Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nechyba Honored

From the Economics Department website:

Duke University will honor outstanding students, faculty, employees and alumni at its annual Founders’ Day Convocation in Duke Chapel at 4 p.m. this afternoon. The University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award, given by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, will be presented to Thomas J. Nechyba, professor of economics and public policy and chair of the economics department.

Nechyba’s name should be familiar to those who have followed the case. The Economics Department chairman was a spokesperson for the letter of January 4 that showed all that the Group of 88 no longer was the sole public voice of the faculty.

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned Economics Department faculty members at Duke University, are cognizant of the fact that, to date, the only collective signed statement by faculty members concerning the events of last March was an advertisement in the Duke University Chronicle subsequent to protests and a forum on March 29, 2006. We are aware too that the advertisement was cited as prejudicial to the defendants in the defense motion to change the venue of the trial involving the three Duke lacrosse team members. We regret that the Duke faculty is now seen as prejudiced against certain of its own students.

1) In light of recent events detailed in court proceedings, it appears that there were a number of irregular acts committed by members of the Durham law enforcement agencies and District Attorney’s Office. We join with President Brodhead in calling for an investigation of those acts, inimical to students at our university.

2) We welcome all members of the lacrosse team, and all student athletes, as we do all our students as fellow members of the Duke community, to the classes we teach and the activities we sponsor.

In the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category, Group member Rom Coles attacked Nachyba and his colleagues for the letter. Here was David Graham in the Chronicle:
First, [Coles] said it did not address the veracity of accusations made about the original ad, and second, he said there was a "possible insinuation" that the signatories to the ad did not support and welcome members of the lacrosse team--a suggestion for which Coles said there was "absolutely no evidence."
Coles' wife was a fellow Group member. Her name is Kim Curtis. She certainly had an unusual method of welcoming members of the lacrosse team into her class.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Things are Happening at Duke!

no way Nechyba would have even been considered for such an award after writing that letter in the previous 88 climate.

could the 88 be losing their grip?

bill anderson said...

I really am happy to see this. Tom is a great guy, and a very good economist.

Anonymous said...

KC's post did not even catch the worst of Rom Coles' comments. Coles said that this letter "feeds an engine of hate" and mentioned a "wheel of hate bound to the blogs".

If they are that bothered by such a letter, I guess the guy's award will really stick in their craw.

Anonymous said...

to 12:46PM
another thing is that Weintraub who wrote the letter is now chairman of the university committee on appointments, promotion, and tenure. Go economics!

Jamie said...

[Coles] said...there was a "possible insinuation" that the signatories to the ["listening"] ad did not support and welcome members of the lacrosse team--a suggestion for which Coles said there was "absolutely no evidence."

Is Coles out of his mind? How could he possibly imagine that anyone outside of his little upside-down community would swallow such a manifest lie?

It isn't just Coles, either: this outrageous in-your-face mendacity is a hallmark of the 88 + Brodhead. So many of them seem to believe that denying reality somehow actually changes it.

What can they be thinking? Like Nifong they seem to imagine that they can say whatever they want, attack whomever they want, using any claims and making any absurd connections they see fit to make, and then only much later bother to consider how the rest of the world will receive it.

When the realization finally dawns on them that they've far overstepped, when they get into legal trouble, what do they do? Simply upend reality again--as though by fiat and bravado they can also simply make the proof of their offenses vanish, abolish all of the incriminating words on the page, the acts videotaped,the scenes photographed that prove them liars...by God, some of them will even go so far as to deny the very laws of nature, if they have to. If Crystal Mangum must float, why then she floats. Nothing is something, up is down, vicious condemnation should not be thought unwelcoming...

It isn't so strange that a clannish group agrees to create a special language to convey their special, topsy-turvy world-view... but to be surprised when others summarily reject it? That's just a little insane.

Anonymous said...

I went back and read the Chronicle article. It is amazing - members of the G88 whine about how unfair the Econ department letter is to the G88!

One comment after the article made me laugh: "I love how they quote Rom Coles saying that there is_no_evidence that the G88 Vigilantes didn't welcome the students back ... in an article about how G88 leader Karla Holloway was throwing a hissy fit precisely about readmitting the students. You can't make this stuff up."

There is also a reference to G88 member Cathy Davidson in the article itself: "She wrote that if professors had indeed sided against the lacrosse players, they would rightfully deserve the influx of hate mail they received." Of course, we now know from the transmittal e-mail with the "listening statement" that the G88 did indeed know they were siding against the lacrosse players.

-RD

Anonymous said...

Goods News for Econ dept..!

It would seem that the G88 is becoming a rather large boil on the backside of Duke and will require continued lancing until well again ?

Richard of Loxley

Anonymous said...

Coles said that this letter "feeds an engine of hate."

The letter welcomed "all members of the lacrosse team, and all student athletes, as we do all our students as fellow members of the Duke community, to the classes we teach and the activities we sponsor."

Coles certainly has a bizarre way of looking at things and I wonder how he would characterize the "We're Listening" ad that he signed.

mb said...

I personally liked the last paragraph of the Chronicle article, which quoted Kathy Davidson: "Most of my e-mail comes from right-wing 'blog hooligans,'" Davidson wrote. "These hateful, ranting and sometimes even threatening folks don't care about Duke or the lacrosse players. Their aim is to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring."

The issue of unsubstantiated allegations of "hate mail" aside (I'd still like to see verifiable proof of this), I'd say that the "academics and liberals" of the G88 type don't need us "blog hooligans" to make them look ridiculous - they do that in grand style all on their own.

Anonymous said...

[off topic]

Professor, I was wondering if there is any chance Ms. Mangum will be prosecuted. Have you heard anything?

I also understnd that Mangum has retained custody of her children. Is this true? And if it's true she has custody, how much credence is there in the assertion that Mangum is "seriously mentally ill." My mother was seriously mentally ill, and she never had custody of her children.

What is going on here, and why has Mangum been protected to this ridiculous degree?

Lacrosse Mom, UVA '76

Mike Lee said...

Those residents of Durham who ask that the players have mercy and reconsider their $30 million settlement demand need consider none other than Durham's own Victoria Peterson. Why on earth would the players not want to bankrupt the city when the most powerful political group in Durham (The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People) has endorsed Peterson's canidacy?

It's public knowledge that she advocated burning the player's house down and now she is being supported for election to the town council? That is maddness!!! Does this fact strike anyone else as evidence that Durham has learned nothing and needs to be sued until the cows come home?

The fact that anyone (MUCH LESS THE POWERFUL COMMITTE ON THE AFFAIRS OF BLACK PEOPLE) has seen fit to endorse Peterson for anything other than psychiatric evaluation is proof that all hope lost for the people of Durham.

Anonymous said...

Anon@1:14: The only thing that bothers the 88ers, et al, is reality.

Maybe Kim didn't change her name when she married so it would be easier to send hubby out to do her fighting for her and then she could think no one would know!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Cole forgot that Kim Curtis is his wife. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Kim Curtis relies on a man for her job.

Can't you just feel her empowerment.

Such a great role model for my daughter.

LarryD said...

Consider, how many of the G88 and fellow travelers exhibit traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And at this point, we must consider that some of them aren't simply trying to bluff or intimidate their way out of the mess they've created for themselves, but are actually in psychological denial about the situation.

Steven Horwitz said...

Echoing Bill A's comments. Tom Nechyba is an excellent economist, as is Roy Weintraub, btw. I have met Tom and know Roy slightly. These are two people who should be the face of the Duke faculty.

And I say that not just because they're economists. ;)

Gary Packwood said...

LarryD 4:55 said...

...Consider, how many of the G88 and fellow travelers exhibit traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And at this point, we must consider that some of them aren't simply trying to bluff or intimidate their way out of the mess they've created for themselves, but are actually in psychological denial about the situation.
::
Is the underlying psychopathology associated with practicing medicine without a license Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
::
GP

Debrah said...

Great news for Professor Nechyba!

Could some at Duke be working for a brand new day?

Anonymous said...

To RD @ 1:28 who wrote the following and a couple of other very good points:

"I went back and read the Chronicle article. It is amazing - members of the G88 whine about how unfair the Econ department letter is to the G88!"

Caught in the act! That's one count of First Degree Felony Hypocrisy. The Gang of 88 did not face 30 years apiece in North Carolina prisons either.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure this is a sign of change. See today's Duke Chronicle article, "BLACK,FEMALE FACULTY LACKING IN SCIENCES." The comments responding to it may indicate a change.

Debrah said...

FYI...

The guy at the Regulator Bookshop says that he has received lots of calls inquiring about KC's plans to get down in the cellar there on Saturday Night.

Debrah said...

Rarely do I have the time to go back and check out comments added to some older posts in Wonderland, but I'm glad I did tonight because I came upon this little gem.

Wonder if this cretin, who apparently is a mind reader, has the courage to post his or her name to such a diatribe......?

This is the same kind of cretin who shows up on occasion....putting on a collegial happy face...while trying to put a negative vibe on everything KC does as well as always professing that the Duke community has moved on.

What a lowlife.
****************************************

"Do you all really, really want to know why the campus was so lukewarm to the Lax cause and did not protest a lot and only a few were activists and why the students did not even vote in the election and why so few even signed the petition? Because the campus as a whole knew the truth about the Lax team and ....you all do not. You have romanticised them as "a cause". a cause againist blacks, a cause againist gender and racial studies, a cause againist affirmative action, etc. The truth is that the Lax team was a bunch of a--holes and that is why everyone believed the worst about them. Although you guys have tried to portray them as saints on here, they were far from it and that is why the campus did not support them the way they should have."
9/24/07 7:10 AM

Anonymous said...

KC, keep it coming until you can't anymore. Congrats to Prof. Nechbya. It looks like KC's bright light is allowing good things to start to happen to Duke. I hope it continues, we have several friends children there and i worry about them.
Kudos to the econ department for understanding they are there for the students, to assist and guide their education , to be there for them while they grow up in college. You don't have to like your job or the kids in your charge. They may not be what you respect or want to see in your class room. The horrifying thing to me is that it seems there has been an utter disregard by the G88 for the fact that that is their job. The econ dept. didn't forget: their job is education of big kids getting ready to take their responsible places in the world after they grow up.

inman said...

I certainly applaud the decision to award Professor Nechyba the University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award.

This clearly recognizes the importance of structured thinking in any academic community. I use the term "structured thinking" to mean a rational scientific approach to advances in knowledge.

In that context, one may consider the poetic thought processes of the Group of '88. By "poetic thought process" I mean the juxtaposition of words and implied concepts that produce images and emotions, rather than structured thought. Unfortunately, many in the Group of '88 have confused the notions of structured thought and poetic thought. That is, they have confused the notion of thinking with one's mind, in contrast to thinking with one's heart or one's groin.

This can be thought of as the "Brain, Heart, Groin" theory ... and the premise I submit is this ...

As long as one knows with which part of their anatomy they are thinking, the likelihood of coherent thought is great. In contrast, when one loses sight of the part of the antomy with which one thinks, then incoherence is the consequence.

The Group of '88 clearly has a predisposition toward thinking with their genitals (and occasionally their heart) while asserting that their brain is working.

There is nothing worse than a mental orgasm.

mac said...

Nechyba's statement shows that it was written by people who teach students to think and students who expect to find jobs upon graduation - as opposed to "Dubya" Lubiano and others, who clearly can't convey anything without repeated revisions, obfuscations and denials. Perhaps Dr. Hardt can teach people about "luv," but I'd bet he'd be a great teacher of mime, instead, as the U-tube video shows his very agile little hands at work!

In any case, tt appears that Duke has gotten the message. Far cry from Nartey's award. I'd go so far as to say it negates it.

mac said...

GP 5:23
"is the underlying psychopathology associated with practicing medicine without a license Narcissistic Personality Disorder?"

Can't answer your question; I'm not a doctor. What do you think? Maybe you're asking Nurse Levity for an answer to that question?

It's an interesting question, though: it seems that there're a lot of practicing physicians that might have the disorder, since so many of them are only pretending to practice medicine. I know that first-hand. First-hand.

Gary Packwood said...

Debrah 8:56 said...
...Rarely do I have the time to go back and check out comments added to some older posts in Wonderland, but I'm glad I did tonight because I came upon this little gem.
...Wonder if this cretin, who apparently is a mind reader, has the courage to post his or her name to such a diatribe......?
...This is the same kind of cretin who shows up on occasion....putting on a collegial happy face...while trying to put a negative vibe on everything KC does as well as always professing that the Duke community has moved on.
...What a lowlife.
****************************************
"Do you all really, really want to know why the campus was so lukewarm to the Lax cause and did not protest a lot and only a few were activists and why the students did not even vote in the election and why so few even signed the petition? Because the campus as a whole knew the truth about the Lax team and ....you all do not. You have romanticised them as "a cause". a cause againist blacks, a cause againist gender and racial studies, a cause againist affirmative action, etc. The truth is that the Lax team was a bunch of a--holes and that is why everyone believed the worst about them. Although you guys have tried to portray them as saints on here, they were far from it and that is why the campus did not support them the way they should have."
9/24/07 7:10 AM
::
Don't you imagine that the little cretin you found is one member of a group of about thirty who have volunteered to continue on with the party line?

This person is really young I am guessing as s/he is using 'mind reading' verbiage as you observed with no indication that she has taken his/her first course in college math.

College math usually makes short work of 'mind reading' and such phrases as the Lax Team was... The whole team? Everyone? All the time? How would you know?

Rather sad.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

I think the "truth" about the LAX team is somewhere in between the 9/24 comment and what many of the posters on this blog believe. It would be useful if those outsiders who attack the Duke faculty & Durham could recognize this. I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

11:42 Is this a Global Warming message?

Anonymous said...

"I think the "truth" about the LAX team is somewhere in between the 9/24 comment and what many of the posters on this blog believe. It would be useful if those outsiders who attack the Duke faculty & Durham could recognize this. I'm not holding my breath."

Frankly, I see no reason not to take what the Coleman Committee found about the LAX team as the truth. Others have offered harsher evaluations of the team -- but they haven't offered better reasons to believe their evaluations.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:44 what does your position mean? You don't support a group if they are believed to be jerks by some? I think the campus was influenced by the power of mis-information about what happened. I would hate to think that peers did not want to support the team because of some private joy that the wild ones were getting their come uppance, that is what you are suggesting. Anyone who thinks that their own non-lax playing student is above drinking underage, even hiring a stripper for a party > they are not being honest. I find it amazing that people still do not seem to understand that this was a complete railroad job by their school administration, teachers(G88) the media and the authorities. It could and probably will happen again, maybe to the math club. What then, are they deserving of your attention for presumption of innocence until proven guilty?

patrick said...

6:44 Anonymous:

"I think the "truth" about the Lax team is somewhere in between the 9/24 comment and what many posters on this blog believe."

What a gutless and lazy insinuation. An anonymous, unsubstantiated and vague half-slander of 46 people, out of whom 3 were chosen at random to suffer the year long torment of a false accusation and a fraudulent prosecution.

Thus the slime that oozed out of the oily sophistries of the likes of Grant Farred ("a tendency toward misogyny and arrogant sexual prowess")finds its waiting receptacle in a timid little sotto voce innuendo.

Thanks for speaking up.

inman said...

Patrick @ 9:53

Eloquent.