Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brodhead and the Group

President Brodhead held the latest of his “Duke Conversation” events this week; the venue was Philadelphia. According to a poster on the Liestoppers forum who attended the event, “Brodhead referred to the Group of 88 statement and said people should read it, because it doesn’t say what people have been told it says.”

The “Duke Conversation” events aren’t designed to allow follow-up questions—unfortunately. It’s not hard to imagine a few obvious ones for Brodhead:

1.) “Upon reading the Group of 88 statement, it says that the Departments of Romance Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Classical Studies; and Asian & African Languages & Literature all formally signed onto the ad. Yet at least three of these departments and perhaps all five never did endorse the statement. Is this what you meant when you stated that the ad ‘doesn’t say what people have been told it says’”?

2.) “Upon reading the Group of 88 statement, it says that something ‘happened to that young woman [Crystal Mangum].’ Not allegedly happened. Not might have happened. Just happened—an unequivocal assertion. What do you think 88 Duke faculty members were saying with this statement?”

3.) “Upon reading the Group of 88 statement, it says, ‘To the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.’ Is there any reason why readers should not have believed that the signatories were referring to the ‘protesters making collective noise’ who had received extensive media coverage in the days before the ad appeared?”

In a January interview with the Chronicle, Brodhead asserted, “The president of a university has to exercise great care when commenting on the individual utterances of faculty members. Faculty members do not, and should not, speak for my pleasure or my approval.” Yet in adopting Cathy Davidson’s factually unsustainable interepretation of the statement’s origins and intents, Brodhead is commenting unfavorably “on the individual utterances of faculty members.”

More than 20 Duke faculty members—Steve Baldwin, Michael Gustafson, Michael Munger, the Economics professors—have publicly criticized the Group’s statement. In his Philadelphia remarks, when Brodhead stated that the ad “doesn’t say what people have been told it says,” was he referring to the critiques of the statement by own professors?

It seems, in short, in his defense of the Group’s statement, and his implicit criticism of those on his own faculty who have questioned the statement, Brodhead is suggesting that he can comment on the statements of his faculty.


A 24-year-old Duke graduate did manage to get three follow-up questions for Brodhead in an impromptu discussion at the Philadelphia event. The results were depressing:

Q: He personally wrote to the president of Armenia in support of jailed graduate student Yekatan Turkyilmaz. Why show that level of support to him while doing absolutely nothing for the lacrosse players.

A: An obviously exasperated Brodhead condescendingly answered that the lacrosse just don’t understand how difficult the situation was for him. He emphasized to me that if Duke had done anything to support the students, everyone would have believed that Duke University was buying the freedom of its students. He also mentioned NC law that only allows the DA to remove himself from the case. He seemed to think that his absolute non-intervention was somehow critical to Nifong removing himself from the case.

Q: It was clear from early on that due process and the rights of the students were violated. Could you not have spoken out in support of their civil rights without involving innocence or guilt?

A: He reiterated (as he has many times before) that it is easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight. He seemed to believe that he DID speak out as soon as the procedural injustices were brought to light. Of course, he must have thought that I was not aware of numerous the procedural and civil rights violations revealed to the world well before December by KC Johnson and Liestoppers. Since I wanted to ask another question, and I did not push this matter any further.

At this point, a woman, probably one of Brodhead’s many enablers, interjected herself into the conversation, and spoke somewhat patronizingly of the lacrosse parents as people “just don’t understand” the situation while Brodhead nodded in agreement. To them it seems that the parents are merely people too blinded by love for their children to see the so-called complex realities of the situation. However, even this woman remarked that he could make a public statement to the effect of: I really wish I could have done more, but I am sorry that the realities of the situation prevented me from doing so.

With another couple approaching Brodhead, I politely attempted to ask him another question. In order to soften him up somewhat, I had to say that I understand where he was coming from. He was somewhat annoyed but agreed to one more question.

Q: The Chauncey Nartey situation. Why was the Ryan MacFayden e-mail, essentially a crude, if stupid and untimely, joke sent to a private group of friends deserving of suspension while the far more serious Nartey e-mail, a communication to a stranger about his daughter that could likely be seen as a threat and at the very least constituted harassment, received no official reprimand. I wished to follow-up and ask him to justify Nartey’s position on the CCI as the representative of university fraternities when his fraternity was essentially dissolved (in addition to Nartey’s involvement in ADC Charlotte), but he cut me off.

A: Brodhead seemed somewhat flustered, and again reiterated that people just don’t understand what the situation was like. He added that he could not stand in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and answer every single question about the lacrosse case. I asked him if he was involved in the decision or if this was entirely Larry Moneta’s domain. Instead of answering directly, he said that Larry Moneta was in the building if I wanted to question him.

Since Brodhead probably perceived me as an “unfriendly” entity at this point, I figured that pushing him further would only tarnish the reputations of blog community. So I thanked him for taking time to answer my questions and left for the evening.


Anonymous said...

What a wiesel.... Bonehead is a disgrace

Gary Packwood said...

The Boss is preparing to fall on his sword...if needed.

Michael said...

[A: Brodhead seemed somewhat flustered, and again reiterated that people just don’t understand what the situation was like.]

I'm sure that KC Johnson would make the time to do a private interview with Brodhead so that Brodhead could help us to understand what the situation was like. I mean deciding to screw a bunch of innocent paying customers has to be a lot tougher than sitting at a police station with a bunch of police officers trying to coerce you into providing perjured testimony, right? Or having to shell out a million bucks for legal representation.

To Brodhead: "Get a conscience, not a lawyer" and "Confess!" You can talk to Sam Hummel if you want to know what this means.

Shouting Thomas said...

Racial and sexual quotas are still the order of the day in college in the country.

If you want to teach (that is in a tenured position) in the humanities, you'd better toe the PC party line.

Nothing has changed in this regard.

A decade and a half after the fall of the Soviet Union, humanities departments in every university in America remain bastions of doofus Marxism. I know that this is true at my alma mater, the University of Illinois.

The stupidity of this is so overwhelming that only humor can fully express the outrage. ("How many leftist intellectuals does it take to change a lightbulb?" Answer: "Well, we actually need to get to the root problem that caused the lightbulb to go out in the first place.") And, I see absolutely no evidence that this will ever change.

Like the rest of you, I was drawn to the Duke lacrosse case because I thought (or perhaps hoped) that this would collapse the house of cards. Nope. Won't happen in my lifetime.

I left academia 20 years ago because I could see the handwriting on the wall. (Incidently, KC's associate, Ralph Luker, ridiculed me and banned me from the History Network site for writing about this.) I re-educated myself in a technical field in which I now work and teach. What a relief it is to be far away from the commissars of U.S. universities.

Anonymous said...

These sessions are mislabled "a conversation" (which is a two-way dialogue). It appears to be, rather, a very controlled setting for him, remenicient (sp?) of Hillary Clinton's "town meetings."


Anonymous said...

It appears that Brodhead's answer to every unanswerable question is, "You just don't understand".

No, we understand too well.

Brodhead's unique position was to be pressured intensely by Houston Baker and other members of the ethnic and feminist studies programs at Duke to take dramatic action against the lacrosse team, and Brodhead collapsed before the mob.

It is my understanding that Brodhead's first statement to the lacrosse team, when he finally got around to meeting with them, was to emphasize the difficulties that had been created for HIM. There was nothing about what he, as the supposed leader of Duke University, could do for the lacrosse players, members of the Duke community all.

To Brodhead, it was always about HIM... about what he believed he had to do to hold onto his precious position at Duke. IMO, a person of this self-centered nature is not fit to be the leader of any institution, much less Duke University.

Brodhead must go.

Chicago said...

Why is it so hard for people at Duke to say "Hey, we eff'd up, we had a chance to do the right thing and we didn't, we are embarassed and we are sorry."

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

What is disappointing about his answers? The 88 Gangsters told you he is an unsigning member of their group. He did not deny it. What would you expect a member of the 88 gangsters to say?

In addition what he was telling you is that his initial fear for Duke was that the fallout of white athletes raping a black woman would hurt student recruitment among liberal parents whose kids they really want at Duke, far more than any fallout from some white kids being falsely accused. Thus he was not worried about any due process issue but his perception that this event could harm Duke among its target groups.

And of course he remains President of Duke. Duke alums and parents are apparently powerless to correct this or the Duke board of trustees. So Duke will continue to be led by a nominal member of the 88 gangsters.

Anonymous said...

Of course no one is doing a "correct reading" except the Group88, Why do I find that to be not a surprise? They must be a group composed of English professors and competent writers and readers and no one else is any of these things.

Michael said...

re: 10:45

Don't know about that. They keep complaining that they've been misinterpreted. That shouldn't happen to good writers.

Anonymous said...

I still cannot figure out why these Professors continue to stand their ground and thumb their noses at their own students, parents, and alumni.

OK, we get it. They were trying to do something good and speak out against all the horrible isms at Duke, in Durham, and in the US. Unfortunately in their rush to be shining beacons of political correctness their statement was worded awfully.

Accept it, apologize for it and reclaim your reputations which are currently swirling down the drain.

Continuing to defend this poorly worded statement which has caused the largest divide at Duke (not the party, the lacrosse team, or the rape allegations) is simply laughable.

Anonymous said...

11:01, How can they apologize when that might lead to civil liability or even worse? At first they were just arrogant and imperious, but now theyre stuck. To apologize now would be to emasculate themselves forever. They have to hold fast.

Anonymous said...

Until all involved in this travesty do exactly what Chicago suggests, this will never go away for them. Americans have a tremendous capacity for forgiveness if the apology is sincere. The possibility here, however, is "too little, too late".

Anonymous said...

Brodhead, ever the teacher, is trying to make us understand this tragedy's opening scene. CGM has been lowered down wearing a battered little pair of wings; the LAX players, right, form a group of shuffling, snorting satyrs; an 88-member chorus on the left wrings its hands, tears its hair, moaning, shrieking dire imprecations with endless possible meanings.

Brodhead, bandy-legged in a toga, trots onstage adjusting his laurel wreath. His eyes dart everywhere. He stares directly at the audience. "Is Durham burning yet?" he asks.

Anonymous said...

These morons like Broadhead and those professors are like rich versions of the accuser. They are so insulated in their jobs and so tied to the politically correct, that they cant be held responsible for how they handle things in their high salaried positions.

The accuser seems to be getting a pass because she is poor and black.

And Al Sharpton is speaking out against Paris Hilton? Can this world be any more messed up.

Anonymous said...

ill bet this is how he wrote his thesis...the non answer...the refusal to reveal he made a mistake...

this is a textbook case of DISCRIMINATION...but when its broadrot as the discthe coachriminator HE HAS THE MORAL AUTHORITY to CHOSE who he can discriminate against

chauncey has won many awards and i wonder if anyone's board KNEW of his "allegedly actionable" email

i hope the caoch presses this as an example of the "double standard" applied to minorities...for example HOW did chauncey get into the USA ? who sponsored him ?

IF he is employed DOES his employers KNOW about the alleged email he wrote ?

why hasnt DUKE moved against HIM for an alleged threat against the family of a DUKE employee ?

Does Duke condone such conduct ?

this will not go away as broarot thinks he can hide his braodhead in the sand

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt . . .

"I could carve a better man out of a banana."

Kudos to the people in Philadelphia would turned up the heat on him. I hope he dreads future unscripted interactions with the Duke community.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Brodhead says:

"You don't understand".

Brodhead means:

"You DO understand and it embarrasses the shit out of me and puts me in legal jeopardy. I'm not going to answer because my legal advisors have cautioned that the truth can be used against me later in court. It's not hard to follow their advice because truth scares me. It requires courage and moral strength - sorry, no can do. I was terrified of truth years ago when a professor at Yale pleaded for me to support him when the police falsely accused him of murder - instead, I turned my back on him and cancelled his classes. So, turning my back on the LAX players and cancelling their season was - well, it's not like I haven't done it before.

Listen, why don't YOU understand that I just want to smile and quote Shakespeare and have these wonderful ceremonies where I wear beautiful robes and the sun is shining. I don't want to do what is difficult and frightening - I don't want to stand up to a cop who likes to slam Duke students against a car and handcuff them for carrying a beer, or the New Black Panthers who scream 'dead man walking' at my own students, and I for sure don't want to stand up to Lubianno who certainly would castrate me if I didn't give her the department she demands. I just want to sip fine wine, read books and close my eyes dreamily as I listen to Mozart. And you keep destroying that when you ask me questions about truth in Durham. Look, I just want to be left alone. Can't you understand that?"

Anonymous said...

Whenever I have the slightest bit of sympathy for these idiots I remember that the outcome they all sought was to frame 3 innocent persons. They would be happy if they were succesful in that.

Nifong would have planted DNA evidence had he known where this was headed.

Anonymous said...

So many bad characters in this whole hoax it is hard for me to keep them all straight. The lack of integrity from the supposed leadership at Duke is utterly disappointing.
I am curious KC, how do we know that the email of Ryan McFaddem was obtained illegaly (as opposed to legally)? I am thinking (hoping perhaps a better word), that he has the grounds for a lawsuit.
I am also curious as to whether the NC Bar Association has any jurisdiction over judges (I assume they are licensed to practice law)? If so, perhaps they should be looking into the actions of Judge Stephens, his actions allowed the hoax to propegate.
Let's hope lawsuits (with the discovery power that comes with them) find some of the emails I suspect exist from some of the Duke Faculty that are incriminating. I wonder what Mr. Broadhead will do with those ?


Anonymous said...

A little perspective:

Lawrence Summers was forced to resign as president of Harvard by a bunch of shrieking radicals for a very mild remark that is supported by solid science but is not PC. They had it in for him anyway, but were able to use this remark as the means to the desired end.

1) Don't think that Broadhead didn't have this episode in mind as he staked out his position.

2) Look at the contrast -- make a mild transgression of PC and lose your job vs. act as we have seen over the last year+ and keep it.

The shrieking wheels continue to be greased. I can't figure out why any University would take the chance of hiring a critical mass of such loons, knowing the kind of damage they invariably seem to do and the utter bankrupcy most of these individuals display along multiple dimensions and to as much public attention as they can attact.

rrhamilton said...

I wish I didn't have to bring Clinton into this, but I can't think of any better example with which to compare Broadhead in terms of BOTH verbal chicanery AND a refusal to tell the truth.

I'm afraid that, like Clinton, Broadhead will have to confront the possibility of arrest and jail (where he would learn the TRUTH about interracial rape -- a teaching moment, I call it) before he will ever confess. For those who forget, Clinton took a deal on the last day of his Presidency -- that is, on the last day on which he was immune from arrest. And for those who think that a high official lying about a non-crime won't bring much punishment, ask Scooter Libby, who just got sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Clinton would've gotten twice that and he knew it.

Anyway, until Broadhead faces something like prisontime, he will lie, lie, lie.

As someone on liestoppers said today, Broadhead's actions betray his intentions.

John Kaiser said...

Wow, so Brodhead still refuses to accept responsibility or condemn those in the faculty who rushed to judgment.

miramar said...

Like many people who read Durham in Wonderland, I have read the statement, and it's actually much worse than it appears to be. The statement includes comments such as:

"We want the absence of terror [. . .]. Terror robs you of language and you need language for healing to begin."

"This is not a different experience for us at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists... It’s part of the experience."

So, President Brodhead, since these observations are found in the supposedly innocuous statement, can you comment on them? Is Duke a terrorist institution? Is Duke a racist institution? If not, then why do you seem to accept the statement? If so, what have you done to solve the problem?

Anonymous said...

The Duke Gang of 88 have their ad and a few of them profile in rap aesthetics.......wacky Ubuntu have their "interpretive" movements......

.....and Richard Brodhead is most expressive when doing his Pee Wee Herman shuffle:



Gary said...

miramar said...
2:52 PM

Stole my thunder. Basically, one can argue by accepting the other's point: Let's say the G88 ad was/is true and reflective.

IF so, then...

What is Brodhead doing about the terribly dangerous sounding environment at Duke and shouldn't he suspend education there until the situation can be secured??

I wouldn't want to send my daughter into what sounds like a veritable war zone of rape and racism.

I stopped by the Duke campus a few years ago, it seemed warm and sunny if a bit to muggy, but I had no idea the great danger the coeds walking by were in.


rod allison, detroit said...

"Brodhead seemed somewhat flustered, and again reiterated that people just don’t understand what the situation was like."

He may be suggesting that we're too stupid to understand the complexeties of the situation, but it was really nothing more than the pressure he got from radical faculty and other race hustlers. We fully understand that he was pressured, and we understand that he caved in to this hate-based pressure rather than act ethically and courageously.


"Since Brodhead probably perceived me as an “unfriendly” entity at this point, I figured that pushing him further would only tarnish the reputations of blog community."

I suppose you should always be polite, but don't ever worry about offending the likes of Broadhead or the G88. There is absolutely no point in trying to get on their good side.

Anonymous said...

KC, I can't blame him. At this point, you're just playing a game of "gotcha."

I'd like to get a few answers from the G88, but I'm not interested in your rhetorical dancing with Brodhead. The guy was dealt an impossible situation -- which, at one time before the groupthink set in on this blog, you seemed to understand -- and he made one big blunder: Pushing out Pressler.

Anonymous said...

Politics didn't govern Brodhead's actions; fear did. He was simply afraid to do what was right, and he's still afraid. Despite the Duke Converations he still can't give a coherent explanations of his actions.

"You just don't understand" is the last refuge of the liberal groupthink mindset and the start of circular reasoning. If you agree with Brodhead, then you have understanding. If you don't agree with Brodhead, then that's proof that you don't understand. Understanding and agreement end up being one and the same. Welcome to DIW.

Anonymous said...

3:30pm: It's not a game of gotcha. That is plain tommyrot. Some of us, perhaps not you, understand the game of responsibility; that is the game being played out here, and the final score is very much in doubt.

bill anderson said...

I used to think that Brodhead saw through PC nonsense, but I have come to believe that he is a card-carrying member of the Political Correctness Caucus.

Furthermore, either he is captive to the G88 radicals, or he is one of them, at least in spirit. If it is the latter, then it tells us that the radicals control the administration; if the latter, then it tells us the radicals control the administration.

Anonymous said...


I do my own thinking.

My thoughts are that the ironies and duoble standards on Brodhead's part continue to unfold. For example, the idea that "people did not understand" the 88 statement, juxtaposed with that same statement calling Duke racist and a terrorist environment causes one to say, "well, what is it that we don't understand about that, as well.?"

KC (and some of the bloggers) just continues to peel back the onion and continue to offer new insights and revelations. It is the fault of the 88, Brodhead, Nifong, Durham PD, and CG that the revelations continue rather than one being a victim of groupthink. It's more like, "just when one thniks things can get no worse..."

This is not "gotcha" or groupthink. For groupthink, and attempted/failed "gotchas", refer to the 88, not KC and bloggers.

That he made "one big" blunder is an amazing statement. His blunders continue to unfold...


Anonymous said...

I think Nofing is playing a game of chicken -- betting that the Bar will have to offer a sweeter deal in order to avoid having him testify and risk exposing some of the other bad actors. Perhaps this is the plan of his council -- he has shown no evidence that he is capable of planning his way out of a wet paper bag on his own.

I'd guess he might try to put everything on Goatleeb and later, Willsin-- all I did was believe the things they told me.

Of course, this is dangerous, like pulling on a loose thread on a cartoon sweater that unravels until there is nothing left and the wearer is naked. In this case, the wearers are DPD, the DA's Office in Durham, poleticians in Durham and perhaps elsewhere, and possibly Duke or DUPD.

Anonymous said...

How hard would it have been for Broadhead to say, "We'll let the system handle it. No one has been accused and the accused have the right to tell their side of the story. If they are guilty, I hope they fry for this is an appalling charge. But the accused are innocent until proven otherwise." After all this is exactly what Provost Peter LAnge said to the outraged potbangers who awakened him and demanded immediate justice. To know what to do he only had to watch Lange's performance on YOU TUBE. How hard is that?

Brant Jones

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that Brodhead will always flee from the truth and will evade KC's questions and engage in spin and double talk. The best you can do KC is to continue to expose the Duke administration and the group of 88 and hope that the plantiff's civil attorney's use the archives of this blog as a roadmap. I look forward to the day that Brodhead must answer questions under oath.

Jack said...

To 3:30 pm:

"before the groupthink set in on this blog" - tru dat!

Anonymous said...

It's wrong to try to get the miserable Brodhead to face up to his actions, inactions and misrepresentations, it's just so wrong to call Levicy on her actions and misrepresentations, it's terribly wrong to call the 88 gangsters on their...

-and if you do such things, you are not insisting on justice, no: you don't understand, and/or you are racist, and/or you are groupthinkers, right-wing zealots playing gotcha, who drink blue kool-aid. Okay, got it.

Gary Packwood said...

Gary 3:15 said...

...What is Brodhead doing about the terribly dangerous sounding environment at Duke and shouldn't he suspend education there until the situation can be secured??

...I wouldn't want to send my daughter into what sounds like a veritable war zone of rape and racism.
and the Durham Police Department?

Don't you think that this issue of safety is central to the future of Duke?

If the place is not safe and the kids are not safe...there is nothing else to talk about. Nothing else matters.

President Broadhead needs to respond to the safety questions Gary asked, and he needs to do so soon.

scott said...

How many more times is Richard Brodhead going to be able to trot out the line "you just don't understand how difficult it was ... " before we come to the conclusion that he does not have the right stuff to be the president of anything more complicated than a poetry club.

I reached that conclusion a long time ago. He was a screw-up at Yale, he never should have been hired at Duke, and if anybody needed proof, well, they've been handed that on a silver platter over the last 15 months.

Duke alumni -- if you like what you're getting from the current administration, keep writing those checks. Hey, it's your money and you're entitled to piss it away anyway you want.

Gary Packwood said...

scott 6:41 said...

... before we come to the conclusion that he [Broadhead] does not have the right stuff to be the president of anything more complicated than a poetry club.
Lord. Can you imagine having to management a poetry club and make payroll?

Deklan Singh said...

KC, you just don't understand what it was like for Broadhead and Alleva.

How could they possibly explain their actions? It's pretty difficult for someone with backbone like cooked spaghetti, a strength of character roughly equivalent to a Rice Krispy Treat and the determination of a wind vane to be expect even to remember what they did during high pressure situations.

"What they did was bad enough"? Oh, that's just something that I say whenever I get too nervous. It keeps me from wetting my pants.

"Wanted!" and "Castrate!" posters of his own students paraded around his own campus? Yes, yes, someone just informed me that I'm President of this University. I want cake.

Nobody had mentioned a water buffalo at any point in the incident. So, it's patently obvious that Alleva was just flipping a coin at the crux of each decision and/or randomly reciting lines from that day's Herald Sun or New Black Panther Party Newsletter.

Not a single cent more of my money is going to Duke until these two jokers are out on their ears.

Bill said...

"You just don't understand how HARD it was for me while these students were being railroaded!"

There is nothing more pathetic than a self-absorbed cry for empathy.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks I see a pattern. Whenever Brodhead is asked a difficult question he states that the questioner is unable to understand the “complexities” of the situation. Perhaps we do understand the situation but value honesty and fair play above keeping the Group of 88 placated.

Anonymous said...

As far as being nice or polite to a guy like this: remember the old expression about life-->"Don't pet the snakes"