Friday, July 13, 2007

Harris in His Own Words

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.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

What Harris fails to take into account when patting his UWP faculty on the backside is that many Duke Freshmen come into the university with excellent writing skills. UWP is taking the credit for many diligent high school teachers working long and hard educating their bright students. Give me a basketball team of Michael Jordans and I will give you a winning program in spite of a poor coaching.

Nevertheless, Harris can still walk the walk...........

Anonymous said...

KC's noon post was more informative than Harris's response ....

Anonymous said...

I took UWP during Harris's tenure (albeit, some years ago). It was a complete and total waste of time.

Anonymous said...

That response is an idiotic piece of boilerplate, akin to an answering machine message. "Press (1) if you want to hear Mr. Harris' views on why college athletes are scum and college athletics should be banned; press (2) if you want to hear Mr. Harris' opinion that SOMETHING happened in the bathroom that night, press (3) if you want to hear Mr. Harris opine the Mike Nifong was crucified like Jesus for the sins of past white oppression. Thank you and call again!"

Anonymous said...

Well, he obviously neglected (completely and totally) to teach you to avoid redundancy

:-))

Anonymous said...

Is there a PhD at Duke that has enough sense to come in out of the rain?

inman said...

OK...I'm going to play devil's advocate.

Clearly, there is a body of peers that views this program favorably. And on the one hand, the recipient could be quite proud. Clap on, clap off.

And of course, on the other hand, those associated with the devil would certainly favor his horns.

Just becuase Jack-the-ripper was voted best-in-show for gruesome crime does not exonerate the crime.

Mr./Dr. Harris:

Please...I beg on bended knee....give an apology rather than a robust self defense.

With due respect (if any),

Thomas S. Inman '74

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 9:07 said...

...KC's noon post was more informative than Harris's response.
::
That is because KC wrote his post and Duke's PR firm and probably half a dozen attorneys wrote the response.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

I suppose it is not Duke's fault that "Writing Program Excellence" is an ugly phrase involving a noun modifying a noun that modifies a noun.

In terms of style, Dr. Harris seems never to have learned the elements of modern style: clear and concise. For example, "'You may want to note that' X is true" is wordy compared to "X is true." Dr. Harris so fancies his excess verbiage that he tries for parallelism with, "'You might also want to observe that' Y is true." This does indeed capture his original prolixity, but the failure to parallel tenses or verbs mars the effect.

Style is so personal that criticizing it is admittedly a bit snarky. Thus, let's move on to the tragic substance: most students at Duke find introductory composition to be the intellectual high point of their freshman year. No wonder they drink.

JeffM

Anonymous said...

this is an example of creative writing..at its best

IGNORE the issue...distract the reader...the very soul of communism is DIALECTIC..and this dummy harris could easily be a comisar of communication

and we wonder why so many underachiving minorities apply to duke ?

you can get by with bull

TaterCon said...

Mommy, I could understand his English this time. But was he making a point? If he was, do you think he was anywhere close to making sense?

Anonymous said...

"Prof." (and I use this term lightly) Harris: If you're still lurking on this blog, please spare us all more pain--and Duke more educational malpractice exposure--by simply doing one honest and dignified thing since this Hoax and resign. You only harm more students and diminish yourself further each day and every time you speak (or write) anything. Just do the right thing and resign. If nothing else, you can spare yourself additional humiliation.

Anonymous said...

From the Johnsville News blog I found the following nugget from Harris' own mouth:

Harris has explained that, as a writing program administrator, his job is to function as “an activist reformer in the university.” ...

I just wanted to put this out there. Candidly, the quote leaves me speachless. Moreover, I think Harris' own words pretty much sum things up far better than anything I could come up with. More words just escape me.

Joana Harris said...

There's also the more likely explanation that Prof Harris didn't answer your question because the professor, like many others at Duke, is a complete and utter moron...an imbecile barely capable of getting through the day without drooling all over the floor.

Anonymous said...

Like Patton's rubber inflatible tanks in Southern England, Dr. Harris wishes to pries our eyes away from the real problem.

That worked on Hitler, but he was pretty insane at the time and Eva was REALLY bitchy that month.

It is interesting to note that the entity that gave the UWP an award also has a position statement on Ebonics that is, variously, super, extra politically correct, degrading to African-Americans, snarky AND uppity. It provides, in relevant part,

"It is not an obstacle to learning. The obstacle lies in negative attitudes towards the language, [more PC crap], inefficient techniques for teaching language and literacy skills, and an unwillingness to adapt teaching styles to the needs of EBONICS SPEAKERS."

CCCC, Statement on Ebonics (May 1998)(emhasis added).

Note that the CCCC places no responsibility on the "speakers" to speak English. Nor is that responsibility shared by the community or home influences. Instead, the CCCC takes the snarky attitude that the real problem lies with "other" (probably stupider) teachers.

Why, when people get all PC and stuff, do they almost invariably "unintentionally" degrade the objects of their bounty/concern?

Apparently, African-American students aren't capable of saying "more" instead of "mo." At least, not unless they are instructed by super-intelligent CCCC-approved faculty.

______________

Tennessee Ernie Ford's original lyric sheet for "16 Tons" reads as follows:

"If you see K.C. coming,
Better [pause] step aside,
Lotta PC didn't,
Lotta them died (figuratively),
One blog of Truth,
And the other of Steel,
If the first blog don't getcha,
Then the next one will."

From "K.C. & Me: The Early Years" (T.E. Ford, Viking 1990). MOO! Gregory

Dan said...

Perhaps I'm missing something. The CCCC website lists the 2006-2007 Outstanding Program Certificate Awards to

Ball State University, Writing Program

Michigan Technological University, Writing Center

Purdue University, Introductory Composition

Swarthmore College, Writing Associates Program

University of Toronto, Office of English Language and Writing Support

Is Harris referring to another award? Or to awards from the year past, which really doesn't seem relevant to now...

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? Someone posted a list of courses from the program, and they looked pretty good to me. Is there disagreement about this?

Polanski

Gary Packwood said...

Re: Dan 11:06
::
CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence

This award program, established in 2004, honors up to 20 writing programs a year.

http://www.ncte.org/cccc/awards/123738.htm

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

KC, the Gang are all gutless cowards because none of them respond to your emails. Obviously Harris didn't want to be called that, so he responded. With the dumbest piece of inane drivel ever typed with two fingers.

Okey dokey. Harris isn't a coward.

He's a moron!

Anonymous said...

I miss Kathy Rudy. She taught us a real lesson. Even ugly girls have a sex life.
This Harris fellow is nothing more than a zombie.

Anonymous said...

Well, you can put ribbons on a pig, spray some perfume around its ears but it will still be a pig.

The Duke 88 are who they are and their actions will follow them the rest of their careers.

No justice, no peace said...

10:06 Too damn funny

Anonymous said...

Harris has taught himself to hold the marbles in all day long. He tells himself "Hee hee, I'm the only one who knows. The rest of these fools have never been to the rodeo".

mac said...

Polanski,

Ralph Phelan 1:30 (KC's 7/13 blog on Harris) did a fine job dissecting the course descriptions.

Anonymous said...

The reply shows that he is upset with KC. He needs to resign now.

mac said...

New course requirement for all Dook University profs and adjuncts:

"Apologetics."

Nope, not the kind you see from defenders of the faith:
the kind that teaches people like the 88 how to apologize.

Apparently a foreign concept.

Tawny said...

I believe that anon at 9:19 pm summarized the situation perfectly. As for Harris' post, I've read better prose on the back of shampoo bottles.

Frankly, I might even have found the learned "Professor" slightly less loathsome had he had the courage to assert that the despite the AG's report, Nifong's disbarment or come what may, he still defends his original position.

Certainly, such a response would undoubtedly been a redux of the bigoted, hyperbolic "case analysis" we've come to expect from the gang of 88. But at least it would have a direct answer to the direct questions KC posited.

Actually, Harris' form letter reminded me of the time I worked for a credit card company. An irate [to put it mildly] former customer sent a letter so profanity filled that I can't even quote it here. Instead of answering his perfectly legitimate complaints and questions we sent him a form letter thanking him for his business and reminding him what a superior corporation we were.

Anonymous said...

The word Idiopathological seems to fit....Harris does not have a clue what the real issue is.

haskell said...

dan 11:06
gary packwood 11:21

Re: Writing Program Awards.

We hold a State Fair every year, one of the major attractions is a Pig Race (this is South Carolina, gimme a break). Only pigs are allowed to enter. And do you know what? A pig always wins.

rod allison, detroit said...

"Also, it seems that most UWP faculty are not permanent members of the Duke faculty."

That might explain a lot. Its possible that many of them would like to be tenured, permanent members of the Duke faculty, and joining Harris in signing the G88 statement was their way of sucking up to the boss.

This would be an example of somebody abusing his position at work to advance personal interests that are not job related.

Not very becoming for somebody from a union household who has expressed guilt about having authority.

These G88 types are a lot of things, most of them bad, but the one thing that really stands out is how phony they are.

rod allison, detroit said...

Harris dodged the question, of course. But as ridiculous as his response was, it was not nearly as bad as one would have expected from the G88ers and other like minded people, including some columnists.

What was missing was customary reference to race, and the knee jerk suggestion that anyone who disagrees with him is a racist.

I know its a low standard, but at least Harris didn't respond with the usual idiot, pretentious, dishonest, attack.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how all these 88ers who claimed they wanted to start a "dialogue" are so unwilling now to answer questions related to the subject matter of the desired dialogue.

Anonymous said...

10:37, KC, etc.,

With all due respect, none of these people is obliged to respond to you. Why should they? Not like you aren't trying to trap them & attack them...

Anonymous said...

Prof. Harris seems to lack intellectual honesty. When asked about the Group of 88 ad he gives a link to a writing excellence program. When he is supposed to teach English he teaches Political Science.

Personally I have no problem with him teaching cultural criticism provided that he labels his course appropriately. Otherwise he is guilty of what appears to be bait and switch.

Anonymous said...

"With all due respect, none of these people is obliged to respond to you. Why should they? Not like you aren't trying to trap them & attack them..."


I disagree. The Group of 88 wanted to “Turn up the Volume” and KC is obliging. KC is not trapping them they trapped themselves by there own words and actions. KC is merely a reporter and has been fair to them by offering to reprint their responses to his blog without editing.

Anonymous said...

11:06

Again, none of these people is obliged to talk to any of you. And why would they? Almost no one who posts here wants to listen to them. You're minds are closed & opinions are set in stone. You should give Harris credit--not only for running an award-winning program, whether you like it or not--but for even responding to KC.

Anonymous said...

"Again, none of these people is obliged to talk to any of you."


Again I disagree. The group of 88 took out an ad in a public forum requesting dialogue. Now you are saying that they have no obligation to talk. If they didn’t want to talk why solicit dialogue?

Anonymous said...

11:18

If they don't want to respond -- unedited -- to KC's polite inquiries, that's fine. But let's hear NO MORE from them about wanting "dialogue" or "tolerating dissent" or "being silenced". The only ones silencing them are themselves. From here, it looks like THEY KNOW that they did an unconscionable act in April, 2006, but they cannot -- due to ideological or psychological or some -ogical reasons -- bring themselves to say "mea culpa".

Anonymous said...

They didn't ask to talk to you & they aren't required to. They took out that ad quite awhile ago.

You don't want a dialogue; you want a confrontation.

Everyone gets to chose w/ whom he/she speaks. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?

Anonymous said...

11:31,

Did anyone of those people claim to want a dialogue with KC? I think not.

Why would they? Joseph Harris teaches composition--writes reasonably well judging from his response--and a lot of people posted attacking him, his writing, and his program. That's not dialogue. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

"Interesting how all these 88ers who claimed they wanted to start a "dialogue" are so unwilling now to answer questions related to the subject matter of the desired dialogue."

I believe Colin Finnerty made a similar observation, that the professors said all sorts of things about a dialogue being started and now they won't talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic to the current post, but I just found this in a CNN transcript from just after the dropping of the rape charges, and I just had to share it:

"JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I -- I -- this is really a shocking case.

You know, I have been somewhat skeptical. You know, the -- the -- the defense has so dominated the airwaves and the prosecution has largely been silent. I have sort of had a natural reaction to it."

'the prosecution has largely been silent'?!?!

Anonymous said...

11:47

Joseph Harris is lucky that he hasn't been drawn and quartered, along with the other Duke professors who are responsible for trying to railroad their own students.
Harris is a clueless pos.

Anonymous said...

12:03

Threats of drawing & quartering (didn't that go out of fashion sometime before the French Revolution?!!) would be precisely why these people wouldn't--and shouldn't--speak to the likes of you. You're crazy & threaten violence. Ick.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:47

I am sorry. Dr. Harris provided a very short and very simple, though totally unresponsive, answer. It contains at least three examples of poor use of English. So it misses the point on substance and demonstrates incompetence of technique. And this clown RUNS the freshman composition program. I do not know whether to laugh or cry.

JeffM

Anonymous said...

“Did anyone of those people claim to want a dialogue with KC? I think not.”

Why does it matter whom the dialogue is with? As long as you can defend your logic does it matter if the dialogue is with KC or someone else?

Anonymous said...

“Everyone gets to chose w/ whom he/she speaks. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?”


I do not get to live by these rules. If I publish a scientific paper and it receives criticism I don’t get to respond with I don’t want a dialogue with you.

Anonymous said...

Different rules for scientific papers. In fact, different "rules" for all kinds of things. And, if you think the people questioning you are idiots, you dont' respond. It's easy.

Anonymous said...

"Different rules for scientific papers. In fact, different "rules" for all kinds of things. And, if you think the people questioning you are idiots, you dont' respond. It's easy."



So are you saying that KC is an idiot and that is why you don’t want to have a dialogue with him?

If you only take criticism from people who already agree with you then what is your mechanism to correct errors in perception?

Anonymous said...

re the G88 not responding to attempts at "dialobue"

The G88 only want to speak to the converted. I think that the administration's lawyers, along with the more intelligent G88ers, have told the vulgi to shut up.

I know that most of the posters feel that the G88 and its collective ideology has won. I strongly disagree. These parasites are on the way out, just like affirmative action, which, of course, is at the center of the "G88 problem."

The so-called feminist agenda takes a back seat to Duke's affirmative action problem.

Polanski

Anonymous said...

Re 1:04

I agree. Different rules for all sorts of things. So when someone subscribes to a public document, my rule is that that person is fair game for a public response. When some responds to an invitation to submit a public rebuttal, my rule is that the rebuttal is fair game for public criticism. When someone says that those who disagree are "idiots," my rule is to conclude that the speaker has no substantive arguments and so is a fool or a troll. My final rule is to ignore the rules of fools and trolls.

JeffM

Anonymous said...

hmm...
I don't see Duke or Harris anywhere in the url given in H's letter:
http://www.ncte.org/cccc/announcements/123822.htm

Anonymous said...

10:37 - trap and attack them? You act as if the Gang of 88 is a bunch of helpless idiots. They are, if they chose to deal with the unprincipled stances and logical inconsistencies in so many of their statements, fully capable of defending themselves - except of course, when it comes to their conduct in the Duke case, there's simply not much to defend.

One of the 88 was one of my professors 25 years ago when she was just starting out. She was not and an affirmative action hire, the bulk of whom do not produce much scholarship and are of at best mediocre quality, and is well published in her field. A fine professor. She is very bright and eminently capable of having a discourse with KC, even though, as I have suggested, the lack of principle shown by those who adopted the Gang of 88 statement would be a significant liability short of a wrongful admission, which would likely permit some form of constructive dialog thereafter. And oh, I was a scholarship athlete, and received one of the few A's in her class - this was, of course, before the group think negativity towards athletes at Duke emerged to the force and effect it has today. What a shame - so many of us athletes at Duke were truly equal or better than our Ivy league counterparts academically, and were clearly more accomplished in athletics than they - a proud tradition now being trod upon by myopic intellectuals that can't grow up and lose their high school feelings of inferiority towards athletes.

In any event, making a persuasive point that others are not capable of rebutting is hardly trapping and attacking, especially among the overly credentialed Gang of 88. 10:37 - one of the things I did learn at Duke was to be tough and stand on my own two feet - your comments reflect you neither value nor have acquired any such capability. And need I guess where your political sympathies lie?

AMac said...

Re: Dialog with Prof. Harris, Group of 88, and apologists --

In the middle of yesterday's thread on "Group Profile: Joseph Harris," I left a comment on the Italian political philosopher Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). It may be worth making similar points here.

The essay Gramsci and the U.S. Body Politic by Alberto Luzárraga (2000) provides an excellent synopsis of Gramsci's philosophy. (This collection of essays is maintained by Gramsci's modern-day disciples.)

Gramsci's concern was the failure of violent action to midwife Marxist reorderings of society anywhere outside of Bolshevik Russia. He came to doubt that violence would be successful in a bourgeois, capitalist society--too many people would resist.

His contribution was to envision a nonviolent revolution, using the institutions of bourgeois society to gradually subvert it from within. Intellectuals, not street toughs and organizers, would play the central role.

Activist intellectuals should not view themselves as engaged in a search for knowledge, wisdom, or anything so abstract or disengaged from the needs of the revolution. Instead, their function is to establish how people should think. Society's norms can and should, over time, be reset by the examples of academics and other public intellectuals. This idea is commonly represented as "The Long March Through the Institutions."

As one example, progressives should have the desired effect on society in mind as they consider which subjects to engage, and which to dismiss as unworthy of attention.

Gramsci would have approved of the Group of 88's actions. Those who dismiss K.C. Johnson and Prof. Harris' other critics as idiots are taking another page from the Gramscian playbook.

Duke1965 said...

I am struck by the fact that the overwhelming number of comments on this thread are either (i) unbelievably childish, i.e., references to drawing and quartering, pigs, and the view that Harris is a "moron", or (ii) mindless sycophantic support for KC's views. I hope that the absence of differing views doesn't give this "pack" the impression that there are no reasonable differing points of view; in all probability, the absence of differing views probably represents a reluctance to become involved in a discussion that has sunk to the intellectual level of CB radio.

Several posters are correct that Prof. Harris did not directly address KC's questions to him regarding self-reflection by the G88. I agree with KC that the G88 was absolutely wrong to elevate social agenda over due process, and I am disappointed that many G88 members won't acknowledge this issue and its very serious impact on criminal justice.

That said, Prof. Harris chose to respond to KC's academic profile of him. I think a reasonable reading of KC's profile implies that the faculty should be more politically balanced, and more importantly, that the leftist views of the G88 adversely impacts the quality of education received by Duke undergraduates, leading to a Marxist "indoctrination camp" atmosphere. That is a conclusion that is certainly subject to reasonable debate. My daughter just finished her freshman year at Duke, and of course took the required UWP course. Neither she nor her friends felt pressured politically by the faculty, and she is certainly not a Marxist, to put it mildly. Like most young women at Duke, she is relatively moderate politically. Did she feel she learned something in UWP, even though she received an "A" in her high school AP composition course? Absolutely.

I think we have to be careful about drawing too many conclusions about the quality of undergraduate education at Duke based on the loony politics of some of the faculty. In the end, do we want to hire faculty based on their political agenda, as KC implies, or are there perhaps other criteria, such as the success of their programs?

Anonymous said...

4:24

Well said.

Polanski

AMac said...

Duke1965, your perspective is valuable (although there are a number of parts that I would dissent from). Thanks for constructing a literate and thoughtful comment.

There are a number of lengthy and reflective posts on the "Group Profile: Joseph Harris" thread, including some by an anonymous, self-identified Duke Social Sciences faculty member. S/he reports that as far as s/he knows, the UWP has never been subjective to a meaningful evaluation of the extent to which it benefits students' writing.

Numerous self-identified faculty members from other institutions chimed in with similar stories.

That, then, would be an interesting question regarding the program at Duke: has it been rigorously (quantitatively) reviewed to determine the extent to which it meets its academic mission?

Duke1965 said...

4:43,

I agree with you absolutely..... and that was my point. As an alum and a Duke parent, I'm very interested in the quality of undergraduate education provided by Duke. I would welcome a serious study, rather than mere speculation, or in my case, anecdotal evidence of my daughter's experience. Similarly, I think it is a mistake to assume that the G88 are substandard academically, based on random profiles. I'm certainly not familiar with all of the faculty, but at least some of them are certainly well repected in their chosen fields, such as William Chafe and Paul Berliner. I suspect that many people have a problem with the professor's chosen field, rather than with the quality of their academic work. For example, Paul Berliner is a well-regarded ethnomusicologist who has written a definitive work on jazz improvisation entitled "Thinking in Jazz - The Infinite Art of Jazz Improvisation" We can argue about whether such subjects should be pursued by academics, but that's an entirely different issue.

KC has written at length regarding how an agenda-driven "lynch mob" mentality can adversely impact a criminal defendant's due process rights, and I agree strongly with his position. The true test will come if Mike Nifong is charged with a felony (as opposed to the pending criminal contempt charge). It will be interesting to see if the posters here give the process a chance to work, or whether they resort to the same tactics used by the G88 by adopting a "hang him high" approach.

inman said...

duke1965 @4:43

Let me reiterate amac's observations regarding your well-structured and persuasive comments.

I agree with you regarding the notion that Nifong should be accorded the "innocent until proven guilty" status that was so wrongfully ignored by many at Duke and in Durham, both at the outset of this charade and as it progressed.

In the case of Nifong (and at this point) there is a singular difference. Unlike Evans, Seligmann and Finnerty, Nifong has already been found GUILTY of egregious transgressions. By his true peers, one should add, in contrast to the so-called "peers" of many modern court proceedings. (In that regard, what if a random selection of US cititzens was selected to "peer review" the work of the 88 -- The Gang rightfully would scream with anger at the FACT that the reviewers were not, in fact, "peers".)

My sense is that the discussion of this blog now concerns the severity of the punishment to be levied against Nifong & Co. and the process by which that punishment is legally mandatated, as opposed to whether or not he ( and others) is deserving of punishment.

AMac said...

Duke1965 wrote --

> I think it is a mistake to assume that the G88 are substandard academically, based on random profiles.

It would be wrong to assert that all of the members of the G88 are substandard academically because some of them qualify as such.

But is that the most illuminating way to frame the issue?

As an outsider, I would start out by supposing that all of the faculty of an institution such as Duke meet an academic standard of excellence. Or, "nearly all" if you wish, accounting for personal tragedies (e.g. early-onset Alzheimers) and one-off mistakes.

If that isn't the proper standard: why not?

When the G88's scholarship is examined, it turns out to be mixed. Some G88'ers look as though they have impressive records of accomplishment. Others appear ordinary--but then, they aren't working in fields I'm familiar with; I have to be cautious--they might be better than they first appear.

Certain of those among the G88 faculty appear to have resumes, classroom performances, or temperaments that are very deficient by the standards of what I would expect for full-time academic appointments at any college. Particulars? Houston Baker, Kim Curtis, Grant Farred, Thaviola Glymph, Karla Holloway, Kathy Rudy. Others as well? Probably.

If my impression is wrong: how so?

If my impression is correct: should Duke take solace in asserting that the academic excellence of G88 profs X, Y, and Z balances out the poor performers?

I think a more pointed question would be to ask whether the entire Duke faculty is salted with a similar proportion of mediocrities, or whether something about Lubiano's Listening Statement resonated with such people, tempting them to sign on. (FWIW, I think it is the latter.)

I'd suggest that there is something quite awry with hiring and promotion policies that grant professional advancement to some of the names that grace the G88 roster. Even if I agree that the scholarship of other G88'ers shows that those members earned their positions.

Anonymous said...

I am fascinated by the arrogance of some of the posters here. They aren't academics, but they figure they can explain to Duke--last time I checked, a successful university--how to run itself. I don't think so.


And they keep belly-aching because members of the so-called 88 don't choose to talk to them. Why would they?

Harris looks to be a more than competent compostition director. You'd've never have thought a thing about him if it hadn't been for this case. It's not his work you don't like, it's his politics. And that's something else all together.

AMac said...

Anon 5:59pm --

Your comment may be more insightful than you realize.

Please write in often.

pissed off said...

Yes, I agree...Harris is a "competent compostition director" ...

unfortunately, there is no need for a "compostition" director.

And regarding Duke being a successful university... yes, in the past....we are now talking about the future -- a future at risk because of failed leadership and supercilious disdain for anything approaching reality in its hiring of "diversity agenda" characters.

And who the f appointed you an arbiter of what is or is not an appropriate view of the academy. What is your position and your agenda? What is you identity?

I'll listen to anyone who is willing to put a stake in the ground and, accordingly, acquire personal "risk".

Otherwise, shut the F up.

Thomas S. Inman '74

Anonymous said...

Inman

Right on, Duke doesn't need a "composition director."--LOL

Bring in some good teachers, and let them teach.

Polanski

Tawny said...

To Anon at 5:59 pm

Actually, I'm not certain who exactly is telling Duke how to run their university. It my well be that I am simply one of KC's sycophants but I feel that the level of discussion regarding the academic program at Duke and some [certainly not all] of their professors has been on a pretty reasonable and literate level.

I am not pretending that I am qualified to instruct Duke as to what professors should be granted or retain tenure or what classes they should teach. However, in cases where I really have no direct knowledge my response is generally to gather as much information as I can from those who do. In this case, I believe that KC and many former Duke students [I've read the Chronicle a lot] and former professors have at least raised some very salient points regarding the credentials of some the school's programs and professors.

In KC's case, he gone to meticulous lengths to bolster his analysis of professors such as Harris by actually doing some research on their background. You don't have to agree with him, but at least he tried to get the facts, which is much more than the group of 88 did before posting their infamous "listening ad."

Anonymous said...

ICK. You can always count on amac to suck up to anything that comes on this blog if there's a fuzzy blanket for the 88 somewhere. Or Cash.
What a pisser!

AMac said...

Anon 6:53pm wrote --

> You can always count on amac to suck up to anything that comes on this blog if there's a fuzzy blanket for the 88 somewhere.

*Sigh*

Anon 6:53pm, subtlety doesn't seem to be your strong suit.

But then, you may have a point. My 6:19pm comment was probably wasted on Arrogance 5:59pm, as well.

Anonymous said...

"The true test will come if Mike Nifong is charged with a felony (as opposed to the pending criminal contempt charge). It will be interesting to see if the posters here give the process a chance to work, or whether they resort to the same tactics used by the G88 by adopting a "hang him high" approach."



The reason I was upset with the group of 88 is that they had “no creditable evidence” on which to base their claim. There is considerable evidence out there regarding the behavior of Nifong so they are not parallel situations.

Duke1965 said...

11:49,

I strongly disagree...... due process is due process, period. As a society, we need to decide whether we really believe in the principle of presumed innocence, no matter who the defendant is. In fact, the more despised the defendant, the more important it becomes to use restraint while the system operates, as we saw in the Duke case. I understand that in Britain, it is an offense to publicly condemn an accused prior to the completion of criminal proceedings. A midwest newspaper (I think it's the Kansas City Star, but I'm not sure) has a policy of not permitting blog comments on a pending criminal proceeding, in deference to the constitutional rights of the accused. There's a reason for that. Free speech is not just a right, it carries responsibility as well, and restraint in commenting on criminal proceedings is a very serious responsibility.

Anonymous said...

12:51> interesting point, but it ignores one of KC's points throughout, that the media in total skewered the boys on inuendo, false claims and personal agenda desires that all of the false claims were true. If they had stuck with the facts, it might have been a non-event. The media created the setting and then had to back track which in the end helped expose the travesty that took place. The blogs kept the fire under the feet of many, thank god for them.
The facts about Mr. Nifong are being printed by same media in the least offensive, most succinct way while still falsely slandering the innocent victims. I think they have given Mr. Nifong a pass with high regard for his feelings and privacy, unlike the boys treatment. At the least the facts are so bad they can't lie about that, they are also public information.
Don't count on fairness or consideration of rights from the press.
I don't know about England's strictness with their press, my son lived in London for a while and often spoke of how outrageous/trashy and slanderous the press is there, not to mention poorly written.

Anonymous said...

Concur with 11:49

Duke1965 said...

5:05,

We're not really that far apart.... I agree that the press used innuendo and their own agenda to the detriment of the LAX3... when I suggest using restraint, that doesn't mean saying nothing at all.... but it does mean not drawing conclusions about guilt, or heaping scorn on the defendant, even Nifong.......... if Nifong is indicted, do you think it's appropriate to suggest in advance of a verdict that he's pure evil and that a prison rape is his appropriate reward? That sort of thing is my concern. And while its true that we know many, many facts about the case from depositions and the Bar hearing, we're not the jury...... the "facts" in front of the jury are subject to cross examination, visual assessment of witness credibility, and so on..........