Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brodhead Remarks

[General: this was a powerful and emotional address, one that touched on several important points in an impressive fashion. Especially well-considered were the president's comments about Duke's handling of the issues of standing up for due process and ensuring that some "ill-judged" faculty remarks weren't constructed as speaking on behalf of the University.]

conference about broader issue--legal case that creates a national community of attention

typically combine elements of scandal and other social issues (race/class/gender, etc.)--cases highlight crucial problems (justice, fairness, how American public is informed and misinformed)

facts weren't equally clear throughout the process; DA made series of statements expressing absolute confidence that crime had occurred--deep uncertainty about what had happened

then local and national media saturated coverage

RB position based on three principles:
(1) type of crime that had been alleged had no place in community
(2) presumption of innocence
(3) entrust case to criminal justice system

hopes that the aftermath is time of learning; last person to learn lessons from what has occurred

(1) regrets failure to reach out to lacrosse players and their families "in time of peril"---"This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it."

(2) "Some faculty made statements that I believe were ill-judged"--people could have thought they were expressions of university--should have done more to make clear this time that they weren't

(3) didn't repeat presumption of innocence at all times, and could have given impression that he didn't care about the concept

(4) thought it was essential to resolve situation in criminal system, but didn't make clear enough that system could be undone by failure of men
"relying on the criminal justice system in this case" had limits

concerned that if Duke spoke out in more aggressive fashion, it could have led Nifong to drop the case

but Duke needed to be clear that it demanded fair treatment for its students; took it for granted, "should have been more explicit" about it

State needs to do more to limit the power of rogue prosecutors--if another Nifong comes along, will be sure that the lessons of the case are unlearned

questons raised by case:
how does university advise them? show to interact with parents? how to deal with students on campus? Colleagues will be going over these questions in future--Duke will host national conference on this issue

"actual human lives were at the mercy of so much moral certainty"--lesson of danger of prejudgment

This was a very powerful speech. [I'll post it as soon as it becomes available.]


Anonymous said...

hes feeling the heat

acting like a coward out to try to save his job BUT far less critical of the group of 88 than he should be

the JENA6 PROVES that the AA movement is absolutely racist as BLACKS who are patently guilty annd convicted ARE defended as prominently by the MOB as those who are innocent...there are no GUILTY BLACKS according to the NAACP of DURHAM NC

to this day the group of 88 has not apologized to anyone and THEY WONT...they organized a MOB just like the naacp

miramar said...

This is as close to a mea culpa as I have seen from Brodhead, and while I consider it rather late in the game, I nonetheless am grateful that he has made these statements. I hope that he will publish the complete remarks online.

Having said that, the cynic in me also knows that he needs to mend fences with Duke alumni, and I mean big time, if he is to remain as president. No matter how much support he has from Steel et. al., his job is on the line and he knows it.

Anonymous said...

Powerful speech my ass. That was infuriating.

Anonymous said...

Duke85 says:

Brodhead's principles sound wonderful! Too bad he violated them to a fare thee well. No need to rehash his bad decisions and schoolboy political moves. The idea that he stressed the presumption of innocence would be laughable if it were not so mendacious. I still have his rambling April 2006 letter that attacks racism, sexism, mysogony (gee, anybody argue THAT point?) for pages and pages, without once mentioning the possibility that the students were innocent. By the way Dick, how did that policy of turning a blind eye to the Durham policy of targeting for arrest and roughhousing Duke students turn out?

As you can probably tell, as an alum I think the best thing for Brodhead to do is to resign gracefully because he has no credibility left. That said, I would be interested in knowing whether Brodhead came across as genuinely remorseful for his ill-advised decisions, or was simply engaged in revisionist history and spin.

Anonymous said...

So Brodhead regrets failure to reach out to lacrosse players and their families "in time of peril"---"This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it."

I sincerely hope he already has sent personal letters of apology to the families of every member of the lacrosse team. If not, I hope he is typing furiously at this very moment.

Debrah said...

I'm very glad I was able to check out Brodhead's remarks on the live feed.

Wish I had seen the entire group of panelists as well.

We have all slammed Brodhead, and for good reason; however, after watching him give his little song and dance, I feel sorry for this man.


He is such a sad character to watch. Slight and timid and tentative.

Unlike KC, he is totally unable to speak about this topic--one about which he should be intimately aware--without reading everything from his notes.

What is it with that clinched right hand held up in the air all the time while he's speaking? Is he auditioning for Hamlet's lackey?

Brodhead also spent the entire time using his fingers in a silly pedestrian manner to indicate "quotation marks" in his delivery. So ridiculous.

Message to Brodhead: If you can't relay nuance in speaking, don't use childish manual smoke signals to do the job.

How in heaven did this man become a university president?

He was visibly nervous and Dean Levi gave him the pre-planned out to leave immediately after his avoid the audience's questions, no doubt.

This man tried to address what he has done....but without addressing what he has actually done.

Same old spiel.

Again, this man is so much like Pee Wee Herman--literally--that it is quite sad to witness.

What a loser and a coward.

Perhaps we can find some poetry in it all.


(BTW, Rotberg from the Chronicle is a Duke administration suck-up.)

no justice, no peace said...

If the truth were so obvious to so many others, why was it so fuzzy to him? He could have tempered the situation and chose not to do so.

Leaders have to make decisions. Good leaders make good decisions. Bad leaders make bad decisions. Sometime mistakes are made.

Brodhead made both mistakes and bad decisions.

Brodhead showed no discernable leadership. He threw his students under the bus.

He chose sides. He chose the wrong side. He stayed with that (race/gender/class warfare) side. He promoted them, he covered for them, and all the while he put those entrusted to him in great harm.

He needs to go. The more people learn about this hoax the more outraged they will become. Imagine the backlash after the holidays once everyone has read their gift books.

He has abdicated any moral authority he has to lead anyone.

His comments may have been very powerful, but they would have been moreso had he concluded by tendering his resignation.

Carolyn said...

KC! What the hell are you doing cooing over Brodhead's words and calling them 'powerful'?

Excuse me, but let's put this in perspective by saying just one thing - timing.

You know, this truth Brodhead is finally admitting to didn't just spring up this last weekend. It's been around for over a year - yet Brodhead never found any time that whole last year to admit it. Never found the time to admit that Reade, Dave and Collin were innocent. Never found the time to admit the Gang of 88 was a bunch of racist thugs trying to destroy innocent kids for their own power base. Never found time to say anything to an innocent coach fired for something that didn't happen. But boy oh boy, Broadhead DID find time to coo over Nartey, even found the time to nominate Nartey as a yummy, wonderful fine example of the Duke students. (Yup, found plenty of time for that.) But time for Pressler, truth and the LAX team? Nope, not a second in the world.

Only now does Brodhead find the time. Yeah, great timing there! AFTER he's paid out millions for his cowardice to Reade, Collin, Dave, and Pressler. AFTER prominent Duke graduates are demanding he step down. AFTER he's now being threatened with lawsuits from the other 45 lacrosse players he abandoned, etc.

That is NOT 'powerful speech', KC. It's cowardly, save your own sorry ass speech.

Timing is everything, KC. An example of the importance of that timing - i.e., that WHEN you say something matters even more than WHAT you say - is proven by a certain architect who also gave a 'powerful speech' of his own. Like Brodhead, this architect moved others with his admission that what he'd done in the past was wrong, his silence in the past was immoral and he should have spoken up for justice earlier. This powerful architect was Albert Speer - the favorite architect of Adolf Hitler in the Third Reich. Speer admitted that yes, for over a decade he'd used slave labor for his massive projects, slave labor whose death rate approached almost 100% towards the end of the war. Yeah, Speer had known of that all along. But at that time he said nothing.

Only after Speer was placed in the docket at Nuremberg in 1946 to be tried for war crimes did he finally, at long last, admit the truth which he'd known for years. Oh, his admission was a powerful speech. Very touching, I assure you.

But those words were uttered only to save Speer's neck from the hangman's noose. When they could have - should have - been spoken to save the lives of millions of others, however, Speer did not speak.

Trust me, KC, Brodhead's timing is every bit of blasphemous and self-serving. Brodhead's timing proves the hollowness of his 'powerful speech'. Brodhead's timing proves that the only reason he speaks now is to save his own neck. And the timing of those words stinks as much as Broadhead does.

Anonymous said...

Duh! Jay Bilas BlASTS him and he finally apoligizes for some mistakes.

Sorry Dick, too late!

W. R. Chambers said...

I would like to read President Broadhead's speech and hope it will be made available on DIW.

It is never inappropriate to acknowledge one's mistakes and to accept responsibility. I suspect that in the Duke case, the list of those who have done so is shorter than the list of those who haven't.

In a sense, maybe today marks the beginning of Dick Broadhead's leadership at Duke.

Gary Packwood said...

Broadhead said...

Conference about broader issue--legal case that creates a national community of attention.
Typically combine elements of scandal and other social issues (race/class/gender, etc.)--cases highlight crucial problems (justice, fairness, how American public is informed and misinformed).
Here we go again with the broader issues of race/class/gender and COMMUNITY of attention.

Actually the conference is about the broader issue of how this hoax was hatched and orchestrated in order to create a COMMUNITY of attention around race/class/gender issues.

But, I'll bet his comments were beautifully articulated.

Verbal OxyContin for those in the COMMUNITY with a sense of... pain ...from all the attention.

Anonymous said...

"This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it."

This has become the throwaway line of the last decade when someone screws up.

Somehow, "taking responsibility" never entails any meaningful cost to the person "taking responsibility" . . .

Pressler still lost his job.
Kim Coles still keeps her job.
No one has done anything to the 88.
Brodhead will probably get a raise.

Every act of decency or restitution has been forced from outside Duke Univ.

Maybe I'll raise my hand and "take responsibility" the next time something crappy happens.

Anonymous said...

In the Jewish religion - true redemption is "If one could do it over agin, one would do it differently." I think Broadhead meets that definition. I am sure he is truly sorry for his actions. Firing Burness would help his and Duke's image. No wonder Burness was so quick to apologize the next day, after his "for what" quote.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson--Again, you are pulling your punches with Brodhead, as you've done throughout. I don't know why. Something to do with Professor Coleman? In any event, what Brodhead says here is just TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. No matter what he says now, it doesn't matter. There's only one way he could redeem himself: QUIT.

Anonymous said...

Quitting will never redeem Brodhead, because redemption presupposes genuine contrition.

Everybody is seeing through this speech of pablum and crap.

This is not repentence, not even a fair remorse. This is a CYA attempt from a man whose EVERY action have been motivated by CYA.

Nothing new here. It's still all about Brodhead.

He shows NO leadership, no statesmanship, and no moral courage.

Resigning may start the process of redeeming Duke; Only Brodhead can make the choice of his own soul.

Right now, the evidence appears pretty clear to me that the man has no objective morality. He is his own God.

Sadly, he doesn't seem to know that people see through his smoke screen.

Anonymous said...

I think he will be gone after the spring semester. As Steve Mcqueen says in the Great Escape "Job did not work out, huh?"

Anonymous said...

Powerful? No. Desperate? Yes.

Broadhead, the public is a lot smarter than you think. Too bad, for you.

Anonymous said...

I think that KC wrote this speech for RB, because it doesn't sound like Burness. It reads like the closing section of KC's Appendix to the 2nd edition of UPI.

And it makes a beautiful set piece for the final posting of this amazing blog.

Thanks, KC, for all you have done. And like the Lone Ranger you can now ride off to the East leaving us all happy and at peace.

Anonymous said...


Did anyone address Brodhead's elevating the academic cesspool to full departmental status?

This is important; that directive should be immediately rescinded.

Debrah said...

"Did anyone address Brodhead's elevating the academic cesspool to full departmental status?"

Oh, what a significant question that is.

That represents only one element of residue from Brodhead's performance.

But today......."he feels pain".

Get rid of this self-serving weakling who supported the Gang of 88 demands and criminality.

It would be the same thing over again for such a PC-infested poet.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until the group of 88 starts attacking Brodhead over this.

"Revelations" in quotes...He can't be serious. Every single revelation (not to be confused with "revelation) that came out since the day the story broke showed that the whole thing was a lie. The story went downhill from the very beginning.

"Get the communication right?" There WAS no communication.

more to come...

Anonymous said...

"Powerful"? Is Brodhead paying for your room service? Yikes!!!!

Debrah said...

"Some faculty made statements that I believe were ill-judged"--people could have thought they were expressions of university--should have done more to make clear this time that they weren't..."


Does anyone know how much time and energy and genuine concern some of us have put into this blog?

How genuinely we believed that KC wanted real change?

And now this idiocy above from Brodhead is suppose to be a display of gravitas? Of something worthy of praise?

Can someone explain what kept Brodhead from doing something about the "Ill-judged" statements of the Gang of 88? Is he at the helm of a university or just a wayward pigeon looking for scraps atop the Duke Chapel steeple?

I need to know.

Do we all remember post after post about the horrific words and deeds of the Gang of 88 on this blog?

Yet they are washed away by this anemic and phony logorrhea above?

Simply stunning.

However, I am not an expert in understanding the minds of those who are able to do a sudden 180 when the immediate climate so dictates.

KC, I had rather buy you a very expensive bottle of cologne to overwhelm your senses.

It's guaranteed to attract the lust-driven who are not dependent upon getting a free pass for their lack of courage....and for their indifference to justice when it mattered most.

Richard Brodhead is a fountain of deeply flawed politically correct phantasmagoria.

I need to understand the power that you see in that.

Anonymous said...

KC--no. I agree with you 99.9% of the time.

Here: no way

Ralph Phelan said...

"I sincerely hope he already has sent personal letters of apology to the families of every member of the lacrosse team."

He's already sent out three, with large checks included.

More such will be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:33 stated: "Every act of decency or restitution has been forced from outside Duke University." This is a powerful observation and one that all members of the university community should acknowledge and ponder upon in terms of the decline in influence a university has. Instance after instance, supporting this statement can be found in K.C's UPI.

Dave Evans, in his extemporaneous speech outside the court house before his arraignment, was infinity more powerful than President B. both in message and delivery and the president had much more time (over a year) and much more help (Duke PR staff)in the preparation. I vote for Evans as the more powerful speaker with the more powerful message.