In Lacrosse Magazine, Clare Lochary has a nicely done piece on Collin Finnerty’s arrival at Loyola. Coach Charlie Toomey was candid in his excitement with the decision: “It’s a new beginning, and it’s a great opportunity for him. And it’s obviously a great opportunity for us.” Lochary noted,
Snagging Finnerty was one of many adept recruiting moves that Toomey made this season. His incoming class is small in number (just eight freshmen plus Finnerty, a second-semester sophomore) but strong in talent. Last year's points leader, junior Shane Koppens, returns, but Toomey expects a new look on the offensive end of the field—faster, more athletic, and less reliant on pure shooters to get the job done.
It seems as if Brown will not be the only beneficiary of departures from Duke.
Hal Crowther, the Indy columnist who penned one of the worst articles on the case, was back again recently, this time in a piece for Oxford American.
Amidst a rambling column on why people shouldn’t look down at the South, Crowther opined,
After waiting a year to find out what happened at that infamous off-campus stag party, we were told that nothing happened . . . The DA was virtually lynched, an unprecedented martyrdom that seems to have crushed his career and any hope of future happiness. The black stripper who pressed the charges was merely impeached, ostracized, and forgotten. The exonerated lacrosse players, according to my local paper, were “greeted like heroes” wherever Duke students gathered. Innocent was the word in general use, though all the Attorney General had actually determined was that they couldn’t be convicted—and shouldn’t have been indicted—on these charges brought by this witness (doesn’t that make them less innocent, technically, than, say, O.J. Simpson, who was actually acquitted?).
Actually, the Attorney General stated that “it was in the best interests of justice to declare these three individuals innocent.” Emphasis added, since Crowther seems to have missed this item.
Their innocence was asserted so aggressively by the media that we were left with the impression that they had actually been studying in the library when the incident in question occurred.
Crowther never quite explained how an “incident” that never happened could have “occurred.” I don’t believe that either Reade Seligmann or Collin Finnerty ever left the “impression” that they were at the library. Instead, even using the timeline employed by Mike (“nothing happened”) Nifong, one was at an ATM machine, and the other was walking to a restaurant.
Crowther concluded with a paean to the Group of 88, noting, “Professors who used the lacrosse case to make a statement about over-privileged and under-restrained athletes are still receiving threatening e-mails from bullies with racial agendas.”
The Indy columnist appears not to have received the latest Group talking points, which assert: the Group’s statement had nothing to do with the case, and certainly nothing to do with athletes. It only was an attempt to defend unnamed minority students who were subjected to taunts from unspecified defenders of the lacrosse team between March 29 and April 6, 2006.
Crowther confessed that he experienced “extreme nausea” when reading Ruth Sheehan’s apology. Perhaps Group members can express their gratitude by sending him a bottle of Rolaids.
A more realistic appraisal of the Group of 88’s statement came in the summer City Journal, courtesy of a lengthy lead article by Myron Magnet. He noted,
What the Duke “rape” case shows is that these attitudes about race have hardened into dogma among elites. Otherwise, who would believe for long the fishy charges of accuser Crystal Mangum, then 27, who kept changing her story about how many Duke students had assaulted her, what they looked like, and what they had done? Hired as a stripper for a lacrosse-team party (where she turned up “passed-out drunk,” a cop on the scene reported), the unmarried mother of two claimed that she’d been raped, beaten, robbed, and threatened with violation with a broomstick, by three or five or maybe even 20 members of the Duke team, though she picked out different young men from different arrays of police photos. Or maybe she hadn’t been raped but only assaulted—or perhaps suspended in midair and used sexually by three young men at once, in a tiny bathroom. State attorney general Roy Cooper understandably suspected that Mangum might have had a tenuous grasp on reality. “She may actually believe the many different stories that she has been telling,” the AG remarked, in declaring the students innocent. “You can’t piece it together.”
As Magnet observed, it’s not hard to understand the political motives that led Nifong to champion the case. “But,” he continued,
what led the Duke faculty and officials, along with the mainstream media, to treat this cock-and-bull story as gospel to the bitter end? Why did the university promptly suspend the three students, cancel the rest of the lacrosse season, and force out the coach? Why did president Richard Brodhead say, just after police arrested the trio, “If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough”? As a lacrosse player recently told the student newspaper: “It was unfortunate that some of the subsequent actions that were taken by the University didn’t really imply a presumption of innocence.” . . .
Part of what a university should teach is the critical reasoning power to analyze situations like these, with claims and counterclaims, and determine what actually happened . . . But the professors sidestep this challenge, simplifying and flattening these complex truths about culture and consciousness. They reach the false conclusion that all descriptions of society and our nature are not just colored or refracted by our cultural assumptions but are mere propaganda, aimed at convincing others that the world is as our class or subgroup wishes it to be. Moreover, since the profs believe that not just the social order but also what we take to be “human nature” is man-made, whoever wins the propaganda battle gets to mold society and human nature—human reality itself—into the shape he chooses.
From these assumptions flows academe’s well-known mania for unmasking Western civilization (including its literature and art) as a machine for oppressing the nonwhite, non-rich, and non-male. This worldview—which grants its adherents a sense of superiority over their supposedly racist and sexist fellow men and also a belief in their own special power to remake the world by their words—appears so self-evident on campus as to be impervious to such realities as accelerating black success, for example, or the crowding out of male students by female ones on college campuses themselves.
So not only did many Duke professors feel that they didn’t have to think twice when stripper Mangum filed her charges; they scarcely had to think once. With one eye looking inward and the other fixed on the heavens, they knew instantly what must have happened . . . What to make of such almost comically irrational terror-without-a-name that the profs have stirred up with their specters of racists and sexists, like the nonexistent witches of old? Given the mass hysteria at this supposed seat of reason, the accused trio can probably count themselves lucky that they lost only a year of their lives.
Magnet moved on from the case to sharply critique rap culture. No doubt Group stalwart Mark Anthony (“thugniggaintellectual”) would be outraged.
The most recent Chronicle features an interview with Coach K. When asked about the University’s handling of the lacrosse case, he responded,
It’s easy to look back and say everything that you would have done or that could have been done. Instead of rehashing those things—we could have taken care of the kids better, we could have done this better—Overall we could have done that better. Could we have done that worse? Absolutely, we could have done it a lot worse. Right now, especially [after the conclusion of the Nifong hearings], there’s a great deal of closure now that has happened with Nifong. We need to be in a healing phase, and I want to be a part of that as much as I can…. No matter what, you’ve got to be there for them—that’s the job of a parent, a coach, a school or whatever. There were so many lives to this thing that it got complicated, and in that complication, I think some mistakes were made, including the proper care of our kids.
Normally “healing” requires some acknowledgement of wrongdoing, but the University’s unwillingness to hold accountable those who didn’t adhere to the Faculty Handbook suggests that Duke is going to try a different approach.
Wendy Murphy continues to make national news—this time in a laughably one-sided story in Time. The adjunct professor has abandoned her conspiracy theories on how the Duke case ended to criticize a Nebraska judge who prevented an accuser in a date-rape case from using the word “rape” in the trial. Instead, the accuser was told she could describe what the suspect allegedly did to her.
Murphy is now representing the accuser, claiming that “nobody in that courtroom was allowed to describe what happened as a crime.” Added Michelle Anderson, dean of the CUNY Law School, the judge’s ruling reflected an old-fashioned approach to rape: “The notion that the word rape is so charged derives from an historical willingness to place a higher burden on rape victims who come forward.”
Time spoke to the defense, but elected not to find anyone neutral to challenge Anderson’s portrayal of events—and so any reader could have fairly concluded that the judge in this case was retrograde, someone hostile to victims’ rights, perhaps even biased against women.
What neither Time nor Murphy mentioned: in the same trial, the judge allowed the women who had made unproven claims about the suspects’ sexual conduct to testify for the state. Imagine how Murphy or Anderson—or, presumably, Time reporter Meg Massey—would have complained had the defense been allowed to call to the stand two witnesses to make unproved allegations about the accuser.
This week’s humor comes from Liestoppers, where Baldo looks into Durham’s peculiar arrangement of “two chiefs for the price of . . . two chiefs.”
Also, columnist Kathleen Parker—who was correct on the lacrosse case from the start—proposed a new ailment. Nifong Syndrome is “the mind virus that causes otherwise intelligent people to embrace likely falsehoods because they validate a preconceived belief.”
Michael B. Nifong, the North Carolina prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case, was able to convince a credulous community of residents, academics and especially journalists that the three falsely accused men had raped a black stripper despite compelling evidence to the contrary.
Why? Because the lies supported their own truths. In the case of Duke, that "truth" was that privileged white athletes are racist pigs who of course would rape a black woman given half a chance and a bottle o' beer.
The salutary effects of the case in North Carolina politics continue. This week, the state legislature unanimously approved a measure to establish uniform procedures for photo ID lineups throughout the state.
Among the provisions, according to the N&O:
- “The person running the lineup must be someone who is not involved in the investigation and has no information about the potential suspect. That would reduce the opportunity for police to cue witnesses—intentionally or unintentionally—to pick a certain suspect.”
- “The use of “fillers,” or people who aren’t suspects but who generally resemble the witness’ description of the suspect, would be required in a lineup.
State Rep. Rick Glazier, sponsor of the bill, conceded that “the timing of getting the bill through and getting a quicker consensus” resulted from the public attention given to the DPD’s misconduct.
Gary Wells, an Iowa State professor who’s a national expert in eyewitness identification procedures, praised the legislature’s action: It’s a near certainty that there will be a reduction in mistaken eyewitness identification . . . The cases that come along after this will be more pristine and more trustworthy. So not only will it save some innocent people from ever getting to that point, but it also makes sure that guilty parties are convicted.”
Hat tip: J.W.[Note: As the case winds down, a schedule shift: Group profiles on Monday; roundup posts move to Friday; and I no longer will be making regular posts on the weekend, although I will post weekend items as news demands.]