with the higher ups. Now has a disclaimer at the Marcus site that all opinions are his own and not Duke University. Is the pink slip on its way to this PR guy?

Anonymous said...

The 3 Lacrosse players and their families should sue Sam Hummel. He was behind the website that organized the "Lynch Mob" and vigilante doings. Throw in his mother Anne also for enabling him. Did you see the same neon green sign that Sam was holding in the photo with his mother? It looks just like the same neon green sign taped on the house. He should be sued. Teach him that you cannot organize lynch mobs and make posters to accuse people who had not been found guilty. Hummel needs to be aware that you cannot make rush to judgments and lie for your own political slants and agendas. Samuel Hummel Jr. was one of the main persons who helped organize this lynch mob. His hands are as dirty as Nifongs. If anyone wants to claim they were involved also, then sue them too. In my opinion Sam Hummel and his ilk helped in this travesty and injustice against innocennt guys. It is plain to see that he was one the main organizers of this modern day Lynch Mob by looking at his web "community". If Sam Hummel had any sense of justice and if he believes in "truth" as he implies. He should step forward, and apologize for his misguided role in this whole fiasco. So should his mother. That is my own opinion.

Maria Gonzalez-Sanchez

Anonymous said...

"Follow the money" = I would be surprised if Sam had any. Marching is a long way from having the authority to persecute these guys. There are levels of guilt.

Guy said...

I read the article carefully.

The author is clearly a jerk.

That aside, Burness shows every sign of a sore loser. He's attempting to divert whether or not Duke should issue an apology by attacking the true victims, the Lacrosse players.

The real sin here is Duke's leadership's immediate presumption of guilt of the 3 players and it's totally bad treatment of the entire Lacrosse team.

We expect collegiate institutions to stand up for their students, to find out the facts before acting and to be even handed. Colleges and Universities are expected to lead and teach by example core values for their students to follow.

Duke's leadership's concern for the appearance of PC over and above any concern about their students is the height of self absorbed hypocrisy.

While I know there are many fine people at Duke as well as stand out alumni, I would not send any of my children there. Even on a full scholarship. I wouldn't be willing to run the risk of Duke's PC faculty and senior staff of ruining my children's lives for no basis whatsoever.

Duke needs to shed people like Burness and the '88'. Such self-absorbed close-minded mental midgets have no place in any academic institution. They do not constitute the types of role models we need to move society forward. After all, how can one learn tolerance and fairness from people who condemn on hearsay before any evidence is presented?

Disclaimer: I believe in fair play and level playing fields. I believe in passing judgement only _after_ all the facts are in. YMMV.