Before the appearance of today’s post, I e-mailed Prof. Harris to ask about the University Writing Program’s role in the case. My e-mail stated,
It was difficult not to notice the significant number of UWP faculty members who signed both the Group of 88 ad and the "clarifying" statement. In light of the collapse of the lacrosse case, I was wondering whether you and other leaders of the program had engaged in any critical self-reflection about why so many UWP faculty elected to sign onto the Group of 88 ad, even as most of the facts about the case had not yet emerged.
Also, it seems that most UWP faculty are not permanent members of the Duke faculty. Do you review with them the provisions of the Faculty Handbook, especially Chapter Six; and has your review of this matter changed in light of the events of since March 2006?
Here is Prof. Harris’ response, in its entirety:
Thank you for your interest in the University Writing Program.
In your post, you may want to note that in 2006 the UWP was awarded a Certificate of Writing Program Excellence from the Conference on College Composition and Communication, which is the national organization for teachers of academic writing.
You might also want to observe that, in their end-of-semester evaluations, first-year students consistently rate Writing 20 as demanding more work from them and offering them higher levels of intellectual stimulation than most of the other courses they have taken to that point at Duke.
You could also refer your readers to this site to offer them a sense of the high quality of writing that Duke first-year students produce with the guidance of UWP faculty.
It doesn’t appear as if Harris’ response answered any of the questions asked. But, then again, that should come as little surprise.