Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Law School Panel

A few days after the Attorney General dismissed all charges and declared the players innocent, the Duke Law School held its latest forum on the case. I attended a previous such forum, and found it remarkably stimulating. This forum was of similarly high quality. I recently watched the webcast of the event, and summarize the remarks of the four presenters below before concluding with a brief comment of my own.

Jim Coleman

Coleman opened the discussion, correctly summarizing the case: “This was a wrongful conviction reality case, played out in real time.” As such, he argued, people could learn from wrongful conviction cases, especially “the tone that’s set at the beginning of the cases . . . If the police and the prosecutors set out with a single focus, that dictates what happens.” This is what Nifong did in this case—“basically, he took over control of the investigation and then proceeded to obtain evidence to support his conclusions.”

Two extraordinary things ensured the case did not get to trial—and, Coleman suspected (and I agree), getting to trial was really Nifong’s goal:

1) The Bar filed charges in the middle of the case;

2) The AG then took over the case and exonerated the students.

“You couldn’t have written a script with that as the conclusion,” since a trial would have left open the question forever whether they were innocent. But the AG’s report “removed any question of that”—“for most people, it settled the question.”

As he did in January, Coleman made clear that his interest was in procedure, not the identity of the suspects: “I would have been just as concerned,” he stated, “if they were North Carolina Central students, or UNC students, or if they weren’t students at all.”

“The other thing about the case: it was an opportunity to get the public concerned with how the criminal justice system works when there is a miscarriage of justice.” The unique aspect of the case, he observed was that defendants had very good counsel, and press was paying attention to what Nifong was doing. And yet even in this case—“with all of the things the students had going for them, they were still indicted, in a case where the attorney general concluded there was no probable cause.”

Coleman concluded his presentation by responding to critics of President Brodhead’s response—“people say [the University] didn’t actively support the students,” or didn’t publicly “call for these students to be exonerated.” “I think,” Coleman argued, such a stance “would have harmed their cause, not helped it.” It would have made it harder for the State Bar and AG to exonerate them—would have looked like they were bowing to pressure from Duke. Also would have played into Nifong’s political message.

“The fact that Duke was not visible in the case,” Coleman maintained, ultimately helped the students. (Indeed, an argument could be made—the defense’s change of venue motion made clear—that Duke was visible in the case, but in a wholly different way than Coleman suggested: the statements and actions of dozens of Duke professors fortified local attitudes against the lacrosse players.)

The idea briefly floated to retain Bob Bennett to coordinate a response to media pressure was “absolutely the worst thing they could do,” Coleman perceptively argued. “The students were basically left there with their lawyers to rely on the legal system”—politically, that made it possible for the Bar and AG to act as they did. To Coleman, “One of the bright spots in all of this was the statement of Reade Seligmann when this was all over” noting that he had gained awareness about how society doesn’t pay enough attention to prosecutorial misconduct and the need to ensure civil liberties for criminal defendants.

Tom Metzloff:

Metzloff opened his remarks by pointing out that Coleman was listed as the prime hero of the case by Jim Cooney at the defense press conference, recognition that triggered a generous (and very well-deserved) round of applause from the audience.

The Duke law professor focused on the Nifong ethics complaint. Though not a criminal case, the DA will face a trial—the DHC will make findings of fact and conclusions of law, Nifong could appeal to North Carolina court system, and the Bar has to prove its case by “clear, convincing, and cogent evidence” (effectively between a reasonable doubt and beyond preponderance of evidence).

Nifong faces two very different elements, and may come to face a third:

1) Nifong’s pre-trial comments made in March/early April;

2) Amending of complaint—DNA, failure to turn over information, lack of candor to court.

Which of these two items more serious? #2 is more easily understood, Metzloff reasoned, but he added that the comments themselves are very serious charges. “Incredible public comments by the district attorney” were the key—though also “good questions to ask about how everyone reacted to those statements.”

Under Rule 3.6, have to prove that the lawyer made an extrajudicial statement knew would be publicly disseminated. In his opinion, Nifong clearly violated this aspect of the rule.

The Bar, Metzloff continued, has to prove that Nifong “knew or reasonably should have known” statements would be disseminated. It doesn’t have to prove Nifong’s intent—only that comments would have a “substantial likelihood” of prejudicing jury pool. Though the change of venue motion never was heard by the court, Metzloff believes that it would have been all but certain to have been adopted. “It would have been extraordinarily difficult to get a fair jury.” State Bar, therefore, should be able to prove this point.

Which comment was the worst? To Metzloff, it was the many statements presuming guilt. Rule 3.6 provides a laundry list of what a prosecutor can say—“just the facts.” Rule 3.8 is the key here—this is an easy rule for prosecutors to know. “Heighten public condemnation of the accused”—Metzloff predicted this clause will be very important in proving Bar’s case against Nifong. The pressure against lacrosse players—all of them—last spring was obvious. Why does this rule exist? The “need to avoid vigilante justice.”

Metzloff argued that Nifong’s defense—he didn’t intend to do anything wrong—seems very unlikely to help Nifong in defending his claim against the charges.

Other item: State Bar has to consider whether to amend complaint—did Nifong file charges without probable cause? This point, Metzloff perceptively noted, is “really the heart of this case—what we’ve all been agonizing over—is that fact: did Nifong have any basis for a case supported by probable cause?”

If Nifong is convicted, Metzloff predicted stern punishment, since the Bar could make a strong case here for aggravating circumstances. He cited the Joe Neff article that a Nifong victory would get him more money through pension increase and Jackie Brown’s statement that Nifong said he relished the free publicity for his primary campaign.

Seyward Darby:

Darby discussed media context of the case, chiefly the question of how the media failed in relation to the question of Nifong’s ethics? She noted that for her colleagues and her at the Chronicle, the story broke on a day that “news kind of stops”—the day that the men’s basketball team lost in NCAA tournament.

It was, she recalled, “really shocking” to see national press show up, with national journalists “knocking at our door” at the Chronicle to get the facts that they had missed. She added that the Chronicle had something of an advantage: given the case pattern of Nifong news dumps on Friday afternoons—the Duke paper had the entire weekend to process the new information.

Darby noted that she’s currently in a media ethics class; and, as such, has been re-reading the Nifong comments from last spring. In her mind, the DA’s most troubling assertions were those relating to guilt, especially at the NCCU forum. “What’s most troubling to me,” she noted, “when I look at articles and publications was the lack of contextualization” about Nifong’s comments—especially in TV. In effect, this was a failure of media, which functioned almost as Nifong press secretaries. Why? Three reasons:

1) “Unfortunate trust in public officials”—most journalists exhibited a tendency to think that someone like Nifong must know something to say the things that he did.

2) The sense of competition among media—with a need to publish whatever you can whenever you can, especially on-line and TV news, where there are fewer editors asking questions.

3) The media wanted “provocative content”; as such, especially early on, the media tended to pull out extremes of Duke students in attempt to get this content.

How has coverage changed? Darby noted that current coverage was very careful to point out that AG Cooper is a Democrat running for re-election—that kind of political perspective was not frequently mentioned in the early Nifong articles.

Michael Tigar:

As usual, Tigar produced a wildly entertaining and penetrating set of comments. In arguing the Gentile case, Tigar recalled, he couldn’t come across any instance where a prosecutor was disciplined for improper press conference statements. As such, he noted, sometimes defense attorneys need to use the media to respond—as he did when representing former California congressman Ron Dellums. In his first press conference, he stated, “We deny the allegations and we’re looking for the allegators.” (The remark generated widespread laughter.)

Nifong’s handling of the lacrosse case, Tigar noted, was a tragedy to all concerned. What legitimate victim of sexual assault would want to come forward knowing that she might be subjected to a Nifong-like public relations barrage?

To Tigar, the most significant aspect of Roy Cooper’s press conference was the AG’s proposal for be mechanism to remove prosecutors who engage in this type of behavior. Tigar noted that he had been able to do this twice in his career—including a Charleston case when he successfully disqualified the state attorney general, who “did a Nifong.” (More laughter ensued.)

Judges, he noted, have always had power to sanction prosecutors under these circumstances—but rarely do so, and the media is part of the problem, since it feeds prosecutorial abuse. In the end, Tigar concluded, lawyers need to rely on the profession itself to maintain its standards.


Coleman’s remarks about the University’s response generated a good deal of attention, and so I thought I might briefly comment on them. In general, I think he’s absolutely correct: if Brodhead had come out with a statement in late March 2006 endorsing the players’ innocence or criticizing Nifong for investigating the case, such a move would have played into Nifong’s hands politically and probably would have made it more difficult for the Bar to act down the road.

Coleman’s remarks, it seems to me, spoke most powerfully to Monday morning quarterbacks who have said that Brodhead should have publicly proclaimed his faith in the players’ innocence at or near the start of the case, or taken other actions to have directly criticized Nifong in late March or early April. John Feinstein comes to mind as a figure who has criticized Brodhead from such an angle. As Coleman correctly observes, the president faced a difficult political climate, especially in the early days.

That said, for most of the case, criticism of Brodhead focused on two other, and far more sustainable, sets of issues: (1) he had a responsibility as president of Duke to publicly demand that Duke students be treated according to the same procedures as all other Durham residents; and (2) he took actions that created a public image of presuming guilt, especially during the media feeding frenzy of late March and April.

The Friends of Duke summer 2006 letter—which explicitly stated that the president should not take a stance on guilt or innocence—is a good example of the first critique. (Brodhead rejected the letter with a statement including his hope for a speedy trial, which would provide an opportunity for “our students to be proved innocent.”) Brodhead’s April 5 statement (which didn’t even contain a throwaway line on presumption of innocence) and his April 20 statement following the indictments of Seligmann and Finnerty (“whatever they did is bad enough”) are common subjects of the second critique.

By the summer, Nifong had maximized the anti-Duke element of his base—it’s hard to imagine any of the 51 percent that ultimately voted against the DA would have moved over to Nifong’s side had Brodhead issued the kind of statement that FODU urged. Nor does it seem likely that a procedurally oriented statement would have distracted the State Bar—indeed, the Bar went forward even after a December statement from Brodhead that called into question the legitimacy of the remaining charges.


hman said...

Since everyone on the panel is on the right side now and takes it for granted that the Lax guys were completely innocent I do not have it in me to pound on them.
But if this case had proceeded in the normal way - without the massive intervention of worldclass blogging and epochal lawyering this mess would have gotten all the way to a trial - in Durham. In which case Brodheads poisoning of the Lax guys public image with the jury pool would have represented a big addition to the risk they faced.
For what it is worth, I do not believe that the management of serious issues can be reliably "fine tuned". We cannot actually predict the precise result of what we say or do. The best path; for the sake of avoiding causing harm, is to just follow normal, tested proceedures in a simple-minded way. Tell the truth, in other words and let things fall where they will.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

My view on Brodhead is that he:

1. Should have suspended any indicted players if that we the rule at Duke. Otherwise he should not have.

2. He was not there and could not claim they were innocent but could as Professor Johnson said called for due process, particularly after the 88 gangsters on the Duke campus acted to encourage comdemnation of the students.

He did 1, but failed to do 2. And after that every thing he did was wrong:

3. Blowing off the lacrosse season, ie punishing the whole and raising further belief that Brohead knew they were guilty.

4. Firing the coach.

5. Making any comments about the lacrosse team.

6. Setting up the CCI. Again this is something someone not following the case might take as a sign of knowning there was guilt.

Anonymous said...

The infamous, "Whatever they did was bad enough," was likely Broadhead's worst public statement. Coleman made a good point that Broadhead actively defending them early in the case might have ended up hurting them; but that doesn't mean him actively denigrating them didn't hurt as well. Actively publicly defend/ actively publicly denigrate: he should have done *neither!* Admittedly, there aren't many quotes of Broadhead actively denigrating the LAX players; but then again perhaps this one statement was "bad enough." :P
He shouldn't have fired Coach Pressler. I am completely certain that was wrong. It was unfair, unjust and benefitted no one ... except Bryant's LAX team.
I really want to say he also shouldn't have cancelled the rest of the 2006 LAX season. Particularly after watching the winning season they've had this year and knowing they were supposed to be about as good last year, it just seems incredibly unfair. However, I think that's a much harder one to call. In that atmosphere where the LAX players were already being presumed guilty, I think it was true that the fact that the LAX players were out in the field only incensed people more. I do recall the woman who ran the "Justice for 2 Sisters" blog claimed her impetus for starting her blog was the pictures she saw in the news of the LAX players practicing. I'm pretty certain the potbangers would have showed up at the next game if there was one. It was incredibly unfair ... it totally SUCKED; but cancelling the season might really have somewhat served to protect the players particularly the 3 indicted.
Then finally the Group of 88: they should have been reprimanded ... at least privately. They shouldn't have been encouraged by giving them CCI "power" positions. And they shouldn't have had their victimization conspiracy theories of being attacked by "bloggers" validated in any way.

Bella said...

I agree with Coleman's assessment of Brodhead's initial reactions to the allegations. However, I do not agree with his handling of the faculty with regard to their inappropriate involvement in this case, which doesn't appear to have been touched by any of these panel members. Letting these poor excuses for educators run free and denigrate Duke students was absolutely unacceptable and incomprehensible. I'm curious as to why this wasn't discussed, as it certainly relates to the case and obviously affected the LAX players, beyond the three who were indicted.

Anonymous said...

i imagine that there is pretty strong pressure from within duke to rehabilitate brodhead; he is the boss, after all- and damage to brodhead is damage to Duke.

However, the analysis is not good. The default position for a University is to make a statement briefly noting the alleged crime, suspending indicted students, and to note the presumption of innocence; and thereafter to say and do nothing at all.

Brodhead attempted to ride the tiger of publicity, and spent a great deal of time excoriating bad behaviour, all but criticising his own students, and goaded the tiger to ride further and harder. Make no mistake, Brodhead willingly joined the lynch mob; though he normally made sure that he had a caveat saying "presumption of innocence" somewhere.

His current defence, that he was doing what they thought best at the time, really sucks; at the time they thought the guys were guilty, and they were trying to make clear they despised what the guys allegedly did. That was wrong.


Anonymous said...

I think Brodhead should resign over his refusal to meet with the parents of the lacrosse team players. That seems to me to be part of his job.
Also KC , who cares what Feinstein thinks or says or writes. His opinion is invalid as you pointed out yesterday.
Also where was the Duke Law School while all this was going on? Apart from Coleman they must have all been stuck in "mute" court.

Michael said...

I look at the Minnesota Football Players case which was in the media in early April and can hardly find a current story on the case.

It appears that the three accused football players benefitted from the Duke Lacrosse Case.

In the Minnesota case, I don't see university presidents making predjucial comments in the case and the last I heard, they were moved to different housing but they are still students and are still attending classes.

Brodhead at a minimum, could have met with the parents, even after they were declared innocent by Cooper. At a minimum, he could have showed that he cared about the families that employ his place of business.

P. Rich said...

Brodhead allowed his behavior to be dictated by the liberal faculty, spearheaded by the Gang of 88. He learned the 'Larry Summers Lesson' from events at Harvard: the Board of Trustees backs the faculty and will act against the university President if he appears to have "lost the confidence" of a rebellious professoriat. (See also Galudet.)

So, the last thing Brodhead was or is going to do is even hint at criticism of the radical stampede. Poor fellow. It must be difficult for him, interacting with the world while maintaining a firm grasp of his ankles.

Anonymous said...

What Brodhead did to the students
was basically to throw flowers on
their grave. Then sadly walk

Just like Bill Clinton,
wiping away tears at the
funeral - (just after wiping away
the big smile and the guffaw that
preceded the President's
pretended sadness.)
I'm sure Broadhead was similarly
sad to see Coach Pressler resign.

Broadhead - (and the 88) -
probably did the boys a
favor, in retrospect:
they pissed Professor Johnson
off so much that he launched DIW.

And that, folks, is a big
part of The Rest of This Story.


Anonymous said...

Proverbs: 24:15-17
(A Proverb for Nifong and
the cast of the Hoax - and
for us, when it's their turn
to fall)

"Do not lie in wait, O wicked
man, against the dwelling of
the righteous; Do not plunder
his resting place;
For a righteous man may fall
seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by

"Do not rejoice when your
enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be
glad when he stumbles;
Lest the Lord see it,
And it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath
from him."

Nifong, the Gang of 88 -
all of these - will have
their day, in one court or
another. Avoid gloating,
and let the day come in it's
own time.


Anonymous said...

there were freshmen on this team-18 year old kids. When Brodhead and Alleva fired Pressler, these kids felt totally alone. The man who had recruited them to Duke and had told them and their parents that he would watch after them had less than an hour to say goodbye. Cassese and Dr. Kennedy were the only adults who gave counseling and comfort. Can you begin to imagine the feelings of those freshmen? They have chosen Duke and are so proud and have worked so hard, good God, they mostly didn't even know there were going to be strippers at the party. They saw two sophmores indicted whom they knew had nothing even to do with the supposed party and then they live in terror that they will be next. The Dean of Students, the President, the AD-no one attempts to comfort them except for Caseese and Dr. Kennedy (who had to attempt hold everything together). And then there were the threats from "drive by shooters", the Black Panthers, and their own professors-one who told the lacrosse players to sit on one side of the room so he could protect the rest of the class from the rapists-this happened. Then there were the rosters with their pictures on every car in the parking lot-on trees-on professors' desks. My son had to go through counseling when he came home from that hell hole. He will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead's conduct during the entire Hoax revealed him to be nothing more than a spineless follower. Worse still are the clowns he follows (G88/87, Herald-Scum, Pot-bangers, etc.). If Duke and its Trustees can do no better than someone like Brodhead for its president, than Duke as a university is in a far more perilous condition than even I imagined.

Among serious academics (I am a tenured professor of chemistry at an Ivy League university) it's no longer accepted wisdom that "Duke might fall." Rather, it's palpably clear that Duke "is falling-in real time," and the only open question is how far it will plummet. Candidly, at this point Brodhead is no longer relevant to Duke's future.

Anonymous said...

One of Brodhead's most grievous transgressions was his duplicitous response to the FODU Letter in Summer 2006 requesting that he demand due process and protection of civil liberties for Duke students in Durham.

Brodhead said that he could not speak to questions of guilt or innocence. The FODU Letter clearly stateed that Brodhead was not being asked to speak to questions of guilt or innocence.

IMO, Brodhead understood what was being asked of him, simply that he demand fair treatment of Duke students in the face of the Nifong meat-grinder... but Brodhead refused to do so.

For this reason alone, Brodhead must be shown the door.

kilgore said...

While the analysis from the panel is interesting and good points are made it seems to me they are missing the elephant in the living room. It reminds me of an investigative group looking into a lynched black man 100 years ago that focuses on procedures and protocol but never mentions racism. Yes the protocol was a part of things but if you don't see that racism is underlying the lynching you completely miss the boat. Misandry, racism and classism are the fuel that powers this one. They are all in our water supply and the air we breathe. If you don't know about misandry a good place to start would be here.

to per at 6:14 - Very well said. Could you be the "per" who is known on the net for his writings on gender? If so, my sincere and humble compliments.

Anonymous said...

Over the past year, I have emailed Brodhead on several occasions - with some messages being critical and others supportive.

For example, after Brodhead finally found his voice in December and joined the call for special prosecutors to replace the disgraced Nifong, I complimented Brodhead for doing so. On that occasion, I received a nice email in return, expressing gratitude for my support.

But whenever I sent a critical email, the response was always the same - stony silence. This must be the same stony silence that Brodhead chose to deliver to the parents of the lacrosse players when they requested his audience following the initial revelations of the case.

Brodhead strikes me as the sort of coward who will embrace his supporters, but who will hide from his critics. This is not the sort of person to lead Duke University.

Anonymous said...

Coleman's comments cast Brodhead in the role of inspector Clouseau: bumbling and incompetent yet managing to succeed in failing.

Anonymous said...

“The fact that Duke was not visible in the case,” Coleman maintained, ultimately helped the students.

OMG, Duke was not visible in the case??!! Duke could hardly have been more visible in, or more prejudicial to, the case.

But it was supposedly all good. If I understand this reasoning, Brodhead's craven actions, his utterly umistakable pandering to every PC crowd in the vicinity freed the AG's office from looking like it was being pressured by Duke to exculpate the players.

And if Brodhead had had the decency to recognize the players' rights to due process and kept his mouth shut, would the investigation have been hindered?

No, Brodhead should never have blindly declared the players innocent. Nor should he ever have assumed/implied/accepted their guilt. He did the second, and should already be gone. Sayonara.

Anonymous said...

Donna Shalala :

"I believe that the young men we have recruited for our football team are young men of great character, but they did a very bad thing," Shalala said. ". . .It's time for me to say publicly that I believe in them, that I believe that they did something awful, but that I want them to continue at the University of Miami. And it's time for me to say to the community and to those that have been sending me e-mails that this university will be firm and punish people that do bad things.

"But we will not throw any student under the bus for instant restoration of our image or our reputation. I will not hang them in a public square. I will not eliminate their participation at the university. I will not take away their scholarships. . .

"It's time for the feeding frenzy to stop. These young men made a stupid, terrible, horrible mistake and they are being punished. They are students, and we are an educational institution and we will act like an educational institution, not like a PR machine trying to spin and restore an image that we worked so hard to put in place."

Anonymous said...

Folks, for those of us wanting Duke to pay an institutional price for screwing over the 3 lax players, we could do no better than wish for Brodhead to remain as president. Seriously, Brodhead is uniquely qualified to continue to "lead" Duke's free-fall into "regional" university status.

If you want to harm Duke, I say support Brodhead.

Duke Alum said...


I think Coleman's defense of Duke's response to the course of the lacrosse case deserves a fuller response than above. While I interpret Coleman's comments to be directed specifically at the official actions of the University, and not at faculty comments or off the record statements to journalists, it seems to me that he is arguing that much of the criticism of Duke from FODU, DiW, and others, at least that directed at Brodhead, is unfounded. If that's true, then lots of people have wasted lots of time. Instead, we all should have sat back and let the judicial process work, just as Coleman suggested Duke wisely did. Almost no one deserves more praise than Coleman for his actions in this case. That said, here are some follow-up questions that might be asked:

1. If it was important that Duke not be "visible" in the case, why was it appropriate for Coleman himself to publicly call for a special prosecutor to be appointed last May? Would it really have been inappropriate, or a bad idea, for Brodhead to support this suggestion?

2. After the hidden DNA results Meehan-Nifong conspiracy was revealed in December, Brodhead did two things: (i) publicly call for Nifong to step aside and (ii) reinstate Finnerty and Seligmann. These actions clearly demonstrated Duke's institutional support of the accused students and institutional criticism of the course of the prosecution. Why were these actions appropriate in December, but not earlier? Isn't the standard that was applied one of degree rather than kind? In other words, by December, the conduct of the District Attorney was so egregious that Brodhead had to speak. Was that amount of delay really defensible? The DNA revelations were publicly explosive, but didn't change the fact that the players were demonstrably innocent and subject to transparently corrupt procedures for many, many months. The only thing that changed is the "hiding evidence" story grabbed the public's attention and made it safer for Brodhead to speak and Duke to act. Would the public perception have been different if Brodhead and Duke took different actions and said different things earlier? It seems to many of us that Duke let the media dictate its actions as soon as the story hit the press. Can we really describe that as a wise course of action?

3. If Coleman were representing one of the three indicted players or one of the unindicted players, what would he have done in terms of interacting with the University? Tell them to do exactly what they did? Thank them for their judicious actions driven at all times by concern for the players' well-being? Hardly.

As stated above, Coleman is one of the heroes of this case. I would love to here his thoughts, as well as yours, KC, on the questions above.

Duke Alum

Anonymous said...

Duke could have held its own disciplinary meeting in July or August and decided the indicted students could return to classes in the fall. That would have made a strong statement in support of their innocence (which by then had been scientifically proven), and would have put Nifong on the defensive, challenging him to respond if he still wanted to insist they were guilty.

Neutrality in this issue, when there is a blatant frame attempt, does not help the accused; the playing field was not level and the rules were not being observed. Studied silence at such times is wrong; outrage would have better protected the victims.

Anonymous said...

You left out one important element of Coleman's remarks. He did criticize Duke for failing to correct known factual inaccuracies about the case.

For example, Brodhead knew full well the captains had cooperated with the police and failed to correct police lies to the contrary. He even made statements urging cooperation, which seemed to confirm the police lies.

It is also worth noting that Brodhead took punitive action against the lacrosse team before Nifong had any public role in the case.

One of the mysteries of this case is why Nifong behaved the way he did? Why did he think he could get away with this.

One answer is that the mob in the street and Duke's craven reaction to it made him bold.

Finally, Coleman's claim that Duke somehow deserves credit for the final vindication of the players struck me as absurd. Duke clearly believed they were guilty, and it's every action made them look guilty.

Frankly, I don't have quite as much respect for Coleman as I did. He's become a Duke shill.

miramar said...

Although Duke's party line is that Brodhead noted that the players were innocent until proven guilty (at least in passing, and then without much conviction, as it were), I am quite sure that the administration is concerned about the reaction from alumni and parents.

In fact, Duke parents have just received an email from Provost Peter Lange that begins as follows:

"At Duke University we survey students annually in order to assess their college experience and to understand how well we are meeting their needs. This spring, we are asking parents and/or guardians to share with us their perspective on their children’s college experience. We have joined with 20 colleges and universities to participate in “The Parents Survey” because we’d like to know how useful you find the information we send you, how satisfied or concerned you are with various aspects of Duke University, and how you are funding your child’s (or children’s) education."

Although Lange notes that another 20 universities are doing the parents survey, I have to assume that Duke is doing it to gauge reaction to the lacrosse mess. I look forward to receiving the survey, and I expect to give the administration an honest assessment of their performance.

Gary Packwood said...

Nifong Wanted A Trial!

If you are correct and Nifong wanted that trial we need to focus again on that SANE exam.

Nifong would have needed evidence before a trial was scheduled and he would have employed extreme and costly measures to obtain that evidence...which he did.

Which group was manufacturing the evidence for Nifong and just how many of those people were associated with the G88 and the SANE system at the hospital?

If the evidence was manufactured and thus assured, I can understand Broadhead feeling comfortable pushing the guilty guys under the bus...along with all helmet sports at Duke.

A guilty plea at the trial would have resulted in an overnight change in campus culture. A slam dunk, as it were...for English teachers.

Gary Packwood said...

miramar 9:27
That survey is very much part of the accreditation process.
Duke is preparing for their accreditation visit.
Just use the word ENGAGE when you think about modern organizations.
Everyone is needing to prove that they ENGAGE all of their constituencies...including of course, the alumni.
If Duke had an on-going program in place to ENGAGED the community, outrageously loud parties and strippers would have deserved only a brief mention in the Duke history books.


Anonymous said...

I understand all the political reasons for what Bonehead did and what Coleman says. When you get down to basics this is just an excuse for not doing the right thing. Something is wrong, like integrity and honesty, when truth can't be defended.

Anonymous said...

I am especially fascinated by Prof. Coleman's observation that, in the big picture, the accused students were (and I will very broadly paraphrase Coleman here) better served by Broadhead and Duke faculty being complete assholes, than if Duke had instead backed them up -- because full Duke support would only have further fueled conspiracy theories among the ignorami and the politicos. "Oh sure, Duke backed up its white boys, so they got off."

Damn -- Coleman is exactly right, and I never thought to look at it as he has. He is one smart guy. Brilliant in fact, and brutally honest.

Of course, this does not excuse the evil and the ignorance of the 87, who cannot claim in hindsight Coleman's perspective that Duke best helped its students by attacking them stupidly, blindly and falsely.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, when Brodhead was at Yale his nickname was "Dickless" Brodhead. Moving to Duke hasn't changed things for him-- he's still dickless in my view.

Anonymous said...

transferred from the first law panel

the latest panel that KC attended is interesting

from the standpoint of legal theory and tactics, there were happy to have BROADROT as an enemy

thats interesting...

BUT remember broadrot is an educator and the example he sets when he stood by without lifting a finger to reprimand the group of 88 isnt a matter for legal theory

turning the campus over to the worst elements of a MOB isnt what great presidents stand for

would dwight eisenhower, patton, or men of their character have allowed the mob to run the way it did without facts...

broadrot is a man without a backbone and nothing the lawyers will ever say will change the facts that he didnt question...

Anonymous said...

Brodhead is a feckless man, scapegoating Pressler and the team's season with only one objective: satisfy the politically correct atmosphere.

This is what high minded academics do at all the Ivy Leagues. It's not about intellectual honesty, nor
due process, nor alleged university "standards."

Rather, the academic standard is to pick the polically expedient response while leaving enough wiggle room to swithc positions so you will be on the winning side.

Also, does anyone know exactly how many of the accused were really on "scholarships?"

Anonymous said...

New Jersey Lawyer says, Kudos to you again, KC, especially on your nuanced analysis of what Pres. Brodhead could have done. I think Prof. Coleman is right that Pres. Broadhead could have aggravated the situation by coming out stronly in favor of innocence at the beginning of the case. Having said that, Broadhead's statements concerning the presumption of innocence and the need to trust the system were overshadowed by a clear bias against the Duke 3 ("whatever they did was bad enough"). Additionally, he could have shown real support for the presumption of ignorance by critcizing the timing and substance of the Group of 88 statement as well as the timing and substance of the various "potbanger" and related protest. Criticizing is the failure of his (presumably well educated) faculty and (presumably intelligent) student body for their blatant rushes to judgment in the case is would not have been a violation of academic freedom or free speech, but merely a reminder that, with rights and freedom, come responsibility. Academic freedom and free speech are not excuses for lible and slander.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry- Brodhead does not get a free pass from me and it looks like Coleman, for all that he has contributed, is simply not 'biting the hand that feeds him.'

Nobody is suggesting that Duke should have come out vociferously proclaiming the innocence of the 'white boys' and proceeding with business as usual. What seems apparent to me, especially in retrospect, is that the case should have been allowed to play out in the criminal justice system without draconian (guilt implying) measures being taken against the team.

For God's sake, can some loser, with no stake in our society, make a claim (for whatever reason) and disrupt the lives of so many, so irrevocably, without due process????

The presumption of innocence is the lynchpin of our legal system. As I've said before, absent some sort of published confession, the accused should have been able to continue with their lives with as little collateral disruption as possible until the case ran its legal course. I do not believe that firing the coach, suspending the accused students and cancelling the remainder of the season was an important part of the eventual action by the AG. On the contrary, I believe that Duke's official actions (as orchestrated by Brodhead) helped to prolong the travesty.

rl alum medicine '75

Anonymous said...

The difficulty I see in Coleman's comments - and I only have KC's account to go on - is that other administrators would now imagine that it is good strategy to remain neutral and quiet rather than to stand behind accused students and insist upon due process.

Anonymous said...

The people who supported Nifong after the day the DNA was announced to be negative were bums and losers. Anyone who stayed silent while Nifong proceeded anyway was an enabler. It didn't matter whether it was due to ignorance or cowardice.

Brodhead and Duke could have made a public statement that "something is wrong, terribly wrong", and the national media would have been forced to pay attention. Brodhead could have come out against Nifong's election during the primary, and have been on solid ground; the DNA results were public, and Nifong's inflammatory prejudicial statements were part of the public record.

Instead, he shrank and pandered to those bums and losers.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post by KC today.

I agree that James Coleman has played a very positive role throughout this case.

However, I cannot fully accept his support of Brodhead's behavior. Sure, it would have been unwise for Brodhead to have jumped out yelling and screaming that his students were innocent like a histrionic mother, but he went quite the opposite way.

Yes, as Coleman said, he was in a very difficult position, politically, in a place like Durham where there are people who could have easily been incited to riot and burn down the town along with Duke, but Brodhead went too far in placating everyone.

And the reason he did so, fundamentally, is because he holds the same political views and inner resentment of the lacrosse players as the Duke Gang of 88.

James Coleman's remarks were good ones. I just wish he had the depth of spirit and the capacity to openly criticize the destructive 88 and admit that Duke University did play a huge role in assisting the railroading of Reade, Collin, and David. The school sat back and did nothing to rein in the agenda-driven 88.

In the public eye, Duke was endorsing their assault on the lacrosse players.

Why can no one at Duke admit that?


Anonymous said...

MORE MUMBO JUMBO FROM BROADROT...........................

Brodhead: "We need to rebuild the idea of the common wealth"

In a Commencement address at Fisk University, President Richard H. Brodhead urges graduates to use their powers to build a shared sense of community

Monday, May 7, 2007

Note to Editors: President Richard H. Brodhead delivered the Commencement address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the Fisk University graduation ceremony May 7, 2007. This is the text of his prepared remarks.
Nashville, Tenn. -- Madam President, trustees, faculty, friends, I thank you for including me in this great event. Exultant graduates, I congratulate you on your proud achievement, and I rejoice with all who supported you on the road to this great day. You had a dream for your life, a dream of training your powers through first-class education. Thanks to your commitment and hard work, that dream has come true. Now it’s time to dream your next dream, the dream of the service you can offer to the world with the knowledge you’ve acquired at Fisk. I wish you future success as splendid as today’s.

I too am receiving a Fisk degree today; did you know? I’m happy about that. Now, you may think it’s a little unfair that I get to collect the same reward as you without doing the work. How did he get to stick his face in the photo crossing the finish line when he didn’t even run the race, you might rudely ask? I have two replies. First, I really did study at Fisk. I spent many a day in your library editing the unpublished journals of Charles Waddell Chesnutt, the principal African-American author of the post-Civil War generation. (And by the way: how he would have loved the chance to study at a place like Fisk.) And second, even if I didn’t earn a diploma at Fisk, no one here is prouder to join the procession of those who have passed through this ceremony before. This is the same graduation that W. E. B. DuBois went through in 1888, on his way to his career as scholar, editor, and leader in the war for civil rights. We stand where John Hope Franklin stood in 1935, on his way to becoming the 20th century’s greatest African-American historian. We stand where Hazel O’Leary stood in 1959 before going on to become the Secretary of Energy, the first woman and the first African-American to hold that post. We stand where Nikki Giovanni stood in 1967, before becoming one of the principal poets of her generation.

And now it’s your turn.

I’ve been thinking of you and your future. This train of thought led me to the Fisk graduate I know best: John Hope Franklin, my friend and colleague at Duke. Dr. Franklin has won every award a historian and American citizen could win, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Kluge Prize, the Nobel Prize equivalent for work in the humanities and social sciences. At 92 he remains as sharp and forceful as any person I know; he gave the commencement address at Duke last May, and it was as inspiring as any I have ever heard.

What was it like when he stood where you stand, age 20, in 1935?

The name of that year conjures up a dark and menacing time. When John Hope Franklin graduated from Fisk, the United States had been in the grips of severe economic depression for six years with no end in sight. Domestically, official segregation was at its most brutal and pervasive: a young man from a nearby Nashville neighborhood was carried off and lynched during John Hope’s junior year. Internationally, the Nazi party had already come to power in Germany, and the menace of international fascism was already on the horizon for those who had eyes to see.

Turn to 2007, and what a difference! We live in a period of sustained worldwide economic growth unrivalled in human history. Thanks in part to graduates of this university, we live in a country that has dismantled official barriers to opportunity and freed human potential to make its mark. Human well-being has made other notable advances: thanks to modern medical research, conditions are treated as routine that used to cause death, blindness, or disability. Most unimaginable of all, the whole world is now magically accessible on the easiest of terms. If you were not busy listening to me, you could be downloading news from around the world or broadcasting pictures of this ceremony to friends in any land—without leaving your seat.

But as you know, our time isn’t quite as simple as these facts make it sound. These changes have made an undeniable difference, and life is immeasurably the better for them. But these improvements turn out to be compatible with persistent challenges, and even to create new ones. Worldwide prosperity has lifted billions out of poverty in recent years, but it has not eradicated the most basic forms of human need, and income disparities have grown steeper instead of disappearing. The doors of opportunity have been opened to a significant extent at the legal and institutional level, but other and more elemental forms of inequality continue to give children an unequal start in life: unequal access to a healthy environment, unequal access to family literacy, unequal access to quality schooling, and so on. New cures have been discovered, but not everyone has equal benefit from these discoveries. Meanwhile, the consumer habits and leisure lifestyle generated by our new prosperity have created new forms of ill health, diseases of plenty that now have epidemic force.

Plus we’re all connected, except that we’re mysteriously disconnected too. Paradoxically, the world where we can all call and text each other all day long has also hosted new forms of separation and division, including renewed school segregation and new hardening of partisan political bounds. We have more and more in common in some domains—we buy the same brands, hear the same news, know the same tunes. But this superficial sharing has turned out to be compatible with an erosion of a deep foundational common sense, a shared sense of what we owe each other and can expect of other as members of one community.

Our country has got out of the business of asking us to make collective sacrifices, not because we’re selfish, but because we’ve failed to refresh our sense of the values that lie beyond self-interest. We can’t have new taxes, not because we’re too poor in money, but because we have grown poor at articulating the idea of a public good, a shared benefit that would be worth a shared cost. We follow the news of the criminal justice system, but it doesn’t make us reflect on what it would actually mean to be just. We tune in each day to learn the latest outrage some celebrity or public figure has committed, but raging against insensitive others isn’t the same as building the grounds for broad and deep mutual respect.

So if the battle lines aren’t as clear today as they were in the past, this is a time with its own abundant challenges. Among others, we need to rebuild the idea of the common wealth or the public good. This will be the work of many hands: it will take work from public officials but also from teachers, business leaders, ministers, doctors and health care administrators, developers and planners, and many more. I certainly hope you’re up to doing your share. We’ll be in a mess if everyone leaves this work to others. But how are you going to get from here to there?

If the answer is unclear, don’t feel bad. Not one of your predecessors marched out of the doors of Fisk straight on to their distinguished careers. They were young people with some hopes and much uncertainty who took their chances and followed their hunches until life gave them their opening. John Hope Franklin came to Fisk planning to become a lawyer until his studies seduced him onto another path. Following an interest that steadily grew in power, he trained as an academic historian and wrote seminal works in the field. When the great school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education came along, Franklin made the contribution that only a historian could make, recovering the relevant constitutional history for the crucial Supreme Court brief. He was able to contribute to one of the most decisive public events of the last century not because he planned to but because he developed his distinctive strengths and moved when he saw his chance.

Hazel O’Leary was Secretary of Energy at a time when energy issues became ever more crucial to the economy, the environment, and international war and peace. But I bet she did not spend her Fisk afternoons daydreaming about a future cabinet post. For all I know, she never studied energy at all. She trained as a lawyer; found her way through a set of unfolding opportunities in law, government, and business, and so built the powers that would eventually equip her for her high public role.

Fisk students of the Class of 2007, so far so good. You had the talent, you had the ambition, you did the work, and today you win the prize. I congratulate you, but what you’ve done to date is just the promise that the rest of your life will fulfill. It won’t be clear to you every day where you’re going, and there will be days when you’ll wonder if you’re going anywhere at all. But you’ll get there if you keep a few thoughts in front of you. Follow your passions and keep working to build your strengths; and remember that those gifts weren’t given you for your personal success only, but to serve and enrich the life of your time.

Now it’s your turn to write the future.

Have the courage to do it well.

Anonymous said...

What a joke!
Hazel O'Leary was an unqualified, unethical, corrupt, race-based appointee.
She was basically an inept, unprosecuted criminal. A proven thief.
Now you know how out of touch with reality Brodhead really is. No wonder he supports the 88.

Anonymous said...

Yeah dick, we wish you had had some courage to do it well. What a putz!

Duke 85 said...

1. Black panthers on campus
2. "castrate" banner
3. Group of 88
i. ad
ii. public statements
iii. potential grade punishments
4. "you don't need to call your parents"
5. "you don't need to get an attorney"
6. "Go ahead, cooperate with the police without counsel"
7. Fire Pressler
8. Ignore Coach K's offer to help
9. "whatever they did was bad enough"
10. Canceling the season
11. Police enter dorm without warrent and without outrage from University
12. Phoney email--how did they gain access to server?
13. Brodhead squirming like a worm on 60 min--talking about the "feelings" on campus
14. Waiting too long to reinstate innocent students
15. Faculty silence

A DEMAND for the charges to be dropped may have hurt the accused. Sticking by "innocent until proven guilty" would have been non-commentable. The University's weasel-like cringing and handwringing only served to hurt them in the public square and personally.

As a Duke alumna, I am more disgusted with Duke than revolted by Nifong. I guess I expected crooks and scandals from the likes of Nifong et al. I didn't expect my university to completely lose its soul and its reason.

Anonymous said...

KC states: "for most of the case, criticism of Brodhead focused on two other... sets of issues" and lists 1)lack of demand for due process and 2)charging the atmosphere.

IMO, Brodhead's (and trustees') BIGGEST failure, specifically, is to allow/enable his faculty and staff to denegrate Duke students without holding them accountable. "Farm animals," grade retaliation, pot-banging harrassment, "nothing to apologize for," etc. is allowed -with no response from Brodhead.

The 88, et. al., may not be guilty of assault, but to apply Brodhead's phrase, "whatever they did is bad enough."

Unfortunately, you'll never hear that from Brodhead in defense of Duke students.


Anonymous said...

Duke 85--
Blame what you will on the Duke Administration, but I seriously doubt Duke knowingly gave the police access to the servers to send a phony e-mail. It's been reported that the cooperating players gave the police their passwords, etc.--and anyone with a username and password can sign into the Duke e-mail system from the web. The police could easily have pulled this off without any official assistance.

Vis a vis the police entering dorms, however, as a current Duke parent (whose child lived in Edens last year, as it happens), I share your feelings about Duke's failure to protest this action. The dorms are secure for good reason, and even the police should not be entering by catching the doors after students use their keycards. (Leaving aside the students' constitutional rights to be free from warrantless searches, it's not unheard of for rapists, serial killers, and thieves to dress as police officers.)

sceptical said...

The facts in this case evolved with time. In April and May we had some idea that the charges were false. I can excuse Mr. Brodhead for his caution then. By June, 2006 it was very apparent that the whole thing was a hoax. The DNA results were known, Crystal's sordid past was known, and even Newsweek had a headline last June "Duke: Time to Drop the Charges?"

What I fault Brodhead for was not speaking out in behalf of the players during the six-month period from June until December when he finally came out.

It is during this six-minth period he could have made a difference by demanding equal teatment for Duke students and calling for a special prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

John Hope Franklin has done excellent work in chronicling black history through many decades. He seems to be a very kind and sincere man.

The building at Duke which houses the offices of the Gang of 88 is named for Franklin, IIRC.

I'm glad that he has received so much recognition for his work. It just goes to show that if you fixate on one thing all your life, you're bound to hit a target now and then.

This man oozes race, race, race...like breathing. At first it's interesting. Then, as time goes on and repetition after same old repetition goes on, you just become bored beyond measure.

John Hope Franklin grew up in Oklahoma where the unspeakable herding and slaughtering of the Cherokee Nation saw its conclusion---the Cherokee were herded like animals in the bitter, snow-laden winter cold from the mountains of North Carolina out to Oklahoma. Most died from exposure and from the rugged-on-foot journey, itself.

But we never hear the historian Franklin spending more than passing comments on this very significant part of history.

I attended a conference once in RTP where he and Julius Chambers were featured speakers. I should note that I had always had affection for both and respected them.....until.....

....I heard their self-serving, infantile, and almost embarrassing comments that day.

Both of these men have achieved success and have been rewarded greatly for that success in many, many ways. Perhaps too much.

But what were their pearls of wisdom?

*****Both felt very strongly that standards in the schools should be lowered to accomodate minority students. More money is needed to ensure that all get special classes to make up for inadequate home environments.....etc.....etc.....*****

This is supposed to pass for 21st century "leadership".

It's depressing that people like these who have had much success wish to perpetuate the same methods which have kept black people from rigorous challenge and study.

(We all remember Julius Chambers' role in the lacrosse case frenzy. He's truly a disappointing and pathetic figure.)


Anonymous said...

Professor Coleman's remarks about the players benefiting from the absence of Duke's involvement on their behalf is undoubtedly true. (Although many people still maintain their 2006 views, right Feinstein?) I am sceptical that this benefit was in any way connected to Broadhead's calculation back in March 2006. I doubt he thought that without university support the boys' innocence would be more convincing.
I hope Coleman is not crediting Broadhead with being shrewd. His comment seems to be more literary criticism than historical analysis and if no real people had been involved, I too would give the plot a thumbs up.
Brant Jones

Anonymous said...

Of Professor Coleman I would ask how the process of exoneration, so ably initiated by AG Roy Cooper, could be completed. It is clear the job is not finished. Part of the reason it is not finished is Duke's BOT, administration, and especially the Gang of 88. Could someone at Duke publicly debunk and repudiate the public comments of the Gang of 88 (like Grant Farred) who continue to insinuate guilt...please.

What a sad but accurate commentary that requesting justice for these students would have made it only more difficult for the AG to deliver justice. I am all for looking for silver linings and blessings in disguise but President Brodhead and the Gang should be made to answer for their behavior, regardless of the nearly miraculous outcome of the case.

AG Cooper's exoneration should have led to some sort of conversion experience for the Gang at least with respect to this issue--if they were honest people--and some sort of publicly acknowledged "learning experience" for the University as a whole.


Anonymous said...

Coleman's defense of Brodhead is largely based on a strawman. Very few people have ever claimed that Duke (1) should have declared the players innocent from the beginning or (2) criticized the police for the simple fact of conducting an investigation.

Rather the claim is that Duke (1) should have criticized the way the investigation was handled -- Nifong's media blitz, the police lies, the procedural irregularities; (2) should have refrained from actions that heightened the public perception that the players were guilty; and (3) should have condemned the attack on its own students made by its radical faculty. Brodhead did none of these things.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Duke's major mistake was firing Pressler and cancelling the season.

It would be idiotic to expect the president of Duke to publicly say 'these boys are innocent' or not to take any action such as suspending them when they were accused of a serious violent crime.

The second mistake was rushing head long into the 'we need to heal the racial rift narrative' by investigating how the rape case was handled, how stupid does it look in hindsight that Duke castigated itself for not reacting switftly or strongly enough?? and for its other 'investigation' of the Lacrosse team, talk about guilt by association and its further efforts to 'reach out' to the black community and NCCU, whose student body appears to be comprised almost exclusively of black radicals with criminal records!!

Brodheads last mistake was defending the Group of 88 and their after the fact change up on how, why and what their ad was about.

Mrs. Former Prosecutor said...

KC, I'm interested in what Seyward Darby had to say about media coverage. There has been much comment on this site and others (J in C, Liestoppers) about the coverage after Mr. Cooper's press conference and announcement that the defendants were innocent. I've been aghast at the spin many media commenters have chosen to take, and the fact that they ignore the conclusion of the AG.

On that subject, we all recently noted the May 2 article on Bloomberg.com by Chris Burritt and Mary Jane Credeur about a drop in the number of applications to Duke. I was astounded at their report and conclusions, which amount to duplicity, about the possible reasons for this drop.

They quoted several persons, all of whom attributed the drop in applications to the drinking and partying, or to the "culture of excess" supposedly embodied or displayed in the Duke lacrosse scandal. Reportedly, people were scared to send their GIRLS to Duke!

I am not one to write to such reporters, but I couldn't stay silent in the face of such ridiculousness. On May 5, I wrote to them:

"Dear Ms./Mr. Burritt and Ms. Credeur:

In your May 2 article on the decline in number of applications to Duke, I suspect you got it wrong. I doubt very much if it was simply the drinking of the lacrosse team that affected the application total. I imagine the subsequent revelation of the corruption of the Durham legal system, and the targeting of innocent Duke students had quite a lot to do with the decline in numbers.

Your false ingenuousness about this issue is transparent; spend some time addressing the real issue. For instance, did application numbers fall primarily among male students, or female? White or black? This information might tell a real story. Several other colleges have had drinking/crime scandals this year; did their application numbers fall, or just Duke's, with its evil broth of a corrupt DA, student-hating faculty, and a compliant administration?"

I signed the e-mail with my real name, and sent it from my personal e-mail address. I'm shocked, shocked, that I've received no response.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Coleman wants to take Brodhead's place.

Duke is swirling the bowl. The world watched it abandon 3 innocent students to the attack of a corrupt DA and the hatred of the Gang of 88. The shock was today's equivalent of the 60's when Americans stared stunned at the television as civil rights marchers clung to trees as fire hoses shredded its bark and dogs sank their teeth into pant legs and arms.

President Johnson saw those fire hoses and dogs, but he also saw the shock of the American voters as they watched it on television. Johnson proved his political savvy by using that shock to make change - he passed the Civil Rights Bill.

Coleman is Duke's Johnson. He saw today's 'fire hoses' and 'attack dogs' nearly eviscerate 3 innocent players and now, like Johnson, he's making a move to use the disgust and shock of Duke parents, students and alum to make a change.

Steel let slip those dogs of war as a spineless Broadhead whimpered behind Steel's pant leg. But Coleman fought the dogs.

Now he's proving he has the political savvy of Johnson to seize the collars of those dogs and have them drag his sled across the finish line to victory - the presidency of Duke University.

I wish Coleman well.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Coleman implies that Broadhead made the apparently prescient political calculation that offering no support (or worse – “what ever they did was bad enough”) to his accused students (and the other laxers) would enhance the possibility of the (virtually?) unprecedented action of the State Bar (bringing ethics charges against a prosecutor related to a pending criminal case) and the recusal of Nifong followed by the substitution of the AG. If true, Broadhead then becomes a noble figure enduring withering criticism for his inaction (or worse).
I find this scenario highly unlikely. I believe that Broadhead made a political calculation that was much more selfish and cowardly, i.e., he acted based on what best served his personal interests and agenda.
Finally, does everything have to be based on political calculations? Could he not have acted on the belief that the State Bar and the AG will act honestly and fairly because it is the right thing to do – even if politically inexpedient? I hope Prof. Coleman’s comments are not the result of yet another political calculation.

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 8:33 said...
...There were freshmen on this team-18 year old kids. Can you begin to imagine the feelings of those freshmen?
...The Dean of Students, the President, the AD-no one attempts to comfort them except for Caseese and Dr. Kennedy (who had to attempt hold everything together).
...Then there were the rosters with their pictures on every car in the parking lot-on trees-on professors' desks.
...My son had to go through counseling when he came home from that hell hole.
That is why so many of us are working hard to see that this type of travesty never happens again and that Universities across the US can learn from the mistakes made at Duke.
My best wishes to both you and your son.

hman said...

My guess is that Brodhead et al understood pretty early on that no real crime had occurred. The very hollowness of Nifongs case must have primed them to expect that all serious charges would be dropped, sooner or later, before a trial. And that, perversely gave them a sense of licence to publically slam the Lax Guys -posturing about how "whatever they did was bad enough" ,etc. in order to pander to various anti-Lax constituencies. In other words, since the kids were not actually going to be tried for this no harm would be done by claiming the ground between alienating Durhamites/Nifong by loudly insisting on due process and keeping silent.
Seriously, when do you think Brodhead etc. saw thru this case? How hard was it, after all, to sort out the implications of no DNA plus the accusers statements? Does anyone think those guys shut themselves off completely from the Blogosphere that was daily shredding Nifongs credibility?

Anonymous said...

mrs. former prosecutor,
Thanks for writing the authors of the Bloomberg article. They also perpetuated another myth about Brodhead: that he, "accepted the resignation of coach Mike Pressler." Not according to Pressler and Duke's AD, Joe Alleva. "Mike, I've got to let you go." I've only been speaking English for half a century, that doesn't sound like a resignation to me. Brodhead was remarkably effective in his smears against the lacrosse team and their coach. The false notions about their actions and behavior are still held by many in the media and the public at large despite AG Cooper's resounding statement of innocence.

Anonymous said...

Surely Coleman didn't mean to suggest that Brodhead (and/or the University administration as a whole) foresaw everything that would happen and made a calculated decision not to support the students openly so as to leave the NC Bar more political room to act; I imagine vis a vis the Bar he just meant to say that, because the University had not pulled out the big guns on behalf of the defendants, they had more political room to act in fact.

I think Coleman is completely right, however, that had the University administration stated in April, or even May, that it believed the students to be innocent, rather than deferring to the criminal justice process, there would have been political consequences that could well have worked to the disadvantage of the defendants. [Moreover, had the prosecutor been competent and fair to begin with, aggressive support from the University might actually have created political pressures that would have forced him to proceed with a case he would otherwise have dropped.] It seems likely that Brodhead and the administration could, at least, have had such considerations in mind, as well as conern for the University's public relations (not wanting to be the big bad rich elite university throwing its weight around), when they took the position they did.

Of course, as other commenters have noted, they might have made more and earlier statements in support of due process for the defendants (and Duke students generally), and Brodhead's efforts to split the difference (with, for example, the "whatever they did" remarks) ended up pleasing no one--the diehards ignored the facts and concluded that Duke used influence to undercut the DA and help the defendants anyway, while supporters of the defendants understandably concluded that the university didn't really care what happened to the defendants (or the other lacrosse players).

Anonymous said...

Technically, Brodhead did "accept the resignation" of Coach Pressler, just as the President often "accepts the resignation" of Cabinet members who have become expendable for one reason or another. That is just the convention by which such things are done, so that the person doesn't have to say he/she was fired. It doesn't mean for a second that the resignation was tendered voluntarily.

You are right, though, that that act, and the follow up, did effectively sully the reputation of the team in ways that still resonate with a lot of people (apparently John Feinstein among them), because it put the University's seal of approval on the idea that the team was out of control--before Brodhead had even received the report of the committee he had appointed to look into their behavior.

Ironically, it wasn't the charges themselves that brought this on--it was the release (by our pal Judge Stephens, I think) of the McFadyen e-mail. At its best, this e-mail was pretty raw, even as a joke based on a horror movie (though I think many people would be horrified to hear the way a lot of high school and college kids talk about sex and violence generally), but taken out of context it suggested to the credulous an alarming level of depravity, and the possibility that the lacrosse players might, in fact, be capable of a gang rape. A stronger president might have been able to step back and say, "This e-mail, while deplorable, is an isolated act that doesn't indicate anything one way or another about the accusations of rape, and we will continue to await our committee investigation into the lacrosse team's conduct before making any decisions about the program," but Brodhead was not that man.

As K.C. has pointed out, the decision to cancel the rest of the season may have seemed appropriate to ensure the players' safety, given the general horror and outrage with which people responded to the release of the e-mail. Demanding Coach Pressler's resignation, on the other hand, did not have any safety-related justification and clearly pre-empted the report of Prof. Coleman's committee.

Another post in this thread mentions someone who is something of an unsung hero, I think--not a "Hero" in the capital H, Gary Cooper in "High Noon" sense, but a hero in the sense of somebody who did what needed to be done, took on unanticipated responsibilities, and worked extra hard to hold everything together as best he could--Kevin Cassese.

Anonymous said...

Duke had a huge head-up regarding the validity of the rape claim from the police themselves. Without any other evidence - other than Nifong's histrionics and the N&O weeper - Duke chose to cave. What it should have done is, once the DNA came back negative, is to publicly remind DPD that its own first responders considered it bunk. Also, to investigate the doings in its own hospital.

Exactly how difficult was that path to take?

Anonymous said...
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duke09parent said...

In late July, after Brodhead responded to the FODU open letter, I sent him an email suggesting he more publicly lobby for a faster trial date. This was before the case was assigned to one judge. I suggested a request for expedited treatment would not be a retreat from his neutrality stance. In his reply in late August he said that an attempt by Duke to influence the Durham judicial system would not be positive. It would not be perceived as promoting a sense of fair and just resolution.

So, the view that Duke's efforts on behalf of the students might be counterproductive is not a new one.

I accept the validity of that judment. However, that did not preclude a more supportive stance, though, vis a vis the team and the defendants, than was taken

hman said...

To 3:28
I agree. Duke administration went astray, imho when they acted as if they could predict the course of events and finely calibrate their responses to enhance their standing with various groups.
They must have thought, "This case will be dropped soon enough. We will not have to deal with the spectacle of a rotten trial of our students. Therefore it will not matter if we remain silent about Nifongs outrages because he must be bluffing in a way. So we have room to manuver here. Bashing the Lax kids will be safe way to gratify Durhamites and the PC gangs because this situation will not get out of hand."
Of course, the downside of this strategy was that it put them in the train that had M. Nifong(and the group of 88) as the conductors. And before they knew it, that train was moving too fast for them to stop or even get off of without getting hurt.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Coleman's support of Brodhead rings hollow. Many have commented on why this is a true statement, but the whole problem with Brodhead can be summed up in one thought: Leadership. Brodhead allowed events to carry him along, rather than make a decision (in conjunction with his staff, advisors, and the Board of Trustees) and then stick to it. Decide what the right way to handle the situation would be - which would include consideration of ALL possibilities on the details you are not certain of - and then proceed accordingly.

Instead, as I learned in my history classes at Duke many years ago, Brodhead allowed himself to be an "eventful man", rather than an "event-making man." I would have more (any) respect for him if he had simply been a leader.

Coleman is wrong on Brodhead. While there are ways in which a more aggressive or active defense of the players could have been detrimental in the end, this line of reasoning echoes the-ends-justify-the-means. I would call Brodhead's actions morally bankrupt and ethically depleted, but in reality it was all about the opposite of leadership.


Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 11:31 said...

...In a Commencement address at Fisk University, President Richard H. Brodhead urges graduates to use their powers to build a shared sense of community.
That phrase ..build a shared sense of community...is the rallying cry for all those who wish to deconstruct fraternal organizations, Division #1 sports, and capitalism.
From the pulpit at Fisk University Broadhead was telling the faithful across the country that HIS Duke is weathering the storm and is still on track towards a new sense of community.
Is this what the Alumni want to hear?
Be prepared. If you attempt to rein him in, he will fall on his sword ...and do so in high drama.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

To the 8:42 post by a "serious academic (I am a tenured professor of chemistry at an Ivy League university)":

Don't make me laugh... Beyond your self-important title (does this mean KC is not a serious academic because he teaches in the CUNY system?), please show me some evidence that Duke is "falling" in real time, much less "plummeting." Fundraising has not been affected; admissions appears to be fine, as well. As a "serious academic," much less a natural scientist, where's your data?

- Another serious academic

R.R. Hamilton said...

Apologizing in advance for the length of this post, I think it apropos to the topic because I had the following colloquy with someone calling himself "Law Prof" on the Duke Chronicle. See if y'all don't think this sounds like Coleman.

First, my comment that triggered "Law Prof's" Response:

Prof. Coleman seems to be ignorant of the most important point: Duke wasn't "neutral" in the case -- it was decidedly pro-Nifong and anti-Lax. For instance, in addition to the facts already made here, it's my understanding that an attorney employed by Duke urged the players NOT ONLY not to tell their parents(!) but also not to seek lawyers(!) She also apparently told the players that they could "confess" to her and that their statements would be protected by "student-faculty privilege". There is no such thing as "student-faculty privilege in American law, and I think both Duke and this Duke attorney should have to answer for their unethical actions against the Lax players.

The bottomline, Prof. Coleman, is that if Nifong knew that Duke was going to stand by its students -- instead of condemning them -- would he have felt like he had the greenlight necessary to railroad these boys? By acting like the boys were guilty, Duke chose to push those boys off a cliff. Now that they have clawed their way back up, Duke has much to answer for.

Law Prof's Response

Response: It is naive, at best, to suggest that Nifong cared what Duke university thought about what he was doing. Duke more visibly standing by the students would not have changed anything he did. One must understand that Nifong initially thought that a racially motivated rape had occurred and that Duke students were the perpetrators. Nothing that Duke said would have made any difference. To the contrary, anything the university said to suggest the students were innocent while the case was under investigation likely would have been used politically agaiinst the students and the University. It also would have made it more politically risky for the state bar and the Attorney General to take the unprecedented actions they took: intervening in the middle of a criminal case with a complaint against Nifong and declaring the students innocent, not just that the evidence was insufficient to go forward. Even with the low profile the University had, some still argue that influence and not the facts best accounts for what the Attorney General did.

Several people have suggested that the University might (would) have acted differently if the basketball team had been involved. I doubt it, at least to this extent: If the allegation was that at a team party with strippers three unidentified basketball players ganged raped a woman, it is inconceivable to me that the team would have been permitted to play, at least until the alleged perpetrators were identified.

There is a significant difference between a case in which an identified member of a team is charged with a serious crime and a case in which several unidentified members of the team are alleged to be the perpetrators. Letting the team play in the latter case inevitably would result in the perpetrators of the alleged crime being permitted to play. I doubt that the University or the coach of the team would have permitted that. In hindsight, we know that none of the members of the LAX team committed the alleged crimes, but at the time the LAX team's season was canceled, we did not know that the allegations were false and we did not know who the alleged perpetrators were. The University could not act with the certainty of parents and friends that the prosecutor was lying.

Bottom line: in the midst of an ugly hoax, we are likely to make decisions that after the fact we regret, not because we acted dishonorably but because we also were used by those responsible for the hoax and those responsible for prolonging it. We should judge Duke in the context in which it acted, not with the perfect vision of hindsight. We all wish that this had never happened, but striking out against the University, as if it could have prevented the miscarriage of justice, seems unfair to me. The University made mistakes, and many of us rushed to judgment, but I don't think the University could have prevented the hoax or could have ended it sooner or more unambiguously than it ended.

My Reply to Law Prof's Response:

A response to "Law Prof's" 5:26 PM response to my 12:17 PM comment:

I'm going to concede, only for the sake of argument, the point you make in your first paragraph. If I can sum it up, it's basically that, "For Duke to support our students when they proclaimed their innocence would have caused political problems both for the university and indeed for the students themselves. In other words, "We did the wrong things for the right reasons". The reason I am going to concede this point is that I do not know the political landscape of North Carolina and so I will not attempt to gainsay your analysis of it.

Your second paragraph, which brings in the basketball team and the canceling of the lacrosse season, is a puzzlement, since my original comment addressed neither issue. Alright, I'll concede everything in that paragraph, too.

Your final paragraph seems to contradict your first one. Instead of Duke making a calculated decision based on the "politics of the situation", in this paragraph you posit the Duke leaders as mere dupes of the evil machinations of ... unnamed "others". But then you say, "We should judge Duke in the context in which it acted, not with the perfect vision of hindsight."

Fine. I'm not going to argue with you, Law Prof. I'm going to concede every point and agree with your conclusion.

Law Prof, based on YOUR OWN analysis and conclusion, Duke has a problem. What you have is a group of at least 88 and probably more than 100 professors that effectively silenced (or worse, coerced them to join an academic lynch mob) nearly every decent person in the employ of Duke.

Now, I did not become particularly interested in this case until December, and I am not now going to go back and research all the twists and turns. But it is my understanding that the group of Duke professors that did the most to support The Hoax are currently unrepentant (save one). I understand that Duke created a "Campus Culture Initiative" in which members of this group dominated the leadership positions. I understand that a member of this group was elected to something called the "Academic Council" or some such prestigious post. I understand that one of the ... I don't recall all the names of the departments that "signed on" to the group, but I think "Angry Studies" is probably the most benign name for them -- that one of these departments or sections or whatever is now to be promoted to a higher status.

Now, let me return to YOUR conclusion: "We should judge Duke in the context in which it acted." OK, maybe a year ago Duke "had" to do the wrong thing for the right reason. Maybe with the boys under indictment, Duke "had" to pass out leadership posts of its Campus Culture Initiative to Group members; maybe Duke "had" to elected a Group member to a very prestigious faculty post; maybe Duke "had" to announce that it was elevating one of the Group's Angry Studies departments.

But, Law Prof, the boys aren't under indictment now, are they? So what is the context NOW under which we should you? I have read that one of the Group said of the context that "white innocence equals black guilt". Of course, this is too far; but certainly the boys' innocence (they were declared innocent by the man charged with convicting them, weren't they?) equals Group guilt.

Now Duke doesn't have to "do the wrong things" out of a justifiable concern for protecting the university or the falsely accused players from unseen "political forces" in North Carolina. Duke is free to do the right thing. Duke is free to move against the supporters of The Hoax on its own campus, isn't it? Will it?

So, Law Prof, if and when you respond to this, tell me what actions Duke will take against the Guilty -- they are guilty by their own admission. Your contentions (which I accepted for the sake of argument) about how Duke "had" to act in a ... less-that-heroic way a year ago will be proved completely false if Duke does not take immediate steps to punish the Guilty in its ranks.

I look forward to your reply.

R.R. Hamilton

Whoever "Law Prof" is, he ignored this reply. His next attempt to deflect blame from his client was to tell us the Lax boys were "lucky" compared with others who were "wrongly convicted", like Darryl Hunt. I eviserated his argument on Hunt, and I haven't seen the "Law Prof" nom de plume since then.

Anonymous said...

This report is very enlightening, not least because it helps to explain why Professor Johnson has been so easy on Brodhead. I have long wondered why. Obviously, he takes the same line as Professor Coleman. It is the only substantial point on which I think both profs are wrong.

Anonymous said...

To: "Another serious academic":

You wrote, in pertinent part, "... please show me some evidence that Duke is 'falling' in real time, much less 'plummeting.'"

First, you need to take a deep breath and, while you're at it, resist putting words (or implications) into my mouth. Like most others, I have nothing but high praise for KC and would welcome him as a colleague.

Now, to your more serious points. Let's begin with admissions. First, Duke's Early Action pool was down by, if memory serves, 25%. At the same time, Duke jacked up its EA admit rate to something in excess of 40%. Think about for one-half a second--Duke admitted a higher rate of a diminished pool. Second, Duke's regular admit pool was, I believe, flat numerically. That stands in stark contrast to the high-single and double-digit increases for schools that Duke likes to compare itself with. Third, I actually asked the undergraduate admissions office here about their sense of the market this year and the impact for Duke. To be sure, they were tentative and won't know for certain until final "overlap" data emerge. That said, they're having a wonderfully easy time this year "cherry-picking" desirable Duke admitees. It remains a logical possibility that Duke's diminished EA and flat regular admit pools may nonetheless still be as nunmerically strong as past years. Such a result defies probability as well as common sense, however. In any event, once US News data emerge for this cycle we'll know for certain.

Fundraising. I'll defer to others with a firmer sense of Duke's fundraising facts. I've heard stories in both directions which tentatively suggests something close to flat fundraising for the Dukies. If so, in this market if your fundraising is flat in absolute terms it's falling in relative terms. Major schools are raising "mad" money during this past year, especially given the record Dow. What I will say, though, is that I would only take with a serious grain of salt anything Duke development officers report. They are obviously incented to lie. Given Duke's administrative "leadership," I simply assume as much and discount accordingly.

Faculty recruiting. My information is limited to my fields (chem and chem engineering), but I know the markets in my fields exceedingly well. What you're going to soon see is entry-level candidates with multiple offers pass on Duke. Second, lateral candidates will look elsewhere as well. Obviously, Duke benefitted tremendously from Houston Baker's departure. But Duke can't bank on such wondeful luck ("addition by subtraction") over time. What will emerge in corrosive-like fashion is a slow but steady degration of faculty quality that will not become visible for a few years. You can trust me or not on this one (candidly, I don't care). But, again, I know what I see in my fields (yes, in "real-time," indeed, as real as it gets).

Anonymous said...


I think you're correct about Duke's slide into the mire. The journal Blacks in Higher Education reports that black application to Duke are way up post-Pressler firing. This fact does not bode well for Duke. IMO, it's going to start to be perceived as a "minority friendly" institution. Just look at how Duke has coddled the Gang of 88.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Anon. at 10:17. I agree with you.

Anon. at 10:29: Wooo, awesome post. I hope you're right! The thought of Brodhead and the Gang suffering no damage for what they put Reade, Collin and Dave through gives me the willies.

Anonymous said...


I wish someone knew something about real-world solutions to punishing the Gang.

Anonymous said...

Who are the stupidest and ugliest members of the Gang?

Anonymous said...

To the Serious Academic: We can argue about how to interpret Duke's fundraising and admissions relative to its peer schools -- in particular, whether holding steady while others rise is "falling" or not. As you noted, we won't know for sure until more data comes out (including hires and US News). At best, then, your argument for a "fall" is based on loose extrapolation and your proof of a "plummet" is non-existent. I don't want to put words in your mouth, though, and perhaps I wasn't reading carefully enough. Please help clear up my confusion.

- Another Serious Academic

Anonymous said...

To: "Another Serious Academic" (at 7:04):

You wrote: "We can argue about how to interpret Duke's fundraising and admissions relative to its peer schools -- in particular, whether holding steady while others rise is "falling" or not."

Well, you're right in that we can argue (or quibble), but what's the point? Sure, as you note (that I noted) proof positive won't emerge for years. But you're just "waiting for Godot" if you can't extrapolate from existing trends and data, however (admittedly, but necessarily) incomplete. And if you don't understand how Duke can be flat in absolute terms but "falling" in relative terms, well then you just don't fully understand the competitive market forces that drive selective universities. For Duke (and others), how well your competitors fare is just as important as how Duke fares.

I will grant you this: reasonable minds can (and, evidently, do) differ on whether "falling" or "plummeting" is the more apt descriptor. Such a discussion, however, verges on the arcane and amounts to little more than selecting one's deck chair on the good ship Titanic. (Are some views better than others? Sure, but everyone's going to get wet.)

For me, however, the money question is this: Would I consider an invitation to join the Duke faculty with tenure and live in wonderful Durham? After what the Hoax uncovered, not on your life. Moreover, I've already declined just such an invitation. More importantly, I ain't alone. Of course, maybe Duke will have better luck recruiting for their AA depts.

Anonymous said...

The 8:45AM post is a most excellent one.


duke09parent said...

8:45 AM said:
"For me, however, the money question is this: Would I consider an invitation to join the Duke faculty with tenure and live in wonderful Durham?"

One wouldn't have to live in Durham to work at Duke, anymore than Alex Rodriguez or Roger Clemens have to live in the Bronx to play at Yankee Stadium. The Washington Nationals new stadium is being built in Anacostia. I venture to say that none of the players or management of the team will live in that neighborhood.

Many great universities are located in less than desirable cities or neighborhoods and have their own versions of the Group of 88. There is not enough room at Stanford for all the good faculty folk.

Anonymous said...

duke09parent (at 10:54) wrote:

"One wouldn't have to live in Durham to work at Duke, anymore than Alex Rodriguez or Roger Clemens have to live in the Bronx to play at Yankee Stadium."

Ok, but, back in the real world, even as a tenured prof. I don't make a "Clemens"-like salary. Thus, exotic commutes would hurt my pocketbook. Second, I've got kids to help raise and a significant commute degrades that (just my opinion, folks, others may disagree).

Bottom line: When picking where to join a faculty and move my lab I look for a university that allows me to live *somewhere* in the general vicinity that does not put my legal rights into unnecessary jeopardy. Also, I want a university led by someone other than a morally bankrupt idiot who cowers to the AA crowd. Again, call me silly....

As a Duke parent (I assume), I understand your anguish at the meltdown in Durham and at Duke. Candidly, however, there are plenty of universities besides Stanford (one of my alma maters) that pose a consequential threat to faculty quality at Duke in the short- to mid-term. At least for faculty candidates with options. And presumably schools like Duke need to be able to attract those with other options to remain competitive.

Anonymous said...

If you really are who you say you are, which I doubt, I would think you'd have a little more sense than to claim the Triangle is an undesirable place to live. Given your unsubstantiated hyperbole in the original post about Duke plummeting to mediocrity and then backtracking on what you really meant to say, though, somehow I'm not surprised.

Anonymous said...

p.s. And why all the name dropping (Ivy League, Stanford)? Are we supposed to be impressed?? Either your claim about Duke plummeting is valid or not. Yuor supposed CV doesn't change the facts.

Georgia Girl said...

8:33, my heart goes out to you and your family for the pain and terror you had to endure. Duke betrayed you at a time when your son was barely indoctrinated into college life.

I hope counseling has helped. Please post again ... I'm sincerely interested in how he's doing and if he's back in school.

Anonymous said...

11:48 (and, presumably, 11:53) writes:

"I would think you'd have a little more sense than to claim the Triangle is an undesirable place to live."

Compared to where I live, it is. Again, everything's comparative.

Finally, I'll stand by my analysis (which hasn't a whit to do w/ my CV, etc.). Do you stand by your ad hominems? I do not see much by way of fact or logic in your rebuttals. Unlike perhaps you (whomever you may be), I truly have no dog in this fight. Just a bemused observer and and outraged citizen at the effort to railroad the lax 3.

Your statement: "Either your claim about Duke plummeting is valid or not." Thus, as you astutely note, the answer is either "yes" or "no." Wow, now that conveys real insight. You're beginning to waste bandwidth.

duke09parent said...

Don't blame the anony prof for the Stanford reference. I put that in the mix because it is a top tier university which also has very nice neighborhoods around it. And I gather the public schools there are quite good. I could have mentioned Princeton just as well. Those aspects are less desirable at many other top tier universities, including Yale, Columbia, Penn.

Some quality faculty might choose a "lesser" university than Duke because the factors of neighborhood and public schools are better, say Emory as an example. C'est la vie.

There is no doubt that Durham is a significant negative for Duke and has been for awhile. I'm not real familiar with the surrounding towns, but a half hour commute could put one easily outside the confines of Durham wihtout having to spend a lot of money on housing.

I was worried about safety of my Duke student when he chose to apply there early. Despite my prejudice against the preppy image (and reality) of Princeton, I was hoping he would like it enough to send it an application or to send one to Yale which has its own town/gown problems. And, he he was a virtual lock for admission to the University of Virginia for a fine education in a safer city. But, despite the worries of Durham of which he was aware, he plainly liked Duke better. An early application to Duke made sense for him and so far neither he nor I regret it. (I still worry, though.)

Anonymous said...

My friend, I didn't make the claim that "it's palpably clear that Duke 'is falling-in real time,' and the only open question is how far it will plummet." You did, and the burden rests with you to demonstrate this. Beyond anecdotes and the honest admission that we won't know if it's falling at all until more data comes in, you've provided nothing.

I didn't make the self-serving claim that you were a "serious" academic at an Ivy institution, you did. Why? What makes you a "serious" academic?? What are you implying about academics at other institutions?

I didn't claim that faculty would not want to work at Duke because of its location, you did. And then replied to my query about the Triangle with the unresponsive comment that you live in a very nice area.

I apologize if you consider these ad hominem attacks. They strike me as reasonable responses to issues you raised.

Anonymous said...

To: 1:01:

You wrote: "I apologize if you consider these ad hominem attacks. They strike me as reasonable responses to issues you raised."

"My friend" you (Brodhead?) have now transitioned from "beginning to waste bandwidth" to wasting bandwidth. As to whether your "responses" are reasonable, I'm comfortable leaving that for others to decide. That is, if anyone is interested enough and has energy, time, and patience to burn. I do not.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

To the Anonymous Ivy League (and Stanford alumni) professor at 8:45, 10:29, 11:09, 12:10, 1:24, etc. who's been patiently trying to respond to the troll - forget it. You can no more explain logic to a troll than you can explain stupid to the 'land Orca' flopping to the concrete on the Ubuntu video.


PS - I confess. I stole the 'land orca' phrase from Anon at 8:11 commenting on Serena Sebring. Couldn't resist. It's priceless!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Carolyn. It took me a while, and I wanted to give him/her the benefit of the doubt. But, you're right--a troll revealed itself. Shame on me for indulging it as long as I did.


8:45, 10:29, 11:09, 12:10, 1:24, etc.

Georgia Girl said...

To anon 4:56:

Carolyn is correct. To her troll list, you can comfortably add 1:44, 11:17, and 12:06 ... sooo transparent that all these comments are by a single poster!

Anonymous said...


"Land orca" might be the wrong
cetacean: perhaps the manatee,
indigenous to Florida and
doing fairly well in fresh
water, a grazer upon vegetation,
is the appropriate mammalian
species. Though temperamentally,
one could make quite a good
case for an orca. The dentician
tend to lean one in that direction,

Personally, I would describe the
flailing gesticulations and poorly
conceived dance steps as something
more resembling a fat deranged

Perhaps it is time to bring in
the Zoologists for confirmation.
They might, in turn, refer
us to Gary Larson.

Whatever it was, flopping about
on that sidewalk, it had something
resembling flippers or fins,
and it had a wrinkly overfleshed


Anonymous said...

I am a graduate of Duke Law. I am extremely disappointed by the lack of response by any of the law faculty -- with the notable and honorable exception of Prof. Coleman (who came after my time) -- to the politically-correct, lynch-mob mentality exhibited by their "88" colleagues and Brodhead.

I know and like Tom Metzloff. He's been quoted several times in the press, sagely commenting on he aftermath. But where the hell was he when his colleague Prof. Coleman was taking a stand for due process and against race baiting? Where was Beale? Dellinger? Rowe? (Perhaps I missed an article--in that case, I apologize.) I also recall a nasty little sanctimonious quote by Paul Haagen about atheletes, which only reinforced the orgasm of bias againt these innocent young men.

I've requested to be dropped from all Duke mailing lists. Let someone else subsidize the behavior of the "88" and the administration and the fecklessness of their law school enablers.

I would encourage other "Law Devils" to do the same.