Saturday, August 25, 2007

Athletic Myths & Realities

For those who might have missed it, the Duke Athletics Department recently issued a comprehensive summary of its activities.

It noted that accomplishments for the 2006-2007 academic year included “a Rhodes Scholar, an NCAA Championship and numerous recognition in the classroom, in the community and in competition.”

As the report noted,

Academically, our student-athletes continue to set the bar for not only other athletic departments around the nation, but other general student populations as well. Our athletes combined to register a cumulative 3.1 grade point average over the past two semesters, and 21 teams had a collective GPA higher than 3.0 during the spring semester. For 18 consecutive years, Duke student-athletes had more members on the ACC Academic Honor Roll than any other league institution
Chas Salmen of the men’s cross country and track and field teams, who organized an Arab-Jewish coalition and won academic and photography prizes, was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The only honoree from Duke this year, Salmen was chosen from among 896 applicants at 340 colleges and universities throughout the country.

In November, the NCAA announced that for the freshman class entering college in 1999-2000, Duke posted the nation’s top student-athlete graduation rate. Duke (91 percent) was joined by Boston College (90) and Northwestern (90) as the only Division I-A schools at or above 90 percent.

The cover letter, from Joe Alleva, observed that over the previous 15 months, “many people exploited the situation and used the media to promote their ideas about the role of athletics at Duke, the financial investment necessary to compete at the Division I level, and whether the school can maintain the balance of being among the elite in both academics and athletics.”

Who, precisely, would these “many people” be?

  • Perhaps Orin Starn, who exploited the case as part of his campaign to transform Duke into Haverford.
  • Or “clarifying” faculty member Ken Surin, who suggested that he had no athletes in his classes, because “I do not give quizzes . . . I give very hard reading.”
  • Or Peter Wood, who chaired the CCI’s “athletics subgroup,” and whose credibility was found wanting by the Coleman Committee.

I don’t expect any responses from Starn, Wood, or Surin to the report. After all, why let facts interfere with the metanarrative?

Hat tip: N.D.

82 comments:

Gary Packwood said...

Chas Salmen of the men’s cross country and track and field teams, who organized an Arab-Jewish coalition and won academic and photography prizes, was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. The only honoree from Duke this year, Salmen was chosen from among 896 applicants at 340 colleges and universities throughout the country.
::
What a wonderful achievement.

Here is his write up from the Rhodes Scholarship people.

http://www.americanrhodes.org/newsletter2007/Charles_Salmen.html

He has coauthored two publications in the Journal of Urology and plans on a career in medicine.

His English (!!) thesis on Walt Whitman and D. H. Lawrence was awarded "most outstanding and original senior thesis."
::
GP

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Alleva just forgot to mention this, so I'll add it in here :

"Twenty-seven members of this year’s men’s lacrosse team were named to the [AAC] Honor Roll...The lacrosse team’s 27 Honor Roll members is the highest number in the ACC, easily outdistancing the numbers earned by UNC (16), Virginia (16), and Maryland (14).

"This result ran true to form: over the last five years, the lacrosse team has had 173 members make the Academic Honor Roll, more than twice as many as the next closest school.
"And of this year’s recipients, five made the Honor Roll in each of their four years at Duke: Dave Evans, Erik Henkelman, Glenn Nick, Bruce Thompson, and Matt Zash. No other Duke team had as many four-year winners."

"The 27 lacrosse players who made the Academic Honor Roll also surpassed the total of any other men’s team at Duke except for football (34, of a roster of 80-plus). The lacrosse team had more Honor Roll members than baseball (15), basketball (5), cross country (13), golf (3), indoor track (17), soccer (15), swimming (13), tennis (8), or wrestling (17)."

rrhamilton said...

THE MOST EXPLOSIVE COMMENTS SEEN AT DiW


Anonymous said...

The "it did not cause any problems" line is naive. Faculty and employees in Arts and Sciences who voiced disagreement with the ad were subjected to angry denunciations, and in at least one case an employee was threatened with loss of employment for criticizing the ad.

If harassment is associated with a hostile work environment, and the environment is larger than an individual departmental unit, then many faculty were harassed.

That's not "no effect."

8/23/07 1:54 PM

Anonymous said...
I'm Anon 1:54pm
replying to AMAC and Gary Packwood

Yes, it varied across departments. Many faculty were oblivious, for the usual reasons -- they teach no undergraduates, or run labs and projects full time. I'd guess a majority of the Arts and Sciences faculty dislike or regard as silly college athletics at the Division 1 level about as much as they dislike or regard as silly race/class/gender studies. Many faculty trained overseas are baffled, and bemused, by American obsessions with both college sports and "embracing diversity." In some of the departments "associated" with the ad, individual faculty members were pressured to sign it, and to sign the second ad if they had not signed the first. Nontenured faculty, and associate professors looking to move to full rank, were in very big binds in some departments.

Staff members were in some places at real risk; one I talked to was specifically told by a supervisor to stop speaking in a public forum or else he would be fired. (That person refused to file a complaint for fear of future job retaliation.) There were related issues associated with the FODU petition, as individuals identified themselves as unhappy with the Chronicle ad, and supportive of all Duke students. Administratively, some faculty were given to understand that views on the lacrosse case would play a role in nominations of faculty members to committees by the Executive Committee of the Academic Council.

I can't provide documentation in public, I'm afraid. Unlike KC, I have to live with these people for decades. Some people spoke to me, and to others, in confidence. Do I believe them? Yes, I do. It's possible KC may have some of this material in his book.

8/23/07 4:19 PM


Academics were silenced by threats of jobs at Duke if they criticized the 88. Can the Duke Chronicle touch this story? There is reason to believe that diversity-racist-censorship also intimidates the student newspaper since the newspaper's internet message boards were silenced* to stop independent voices from being heard on the lacrosse case and related issues.

*For a real Duke education, go to dukechronicle.com (linked above) and click on the link where it says

"Updated: 8/1 at 5:57 p.m.
"The Chronicle explains the difficult decision to temporarily disable our message boards."

R.R. Hamilton

Debrah said...

Come on in to Wonderland, Orin

We might even let you explore our creek beds.

Stu Daddy said...

From William E. King's article about the inaugural address of William Preston Few, President of Trinity College 1910-1924 and Duke University 1924-1940:

"He began by stating it was appropriate to discuss the place of the college in southern history and to say plainly what Trinity College should undertake to do. The audience quickly grasped that his style was to speak in carefully considered generalizations. He inspired the audience with eloquent yet quietly stated grand ideals, not exhortation. The address stressed freedom, truth, the important evolving democratic experiment in government, courage both individual and institutional, and above all, service, religion and character. There was nothing narrow minded or sectarian in his plan for Trinity. He did have a prescription for lasting success. Concluding, Few said "The greatness of a college depends not upon the size of its plant or the number of its students, but upon the quality of the men who teach and the quality of the men who learn, upon its ideals and its influence.""

Before finishing summer school and memorizing the Duke Faculty Handbook, the G8x, Brodhead administration and BOT also should refer to the example of Duke's early leaders.

Anonymous said...

1242 AM

Does anyone doubt this sort of thing was done at Duke? These people are the very thing that they accuse others of being . . . they are intolerant racist to say the least. The fact that one of thieir ilk would resort to grade retaliation is only part of it. They carry grudges and are petty . . . wanting power they fawn in the face of it. They live off of their own egoes . . . they are academics . . . and the public needs to be protected from a group of people who are not centered or fair, but who are, to the contrary, rather intolerant and nasty. I don't think that their activities could stand the light of day or that, if audited, their grades would reflect fairness.

Anonymous said...

1:22 AM

The Duke Group88 have read the Handbook, and having read the Handbook, have given it their own reading, and that is how they look at the whole process. In short, they don't know what you are talking about. It is that ignorance that is at the heart of the social disaster that are the Humanities at Duke. They were an embarassment in the search for truth. They were hostile to the truth and ignorant of the very realities of life that are part of their very studies. The violent, hateful things that they encouraged and the lack of respect for law and due process are an abomination and are a part of a "social disaster" in which they were the creators who were the participants. Yes, something happened at Duke that has taken more than a year to work itself to some sense of justice or fairness to falsely accused people.

Topher said...

I haven't even read the post yet, this is unrelated, but...

I just flipped by headline news and saw Wendy Murphy being interviewed by Glenn Beck. My heart sank.

I like Glenn, so I just fired an email to him expressing my disappointment. Perhaps his staff or CNN see her as some kind of legal vigilante. I tried to enlighten him to the truth of this hag.

mac said...

I was a walk-on swimmer at a division I school (a transfer) and I really didn't belong at the school, either for academics or for the sport. I was a late-bloomer in academics and in the sport, and was more like the team mascot - (not having been demoted to the level of team manager yet...)

Those I didn't measure up with were students who were majoring in Engineering, (or who pursued other challenging studies,) who had great GPAs, and who somehow still managed to deal with a mileage-obsessed program.

I saw - and see - nothing to complain about with regard to the notion of the student-athlete, particularly in sports like swimming. Most of those I swam with were exceptional human beings.

Perhaps Starn et al think Mike/Marcus were enrolled at Duke?

Anonymous said...

Is Starn a Communist?

Anonymous said...

I surprised that 1:54 and 4:19 didn't mentioned the pressure put on untenured faculty to sign a dumb letter that originated in Duke's Econ dept. I'm especially surprised since he has intimate knowledge of the letter and how it came to be.

AF said...

Once again we see student performance and academic weakness among the faculty. Get a bus, load up the faculty, and take them to the places about which they obsess. Send a group to Mexico to inspect Mayan phallisses, a group to inspect the sexual habits of the Chinese, and the last group to the tin mines of the world so they can make their own pots. Just get them the heck out of the US!

Anonymous said...

6:23,

I could have written that post myself. I was a swimmer at NCSU and experienced the same thing. Balancing full class loads in Mechanical Engineering (18 hrs/semester), swimming 4 hours a day, plus an hour of weight training, was no easy task. I was a marginal student compared to many on the team and was amazed at the ability of some to excel in both in the pool and in the class room. I only swam 2 years at State, thinking that I needed to devote more time to my studies, and learned an amazing thing. When I quit swimming I suddenly had an abundance of free time and didn't have to worry about time management. My grades didn't improve any and my self discipline went down the drain. I can honestly say that quitting the swim team was the biggest mistake I made during my college career. Looking back now almost some 30 years later, I can honestly say that the lessons I learned about myself and life thru training and competing for 15 years as a swimmer, far outweigh anything I ever learned in a classroom.

haskell said...

rrh at 12:42am reminds us that the Chronicle message boards were disabled. In response to this action, I placed a small classifed ad in the Chronicle (click the "see all 138 ads" line) a few days ago.

Lacrosse Hoax Ad

Cedarford said...

Maybe it's just me, but I'm happy that Finnerty and Seligmann's failure to graduate on time will count against Duke.

Perhaps they can put a little asterisk alongside Duke in the NCAA books and note Lacrosse would have had an even better record but for the despicable actions of Duke employees, Durham DA, Durham police.

Anonymous said...

OT but....
William Barber and his People's Agenda (everyone has one right?)
1) Increase the NC minimum wage
2) Redressing discrimination in hiring and government contracting
3) Abolishing the death penalty
4) Collective bargaining
5) Affordable health care
6) Abolishing mandatory sentencing
7) Protecting the rights of Hispanics
8) Affordable housing
9) Helping historically black colleges

For #2, I take it that he is addressing set-asides. For #5, he needs to talk to one of his allies (John Edwards) who made his fortune costing North Carolinians more with his lawsuits. For #9, I don't know what he means since this would contradict #2.

Notably absent from his list (and surprisingly so) is a call to prosecutorial and law-enforcement integrity and educational policies. It would seem to me that rather than focus on mandatory sentencing and abolishing the death penalty, he would be better served to promote educating young people rather than worry about how long they are incarcerated. An ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me that someone else, maybe coach K, wrote joe alleva's cover letter. I didnt think joe could be anything fairer than, "its not about the truth anymore" staements. some turnaround, huh?? Now its..."people exploited the situation and used the media....". too bad he didnt stand up that stongly back then like he appears to be standing up now.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Debrah said...

Troll Alert!

Anonymous said...

What real evidence is there that Curtis is still employed at Duke?

Anonymous said...

Once again, KC takes something put out by Duke (this time, their athletic dept.) and turns it into an opportunity to attack faculty members.

Where's the balance?

haskell said...

"Or “clarifying” faculty member Ken Surin, who suggested that he had no athletes in his classes, because “I do not give quizzes . . . I give very hard reading.”

If his reading assignments resemble the examples of G88 "scholarship", those assignments would be very hard and, indeed, painful reading.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of trolls, did anything ever come of the investigation of the "hate" emails sent to the G88? Or was it ever really investigated?

I always wondered if it would be discovered that they sent the hate mail themselves just as one of their supporters likely posted at 9:32.

Debrah said...

To 9:42AM--

What would Duke's Gang of 88 and their silent colleagues know about balance?

Would they recognize it unless demanding it for themselves?

Debrah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debrah said...

Lacrosse players tap legal team

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
gronberg@heraldsun.com
Aug 24, 2007 : 11:29 pm ET

Two of the country's best-known lawyers are representing three former Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape and may file a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city next month, multiple sources say.

The players have hired Washington, D.C., lawyer Brendan Sullivan and New York City litigator Barry Scheck to represent them in the pending civil case.

Sullivan -- who gained fame in the 1980s while representing former Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North -- is working for lacrosse players David Evans and Collin Finnerty.

Confirmation of that came Friday from Chris Manning, a law partner of Sullivan's in the Washington firm Williams & Connolly.

Manning said that Scheck -- a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team" in the 1990s -- is representing the third falsely accused player, Reade Seligmann.

Sources say Sullivan and Scheck contacted the city's lawyers recently and told them Durham faces litigation over how police handled the Duke lacrosse case.

Their move prompted City Council members, senior administrators, City Attorney Henry Blinder and a private-practice attorney retained by the city, Joel Craig, to huddle behind closed doors twice this week for consultations.

Blinder and Craig are supposed to attend a face-to-face meeting with the players' attorneys sometime in the next few days to hear them describe the basis for a lawsuit and perhaps terms for an out-of-court settlement.

The council has scheduled a closed-door meeting on Sept. 6 to hear a report from Blinder and Craig on the results of that meeting.

Supporters of the three players have anticipated the filing of a lawsuit for months, even before state Attorney General Roy Cooper pronounced bogus the rape, kidnapping and sexual assault charges police and former District Attorney Mike Nifong tried to pin on the students last year.

The news that players had retained Sullivan and Scheck was not a surprise in those quarters.

"That was the whole point of why this case was so extraordinary," Duke Law School professor James Coleman said Friday. "These were not run-of-the-mill, poor, unconnected people. These are students who could command the very best lawyers in the country."

Coleman added that Sullivan and Scheck are "excellent litigators and very aggressive."

Sullivan's representation of North during Congressional hearings into the Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal is only one of the highlights of a legal career that began in the late 1960s.

He has represented former U.S. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros and fought Microsoft Corp. on behalf of a consortium of states convinced the firm was guilty of anti-trust violations.

Sources confirmed that Sullivan represented the players in talks that in June produced an out-of-court settlement of their potential claims against Duke. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Scheck's role in the Simpson case stemmed from his expertise on DNA evidence. He is a professor at New York's Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and director of the Innocence Project, an effort to free wrongfully convicted inmates by applying DNA evidence and the latest research-based understanding of how eyewitness identifications can go wrong.

His work for Seligmann is as a private-practice attorney. Innocence Project spokesman Eric Ferrero said Friday the group isn't involved in the Duke case.

It's not clear yet what claims the lawyers will make in the impending lawsuit, but legal experts who have watched events unfold over the past 17 months expect them to contend that city officials violated the federal Civil Rights Act of 1871.

The law allows people to sue in federal court over "the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution."

City governments are liable to such claims thanks to a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision authored by former Justice William Brennan that said they're accountable for any unconstitutional act that "implements or executes a policy statement, regulation or decision officially adopted or promulgated by that body's officers."

Brennan's wording has protected other cities in cases involving the actions of rogue police officers, Duke Law School professor Erwin Chemerinsky said.

"It is not unusual to have police officers sued under [the 1871 law]," Chemerinsky said. "Always, the hard part is proving that city policy is responsible."

But Durham officials may find it impossible to argue that rogue officers drove the lacrosse case.

Detectives got permission from their superiors before making their single most controversial move in the entire investigation, the use of an against-policy photo lineup that generated IDs of the three players.

Police Chief Steve Chalmers and City Manager Patrick Baker have since insisted that detectives didn't violate departmental policy because they only wanted the accuser, a 28-year-old exotic dancer, to identify witnesses, not suspects.

Critics of the city's handling of the case say that argument is nonsense.

Officials "had an independent obligation to handle this thing according to their own polices, and they've pretty much acknowledged they didn't do that," Coleman said. "And, obviously, that had some pretty serious consequences. The students wouldn't have been indicted if they didn't run that flawed identification process."

Coleman added that the city could also be liable for false statements impugning the players that police made knowing they were "wrong or they were reckless."

The city has insurance to cover damage awards of up to $5 million. It is not clear whether the players might settle for that, or might seek an award that would force the council to dip into city reserves or raise taxes.

Coleman said a protracted legal fight wouldn't benefit anyone.

"Clearly, there was wrongdoing," he said. "The city needs to assess the extent of it, and decide whether it bears responsibility. My guess is it will conclude it does."

haskell said...

Anonymous, 9:42 said: "Once again, KC takes something put out by Duke (this time, their athletic dept.) and turns it into an opportunity to attack faculty members.

Where's the balance?"

Balance? As in faculty members attacking athletes? I believe that already happened. What goes around, comes around.

Debrah said...

Now that Barry Scheck is going to be representing the lacrosse players in the latest chapter, that explains why attorney David Rudolf spent so much time over at Mikey's disbarment hearing.

Scheck and Rudolf are old and very close friends from NY.

I'd say the city of Durham is in for a bumpy ride.

Anonymous said...

What would Duke's Gang of 88 and their silent colleagues know about balance?

I don't understand the point you're trying to make here. You're saying those faculty haven't been balanced, so it's OK for you to do the same?

mac said...

8:18
You and I seem to have had lived in parallel universes, except that when I stopped swimming, I lost interest in school, too, and dropped out. My mistake - quitting swimming - was apparenlty a bigger mistake than yours.

Later, I came back to swimming - (Masters swimming) - and beat all my old college times -(though they were nothing to brag about, then or now.) I decided that the regimentation one gains from fitness activities was worthwhile, after all. (I'm still swimming and doing some running, too, for the cross-training.) I understand that KC is a runner. Obviously, he's got enough endurance to be a distance runner.

I wonder if the 88 spend time in exercise, seeing how little they respect student athletes? If not, they might want to try it: might clear their heads a little.

Debrah said...

Imagine if they liked him.

Only in Durham.

Debrah said...

To 10:15AM--

What Goes Around.....

Anonymous said...

Debrah,
Thanks for sharing this article. Although I live in Durham, grew up here, and used to deliver the H-S as a kid, I just can't bring myself to read the H-S under its current leadership. The article suggests many interesting subplots. One that peaked my interest is the Scheck-Coleman Innocence Project angle. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how it is spun in the final analysis.

gwallan said...

Anonymous @9:42AM said...
Once again, KC takes something put out by Duke (this time, their athletic dept.) and turns it into an opportunity to attack faculty members.
Where's the balance?

Good question. Maybe you could put it to the G88. They, after all, have the power to stop it. All it would take is a couple of words.

Anonymous said...

TO:KC and readers,
I certainly hadn't the drive and probabl not the talent to compete in college athletics.A cousin did so (Big 10 school) and remamarked it was like his internship year (ortho) for four years.Some of the resentment might be jealousy at high achievers.
Too much of my library time was spent delving into archives.
Corwin

Debrah said...

A letter in th H-S today:


Criminals roam free

Did you know that you have to commit murder in Durham to get any jail time? I'm referring to the lead article in the Metro section of the paper on Aug. 23.

You can get "arrested three previous times ... twice for possession of a stolen car and once for breaking into a vehicle." (All three charges in little over a year and all three dismissed.)

Or, a person's "criminal history can include a string of drug charges and two arrests involving guns," and still you can roam the streets at will. The judicial system in Durham seems to consider only murder worth bothering about.

Way to go, judges!

Nancy Rogers Yaeger
Durham
August 25, 2007

Anonymous said...

Where's the balance?

My, is that inane. "Balance" is what journalism has substituted for "truth" - something to be pursued as an end in its own right. It is, however, a poor substitute.

Anonymous said...

Debrah,

Great work, there's not any amount of shock that could clean that cess pool.

Yo Mark, better get all the OT you can, and a clean pair of scibbies.

Debrah said...

TO 10:48AM--

It seems just about everyone in the Triangle shares your opinion of the H-S. LIS!

Too bad KC will be half way around the world. It seems there are still a few more chapters left to this saga.

It will be interesting.

:>)

Debrah said...

TO 10:57AM--

It will be of great interest to see how the Whichard Committee performs, ultimately.

If they find no deliberate wrongdoing, then you know the place is a hopeless banana-republic.

Anonymous said...

K.C.- hate to interrupt your weekend, but looks like the players are getting ready to run the hot poker of civil suits thru Durham's ass. Can we get a report?

Anonymous said...

10:52: Right on! Starn, Wood and many others have the junior varsity inferiority complex. They see extraordinarily talented student-athletes at Duke, and, quite frankly, they are jealous. Most Duke athletes could have been admitted to Haverford as non-athletes. Few Haverford athletes could have been admitted to Duke as recruited athletes. Starn and Wood would like to believe that if they were coming out of high school this year, then Duke would be knocking their door(s) down. Sorry guys, you are not Duke material. Therein lies the rub. And it's a nasty rub.

Stu Daddy said...

Debra, been meaning to ask you... What does LIS stand for? I asked my hip, text message savvy daughters, but they were clueless.

inman said...

Regarding the basis in law for a civil suit against Durham...

...the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was also known as the "Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871"...

Nathan Bedford Forrest would be proud that his legacy can provide for justice.

Professor "X" said...

This has to do with the materials in R. R. Hamilton at 12:42. I have followed the blog only intermittently in recent weeks, and I do not have a good grasp of everything that has come out. But let me try to get straight what seems to be in R. R. Hamilton’s post. There is at Duke a reliable source who is reporting that (s)he knows for a fact that faculty and/or staff members who might have been or indeed were inclined to protest the “Listening Statement” and/ or other professionally improper statements or actions of the 88ers were constrained from doing so by intimidation that actually went so far as to threaten their jobs. Is that correct?

If so, the situation is so shockingly improper from the professional point of view that its incidental illegality may seem only an afterthought. This person (whom I will call “Silent Source” and assume for grammatical convenience to be male) is not speaking out on the Duke campus because “he has to live with these people” in the long run. In other words, Silent Source is joining or constituting a wall of silence protecting the improper activities of his colleagues. Such was one of the first false charges leveled against the members of the lacrosse team!

It is true that Silent Source has to live with “these people”. He also has to live with himself and his conscience. People willing to live with fraud and injustice against others in order to win a quiet or comfortable life for themselves are of course very numerous even in our own society, and more numerous yet in societies where injustice is more prevalent than it is here. But surely in the context of a great educational institution we could hope for more?

There is one senior administrative officer at Duke of whom I continue to have a high opinion. That is Peter Lange, the Provost. He has not been heard from, or of, in months—at least in the posts I’ve read. But very early on he did two things that impressed me. He actually said to the potbangers at or near his house that since the facts in the case were as yet unknown, and since there really was a presumption of innocence, and since the University really was cooperating with the police in investigating the incident, their noisy protestations might be premature or misdirected. That may not seem like shining heroism, but in the history of this “case” it now seems a proud moment. Next, Provost Lange made public his answer to the outrageous, self-indulgent, and deeply unintelligent public letter of superstar professor Huston Baker. The Provost’s letter was far more guarded and circumspect that Prof Baker deserved, but it again was a rare moment of undiluted truth telling.

At most universities the Provost has primary responsibility for faculty matters, even though there may be an officer called the Dean of the Faculty. I would strongly urge Silent Witness to communicate to the Provost some of the concerns he is sharing on this blog. This “lacrosse case” has damaged Duke University very severely. This is a fact that does not seem to be appreciated by many of the participants in this blog, who, unfamiliar with universities and their governance, apparently are expecting the immediate collapse of annual giving, or the firing of the president, or a “cleaning house” of the faculty, or an instant drop in the USNWR ratings, or some other wholly unrealistic result. The “lacrosse case” has damaged Duke in at least four ways. First—and you won’t like this one—there are a large number of people in academia who now think that Duke is a hotbed of racism and social pathology, and that even though the “rape” case collapsed, something terrible really did happen, only to be covered up by malign right-wing forces. Next there is a smaller but much better informed group who realize that “what happened” was that in an orgy of political correctness a bunch of wildly irresponsible faculty who despise a large swath of their own student body joined with a mainly spineless administration and a corrupt local justice system to pursue an unjust cause. Next, this blog (and, I presume, the book eventuating from it) is imposing through the “Group Profiles” a huge embarrassment on Duke. American society has been pretty willing to allow higher education to be an “ivory tower” inhabited by boffins and eccentrics. But the frank delineation of the nature of the research of many 88ers—and in their very own incomprehensible gobbledygook—is enough to shock a general, intelligent, middle-class audience that is far larger than most professors like to recognize. A fourth blow to Duke is the solidification and perhaps even organization of an anti-administration faction among an important section of the alumni. These people cannot be dismissed as old farts who are opposed to coeducation, or racial integration, or technological modernity. And there is no “up” side to this episode. When the old-line single sex institutions went co-ed, the “rebellion” of a certain group of alumni was offset by the enthusiasm of another group. It is hard for me to imagine that there are many Duke alumni saying to themselves, “Forget those old fogies! I need to increase my contribution this year now that I see what a great impact this Curtis woman is having.” A fifth category of damage—which could result from the realization that the professional “climate” at Duke is really one of intellectual terrorism, in which decent people are constrained from behaving decently for fear of losing their jobs—is hardly one that a Provost or other senior administrator should accept with equanimity.

Debrah said...

To Stu Daddy--

LIS = laughing inside


:>)

Steven Horwitz said...

Thank you Professor X at 1116. There is much of value there.

I too hope that the commenter who reported on the bullying and coercion used against faculty to sign the Listening Statement can find a way to get any proof he/she has about that to the appropriate folks at Duke. If true, that is way, way over the line of professional propriety and worse, I might argue, than what the G88 did to the students.

Academic freedom protects a lot of things (and it should) but coercion and bullying and extortion of colleagues, especially junior colleagues, is not among them.

Anonymous said...

To Professor X:

Great post!

KC Johnson said...

I agree with the above on the importance of the Professor X post and the follow-ups to it. Obviously only a percentage of the blog's overall readership goes through all the comments; I'm going to reproduce several of these comments in a regular post Tuesday, so they receive the widest possible dissemination.

Anonymous said...

"If they find no deliberate wrongdoing, then you know the place is a hopeless banana-republic."

where music and passion are always in fashion...@ the hopeless, hopeless banana,

Will a little Barry Manilow help?

Debrah said...

Next, this blog (and, I presume, the book eventuating from it) is imposing through the “Group Profiles” a huge embarrassment on Duke. American society has been pretty willing to allow higher education to be an “ivory tower” inhabited by boffins and eccentrics. But the frank delineation of the nature of the research of many 88ers—and in their very own incomprehensible gobbledygook—is enough to shock a general, intelligent, middle-class audience that is far larger than most professors like to recognize.


A point I have tried to make many times.
You articulate it perfectly.

inman said...

KC

May I suggest that you link to Professor x's comments in one of your postings. This was a clear and cogent summary of some issues and their impact on a University that many of us held** dear.

It would be good to call attention to Professor x's words.


**(and would like to continue to hold)

Anonymous said...

Just a thought about Ken Surin's cheap shot at athletes (I don't know if this was mentioned in comments on the first post where his snide remarks were reported; if so, my apologies for repeating)--

If Surin does not have any athletes in his classes, an entirely plausible alternative explanation is that the only class primarily aimed at undergraduates that he has taught since 2005 is the seminar for literature majors writing honors theses--a rather specialized offering. He has also taught several sections of Literature 281, Paradigms of Modern Thought (the number in the 200s usually means a class primarily for graduate students that is also open to advanced undergraduates), which might not have interested any athletes (or many other people, since the last two offerings of the class were about half full) because the topics are so specialized. In fall 2006, he covered French philosopher Gilles Deleuze; in spring 2007, Michel Foucault.

I don't question the appropriateness of this subject matter for advanced study, but it's a little self-involved to conclude that anyone who doesn't want to spend a whole semester on one French philosopher is making that
choice because there are no quizzes.

Anonymous said...

RRH re Duke Chronicle--

Well, yes, "independent voices" were silenced by the suspension of the Chronicle message boards. But, really, some of what was posted there was extremely offensive, and the explanation for suspending the boards--inability to monitor postings during the summer--makes perfect sense. The Chronicle is a student publication, after all, and the students (both staff and readers) are mostly not around in August. Additionally, it has no obligation to provide a completely unrestricted open form on the web; freedom of speech has never meant the freedom to speak in any forum, public or private, of one's choice.

I doubt seriously that Chronicle staff have been intimidated into this choice by "diversity-racist-censorship" rather than making it based on their common sense, good taste, and concern for public decency.

AMac said...

Re: Professor X at 11:16am --

Powerful points.

None of us know, but I'm inclined to believe on the basis of tone and grammar that "Silent Witness" is who he or she seems to be.

I seem to have more sympathy for Silent Witness' position than others do. Often, one learns about the sorts of "office politics" happenings that S.W. has described through hearsay and gossip. Credible hearsay and gossip. For example, a colleague of known probity might enter S.W.'s office, saying, "I just came from a meeting with Chairman A and Full Professor B, and they agreed to warn Asst. Prof C that..." In this example, Silent Witness would have little to offer to the Provost besides the hearsay account of Dr. Probity. In situations like this, people in Dr. Probity's position often request confidentiality from people in S.W.'s position... so I could see things turning into an ugly tangle of conflicting loyalties. Not to mention, of conflicting accounts.

In the best of all possible worlds, Silent Witness would at least be assured that Dept. Chairman A, the Dean, and the Provost would be acutely aware of the damage already done by the reckless and feckless Listening Statement, and would be determined to protect the innocent and arrive at the truth of the matter. However, from what I've come to understand about the humanities at Trinity College and the performance of Duke's senior administrators, I think S.W. would have been unwise to have made such assumptions.

Instead, many of us (most of us?) of a certain age have had the bitter experience of having a superior in the workplace bureaucracy unwillingly drawn into adjudicating a conflict between ourselves (right) and another party (wrong). The usual course is for the Senior Bureaucrat to attempt to make the problem go away, often by splitting the difference. Sometimes, splt-the-difference yields a rough approximation of justice. Often, it does not.

I suspect that a formal complaint by Silent Witness followed by such an outcome would have left S.W. in such a hostile workplace environment that he or she would have felt obliged to leave Duke--and, probably, with whispered evaluations that would have made traversing to a similar academic position quite difficult.

Just my speculations, of course--but I don't see any of the elements I've touched on as being unusual for a Listening-Statement-heavy department at Duke.

Gary Packwood said...

Professor "X" 11:16 said...

....(Historically) the “rebellion” of a certain group of alumni was offset by the enthusiasm of another group.
....It is hard for me to imagine that there are many Duke alumni saying to themselves, “Forget those old fogies! I need to increase my contribution this year now that I see what a great impact this Curtis woman is having.”
::
Your observation that there are audiences within the alumni that are far larger than most professors like to recognize is a 'key' point I believe in understanding the G88, their friends, their students along with the behavior of the DPD and Mike Nifong.

The actions of the G88 et al, suggests to me that they believe there are huge groups of alumni who are anti-jock and anti-fraternity and these group would be enthusiast supporters.

And, they believe that these groups are sizeable at all Tier #1 schools and linked together towards a common goal.

It would be helpful to know more about who these people are and how these groups behave with respect to fund drives, their on-going support of the G88 and their networking activities with similar groups at other schools.

Are these groups far smaller than the professor like to recognize or perhaps the group members are cowards and disappear into the thin air when trouble rears it ugly head?

The Take Back The Night march along with the Potbangers 'assault' does not happen in my minds eye, unless the level of support for these acts was seen as substantial.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Professor "X",
Are you tenured?

Anonymous said...

For SW. Stay silent. You do not have a single superior who will back you and protect you. Since the situation at Duke is untenanble, your option is to leave if you can or to consult a respected labor relations attorney re your options. JLJr

One Spook said...

Like others here, I echo the praise for the posting by "Professor X" at 11:16 AM. These are the careful and thoughtful words of a person who most eloquently embodies the term "Professor."

To those words, I would humbly add these observations.

Professor X's assertion that "The 'lacrosse case' has damaged Duke University very severely." is quite true. However, this damage was caused by the words and actions of this small but vociferous Group of 88 and others who have sympathized with them.

Let that be clear.

Blogs, commentors, alumni, members of the academy, and other persons who have expressed their displeasure with the actions of the Group of 88 are not to blame for this damage to Duke University anymore than reporters Woodward and Bernstein are to blame for Watergate. There is no penalty for telling the truth in America, indeed there are laws to protect those who tell the truth at great risk.

And, this damage has been made worse by the lack of any effort (apart from the "undiluted truth telling" by Provost Lange cited by Professor X) by the Duke administration to mitigate this damage. From Duke's Mission Statement to its Faculty Handbook, there are numerous instances where the Group of 88's actions and words violate both the spirit and intent of those policies, not to mention the great traditions of the American academy.

In regard to the words and action of this Group of 88, many have commented about Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. Neither of those cherished rights are absolute, and indeed the Faculty Handbook addresses such exceptions.

Just prior to the lacrosse case, there was a Duke Professor who organized and led a group of students, all dressed alike, who very purposely and deliberately interrupted the free speech of an individual invited by Duke to make an on-campus presentation. Although this activity was in clear violation of the Faculty Handbook, among other "policies" at Duke, nothing was done to punish this professor and her students' activity.

This same professor joined the Group of 88 in their activities that have done great damage to Duke University. Again, nothing has been done to sanction any of the offenders.

By not addressing the misdeeds of some of its faculty with its own rules, regulations, and policies, the Duke administration has further damaged its own institution and abdicated its responsibilities.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Is Alleva a gay?








It doesn't matter to me, but to the folks in the Gang of 88, it is fundamental to understanding his identity, his job and his influence in the community. If you perform a "... and Queer Theory" analysis of Joe Alleva, you realize the following:

1. He may or may not be gay;

2. If he is, in fact, gay, then he might be chromosomally gay or gay by nurture.

3. His job in overseeing and disciplining bands of sweaty men and women (but not both on the same team) should be gay so as to destabilize and shift the boundaries of this typical cultural construction.

Seriously, though, is "... and Queer Theory" only a plastic tenure-track mechanism required by peer pressure among certain departments in modern academia?

Or, on the other hand, could it be akin to the teenager in 1978 buying that Kiss album just to piss off his parents? In that vein, some Cheap Trick:

"Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you
She also told me stay away you never know what you'll catch
Just the other day I heard a lynching going down
Some feministic bunk that's really going round

Mommy's all right, mommy two's all right, they just seem a little queer
Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away

Mother said 'other mommy's right she's so above rebuke'
'Before we married in Maine she was a TA over at Duke'
But I heard they only hired queer TA's for that school
And mommy isn't one of those she's way too hip and cool

Mommy's all right, other mommy's all right, they just seem a little queer
Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away

Whatever happened to all my innocence and childish dreams
One night I left my bed to see about all their late-night screams
When I woke up, mom and mom were rolling on the couch
Rolling numbers, Rock and Roll, they got my Kiss records out

Mommy's all right, other mommy's all right, they just seem a little queer
Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away"

Seriously, if one of the Gang of 88 would get on here to explain "... and Queer Theory," I would appreciate it. After some reading, it remains way over my head.

_______________

"Although K.C. Johnson gave mortals the gift of the wheel, Zeus did not discipline him. See, K.C. was ALWAYS Zeus's favorite." Ovid's "Johnson." MOO! Gregory [Note: Any parody contained herein is attributable only to the author and not any reasonable person] [Do not feed the parody!]

Debrah said...

To Spook @ (4:49PM)

Es verdad.

Very good!

Now........about the Midnight Rider YouTube......

(Diva asks, red-faced, pacing the floor with hands on hips, ready to throw a glass of vino across the room.)

LOL!

One Spook said...

Anon @ 1:46 regarding the suspension of comments in the "Duke Chronicle," writes:

I doubt seriously that Chronicle staff have been intimidated into this choice by "diversity-racist-censorship" rather than making it based on their common sense, good taste, and concern for public decency.

I'm going to presume that this was written by a student, and I hope hope I'm wrong.

Allow me to introduce you to the Tooth Fairy, kids. She comments here as "Debrah."

You can delete comments that violate "good taste" and "public decency" ... most newspapers do exactly that.

However, when you use "common sense" as a criterion, you are exercising extreme censorship. Your common sense and that of commentors might differ. It is your duty as an editor to fairly present the common sense of a variety of views.

Under previous leadership, the "Duke Chornicle" provided some excellent reporting, Op-Eds, and comments that represented a wide variety of "common sense" about the lacrosse case.

For you to now eliminate comments for the reasons you described is absurd; you are simply censoring a topic the administration is troubled to hear about further.

Perhaps you can replace the comments section with details such as when the cheerleaders will hold their carwash-fundraiser and when the audio-visual club meets. By doing that, you can help your readership adopt the same expectations for your publication that it would have for any high school newspaper.

One Spook

Mike Lee said...

I cannot tell you how happy I am to read the news that the players have new attorneys who are preparing to "run the hot poker of civil suits thru Durham's ass." (as Anon 11:05 said quite well)

Mike Nifong has seen a sliver of justice already (he's still owed much more in my opinion) and it's my fervent hope that he spends a long time behind bars.

Most of all it's time for liars like Chalmers, Addison, and Gottlieb to get what's long overdue for them.

One last comment- a previous poster asked about Kim Curtis and if there is any proof she is still employed at Duke. If being listed as a faculty member in the Political Science Department on duke.edu counts, she remains on staff there.

It's easy to sit back and say what should or should not be done about Curtis, but there is no doubt her continued employment is disgusting. I'm trying to understand how President Broadhead can do nothing about her presence on campus. If Ryan Macfayden can be suspended for sending a vulgar email, how can no action be taken against a Professor who commits the worst ethical violation imaginable?

Again, I have the luxury of sitting here in my easy chair, but I cannot see how a respectable University President can allow this to stand. What prevents Broadhead from saying, "She goes or I go." It is a statement I'd feel obligated to make.

Think about it. If your employer asked you (as a boss) to oversee the work of somneone you knew was dishonest, what would you do?

The actions of Curtis are no different from an undergrad cheating on an exam to receive a higher grade. She gave Dowd a grade he did not deserve. Period.

If my employer refused to take action against someone who was guilty of outright dishonesty, I'd have to insist she be terminated, or I'd walk.

One Spook said...

Debrah writes at 5:29 PM:

Now........about the Midnight Rider YouTube......

(Diva asks, red-faced, pacing the floor with hands on hips, ready to throw a glass of vino across the room.)


Given all of the nagging about this issue that Debrah has posted here, I feel it is necessary to state the following:

Debrah is not my wife OR my girlfriend.

We have never met and do not know each other in any sense, including "Biblical," apart from this blog.

I plan to have the "Midnight Rider Video" done prior to the closing of the blog.

One Spook

inman said...

One Spook @ 4:49 says:


"To those words, I would humbly add these observations.

... this damage was caused by the words and actions of this small but vociferous Group of 88 and others who have sympathized with them.

Let that be clear.
...

And, this damage has been made worse by the lack of any effort (apart from the "undiluted truth telling" by Provost Lange cited by Professor X) by the Duke administration to mitigate this damage. ... the Group of 88's actions and words violate both the spirit and intent of [polocies in the Faculty Handbook], not to mention the great traditions of the American academy.
...

Although this activity was in clear violation of the Faculty Handbook, among other "policies" at Duke, nothing was done to punish this professor and her students' activity.
...

...nothing has been done to sanction any of the offenders.
...

...the Duke administration has further damaged its own institution and abdicated its responsibilities."


___________________________________

Abso-damn-lutely. Well spoken, One Spook...err, written.

inman said...

Gregory,

When did the subject of Alleva's sexual preference become an issue?

I couldn't care less. Not an issue.

I wish that people could get comfortable living in their own skin, whatever that skin is and whatever lies underneath. Attributes of humanity or human-ness or humanoid-ness (or whatever) really should not be the basis for evaluating a person. But, the '88, their actions and their research subject matter demonstrate that anger and obtuse reasoning is a weapon to attack attributes of humanity valued by many. It is also their weapon to polarize opinion and to accentuate to others reasons for not being comfortable in one's own skin.

Were the '88 beaten as children? Flogged, whipped with a cane? Forced to labor unpaid? Were they sexually abused by clergy? Did their scoutmaster diddle their privates? What is it that made them so angry?

Anonymous said...

I'm baffled by the fawning over Professor "X"'s comments. The Professor's tone seems to suggest that he/she doesn't believe the complainant. He/she goes on to blame the complainant for being a weak enabler. The entire hoax fiasco must be the complainant's fault for not speaking up! Gimme a break! If the complainant was a whistleblower working for Enron, would the Professor's response be different? Hero or goat? I don't know whether the professor has tenure, but assuming he does, he is speaking from a position of ivory tower fantasyland and immunity from job insecurity. The complainant spoke of staff members who were afraid for their jobs. They should be. A non-tenured Duke employee has to worry about such pedestrian things as a paycheck. I'd love to video-tape the scenario that Professor "X" lays out: a low level staff member whose job has been threatened by the Duke PC militia goes to Peter Lange's office to whistleblow on tenured faculty members...he/she says that he/she has been threatened with reprisals or termination if he/she speaks out on the faculty's hostility towards the lacrosse players. Professor "X", what would Lange's response be?

Debrah said...

To Spook--

LOL!!!
LOL!!!

Very well done.

You managed to give me a smack from frustration....and get the facts out at the same time.

Good.

At least you answered my question. You know how important that is.

(However, I can't help but add how wonderful it would be if I could access it now so that I could spend everyday...for the remaining days...having fun linking to it and kibitzing.)

LOL!

Debrah said...

On another topic, someone here mentioned they were getting their book on September 4th. How can that be?

My arrival date is around September 17th.

Both from Amazon.

Curious, that.

Anonymous said...

Some questions for those who believe that SW should report to "the appropriate folks at Duke". Who would that be? Is there an administrator who would care? Is there one with the courage to do anything about it? Is there one who does *not* equate PC progaganda with education?

I, too, have first-hand experience at Duke with the type of PC/G88 bullying -- and retribution -- to which SW refers. However, I did file a complaint, with two senior administrators -- which I now realize was naive and which has caused me professionial harm. (I don't have tenure.)

One administrator responded to my complaint by saying: Even if I agreed with you, "what do you want me to do about it?" I almost said: "Your job," but then realized that I was tilting at windmills.

In what must have been an unwitting moment of honesty, the other administrator told me that it's okay to express alternative views, so long as they stay within the academic mainstream. (?!)

Duke Prof

mac said...

Sorry to bring about the personal memoirs, particularly about swimming experiences, but when I shaved my head for a conference meet many years ago - (which was sort of a joke, since I swam as the butt-end of the team) - it was about that time when we'd started the new quarter (no semesters, then.) In a literature class, while discussing a novel by Carson McCullers, the Prof looked at me, bald head, earing, cowboy hat and moustache (I really didn't look as much like a Village People dude as that sounds like) and she began commenting about how jocks can be gay...and she looked a hole right through me. It was pertinent to the novel, but not particularly pertinent to me. She didn't recognize one of her favorite students from the fall quarter. She was mortified that I'd shaved
"all (my) beautiful hair!"

But it was obvious that she hated jocks, feeble jock though I was. We forgave each other, I think. I wrote a short story in lieu of a term paper that quarter, and got an "A." The story will never see the light of publication.

Hate to think she'd be one of the 88 - and I really don't she would have been: she'd have apologized, unlike others.

rrhamilton said...

Anonymous, as usual, said...
RRH re Duke Chronicle--

Well, yes, "independent voices" were silenced by the suspension of the Chronicle message boards. But, really, some of what was posted there was extremely offensive, and the explanation for suspending the boards--inability to monitor postings during the summer--makes perfect sense. The Chronicle is a student publication, after all, and the students (both staff and readers) are mostly not around in August. Additionally, it has no obligation to provide a completely unrestricted open form on the web; freedom of speech has never meant the freedom to speak in any forum, public or private, of one's choice.

I doubt seriously that Chronicle staff have been intimidated into this choice by "diversity-racist-censorship" rather than making it based on their common sense, good taste, and concern for public decency.

8/25/07 1:46 PM


First, I am unaware of any explanation given by The Chronicle for eliminating the only source of independent comment at www.dukechronicle.com. You assert that the explanation was an "inability to monitor postings during the summer--makes perfect sense." First, source? Second, then we should expect the message boards to be re-opened any day, since the Summer is nearly over?

As far as use of the message boards by "outside agitators" (where have we heard that one before), the message boards require e'mail addresses from the commenters, so Duke could easily require all messages to come from ".duke.edu" mailboxes.

The fact is that over 90% of the posts on the message boards were about the Lacrosse Scandal and 90% of those were critical of Duke. I worked on a college newspaper, including Summer Sessions. As to the (unsourced) claim that The Chronicle "lacks the monitoring capability", as One Spook said above, to believe such an explanation, you may as well believe in the Easter Bunny.

R.R. Hamilton

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER DUKE PROFESSORS STEPS AWAY FROM THE BLUE WALL OF SILENCE

Anonymous said...
Some questions for those who believe that SW should report to "the appropriate folks at Duke". Who would that be? Is there an administrator who would care? Is there one with the courage to do anything about it? Is there one who does *not* equate PC progaganda with education?

I, too, have first-hand experience at Duke with the type of PC/G88 bullying -- and retribution -- to which SW refers. However, I did file a complaint, with two senior administrators -- which I now realize was naive and which has caused me professionial harm. (I don't have tenure.)

One administrator responded to my complaint by saying: Even if I agreed with you, "what do you want me to do about it?" I almost said: "Your job," but then realized that I was tilting at windmills.

In what must have been an unwitting moment of honesty, the other administrator told me that it's okay to express alternative views, so long as they stay within the academic mainstream. (?!)

Duke Prof

8/25/07 7:19 PM

inman said...

Duke Prof @ 7:19 has identified one of the most insidious aspects of academic politics. To wit: It's okay to espouse ideology after one acquires tenure, but even in the pursuit of truth, those who have not been accepted are at risk even when stating unequivocal truth.

Would Einstein's theories have been rejected and would he have been denied review if he had stood against anti-Semitism?

Would Locke have been denied tenure because his treatise and thoughts buttressed the notion that all men were created equal?

In a world bowing to the '88, I regret that Einstein and Locke would not pass muster, ... for their thoughts and logic did not attend to the agendas of the '88.

The continued sponsorship of the '88 is truly a sad day for Duke University.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon at 1:46--and I'm anon not because I need to hide my identity but because it's not especially relevant to my comments here. I'm not a student (One spook can breathe a sigh of relief), and my only connection to Duke is as a parent.

To One Spook--I take your point, but the fault lies not in my ideas but in the apparently too careless way in which I expressed them. I certainly did not mean to suggest that Chronicle editors would screen comments based on whether their content matched the editors' ideas of "common sense"; instead, I meant that their common sense, without any "intimidation" from outside, would lead them to screen based on good taste and decency. But I committed an error of faulty parallelism--my bad.

RR Hamilton--

My source is the posting you mentioned in your original post--"The Chronicle explains the difficult decision to temporarily disable our message boards" from the Chronicle Blogger. If you follow the link and read the explanation, it includes this passage: "Because we maintain a short staff during the summer, we will not be able to institute a monitoring regime that will address the problem until at least the beginning of the school year."

Perhaps you believe that only the credulous would accept this explanation, or you might disagree with my interpretation of this source, and that's your right. But I didn't just make this up--I read it in the Chronicle.

I don't really see where you are getting the reference to "outside agitators," so I won't respond to that part of your comment other than to say it is, at the least, an extreme stretch from anything I actually said in my comments.

Finally, the message boards were, and are, not the "only source of independent comment" on the Chronicle website, as it's still possible to post comments on individual articles. I have no reason to believe the Chronicle will not, as it said it would, reopen its message boards when it establishes a satisfactory monitoring system. But in my opinion (admittedly entitled to no special weight whatsoever), the Chronicle provides adequate opportunities for comment and response by printing letters to the editor and guest columns and enabling comments on articles. If the Chronicle chooses to provide a more wide-open comment forum, that's terrific--but choosing not to wouldn't strike me as a failing or a sin.

mac said...

Not so hard to believe that an insider would keep his/her mouth shut. One only needs to look at the UN to see what happens to whistleblowers.

And Duke's 88 are, in a sense, a good representation of the United Nations.

no justice, no peace said...

11:16 inre: "...This “lacrosse case” has damaged Duke University very severely..."

A not so insignificant point - it was the lack of leadership at Duke that has damaged (and continues to damage) Duke University, not the hoax itself.

I too would agree regarding Lange's comments. He is wise to separate from Brodhead, the Gang of 88, and others.

"...Next there is a smaller but much better informed group who realize that “what happened” was that in an orgy of political correctness a bunch of wildly irresponsible faculty who despise a large swath of their own student body joined with a mainly spineless administration and a corrupt local justice system to pursue an unjust cause..."

I would submit to you that the smaller, better informed group are largely impact players who have disproportionate influence.

rrhamilton said...

Anonymous Duke parent said...
My source is the posting you mentioned in your original post--"The Chronicle explains the difficult decision to temporarily disable our message boards" from the Chronicle Blogger. If you follow the link and read the explanation, it includes this passage: "Because we maintain a short staff during the summer, we will not be able to institute a monitoring regime that will address the problem until at least the beginning of the school year."


First, when I clicked that link, it brought up only a blank page, but maybe that's my browser's fault. Second, we shall see if The Chronicle reopens the message boards. As I said, it would be easy to "monitor" if it was simply limited to "duke.edu" addresses. This would me that I couldn't comment, but that's fine with me.

Third, I don't think simply allowing comments to stories is an equivalent alternative. If only stories can be commented, The Chronicle (read: Duke administrators) could simply "monitor off" comments that it deems to be "off-topic".

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Once again, KC takes something put out by Duke (this time, their athletic dept.) and turns it into an opportunity to attack faculty members.

Where's the balance?
8/25/07 9:42 AM"

Almost certainly a troll; however, sometimes trolls unwittingly aid real conversation by crystallizing some fallacious line of thought so that the fallacy can be cleanly dissected in the view of all.

What has happened "once again" is not just that "KC takes something put out by Duke" but that Duke has put out a statement suggesting a pride in and support of its student-athletes which has in the past been denied and contradicted by agents of Duke, i.e. its professors. There is an obvious, glaring inconsistency between a statement from Duke that "student-athletes continue to set the bar for ... other general student populations" and a statement such as the one from Ken Surin which takes it as a given that student-athletes are poor/lazy students, that athletes do not enroll in his classes because "I do not give quizzes . . . I give very hard reading." KC is doing as any citizen should feel free to do, which is to bring attention to this inconsistency. What could any reasonable person suggest should be presented as "balance"?

inman said...

Every time I read a reference to Ken Surin's statement about the difficulty of his reading assignments, all I can think is that he is the personification of an unblemished hemorrhoid-free anus ...

... for he is most definitely a pluperfect ass.

Ralph Phelan said...

KC:

"KC Johnson said...
I agree with the above on the importance of the Professor X post and the follow-ups to it. Obviously only a percentage of the blog's overall readership goes through all the comments; I'm going to reproduce several of these comments in a regular post Tuesday, so they receive the widest possible dissemination.

8/25/07 11:54 AM"

If you're going to address the Silent Witness issue, how are you going to guard against the possiblity that he is some sort of extremely high-quality troll, telling us a story "too good to check" so he can make us look like fools later.

Until somebody trustworthy (maybe you, maybe someone else) comes up with some offline proof that there is a real Duke employee who is really making these claims, be very cautious.

Ralph Phelan said...

professor X at 11:16 seems (without quite coming out and saying it) to be suggesting that Silent Witness talk to Provost Lange, as he is the most honest and courageous man in the Duke administration. Well, that's pretty faint praise.

I'm not saying Silent Witness shouldn't - just that he should talk to a good lawyer first, and set it up so that when Lange sells him down the river he'll have grounds for a very expensive settlement. When strategizing, remember that Duke hates discovery.