Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Tale of Two Letters

Put yourself in the position of editor of Duke Magazine. You have received two letters, but only have space to publish one. The first comes from a well-known alum who the magazine quoted to provide a semblance of balance to an otherwise one-sided May 2006 article on the lacrosse case.

The second comes from a discredited professor whose claim to fame is authoring a faculty statement cited in the defense change-of-venue motion and having listed two books as “forthcoming” for the last 10 years.

In the Wonderland that is Durham, the second letter was published (and sent to all alums); the first appeared only on the web.

The first letter, of course, came from Jay Bilas, who became the highest-profile figure connected with Duke to publicly call for the resignation of President Richard Brodhead and BOT chairman Bob Steel. Since the letter didn’t make it into the print version of the magazine, it’s worth re-posting:

A true leader has the vision and courage to recognize what is right, especially in the face of adversity, and fears not the consequences of unreasonable response. A true leader needs not the benefit of hindsight to make clear the right path. From March 2006 to date, President Brodhead’s mishandling of the challenges presented has proven him incapable of effectively leading Duke into the future.

While President Brodhead can point to a few ineffectually communicated words here and there for a feeble claim that he “emphasized” the protection of the rights of Duke’s students, his claim fails the laugh test. The vast majority of his words and actions, and in many cases his silence, emphasized an aura of guilt of the students and of the university. From the beginning, President Brodhead abdicated his responsibility as Duke’s leader to stand up for fairness and truth. Instead, President Brodhead chose the path of political expediency. He failed to effectively counter factually inaccurate and inappropriate statements about Duke and its students, failed to forcefully speak out against procedural irregularities, and failed to take appropriate action in response to repeated attacks upon the due process rights of Duke’s students. That is unacceptable.

If such failures in leadership are not enough, for the same reasons that President Brodhead forced the resignation of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler—because confidence in his ability to lead had been compromised, and a need to move forward in a new direction—President Brodhead should resign or be dismissed. And, based upon [trustee chair] Bob Steel’s letter of April 11, 2007, in which Mr. Steel stated that the board agreed with the principles President Brodhead established and the actions he took, the resignation of Mr. Steel and any board members that acted in lock step with President Brodhead are also appropriate.

Jay Bilas ‘86, J.D. ‘92
Charlotte, North Carolina

Bilas, it’s worth remembering, has been a voice of sanity throughout this affair. He spoke up on behalf of Duke athletics in the May-June 2006 article. He challenged negative portrayals of the lacrosse team in an appearance on ESPN2; and he appeared at Duke’s October 2006 media forum on the case, where he criticized the rush to judgment. And, perhaps most important, he reached out to members of the lacrosse team, addressing them (at Coach Danowski’s request) to celebrate the rebirth of the program.

Most people, I suspect, would consider Bilas’ piercing criticism to be newsworthy—or at least more significant than the letter that did make it into the magazine’s print version:

I’m writing to ask for a correction or clarification of a factual error in your article “One Year Later” [May-June 2007]. You quote Professor Michael Gustafson, who refers to “Lubiano’s reference to the players as ‘perfect offenders.’“ Professor Gustafson is incorrect. I did not call the players perfect offenders.

The essay [he refers to] discusses at some length the rhetoric that circulated in the immediate wake of the incident. I wrote there that some of the rhetoric coming “either from those defending the alleged offenders or those defending the alleged victim, is rhetoric driven, haunted, by a fight over whether or not we have offenders who can be seen as ‘perfect’ in their villainy” or “a victim whose victimage can be seen as necessarily complete and thus ‘perfect.’“

Throughout that essay I tried to make sense of, and wrote about the perspectives of, those who were defenders of the alleged victim or of the team. Among other things, I argued that in discussing the need of those who were critical of the team to intensify what they saw as the players’ “perfectness as offenders,” various differences (ethnic, wealth, behavioral) among the players that complicated this picture had to disappear. That essay attempted to explain the flattening out of complexities in the general public discussion. Its entire five and a half pages are accessible to you and to Duke Magazine readers via the Duke African & African American Studies blogspot:

Wahneema Lubiano
Associate professor of African & African American Studies and Literature

Those who follow the link are greeted with an essay (published by a tenured professor in literature) entitled, “‘A Social Diasater’” [sic]—which might make it difficult to take seriously anything else Lubiano has to say.

Here’s how Stuart and I summarized Lubiano’s essay in UPI:

Shortly after the Group of 88 ad appeared, Lubiano expressed pleasure “that the Duke administration is getting the point’: The banging of pots and pans had hammered home that a specific claim to innocence mattered little. The members of the team, she noted, could be considered “almost perfect offenders,” since they were “the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus.” (Many months later, Lubiano would suggest that she didn’t mean that she considered the players to be “perfect offenders,” but the tenor of her springtime statements and actions belied this interpretation of her remarks.) Lubiano concluded by promising that the crusade to transform Duke would continue “regardless of the ‘truth’ established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house on N. Buchanan Blvd.” and “whatever happens in the court case.”

In essence, the argument in Lubiano’s Duke Magazine letter boiled down to a claim that she (a tenured Literature professor at Duke) couldn’t produce an essay written clearly enough to communicate her own meaning. This is the same Wahneema Lubiano who:

  • authored the guilt-presuming Group of 88 ad, with its claims (since rebutted) that five Duke departments officially endorsed its contents;
  • fantastically claimed at the March 30, 2006 faculty meeting that the Brodhead administration was being too sympathetic to team members;
  • appeared on an April 12, 2006 panel that floated the idea that things were “moving backwards” on campus as a result of the negative DNA tests;
  • told the N&O, after the arrests of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, that “people can’t imagine that the woman could have made a false rape allegation.”

  • penned a May op-ed declaring that Duke needed immediately to begin “targeted teaching” to expose “the structures of racism and the not-so-hidden injuries of class entitlement in place at Duke and everywhere in this country, and without regard to banal and ordinary sexual harassment,” since “we don’t have to wait for working class or poorer students to be targeted by fraternity ‘theme’ parties or cross burnings on the quad or in dorm halls, or for sexual assaults to be attested by perfectly placed witnesses and indisputable evidence.”

So, more than a year later, Lubiano is now suggesting that she wasn’t among “those who are defenders of the victim, [to whom] the members of the team are almost perfect offenders.” It’s worth noting that there was no “alleged” in Lubiano’s April 13 essay.

What in her spring 2006 statements or actions would suggest that she differed from these unidentified “defenders of the victim [sic]”? Lubiano doesn’t say.

Yet Duke Magazine considered it more important for alums to read Lubiano’s after-the-fact rationalizations than hear the powerful dissent of Jay Bilas.

Remarkable.

[Update, 12.13pm: Some people appear to be under the impression that the Lubiano letter was only in print, and the Bilas letter only on-line. In fact, the Lubiano letter was both in print and on-line; the Bilas letter was only on-line. And the Lubiano letter was first in the on-line string of letters; the Bilas letters was eighth.]

192 comments:

gs said...

Besting a Rogue Prosecutor

One of Finnerty Lawyers
By Michael T. Cornacchia

Anonymous said...

Duke, as run by Brodhead, apparently has no shame and no remorse. Professor Coleman, not Brodhead, should be running the university. Bilas is right. It's time for Brodhead and his cronies and the head of the board of trustees to slink away into the night. KC and the Blog Hooligans deserve much credit for exposing the Durham police corruption and the Duke 88.

Debrah said...

I'll keep saying it.

This whole saga at Duke is one mestasticizing cancer.

Someone like Wahneema Lubiano should be teaching at a junior high school in Durham or somewhere, because she is certainly not qualified to hold any position at an elite university.

Duke Magazine was afraid not to put hers in the print edition. That's how the Gang of 88 get their way.

If Lubiano had gotten Jay Bilas' treatment, she would already have a posse together camped outside Brodhead's door.

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure why anyone would want to hear any more from Wahneema Lubiano. She seems stuck in 1940 with regards to race relations. Unless she learns to process new data, I can’t see the point of listening to her further.

Debrah said...

Wahneema, instead of trying to reinvent the past with lies, here's what you should be saying...if you could turn back time.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the book reviews on pages 54 and 55 of the magazine?


pg. 54: BookMarks: Reading in Black and White, A Memoir
By Karla F.C. Holloway

"Holloway writes here for the general reader."

A gushing review by a kindred spirit.


pg. 55: It's Not Aboout the Truth
By Don Taeger with Mike Pressler

"The Duke lacrosse scandal deserves better than this."

The book is panned for not being "fair and balanced."

Anonymous said...

Debrah said...
I'll keep saying it.


Though Debrah has nearly every day praised KC's incredible effort, I haven't said it often enough: KC, like Horatio at the bridge (thank you, Ronald Reagan), you've proved that one man can be THE difference.

RRH

Anonymous said...

There is a feedback link on the Duke magazine site. Here is my comment:

"Jay Bilas, probably one of the most recognized and respected alumni of Duke, writes a letter to the alumni magazine. It didn’t get printed. Why not?

My daughter, an alumna, was run over by a car last Homecoming. Why has that never been mentioned?

Brian R. Donnelly, T’72"

Anonymous said...

But KC, dissenters are a dime a dozen, whereas status-quo toadies like Lubiano are precious.

Anonymous said...

KC - It make no sense that the magazine only has space for one letter? As both letters had totally different points of view on a hot topic, i would have thought the editors would make room for both. Bad decision for the editors.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Brian. Why indeed?

John said...

Victimage??????? ...... She should lose her tenurage.....

Anonymous said...

Another way of looking at the two letters is that younger readers are more likely to go on line thus giving the Bilas letter a wider audience. But that wouldn't fit with your metanarrative, would it, KC?

I find it fascinating that you go after this black woman wihout ceasing. Be clear. Isn't it your goal to drive her from Duke, indeed, from academe?

Anonymous said...

A lot about race relations appears in the postings to this blog. I wonder how many of the people who post here claiming all is well in the US are NOT white? Not many? I thought not...

Anonymous said...

Brian, how is your daughter doing? I hope well.

Anonymous said...

Wahneema,

You're so mao!

A. Peter Allan E'87 said...

Duke Magazine is accountable to the Duke administration. It's their mouthpiece. Why would we expect anything else? As an alumnus I get it despite never paying for or requesting it. Lately I recycle it unread. Since this fiasco I also avoid the New York Times, and consume public radio with much more skepticism.

no justice, no peace said...

Another paid professional communicator/educator who needs help from others to clarify prior misunderstood egregious remarks.

Imagine what here students are subjected to during every lecture.

We can do better, we must do better.

mac said...

Wahneema omits the second half of each equation:

"By a fight over whether or not we have offenders who can be seen as 'perfect' in their villainy?"

Or? Perfectly innocent, perhaps? She forgot that part of the equation; she immediately begins taking the next turn...

She asks: "a victim whose victimage can be seen as neccessarily complete and thus 'perfect.'"

Or? How about lying? How about: as far from innocent as possible?

In each of these, she hypothesizes in the worst-case. She could easily have stated:

"...by a fight over whether or not the or not the alleged offenders are 'perfect' in their villainy" or innocent beyond any doubt.

She also just as easily might have stated:

"...a victim whose victimage can be be seen as complete" -(omit the word neccessarily)- "and thus 'perfect,'" or a lowbrow hoaxer who falsely accused three innocent young men, couldn't get one of her many stories to match another, and took 7 attempts with a loaded lineup to identify her alleged attackers."

But Wahneeema, whose writing is morbidly obese, couldn't be so fair. Her litarary offenses are far worse than Fenimore Cooper's, and therefore we should consider it a bonus that she has not published - even though she frequently makes the threat.

Anonymous said...

I would venture that the spinmeister, Mr. Burness, in consultation with Mr. Brodhead, had something to do with the selection of letters for publication in Duke's magazine. In any event, more evidence of who is in control of Duke and what Duke now stands for. All in all, it could not be more shameful.

By the way, Jay Bilas is one of the classiest sports announcers on television. He is a real credit to Duke University and what it should stand for.

mac said...

In general:
Wahneema's writing could be considered "morbidly obese," just as Alan Grranus' writing could be said to be overwrought and hysterical, just as Dr. "Prowess Envy's" comments on the case could be said to be paranoid (in the schizoid sense) as if under the influence of too much weed.

Such a fine representation of so-called "intelligentsia!"

AF said...

Question--
Which of the 88 have editorial responsibilities with the magazine? Sounds to me as though Burn-mess' hand is in this one for Boardhead. The university obviously wants to portray itself in the best light and the only way to accomplish that is to keep throwing the offerings of its so called heroes up frequently. If the administration and the alleged English department (a real fox in sheep's clothing) keeps banging the pots long enough and loudly enough they hope readers and others will have their hearing numbed to their factually inaccurate rants. What they don't realize, though, is that far too many have brains. So much for their banging and ranting.

AMac said...

I disagree with KC's premise. Whatever Lubiano cares to write about her role in the Hoax/Frame, it is by definition worthy of publication at this point.

She wants to revise? Interesting.
She wants to correct? Interesting.
She wants to clarify? Interesting.
Some day, she might even wish to apologize.

The un-publication of Bilas' letter is a separate editorial decision.

By the way, here's a newsworthy question: for each letter, did the author, the author's employer, or the Alumni Magazine have lawyers vet and approve the text prior to publication? I think we can guess the answer.

Edward said...

This woman cannot write. She makes up words. She reminds me of a secretary I once had who incorrectly used big words to sound like she knew what she was saying. Reminds me of Yogi Berra also. How can anyone give her a job at Duke?

Anonymous said...

How many times now has pseudo-intellectual Lubiano had to "explain" or "clarify" what it was she was trying to say in prior writings? A literature professor who can't communicate clearly, and who can't find a publisher willing to publish her writings, doesn't belong at Duke -- or at any other American college or university.

This woman is a dangerous fool and a racist. Whoever hired her at Duke should be ashamed of him/her-self. Duke has clearly sacrificed quality for "diversity."

AMac said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the advice of Prof. Lubiano--that Duke Magazine readers should look up her April 13, 2006 essay at the Duke African & African American Studies blogspot. They can judge for themselves how Lubiano "attempted to explain the flattening out of complexities in the general public discussion."

Lubiano's prose is so turgid that it's difficult to form a pithy precis of her message. Some defense. Still, this point comes through clearly enough: the lacrosse team, as a whole or as indicted individuals, are offensive to decent people everywhere because of the combination of what they did, or might have done, or were alleged to have done (it varies through the essay) in combination with their prior behavior and the oppressiveness of their race, class, and gender status.

In this sense, the lacrosse team's "perfection" in the context of this particular crime need not be complete in order for a chastened Duke to learn its lesson and move in the necessary direction.

In classic postmodernist style, Sherlock Holmes' "dog that didn't bark" makes its (non) appearance in Lubiano's essay. Her concern for the truth of what happened at the party is nonexistent. She can barely imagine why others would care.

So, by all means, let us join with Prof. Lubiano in wishing that this essay is celebrated far and wide.

Anonymous said...

KC,

I read Lubiano's artcile and found some of the points quite interesting insights into human behaviour and the attempts by both sides to construct or de-construct the perons involved in the alleged crime. They absolutely ring true. Where I departed from her thought process is where she seemed to go off into the weeds. What could have been a very neutral and thought provoking article suddenly became an articulation of a bias in favor of the alleged victim and the pre-existing circumstances that "made" certain people try to construct the perfect victim and perfect offender. Her article makes an illogical jump to suggest that pre-existing cultural issues at Duke are the singular motivation of the contruction of the perfect victim and perfect offenders. She never considers in her article more malicious causes such as political objectives of various organizations (I wonder why NAACP may want to constrcut a perfect victim???), bias un-related to the Duke community (I wonder why Nifong may want to construct perfect offenders???), and pre-existing bias among Duke faculty (of course the faculty of African American Studies would have no predisposition on race, sex, class...they would approach any issue like this objectively!!!). I think with about 30 minutes of effort I could turn 95% of her artcile's content into a new article that would be a very strong critique of the G88 and others and how they imposed their pre-disposed views to manipulate the facts and "construct" a campus culture than was overstated and not accurate. The fault in the article is the illogical tangent that she departed upon. And she is an academic??? A little peer review would help her out a lot. If she stayed true to her theme in the article she would have ended up criticizing her own actions.

scott said...

If Lubiano's letter to Duke magazine was offered as a clarification to her earlier essay, she still gets an "F" in composition from me. I still don't understand whatever point she was trying to make in this latest exercise in verbosity. All I see is another attempt to cover old ground (and at the same time cover her ass) that has already been thoroughly discredited.

Contrast that piece of bilge to Bilas' letter, which is straight-forward and easily understood. It has the added benefit of being written by a high-profile two-time alumnus, who is advocating a point of view that seeks to improve Duke by taking positive steps (casting aside deadwood) in an attempt to move forward to a better future for Duke and its students.

It's really quite easy to conclude why Duke magazine picked the letter it did for its print edition, isn't it?

Then, again, someone needs to convince me that Duke magazine really only had room to print one of the two letters. There is always room in a multi-page magazine such as the one published by Duke to include something of the length of Bilas' letter. Not including it was an editorial decision. Available space has nothing to do with it and any attempt by Duke Magazine to float that idea is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Is Lubiano a Communist?

xutag77 said...

KC,

Why are you surprised?

Also remember, to agreement of the accused players with Duke does not cover statements such as these.

Anonymous said...

KC,

It would help maintain the blog's reputation for carefulness in detail if you were to clear up two things in your post:

1. The typo "diaster" for disaster is the blogger's typo. That heading isn't Lubiano's title for that piece. Her title is verbose as her stuff always is, but it doesn't have a typo in it. The mispelling that you post is in the blogger's heading. That doesn't change what other points you make, but clearing it up makes what you say more accurate.

2. The piece that you link to in the N&O has the entire sentence that you talk about and it reads "Lubiano, the professor, said people can't imagine that the woman could have made a false rape allegation; nor does anyone want to believe it really happened." When you include the rest of the sentence that you don't quote in your post the meaning changes somewhat. If you only quote the part of the sentence that means one thing and don't quote the rest of the sentence that changes things a little, your post looks different.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Bilas letter, but it's very possible it arrived at the magazine after the current issue had gone to press and appeared online only because it missed deadline.

My point: let's appreciate the letter without getting too involved in conspiracy theories about the management of the magazine.

haskell said...

anonymous 3:13 am

"A lot about race relations appears in the postings to this blog. I wonder how many of the people who post here claiming all is well in the US are NOT white? Not many? I thought not..."

1. Dude, why do you keep talking to yourself?

2. Once again, I cannot figure out what you are trying to say or imply.

3. I have seen no one on this blog claim that all is well in the US. In fact, most of us are very concerned about certain groups that are dumbing down our society -- academically, and morally.

4. People of color are certainly entitled to post here and are welcomed. They may find it difficult to explain away the racist and sexist stance of the G88, and are embarrassed by G88 actions in the name of diversity or race relations. The same embarrassment may pertain to the Duke Faculty at large. And don't forget, the whack-a-mole hammer is still out there for those daring to speak out against de facto affirmative action. Look at the current Bill O'Reilly brouhaha where he dared mention that some in the AA community are beginning to think for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Help me understand her arguments. Is she saying that they committed this crime BECAUSE they are white, upper-middle class and male? But aren't there millions of white, upper-middle class males who did NOT rape a black woman?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mac,

You have fits when people refer to the LAX 3 as "boys," but you rudely refer to this female professor by her first name. You don't know her. Treat her with the same respect you demand for yourself and others.

Anonymous said...

KC,
Have you contacted Bliwise for an explanation? Would be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

Edward

Yogi Berra makes sense.

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.42:

I have been told the letter was submitted well before the publication deadline.

To the 8.36:

The blog posting has been up for more than a year, and Lubiano explicitly asked people to look it over. I'm afraid she's responsible for the spelling error at this stage--especially since the person in charge of the blog is Mark Anthony ("thugniggaintellectual") Neal.

I disagree that the second part of the Lubiano quote changes the meaning in any substantial way.

haskell said...

To follow up my 8:45 am post, here is a damning and tragic article from the CNN news site today:

More blacks and hispanics in jail than college

Steven Horwitz said...

In rereading Lubiano’s essay this morning, I think Anon at 728 has it about right – there’s a decent argument in there that could have been made had it not been for her own biases, and those of the people around her, that affect her view of the event. What I would add is that I think this essay is the source of the “something happened” argument. For Lubiano and others, the “something” isn’t necessarily something criminal, but rather the very fact that working class black women were stripping for white male college students. That “something” is the problem, regardless of the truth of the criminal charges.

I will also say this: upon rereading it, all criticisms of her ability to write clearly and use the language well are completely on the mark. It really is a species of the worst sort of academic prose. It’s full of neologisms as well as that weird tic of many academics where they have to string two or three adjectives or nouns together, as if they were saying that the only way they can make their point is by repeating themselves often enough. Let me try to summarize her argument.

The problem with so much commentary about the case is that everyone wants to perfect the alleged victims and offenders. By “perfect” she means that each side wants its side to be the idealized image of who they were. To the LAX defenders, they are upstanding young men, not unlike other college aged men in their drinking behavior, good students, excellent athletes, campus leaders, from good homes etc. To those same folks, Mangum is the “idealized” negative image of the black hooker/stripper: poor, uneducated, out to make some money off na├»ve white boys, etc. To Mangum’s defenders, each side is perfect in the opposite way: the LAXers are the very symbol of white, upper class, sexist, privilege and she is a hard-working mother and student who has been “forced” by circumstances to sell her body to the privileged white boys. Thus each side wants to create a narrative, WL argues, of the perfect offender and perfect victim.

She quite rightly points out that reality is much more complicated than that. The LAXers did have a history of less-than-perfect behavior and Mangum isn’t the innocent, hard-working mother and student some would have liked her to have been. Lubiano rightly criticizes both sides for forgetting this. And this is the point where the essay makes its fateful turn, as 728 argues. From here, she could have gone on to point out that the “imperfectness” of the both sides as either victims or offenders should steer us away from easy narratives and force us to look very carefully at the evidence in the case and to stop assuming that either “perfectness” narrative captures the reality of what happened that night. But she obviously does not.

Instead, she argues that observers seem to think that only if their narratives of perfect offenders/victims are true do the events that night matter. And this is especially true, and here is where the essay turns, of those trying to defend the LAXers. What she’s saying is that just because the LAXers weren’t perfect villains (they were good students, generally well-behaved etc) and Mangum wasn’t a perfect victim (she was a sex worker with a questionable past and not a very good mother), that doesn’t mean that “nothing happened.” She’s attacking a straw man of course – I don’t think anyone seriously argued just because, in and of itself, Mangum had a questionable past or because the LAXers were generally good kids, that therefore “nothing happened.”

Furthermore, the very “spectacularity” of the alleged crime, she argues, leads people to think that only if the worst occurred is it true that anything that matters took place:

“What attention to spectacularity brings with it is a hideous cost: the absolute worst that can be imagined must be shown to be present for any harm to be perceived as possible."

THIS is the source of the “something happened” argument, it seems to me: even if nothing criminal happened, the very fact that the nearly all-white LAX team was paying for strippers of color is evidence of the issues of racism, sexism, and classism that therefore require a change in the culture of the Duke campus. It doesn’t need to be the “spectacular” truth of a gang-rape to justify the need for change:

“Regardless of the “truth” established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house on N. Buchanan Blvd., the engine of outcry in this moment has been fueled by the difficult and mundane reality that pre-existed this incident and that continues to occur in everyday and non-spectacular life in this place. Whatever happens with the court case, what people are asking is that something changes.”

Translated: in a world where black women are “forced” to take their clothes off for white men, and where analogous sorts of “mundane” and “non-spectacular” sorts of oppression by race/class/gender happen all the time, the “truth” of the charges are irrelevant to the underlying issues the event itself raises. Thus “something happened” – sexism, racism, classism, even if nothing criminal.

In many ways, this essay was the template for the G88’s ensuing interpretation of the event over the next year plus.

Of course the real and only “crime” here was the refusal of Lubiano and, apparently, the rest of the G88 to think that the prospect of three innocent men going to jail for 30 years was more important than making political hay out of the incident. Whatever the truth of the generalized atmosphere of sexism, racism, classism, defending the civil rights of three innocent men would be, one would hope, more important to those who claim to be concerned with the unfairness of American society, especially when so many of those speaking most loudly are members of groups who have been the most victimized by trumped up charges and rigged legal processes.

Finally a request of Professor Lubiano: just because the alleged offenders aren’t perfect offenders, doesn’t mean that “something” didn’t happen to them either. I do agree that “something happened” that night – an utterly false charge of rape that almost sent three innocent men to jail with you and 87 of your colleagues being part of the process that almost allowed that to happen.

And that “something” demands that we act, because, to use your own language, instances of prosecutorial injustice need not be “spectacular” in the way that this one was for them to be true. Most such cases are part of the “difficult and mundane reality that pre-existed this incident;” a mundane reality in which innocent people are sent to jail by structural flaws in the justice system. Therefore we can certainly agree that “whatever happens with the court case, what people are asking is that something changes.”

Thus, my request: issue a public statement supporting the calls for reform of the North Carolina legal system along the lines proposed by the three falsely accused in their offer to the City of Durham. Show your commitment to due process and demonstrate your belief in your own words that we should not let the “spectacularity” of this incident cloud our ability to see the more everyday and mundane injustices that occur across the state and the country. None of this would violate any legal settlements, nor would it even require you to apologize to the innocent men whose lives you helped to turn upside down. It would only reaffirm your commitment to fair and equal justice in the state of North Carolina and beyond.

Anonymous said...

3:11 AM,

Why can't Wahneeeeemahh "be clear?"

Where does Prof. Johnson mention the words "black woman?"

The above means you'll need to defend your statement, with fact.


btw, this maoist piece of "victimage", if you will, CLEARLY does not belong in any academic setting.

Anonymous said...

Youre not being very collegial today professor.

Shame on you for highlighting jackassery..

the Col.

Anonymous said...

KC Continued congrats for your thoughtful coverage.
I think it makes sense that the magazine would choose the letter that represents the position of the administration best. The more the positions are articulated, the more that thoughful alum will see the truth.
I do agree with the blogger that noted the audience for the website will be the future of duke, the more with it and possibly upand coming influential memebers of the alum. It would have been more troubling if the letter was ignored. I thought it siginifican enough that they included it on the web.
I am in the real estate buisness and the trend toward to web based advertising is significant. It may be that having the Bilas letter on the web was a bold move.

Orson Buggeigh said...

"I find it fascinating that you go after this black woman without ceasing. Be clear. Isn't it your goal to drive her from Duke, indeed, from academe?" - Anon 3:11.

Looking at her CV, and the quality of her work at Duke for the past two years, what do you see which suggests that this woman is performing her work to even minimal qualifications for tenure, let alone advancement? If you think this work is of such quality as to be worth tuition of $40,000 a year, I think you have values very different from most parents sending their children to Duke.

Duke is reaping what it has sown. Under Chafe and Broadhead they have hired a collection of intellectually unqualified persons who fit an ideological agenda. The lack of intellectual substance of these folks is obvious to anyone with an average intelligence. I would not send my child to an institution riddled with that kind of academic rot.

scott said...

3:11 AM --

The argument in your first sentence is specious.

Yes, younger grads (say, under 35 years old) are more likely to use the internet as a source of information, but most people of any age don't read an entire magazine on-line.

Speaking from my own experience, the type of material contained in Duke magazine, if it is read by an alumnus at all, is usually read piece-meal. When received in the mail, the reader scans the table of contents, maybe reads an article or two, and puts it down. Later they may go back and read other items. Somewhere along the line, with all that thumbing through, they may come across the letters section and read those. Especially, if in glancing at the titles of the letters or authors, they see something of interest. Lubiano? Bilas? Both would probably be of interest to many readers for entirely different reasons.

The same goes with the internet version. Readers who click on the site, would scan the contents for a particular item(s) of interest and read that, then click off. In reading of this type (clicking on to specific articles rather than thumbing through a print version), a reader may or may not think to click in to the "letters" section.

That said, maybe you're correct that Bilas' letter on the internet received as many or more eyeballs than it would have in print. But that's not really the point is it? Why couldn't something so provocative (from a mainstay Duke position) be published in both places? Many commenters here have already spoken to that. It is obvious that an editorial decision was made with a helping hand from someone in the upper reaches of the Duke administration.

The rest of your comment is merely bovine excrement. Under no circumstances is KC Johnson engaging in an attempt to drive Lubiano from Duke. He has merely presented her work, which speaks (poorly) for itself.

I'd like to see this woman terminated. Not because she's black, but because she's a fraud. Let's ask the question -- can you make the case that Duke is better off with Lubiano than without her? If so, please do.

mac said...

8:56
And you can call KC "Professor Johnson," if you like.

From now on, perhaps I will use the diminutive that persons like yourself likely use perjoratively about our President, "Dubya."

"Dubya" Lubiano.

Is that ok with you, boy?

Anonymous said...

Steven Horowitz says:


It really is a species of the worst sort of academic prose.
(Emphasis added)

"When I use a word, it means what I want it to mean; neither more, nor less"

AMac said...

Five O'Clock Charlie wrote (7:56am) --

> Is Lubiano a Communist?

Excellent question, Chuck, and a great jumping-off point for an overdue defense of Prof. Lubiano. I think many D-i-W readers, and perhaps KC himself, assume that Lubiano wanted to see the three indicted men convicted and jailed for the rape of Crystal Mangum. This is not so.

Instead, Lubiano's essay shows that she is alert to issues that concerned many 20th Century intellectuals and judges. In particular, Class Justice must be applied to groups. After all, what is a class if not a group of people who share certain socioeconomic characteristics?

Like many others, Lubiano recognizes that few people are "perfect" representatives of their class. Since the Vanguard must dispense Class Justice to individuals, how are consequences to be fairly decided? If only "perfect offenders" are condemned, most of the Guilty (in Marxist terms, that is) would escape their due.

The important point as of April 2006 was not that any members of the Lacrosse team should receive a 30-year sentence, or even that they should be convicted of rape. A process that left a residue of doubt about the "truth" in its wake would have been fine--say, a hung jury, or grudgingly dismissed charges.

Such an outcome would have emphasized to everyone--not just to the clear-thinking Gramscians of the Academy--what steps Duke must take to ensure that its highest priority will be to battle the demons of race, class, and gender privilege.

It is, doubtless, a tragedy for some that things have not worked out that way.

Mike Lee said...

Anon at 3:11 wrote, "Another way of looking at the two letters is that younger readers are more likely to go on line thus giving the Bilas letter a wider audience. But that wouldn't fit with your metanarrative, would it, KC?"

Um, ok. So, the argument would be that the letter written by Bilas was not published and therefore was viewed by a larger audience.

Irving Joyner is that you?

When Mike Nifong decided to drop the rape charges and press forward with the sexual offense and kidnapping charges his case was made stronger. Sound familiar?

You're welcome to bash KC all you want, he's perfectly capable of defending himself. But please don't insult us with such stupid arguments.

Anonymous said...

To Steven Horwitz: Well said at 9:34.

In writing "of course the real and only “crime” here was the refusal of Lubiano and, apparently, the rest of the G88 to think that the prospect of three innocent men going to jail for 30 years was more important than making political hay out of the incident" you hit the proverbial nail on its head. WL and her colleagues have a fundamental inability to see the individual from the society as a whole. In other words, in a competition between protecting the rights of an individual, such as the three falsely accused, and advancing the good of the whole of society, in this instance, the perceived need to eradicate racism at Duke, WL will always choose the latter. In her myopic view of herself, she can not see that she would, literally, trample the human rights of ANY individual to advance her cause for the benefit of society. She can not see that her world view would lead to the same reaction if the accused had been of a minority status because she has lost her ability to see any person's individuality.

Now where in history have we seen the diminution of the rights of the individual to benefit all of society - to benefit the people? Ummmm? I guess there really are academics who have not yet figured out that Marxism/Communism etc. doesn't work!

Anonymous said...

A. I am not a boy. Or a girl.
B. I refer to KC Johnson consistently as "K.C. Johnson." It would not occur to me to refer to him as Professor, unless because we are of rank.
C. I don't refer to any of the Bushes as "dubya."

You've made my point. You haven't a clue who I am or what I do. You're not consistently polite; you just demand respect for those with whom you agree. Not for others. Your treatment of Professor Lubiano makes me think you're a racist. Maybe I should refer to you as MtR in the future?

In the end, I don't care what you do, because we--thankfully--aren't in the same universe.

TTFN, MtR! Are you off burning crosses or whatever racist activity you undertake in your spare time?

Anonymous said...

Scott at 10:01, It doesn't matter what you want or what you think. You've got a closed mind and I don't suppose it could be dynamited open.

OF COURSE, you want her "terminated" because she is black. And has the audacity to say things with which you disagree. Live with it.

Debrah said...

I think we try to analyze someone like Lubiano too much.

There isn't enough nuance (LOL!!!) in her writing to justify the hairsplitting.

If she were a woman from Appalachia who had received a PhD and that woman's writing resulted in something close to this Wahneema load, no one on this blog or anywhere else would have trouble at all voicing the fact that she should not be teaching at university level.

This is a point made over and over again; however, no one does anything about it.

People like Wahneema Lubiano are infesting the academy. As in other professions--(as it was told to me by a man who owns a large local business)--it's almost impossible to get rid of an employee who doesn't measure up it if that employee is black.

The aftermath of trumped up lawsuits and all the residue can be a nightmare....and that's what people like Lubiano count on.

Everyone wants people who are up to the task...no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they come from.

On a personal level, I always prefer to do business with an establishment that employs people with a vast array of backgrounds and personalities.

But why must competence always be forfeited?

Unfortunately, there is a whole segment of our society who will not allow reason and clarity to prevail.

It's a game for many in the black community.

Sick.

Anonymous said...

10:41

Delete "unless." Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Are " victimage " and "perfectness" real words ? Maybe only in the Group 88 vesion of Scrabble.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how the "dominant race, dominant class and dominant social group" morphed into the extremely watered down new description of "various differences (ethnic, wealth, behavioral)". A little backpeddling?

Anonymous said...

9:35, I understand you are stupid from your post. KC Johnson doesn't need to state she's a black woman. He's already made it clear. And he goes after her repeatedly. Oh, I see. It's not racism. He's a broken record.

Anonymous said...

Haskall,

I'm a PhD and not a recent one. What I see on this blog reflects what I consider the dumbing down of society. I say, worry about yourselves before worrying about Duke.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

To the 3:11, who sayeth:

"I find it fascinating that you go after this black woman wihout ceasing. Be clear. Isn't it your goal to drive her from Duke, indeed, from academe?"

What's fascinating are the facts of Lubiano's 'education' and current behavior, not to mention her contorted writing. KC Johnson has merely shone a suitable light on the murky subject of Professor Lubiano.

Those who are well able to comprehend her value to an educational institution would rightly question her presence at Duke. And those who have learned of her instigations of lynch mob behavior in violation of Duke's handbook, of due process, of human rights and of the Constitution, should righly question her presence on any educational faculty.

Gary Packwood said...

haskell 9:21 said...

...To follow up my 8:45 am post, here is a damning and tragic article from the CNN news site today:
...More blacks and hispanics in jail than college
::
Your link did not work for me.

Try this one. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5168338.html

Damning and Tragic? Well perhaps, but there are all types of problems with these numbers but ...what the hell? We continue to ring the wake-up-call bell as we practice shock and awe...and the younger generation have just quit listening ...which is completely predictable.

There are more college students now who DO NOT live in resident halls (dorms) than DO live in resident halls. For at least ten years the so called 'adult' college students outnumber 'traditional' age students. They go to class and then go home and prepare to go to work the following day.

And these quotes from the article...

"The numbers, driven by men, do not include college students who live off campus. Previously released census data show that black and Hispanic college students — commuters and those in dorms — far outnumber black and Hispanic prison inmates."

But the 'narrative' gets the 'nevertheless' from 'civil rights advocates' who need that headline.

"Nevertheless, civil rights advocates said it is startling that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to live in prison cells than in college dorms."

No mention is made of the huge increase in women inmates or the lack of rehabilitation services available for those offenders in and out of jail.

Just another example of arithmetic by Harry Houdini, in my opinion.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

If a hallmark of genius is the "ability to convey complexity with few words" where does Professor Lubiano's "morbidly obese" prose place her on the IQ scale?

mac said...

10:40
And you are anonymous, which means you are a wuss, since you throw stones behind a wall of anonymity.
(anyone who has read this blog long enough knows too much about me, already) But you? If I call you a coward - (which you are) - it is just as provable as your "racist" tag.

Your comment that I'm a racist is music to my ears, boy, because you haven't identified one thing about yourself, boy. Or girl.

The point is, using race WITH a word like boy or girl is inappropriate. How'd you like the words "black boy?" I don't. That combination of words has an ugly history.

Like the ugly combination of words "privileged white boy."

Stuff it. Boy.

Debrah said...

Victoria Peterson can always have Lubiano write her campaign speeches. More H-S that is only in Durham:


PAC's backing seen boost to Peterson's candidacy

BY RAY GRONBERG : The Herald-Sun

DURHAM -- Political activists say City Council candidate Victoria Peterson's endorsement from the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People may help her survive an Oct. 9 primary that will reduce the 10-candidate field to six.

The committee's endorsement earlier this month was the first of the election season for Peterson. It was also the first for fellow challenger Farad Ali, who also got a spot on the group's ticket.

Local activists had thought the committee likely to support Ali because the only other black candidate who's secured a major endorsement, David Harris, has crossed swords at least a couple of times with Lavonia Allison, the Durham Committee's chairwoman. Harris earlier secured the backing of the People's Alliance, a liberal group.

But the Durham Committee's endorsement of Peterson -- who's run for local office several times and never previously secured backing from a major political action committee -- was a surprise to many.

On the other hand, one local observer who often writes on Durham politics says it wasn't a huge surprise because of the Durham Committee's recent history.

"The culture of the Durham Committee is to stand in defiance against the status quo -- let's attack the City Council, let's attack the school board," said Carl Kenney, a local minister and sometime critic of the group. "Victoria has been on that same page."

The committee's preference for candidates who will confront and criticize local leaders showed in last year's school board race when it endorsed three longtime opponents of former school Superintendent Ann Denlinger.

But the results of that race raised questions about the group's clout. Committee endorsees Regina George-Bowden, Jackie Wagstaff and Steve Matherly all lost, collecting 33 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent of the votes in their respective races.

The group also wasn't able to get one of its own leading members, lawyer Keith Bishop, elected district attorney. He received 13 percent of the vote in last year's Democratic primary, finishing far behind now-disgraced former District Attorney Mike Nifong and leading challenger Freda Black.

Despite the dual endorsement for Ali and Peterson, there was a subtle difference in the way Durham Committee leaders spoke about the two candidates. Ali, they said in the announcement, was "strongly endorsed" by the group's members. They placed no such extra emphasis on Peterson's endorsement.

Ali declined comment Tuesday when asked his reaction to sharing the committee ticket with Peterson.

"I'm running an election and I was fortunate to get the endorsement," he said.

Peterson had her own theory of why she was endorsed.

"The issues that the committee has been trying to address for years that go to how many young African-American males are dropping out of high school, my vocational programs and teen centers [I am advocating] will address that," she said.

Peterson also ran for council in 2005 and 2003, but this time she's simplified her message, stressing that she wants to be "a champion for the broken population of Durham -- the incarcerated, the poor and the homeless," Kenney said.

Her message -- hammered home in repeated appearances before the City Council and in other public settings -- has three legs.

First, Peterson has urged officials to beef up job training programs, if necessary by using federal anti-crime grants to Durham Police Department for that rather than law enforcement.

Committee leaders singled out that part of Peterson's platform when they announced the endorsement, saying it's obvious she wants "to work from the inside" to address economic development, rehabilitation and vocational training.

Second, Peterson has pressed officials to use the full power of two departments -- Durham's Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Department of Equal Opportunity/Equity Assurance -- to discourage city contractors from hiring illegal immigrants.

She contends illegal immigrants are getting jobs funded by the city's construction program that should instead be going to "young black men" who have grown up in Durham.

Third, Peterson has become Nifong's leading defender. She supported his handling of the Duke lacrosse case and was thrown out of Nifong's disbarment hearing after allegedly accosting the mother of one of the falsely accused and since-exonerated athletes.

On Sept. 6, she also called for an investigation into the campaign fundraising of state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who exonerated the athletes and branded Nifong a "rogue prosecutor."

In addition to Ali, Harris and Peterson, the council primary field includes incumbents Eugene Brown and Diane Catotti, and challengers Laney Funderburk, Steve Monks, Melodie Parrish, David Thompson Jr. and Joe Williams.

Anonymous said...

Brian Donnelly,
How is your daughter? Is her accident the one where the Durham police seemed reluctant to get to the bottom of who hit her and why despite tracking the car involved? I read a confusing story in the Chronilce on an accident and it seemed like the police were contradicting witness statements and evidence to blame the victim and I wondered if the police are just not interested in investigating crimes against Duke students. If you are still reading--let us know how your daughter is doing. God bless you family.

Anonymous said...

Grads regardless of their age do not generally read this magazine on line.
Trinity 95

Anonymous said...

I admit I am old school. Writing to me is not an exercise in French Impressionism. It should be clear and concise.

Unfortunately, Professor Lubiano's short letter (not to mention her initial opinion piece) has spawned four dozen comments here to address what she meant. Yet, she is an English Professor at a major university?

Finally, does she use this same dense language when speaking to her classes? If so, how do students make sense of their notes when studying for exams?

gk

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.53:

I have never mentioned Lubiano's race or ethnicity; or, indeed, the race or ethnicity of any Duke professor whose behavior I have criticized.

Also, in response to 3.11's odd point that the on-line option might have been better: Lubiano's letter appeared both on-line and in the print versions.

Debrah said...

Read this column sent to the H-S by an NCCU student. Check out the groupthink speech and the old mantras.....a mindset that people like Lubaino and the Gang of 88 perpetuate.

There's almost no attention paid to the facts of the case in this column. Just another silly opportunity to spew mindless cliches and distort......revving up a certain segment of the population who are always ready to feed on one more "grievance".

*********************************

Struggle for justice continues

By A. J. Donaldson : Guest columnist
Sep 26, 2007 : 5:00 pm ET

Jim Crow, James Crow (his son), Jena Crow (his wife), joust, jury, judge, Jena Six, juveniles, jail.

These are all words beginning with the letter "J" that we can use to describe events in Jena, La. However, one important J-word is noticeably absent -- justice. Yes, justice.

Ever since, the racially charged event took place in September 2006 in the small, Louisiana town of Jena, the activism among young African-Americans has reached a fevered pitch across America. In case you missed it, a group of black students sat under a tree that was understood by "unwritten law" to be the "white" tree. The next day, white students decorated the tree with nooses, which sent an undeniable message of hate and death to all who violated the "unwritten law."

Of course conflicts ensued between the groups, and racial tension between blacks and whites heightened. School officials viewed the noose-hanging stunt as a prank, and the students were only suspended for three days. But after a group of black students jumped on a white student, five of the six were hit with attempted murder charges, which were later reduced to aggravated second-degree battery.

Charges against one defendant, Mychal Bell, the only student to have his day in court so far, have been thrown out by a state appellate court, which ruled that Bell, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was improperly tried as an adult. Still, Bell sits in jail while the world rallies to the cause of the "Jena Six." Where is the justice?

Even though racism still spoils the appetite of society, today's youth refuse to eat from a plate of segregation. We demand a full-course meal of justice. That was evident last week when more than 20,000 people, many of whom were black college students rode to Jena to protest this injustice. I was humbled to see the tide of activism among young African-Americans students, and the many white students who rolled with us to Louisiana. Katrina wasn't the only storm to breach the levees in Louisiana, but I like to think her waters washed away the covers hiding Jena's rooted racism.

The message is clear. We must learn to coexist as humans, regardless of race or color. But we can't deny the color line woes that are interwoven into the fabric of America. Thanks to our ancestors, black youths have not faced overt racism. However, Jim Crow's first son, James Crow, is an effective, covert racist agent who oppresses people of color just the same. His tools include mandatory sentencing laws, economic inequality, and an ever-widening education gap.

One must recognize that there is something terribly wrong with our judicial system when a kid is sitting in jail for fighting for justice, while those responsible for hanging nooses remain free. Since when do we prosecute the fireman and liberate the arsonist.

When I stepped foot in Jena last week, my mind flashed back to those black and white images of the civil rights movement. At the mass rally we saw Jesse Jackson heading toward his trailer preparing to leave. I noticed at that point a leadership gap between young and old. The older protesters stood as experts among us amateur freedom fighters.

However, I saw an unmistakable desire for justice in the eyes of thousands of students. If only a camera could've captured the frustrated expression on their faces. They embodied a look of both exhaustion and vigor. N.C. Central University students led the way in almost every instance. Instead of waiting for instructions, students organized in files and rows and departed for the court house. Our greatest weakness -- having no experience -- became our strongest weapon.

The march on Jena was not just a black thing, it was a people thing. Wrong is wrong. Now we must apply all these marches to our daily lives wherever we go. We must be down for the cause of justice. Change requires a movement and not just a moment.

A. J. Donaldson is a first year graduate student at N.C. Central University.

Anonymous said...

"Another way of looking at the two letters is that younger readers are more likely to go on line thus giving the Bilas letter a wider audience. But that wouldn't fit with your metanarrative, would it, KC?"

That way of looking at the two readers still does not bring them back into parity. Why should only "younger readers" be exposed to a forceful, well-made argument for Brodhead's resignation, especially when younger readers are less likely to be those who can have any influence on decisions at that level? I can see no reason why it would make sense to aim coverage of certain viewpoints only at "younger readers" or older readers, let alone to consider that coverage separate-but-equal.

"I find it fascinating that you go after this black woman wihout ceasing. Be clear. Isn't it your goal to drive her from Duke, indeed, from academe?"

KC merely documents how Lubiano has attained an academic position of high stature without the academic accomplishments usually necessary to earn such a position, and how Lubiano has worked hard to get into the public discourse statements that she knew would be prejudicial to the students of her own university.

Now, there are two possibilities for what you are saying:
* You are saying that the appropriate fate for one who does what Lubiano has, is to be driven from Duke or from academe, in which case KC can hardly be condemned for helping Lubiano on towards the fate that her own actions earned for her;
* You are putting up a straw man that you can knock down and then pretend you have made some point; you know that KC has not expressed any such desire but you feel that it will serve your purpose to falsely attribute such motives to him.

Anonymous said...

To Prof. KC Johnson at 10:53, No one has asserted that you mentioned anyone's race and or ethnicity. But you know it just the same. And isn't it just funny how you happen to pick on a Black woman so much of the time? An accident? Oh. I see.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in 11:15's proof for his assertion.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how many of the people who post here claiming all is well in the US are NOT white"

I wonder how many people who post here have ever claimed "all is well in the US", period. I can't recall such a thing ever being said here.

Anonymous said...

10:57, Say what?!

Duke 85 said...

I received the Duke Mag in the mail last week. I opened it to the first page and began to read "Heard on the Quad". After reading about 8 quotes, I threw the mag across the room. My husband, also a Duke alum, came in the door right as the mag sailed across room. He looked at me questioningly. I could only sputter, "Vile, hate-America, socialist, ignorant tripe." He read the quotes and scanned the interior, laughing, and then carried the mag to the outside trash, suggesting that I might find the interior of it even worse. I ran into a Yale alum, who sends his mag back 1st class and has joined a group "NOPE-Not One Penny Ever." I am SO ASHAMED of Duke and proud of Jay Bilas who lived in the room above mine junior year. Thankfully, not every mind associated with the university has been or is being poisoned. I hope the current crop has as much integrity.

Shouting Thomas said...

This woman, along with a number of fellow faculty members, cost Duke University millions of dollars in a legal settlement. In concrete terms, her employer has admitted that she committed behavior that deserves severe punishment.

What hasn't she been fired?

What employer buys an employee out of a legal mess created by the employee and does not take punitive action? Why is Lubiano's employer allowing her to continue to comment, when her condemnable behavior in this case has already cost Duke millions? Why doesn't her employer order her to shut up?

I cannot imagine another business in which an employee would survive such a catastrophe.

All that can be discerned from such behavior is that the employer condones Lubiano's despicable behavior and is content to pay the price for that continued despicable behavior. Duke's administration is continuing to thumb its nose at all of us.

Anonymous said...

A gem!

mac said at 5:45...
But Wahneeema, whose writing is morbidly obese, couldn't be so fair. Her litarary offenses are far worse than Fenimore Cooper's, and therefore we should consider it a bonus that she has not published - even though she frequently makes the threat.

Anonymous said...

10:40 "Your treatment of Professor Lubiano makes me think you're a racist."

Not until today did I realize Lubiano was black. How would anyone know?

Painful as it may be for her and for you, the criticism is not about race. Sadly the criticism is about her behavior as a person and as a member of the academy.

Anonymous said...

11:22,

Why is that an odd point? Your blog is well read (if mostly by crazy people) and it's on-line...I thought on-line was the wave of the future. Not when you want to attack Duke, eh? Oh. I see.

Anonymous said...

Re: 10:40 Your Point B.

Somehow your subject and predicate do not work out to make any sense.

Was this written by one of the Duke English department faculty?

Probably.

If it had been written by somebody in Economics we would at least have been able to understand it.

Not only do these Duke 88 Fake-Culty teach obscure and indefensible cocepts, they can't even string together a coherent sentence !!!

And even though I am in the medical profession, and thought I knew that there were only two choices ( boy or girl booties in the nursery), this person seems to be neither.

Now maybe we're on to something.

English faculty who can't put a sentence together coherently and gramatically, and also who don't know which color their booties are... well, surely there is a University somewhere that charges less tuition, that would buy in to this kind of illogic. But Duke???? Well, the "formerly great Duke" would have kicked them out on their butts.

It will be awhile, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Much of this is dishonnest clattrap of the worst sort. Lubiano did not know what she was talking about as regards the lacrosse fiasco and hoax, and in that regard had no care for any justice in the case from start to finish and beyond. She has wanted control and power in defining the narrative and controlling its course period. Her sense of justice has no blindfolded women holding the scales of truth before her. She wants victims plain and simple. She moves her self defined "truths" before an altar of her own definition and is found moving both the altar and the truth backwards and forwards and sideways systematically and sematically in order fit "facts" that she and she alone understands and advances as truth. The facts are that these young men were more than not guilty but were innocent is an anathma to her self-created and appointed theories of life
. . . apologize, apologize now. Apologize . . . but apology is such bourgeosie racist/gener/class inspired concept isn't it?. Yes, apology is so, well, "Move on" now isn't it. Apology is so "Shut up and teach" as opposed to apologize and "Sut up" and learn. I have come to think of Lubiano's criticism and Holloway' hollowness to be reflective more of the shallow agitation and reflectiveness of their own lives than a criticism of the lacrosse players. The sad fact is that much going on in the black community in Durham and elsewhere is a creation of that community's own doing. The fear of being shot because you are a Dukie is the reality of much of Durham. I am not unsympathetic to this, and it muct be remembered who told the truth in this sorry affair from one of the dancers to an immigrant cab driver. All need to learn a way to help and aid and assist and compliment one another. I do not think this assinine Duke faculty has a clue. (See, even I am guilty of this sort of thing . . . sorry for using the word assinine . . . I know you are too smart for that . . . there must be a triple meaning in this . . . see if you can write all of them out . . . and good luck Duke . . . several meanings here . . . think Elvis . . . thank you, thank you very much . . . think the South and how we talk and get your damnned act togeter before you are thought to be even more fool than you have been in this matter.

Anonymous said...

A bit off the subject, but can anyone tell me if you can get a degree from Duke in African and AFrican-american studies...and if so what would one do with such a degree?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the issue of publication on the web versus in the Duke Magazine, I have a couple of comments:

1. If Duke is like either of the two universities from which I graduated, then EVERY graduate receives a copy of the magazine (if for no other purpose than as an aid to solicit donations).

2. I have never visited the website for the university magazne for either of the schools I attended.

3. Why would a graduate go on-line to view something she gets free in the mail?

4. Duke University knew the best "play" was to put the Bilas letter on the web: (a) it was effectively HIDDEN there because of 3 above; (b) Bilas would be assuaged as it was at least "published"; (c) Duke Magazine could claim that it was "fair and balanced" because of the "publication" of the letter on the website: and (d) Duke Magazine staff could display their bona fides to the PC community AND Duke Administration at the same time.

5. So, my strongest criticism is that there was no better place to HIDE the Bilas letter than on-line. Duke Magazine, however, forgot about Professor K.C. Johnson.
_______________

I've read the interpretations from AMAC and Horwitz, and I agree with both! I also agree with K.C.'s interpretation. This is how:

Everyone agrees that the writing is as opaque as bullshit and as ponderous as a cow. Professor Horwitz is arguing that the author got the jump on creating the "something happened" craze. I also see that in the Lubiano piece.

Lubiano always seems to start her paragraphs with a first sentence that can be described as general theory.

It is her second or third sentences that attempted to impale the Duke boys. These sentences go BEYOND her general argument. It is in those sentences that you find proof of AMAC's and K.C.'s points. For example, here is Lubiano:

FIRST SENTENCE: "Within the terms of the responses to the incident, I understand the impulse of those outraged and who see the alleged offenders as the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus."

SECOND SENTENCE: "Further, this group has been responsible for extended social violence against the neighborhood in which they reside."

THIRD SENTENCE: "In short, by a combination of their behaviors and what they represent in terms of social facts, and by virtue of their relation to the alleged victim, for those who are defenders of the victim, the members of the team are almost perfect offenders in the sense that Crenshaw writes about."

Notice that Lubiano's first sentence in that paragraph states a general theory.

Her second sentence, however, condemns the lax players specifically with no use of words such as "alleged" or even "apparently." She says "THIS GROUP HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE for extended SOCIAL VIOLENCE against the neighborhood." Seems to me she is using hyperbole (noise violation = social violence) to build up the perception that the boys are perfect offenders.

Lubiano's third sentence also doesn't use words like "seem" or phrases like "appear to be." Rather, she says "the members of the team are ALMOST PERFECT OFFENDERS."

I'm sure her defenders will voice their concern that Lubiano's article was "nuanced," when, in fact, it was crappy writing and crappy logic that led her to attempt to extract demands from Duke on the backs of presumptively innocent students.

I would also point out that the context of the article is very important. On April 10, the national media and local media led with stories about the lack of DNA in the Duke case and the existence of time-stamped photographs proving Mangum was a liar. She is arguing that Duke did not need "perfect" evidence.

Along the lines reasoned by Professor Horwitz, I would say Lubiano's main argument is very familiar to us all: Whatever they did was bad enough.

MOO! Gregory

Stu Daddy said...

Not only was Bilas' letter submitted to Duke Magazine before the publisher's deadline for the September/October issue, it was submitted prior to the deadline for the July/August issue.

Editor Bliwise pigeonholed the letter all summer long, finally posting it on the mag's website just a few days ago. Better late than never. At least Bliwise is a professional with minimal standards and a conscience.

Anonymous said...

9:35, I understand you are stupid from your post. KC Johnson doesn't need to state she's a black woman. He's already made it clear. And he goes after her repeatedly. Oh, I see. It's not racism. He's a broken record.

9/27/07 10:53 AM

Thank you 10:53, but I need not rely on excessive psycho-babble to impress my reader. You are the only one who has made an issue of Whaneema's race and are seemingly baiting for a like response. Good luck.

Also, one would think a literature professor would only have to articulate their position once for their opinion to be understood... clearly. Since Wahneema keeps 'clarifying' her statements, must we all wonder who the stupid one is?

Delightfully yours,
9:35

inman said...

I just re-read Wahneema Lubiano's essay on the AAAS blog -- couldn't help but chuckle at the 'diasater' which led me to visualize a dying satyr. Perhaps this was an intentional error.

When I finished, I also got a very warm feeling ... the same feeling I got 23 years ago when my wife and I moved into our first house. My wife was 8 and a half months pregnant, ... couldn't lift, carry etc. ... so we had Mary _____, help us. Mary was a somewhat older, large black women. Mary was also a kind soul who had often worked for friends and family. Mary had grown up in southside Virginia on a farm and noting my wife's advanced condition commented on the birth of her first child, at home in a small cabin, newpapers providing sterile covering on the floor. Following the birth, she went back into the fields to tend to the harvest, one handed, holding a suckling baby with the other. Mary told us this story.

Mary also, prior to leaving, gathered my wife and me and held us to her grand bosom. Then she prayed and blessed our house.

Now I know, our house had been 'perfected.'

Anonymous said...

11"23 Mark Twain wrote "difference of opinions is why we have horseraces."

KC Johnson said...

I added an update to the post to address the bizarre argument that the DM editors' strategy might have been designed to maximize exposure to the Bilas letter.



Also, here was 10.53:

"KC Johnson doesn't need to state she's a black woman. He's already made it clear."

Here's 11.36 (the same person?), after I pointed out that the blog never mentioned Lubiano's race or ethnicity, just as it has never mentioned Bill Chafe's race or ethnicity:
"No one has asserted that you mentioned anyone's race and or ethnicity."

Oh.

Anonymous said...

The language of group think is troll, idiot and moron. Now we can add stupid.

scott said...

The post at 10:46 tends to confirm my belief that 10:40 and 10:41 are from the same Anonymous.

Please allow me to borrow from your 10:40 as your remarks in 10:41 relate to me:

You haven't a clue who I am or what I do.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:14

"KC Johnson doesn't need to state she's a black woman. He's already made it clear."

----------

Liar.

Are YOU saying that black people have funny names?

Lubiano, as far as I would perceive it (and KC has never identified her by race or ethnicity, as you KNOW), is an Italian name.

You are the racist.

Anonymous said...

8:56
"And you can call KC "Professor Johnson," if you like.

From now on, perhaps I will use the diminutive that persons like yourself likely use perjoratively about our President, "Dubya."

"Dubya" Lubiano.

Is that ok with you, boy?"

Great post, big mac!

I love your diminutive "Dubya" Lubiano - it sounds vastly more cultured than "Jiffy"!!

Anonymous said...

I never knew Lubiano, Chafe or any of the others were black. Now you've got me wondering who's who and who's what. I'm going to have to go to google images to try to figure it all out.

Why is their race important? Should some of us be more protected than others?

Anonymous said...

exposure to Bilas' letter was maximized when K.C. and the Liestopper's blog found it. If Duke's intent was to bury it, best to have left it in their crappy magazine.

miramar said...

To be fair, the current Duke Magazine did publish seven letters on the lacrosse mess and on their coverage of it, and (as in the past) they did include some very critical comments from alumni. Nevertheless, as KC has noted, Bilas is an attorney, a former Duke athlete, and has a high public profile, and I suspect that this last quality is what exluded him from the magazine and landed him in the online comments. After all, it is an in-house magazine, and its purpose is to give the best spin on the situation and on the Duke administration.

Incidentally, their coverage, especially their previous article entitled "One Year Later," seems to me to be a sanitized, make the best out of a bad situation piece, as you would expect from an alumni magazine. They do quote from Professor Coleman, but Brodhead basically blames everything on Nifong while stressing that he indicated that the players were innocent until proven guilty. That statement is true based on his March 28 letter announcing the suspesion of the lacrosse season (http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2006/03/lacrossestatement.html) but he himself seems to have forgotten that basic principle very quickly. At any rate, here is the link to the Duke Magazine article that some of the letter writers are responding to:

http://www.dukemagazine.duke.edu/dukemag/issues/050607/year1.html

Finally, the book review on the Yaeger and Pressler book slams it for being one-sided, but then falls into the same trap. Jon Scher from ESPN magazine seems as apalled by the team hiring strippers as he is by Nifong's behavior. In fact, he seems to lay the responsibility entirely at the players' feet, something that even Brodhead doesn't do (he has Nifong for that). Scher strongly criticizes "the willful ignorance and youthful stupidity that led to this whole dreadful episode in the first place." In other words, if you are dumb enough to hire strippers, and one of them is an unbalanced, drug-addled prostitute who makes unfounded allegations against you, you deserve everything you get. To quote Scher himself, "Come on."

Mike Lee said...

John Burness then-

"For what?"

John Burness now-

"Duke University has been in discussions with representatives of the families for many months and is happy to continue discussions with their new representatives. We hope to reach a fair resolution that will allow the families and the university to move forward."

I guess someone with some sense must have pulled Burness aside and told him about the "for what."

Burness and Broadhead have shown themselves to be Colonel Klink and Sgt. Shultz over the past year and a half. These boobs make Duke look ridiculous....but not quite as ridiculous as Lubiano and her AAAS cronies. Kim Curtis remains on the payroll.

Duke alums must be absolutely horrified at seeing these dolts ruin the University they love.

rrhamilton said...

anonymous at 8:36 a.m. said ...

The piece that you link to in the N&O has the entire sentence that you talk about and it reads "Lubiano, the professor, said people can't imagine that the woman could have made a false rape allegation; nor does anyone want to believe it really happened." When you include the rest of the sentence that you don't quote in your post the meaning changes somewhat.
(emphasis added)

When I first read the sentence quoted, I thought "it" refered to the "false rape allegation", but I can see how "it" could refer to just "rape".

Clearly, Lubiano's way of speaking and writing is unclear. I've met people on heavy drugs who communicated more clearly than these 88ers. But then, the drug users were trying to make themselves understood, rather than trying to hide what they really meant.

patrick said...

To 10:55: "I'm a PhD and not a recent one."

Why do I keep picturing that New Yorker cartoon where the beagle is typing happily away and the caption reads: "On the internet no one knows you're a dog."

Has it occurred to you, Learned Sir or Madam, that an anonymous post invoking unverifiable credentials to lend weight to a feeble generalized insult to this blog is about as "dumbed down" as it gets.

There's nothing wrong with anonymity or even invoking credentials if you have an argument to make and those credentials have something to add to the argument. But name calling on the authority of an alleged PhD is pretty childish.

The quality of Ms. Lubiano's prose has in this particular thread called the value of that degree in question.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous posters on this thread are proving "The Billy Mumy Postulate." That is, the power of the word "racist" to chill speech.

The argument made by our little Billy Mumy friend on this thread appears to go a little something like this:

1. Lubiano is black;

2. We are criticizing her more than others;

3. Therefore, we are "racists."

Note that there is no evidence provided for this assertion. I am not going to bother to look up references to "Nifong" or "Brodhead" or even "Meehan" on this blog and compare that number to the number of "Lubiano" references, but I would bet that there are many more references to Nifong and Brodhead and more references to Meehan.

Of course, our little Billy Mumy friend also did not provide evidence on how Lubiano's actions and words were qualitatively different from, say, Chafe.

Lubiano authored the "Listening ad" and used her "Billy Mumy" authority to rally (or coerce?) others to join her position. She then wrote the April 13 article about perfect offenders. She was also involved in other anti-lax activities (or head-in-the-sand forums) like the "Shut Up and Teach" event. Chafe signed the statement and wrote his silly editorial.

By responding to the taunts of racism, I know that I have just given them power. But, we need to see them for what they are.

MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Quoth 11:36:

"To Prof. KC Johnson at 10:53, No one has asserted that you mentioned anyone's race and or ethnicity. But you know it just the same. And isn't it just funny how you happen to pick on a Black woman so much of the time? An accident? Oh. I see."

I hate to say it, but this anon makes an undeniable point. Why did KC go after Mike Nifong? Because Mike Nifong was a black woman. Why did KC go after Mark Gottlieb? Because Mark Gottlieb was a black woman. Why did KC go after Brian Meehan? Because Brian Meehan was a black woman.

If KC wants to show some of this so-called "fairness", then he'll do the right and decent thing -- he will wait until such time as Wahneema Lubiano transmogrifies into a white male. Only then will it be acceptable to hold her accountable for the content of her writings.

Anonymous said...

Of course KC Johnson must be racist because he continues to post information about Lubiano and she is after all black.

It has nothing to do with the fact that-
- Lubiano authored the Listening Ad
- Lubiano's CV is strangely bare
- Lubiano has listed publications as forthcoming for the better part of a decade.
- Lubiano has written a letter labeling the players perfect offenders
- Lubiano cannot seem to write a letter that does not need clarification several times in order to be understood.

Oh and she's black too.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

To the 11:38,

Lubiano has violated (or urged the violation of) the Duke handbook, the students' rights to due process, and the Constitution. She's never yet published the normal dissertation of a holder of a PhD. She has no business teaching at Duke or any university.

Clear enough, or would you prefer this in six volumes of Lubiano-speak?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Anna Lieth has an article in today's Chronicle entitled "Duke May Be Hit With Lacrosse Suit".

A commentor on that article at 9:58 posted the entire Jay Bilas letter, and others refer to it.

Maybe the alums won't see it, but the students certainly do.

haskell said...

Steven Howitz 9:34

Well written and nicely put. Have you considered sending you post, in letter form, to Duke Magazine? Seriously. Good job.

mb said...

K.C., I'm not at all surprised re. the choice of the editors to exclude Bilas' letter from the print edition of Duke Magazine. It fits right in with the pattern of denial and stonewalling that the administration has followed since the case fell apart.

However, what I am surprised - nay, shocked - about is that a school like Duke, which has aspirations of neo-Ivy League status, would grant faculty status to someone with the pathetic skills that Holloway demonstrates on a regular basis. Throughout all of her meandering missives that I've read, I've yet to encounter a cogent, concise train of thought laid out on the page. Yet this is what passes for a full professor - of literature, no less - at Duke?

On the other hand, given the craven adherence to the so-called 'diversity' fad at Duke and elsewhere in academia, I guess that on further reflection I'm not all that surprised. I'm still shocked, but no longer surprised.

Heaven help those poor students, as well as the quality faculty that have to share the academic stage with the likes of Holloway.

rrhamilton said...

To Steven Horwitz at 9:34 AM:

Wahneema called. She says you forgot to shut her closet door after you finished shining her shoes.

Seriously, look at your post. You told me to "go to Hell" for saying you were too lackadaisical about faculty misconduct, but read your last 4-5 paragraphs and show me in there anything that we couldn't expect Brodhead to say. Here, let me help by changing Lubiano to Nifong:

Of course the real and only “crime” here was the refusal of [Nifong] and, apparently, the rest of the [Durham authorities] to think that the prospect of three innocent men going to jail for 30 years was more important than making political hay out of the incident....
Finally a request of [District Attorney Nifong, Esquire]: just because the alleged offenders aren’t perfect offenders, doesn’t mean that “something” didn’t happen to them either. I do agree that “something happened” that night – an utterly false charge of rape that almost sent three innocent men to jail with you and [some] of your colleagues being part of the process that almost allowed that to happen....
Thus, my request: issue a public statement supporting the calls for reform of the [Duke Faculty Handbook]. Show your commitment to due process and demonstrate [how Hamilton could have been as supine about misconduct by lawyers as I can be about misconduct by professors. And I'll be right over to close that closet door.]

Anonymous said...

I sent the following email to Bliwise last evening after glancing at the Duke Magazine:


Dear Mr. Bliwise,

Please remove me from the distribution list for the Duke Magazine.

Our letter carrier will soon retire, and I don't want his replacement to know that I am a Duke graduate,

Thank you for your kind attention to this request.

Anonymous said...

To claim that Professor Johnson's criticisms of Lubiano are racially motivated is unsupportable, given that he has been equally critical of White 88ers like Wood, Chafe, the prohibitionist Rosenberg and the hook-up guru Allison; and has been rightly complimentary of law professor Coleman (who is Black.)

In any other field of employment, Lubiano would have been dismissed long ago, for reasons including the following:

1. As the instigator of the ad, she played a major part in costing her employer millions of dollars in settlement payments and legal fees, with more to come.

2. Likewise, she has caused catastrophic damage to her employer's reputation.

3. By pressing and persuading her colleagues to sign the ad, she has damaged their reputations and career prospects.

4. She has gone out of her way to publicly attack and alienate her employer's customers.

5. She is a poor public speaker, as demonstrated at "Shut Up & Teach" -- a serious deficiency for a teacher.

6. Her writing is atrocious -- a serious deficiency for an academic.

7. She has been chronically unproductive.

8. She has been deceptive about her lack of productivity -- "forthcoming" books for 10 years.

9. She has perpetuated that deception on her resume.

10. Her personal appearance is unprofessional, and her manner arrogant.

Only in academia would La Lubyanka be a highly-paid employee-for-life.

haskell said...

Gary Packwood, 11:02. Thanks for the URL, for some reason I cannot link to CNN correctly. I appreciate your comments as well, they put the rather sensational article into better perspective. Thanks again.

Duke1965 said...

Steve Horwitz @9:34,

Excellant post analyzing Ms. Lubiano's turgid prose...... here are some additional thoughts.

Ms. Lubiano's ultimate point was that even given an "imperfect" alleged victim (not exactly the college student mom stuggling to earn a few bucks) and "imperfect" defendants (not total meatheads), the underlying issue of Duke's racist/sexist/classist culture should be seriously addressed.

Let's examine that assumption...... is the Duke campus culture really racist, sexist and class-privileged? Very hard to generalize about any group of 6,000 students, because in reality there are a number of cultures........ however, based on my impression of the general culture at Duke, it is anything but a racist/sexist/classist culture. I would very much like to see the general impressions of those "on the ground" at Duke, the professors and students.

The Listening Ad, Houston Baker's letter, and many other comments by the Listening Ad signatories have a common theme of fear, thereby justifying a demand for social change....... fear of what, I ask? Fear of the lacrosse players? Fear of racial insults being hurled as one walks to class? I would bet my last dollar that during the chaos on the Duke campus in the Spring of 2006, one or more students referred to Crystal Mangum as a "ho"........ does anyone think that creates a racist environment which must be changed? And I'm equally sure there's more than one "trust fund" kid at Duke driving around in a Beemer.......... should that aspect of Duke's culture be changed? If so, how? ...... ban Beemers and make everyone wear school uniforms?

I question Lubiano's basic premise, that Duke's culture needs drastic change from it's present state........ then again, I'm a white male, so maybe I just can't see it...... but exactly what would that ideal "culture" look like?

Anonymous said...

What am I missing here"

The 10:40 "writer" calls KC by his given name, no rank. But gives the distinguished title of Professor to Lubiano.

Hey... in my world, I'll take a Pulitzer Prize winning book over the title of "Professor" any day.... especially the way she got HERS.

But honestly, if ranks are being handed out or fought over, K.C. Johnson has sure earned himeself a Professorship with a Distinguished Chair named after him somewhere.

At least, that's what the public thinks.

But then, can you really see down to ground level where the real people are from way up in those ivory towers?

Anonymous said...


but exactly what would that ideal "culture" look like?


One where all white males live in fear of all other people.

One where a person is accorded status simply by virtue of having the correct, colored, skin color, or the correct, female, sex (or having a more nuanced sexuality).

Anonymous said...

3:11, 10:53, 11:36...,

Does your narrative derive from an on-line degree?

mb said...

(red-faced)Hopefully it's clear to all that in my post of 2:11PM I meant Lubiano when I wrote "Holloway." Obviously I'm not an English or Literature professor. My bad... (/red-faced)

Still: Lubiano, Holloway - does it really matter?...

Anonymous said...

2:27, Your post is b.s. from start to finish. Learn grammar before attacking others. (Its, not its...and that's for starters.)

And, universities don't have customers, silly, silly man. They have students.

Anonymous said...

Oops. The its error was 3:13. Yours was the highly paid...

Anonymous said...

Insufficiently Sensitive, you are insufficiently literate, but fyi: not all dissertations are published. Duh! I think what you want to be demanding is a monograph...

Anonymous said...

If you want to be smart, 1:32, instead of smart alec, you'll do comparisons with other faculty members. And she's the one he's gone after the most...

Anonymous said...

duke1965 @ 3:13. Thank you for articulating something that I have been thinking about for quite a while. The Idiot88+ seem to forget that for the most part, their students are kids, not too long out of high school. They say and do dumb things. They make noise. They make ill-considered decisions. Their first experiences with beer, liquor, or sex may not be good or may even be disasterous. Yes, I know that 18 year olds serve bravely and honorably in the military. But before some drill sergeant got hold of them, they were just as goofy as their college counterparts. The Brodheads, the Lubianos, etc., are supposed to be in the "kid business" (to quote that wonderful women's lacrosse coach)and that business is helping these teens and early-20s grow up, get educated and find their place in the world. That isn't going to come about by "changing campus culture." It's going to happen through decent teaching, mentoring, coaching, and providing a supportive atmosphere for all students.

Steven Horwitz said...

Hamilton:

My purpose was to analyze her article, not analyze her behavior and recommend punishment. My apologies for not making every one of my posts being about how faculty members should be "disciplined."

She attempted to provide a serious analysis of the incident (however wrong we might think it) and I provided a serious analysis in response. I'm not interested in declaring her or others evil at every opportunity.

Haskell:

I don't think Duke would be interested in an analysis from a non-Dukie, nor would it matter much I think. Sometimes I like to write just to clarify my own thinking, and trying to make sense of that "piece" helping me to think through the G88's understanding of the whole incident better. If someone wants to post it elsewhere, that's fine. But it wasn't intended for consumption beyond here.

AMac said...

Gregory 1:14pm --

Sometimes, confusion comes about because separate concepts are defined by a single word. Here's an example of what the dictionary supplies:

racist (noun) - A person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others.

But here's another definition that's in common use on the Web:

racist (noun) - The correct characterization of a person who has been accused of racism by somebody with the authority to make the charge.

The first definition is about the thoughts and beliefs of the accused. It might be possible to examine writings and actions or engage in conversation, and determine if that person is, indeed, racist.

In contrast, the second definition is all about the authority of the accuser. The accused's state of mind or track record are beside the point.

So, what makes an accuser credible? Best I can tell, it's "Being to the political Left of the person being attacked."

Perhaps Godwin's Law needs a corrolary: Until proven otherwise, an internet accusation of 'Racism' is to be interpreted to mean, "I'm to your Left, and I don't like you!"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:32 said:

"I hate to say it, but this anon makes an undeniable point. Why did KC go after Mike Nifong? Because Mike Nifong was a black woman. Why did KC go after Mark Gottlieb? Because Mark Gottlieb was a black woman. Why did KC go after Brian Meehan? Because Brian Meehan was a black woman."

Excellent point!

And let's not forget KC's blatant and repeated endorsement of Obama for president.

What say you now, KC? You've been shown for what you are.

-RD

Anonymous said...

The parents are customers. The parents of students at Duke generally have a wide choice of schools that they can pay $120,00 to at any given time. If not customers, how would you describe the folk who pay the bills?

rrhamilton said...

anonymous insomniac at 3:11 a.m. says…

I find it fascinating that you go after this black woman wihout ceasing. Be clear. Isn't it your goal to drive her from Duke, indeed, from academe?


Yes, and or Duhhhh! It’s the goal of all who care about Duke and the academe. What, did you think it was a secret agenda?

For 10:24: What are you babbling about?

For amac at 10:25: excellent post, which I repost here only in part:

Like many others, Lubiano recognizes that few people are "perfect" representatives of their class. Since the Vanguard must dispense Class Justice to individuals, how are consequences to be fairly decided? If only "perfect offenders" are condemned, most of the Guilty (in Marxist terms, that is) would escape their due.

The important point as of April 2006 was
not that any members of the Lacrosse team should receive a 30-year sentence, or even that they should be convicted of rape. A process that left a residue of doubt about the "truth" in its wake would have been fine--say, a hung jury, or grudgingly dismissed charges.

Lubiano gambled; she lost; time to pay the debt owed. In nobler days, duty would place pistols on scores of desks at Duke, and honor would pull the triggers.

R.R. Hamilton

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

2:27, Your post is b.s. from start to finish. Learn grammar before attacking others. (Its, not its...and that's for starters.)
------------------------------------
Hello Wahneema, I'm the 2:27. Sorry you didn't like my post. But it doesn't actually contain any "..."s. And perhaps you should learn the difference between "its" and "it's" before offering criticisms of grammar.

Anonymous said...

For Steven Horwitz:

I think no one does a better job of describing the problem than you do. That's why it's all the more heartbreaking when reading your proposed solutions. It's as though Lane Williamson of the Ethics Commission had enumerated all of Nifong's offenses and then concluded by saying, "I hope you will promise not to do this again."

RRH

Anonymous said...

:27, "Your post is b.s. from start to finish. Learn grammar before attacking others. (Its, not its...and that's for starters.)

And, universities don't have customers, silly, silly man. They have students."

Yes, universities do have "customers": they are the students as well as the individuals who pay the students' tuition. This is now a common term in academic marketing, so you reveal yourself to be uninformed.

Anonymous said...

re DECLINE AT HARVARD

There's a depressing article in this week's Blacks in Higher Education. The female president of Harvard wants to dumb down standards even more to attract black faculty in the sciences.

The good thing is (if she's successful) that Harvard's ranking will fall and the alumni will go ballistic.

Good movie scenario--yes?

Steven Horwitz said...

Anon at 415:

That is the best post of the day. I would like to think that's how I see my students: they are kids on their way to being adults and it's my job, and that of the university, to remember that and help them make that transition. It's sometimes a tough line to walk between recognizing that they need help in that transition and then holding them responsible for their actions when they break the rules, but it's a line we have to try to walk.

It's also why college judicial processes don't look like the law - given that they are in transition, we try to use mistakes students make as opportunities to educate not (just) punish. That doesn't justify gross violations of due process, but it does explain why it's not exactly like the law. Good schools are ones that progressively emphasize the "responsibility" piece and de-emphasize the "education" piece as students transition from first-years to seniors.

Whenever I feel like I'm forgetting that these are humans-in-transition, I think back to a day a few years ago when I came back from class to find a female student asleep on the bench outside my office. She was curled up in the fetal position, with her thumb in her mouth.

Yes, they are 18-22, but they are also still kids in many ways, and they are somebody's son or daughter who has, to some degree, entrusted them to us. We forget that at our own peril as educators.

Steven Horwitz said...

Ok, Hamilton, a question for you:

Let's start with the assumption that the tenured faculty at Duke cannot be fired for anything they did, which I think is in fact the case. What they did would never rise to the level of "termination for cause," but it surely could, as violations of the faculty handbook, be grounds for other sorts of punishment.

You're the provost and president. What would you do, short of firing them?

Obie98 said...

" Anonymous @ 4:15 said...

duke1965 @ 3:13. Thank you for articulating something that I have been thinking about for quite a while. The Idiot88+ seem to forget that for the most part, their students are kids, not too long out of high school. They say and do dumb things. They make noise. They make ill-considered decisions. Their first experiences with beer, liquor, or sex may not be good or may even be disasterous. Yes, I know that 18 year olds serve bravely and honorably in the military. But before some drill sergeant got hold of them, they were just as goofy as their college counterparts. The Brodheads, the Lubianos, etc., are supposed to be in the "kid business" (to quote that wonderful women's lacrosse coach)and that business is helping these teens and early-20s grow up, get educated and find their place in the world. That isn't going to come about by "changing campus culture." It's going to happen through decent teaching, mentoring, coaching, and providing a supportive atmosphere for all students."

While I share your disdain for the G88 and their methods, I have serious misgivings about college's role of "turning kids into adults". I'm sorry, but that is mainly the combined responsibility of parents and the kid him/herself BEFORE they graduate high school. By the time they get to college/military/work, they better be past the mollycoddling and ready to get down to business.

I find it strange that some people feel that college should be an extension of high school when it should be a place for young adults to start learning how to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for them. This concerns me as this seems to be another symptom of an increasing trend of infantilizing young adults and is quite insulting to many young adults I've known who were able to take change of their own affairs without the need to be handheld by parents, faculty, and employers.

Sorry, this is a big pet peeve of mine as many of my classmates and I started college at 16-18 and were able to get down to business without the need to be handheld by parents, faculty, or employers. Hell...many of us figured out various means defray our college expenses on our own to the point we never needed to ask family for any financial assistance.

In short, don't underestimate the capability of young adults to take care of themselves if you've raised them to be responsible people.

rrhamilton said...


Duke 85 said...
I am SO ASHAMED of Duke and proud of Jay Bilas who lived in the room above mine junior year. Thankfully, not every mind associated with the university has been or is being poisoned. I hope the current crop has as much integrity.

9/27/07 11:41 AM


One of the most heartening things of which this case has made me aware is the thorough-going contempt in which the 88ists are held by Duke students. I suppose it is to be expected, as they are confronted by the 88ist evil everyday, while we here in cyberland glimpse it only in dribs and drabs.

The students have even taught me a term. Rather than calling them "88ists" as I do, the students call them "diversity racists".

Anonymous said...

To AMAC @ 4:23: I swear to the gods of Correctology, I was reaching the same conclusion. But, you wrote it first AND so concisely and beautifully, it deserves a re-post:

"Perhaps Godwin's Law needs a corrolary: Until proven otherwise, an internet accusation of 'Racism' is to be interpreted to mean, 'I'm to your Left, and I don't like you!'" -AMAC'S Law

Exceptional! MOO! Gregory

rrhamilton said...

Steven Horwitz said...
Ok, Hamilton, a question for you:

Let's start with the assumption that the tenured faculty at Duke cannot be fired for anything they did, which I think is in fact the case. What they did would never rise to the level of "termination for cause," but it surely could, as violations of the faculty handbook, be grounds for other sorts of punishment.

You're the provost and president. What would you do, short of firing them?

9/27/07 5:22 PM


And short of placing pistols on their desks, I suppose?

All right. I believe Dante wrote that the innermost ring of Hell is reserved for betrayers. (Whatever else Nifong did to those boys, he didn't betray them.)

I recognize that some of the 88ers may not believe in Hell, but as their provost, I could make them believe in something mighty close to it on this side of the afterlife.

My goal, at a minimum, would be to make them feel like the parents of those boys felt. I want them to know the meaning of Reade Seligman's words: "On the other end of the phone I heard the life just get sucked out of her". I think I read in KC's book that it was the first time in his life that Collin Finnerty had ever seen his father cry. Think of that.

That level of pain is the marker I would use in wondering if I was being too harsh on the 88. As I have little knowledge about the mechanics of college faculty employment, I would like to name some professor my assistant in advising me how to proceed. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

6:02 Well, that is not happening. Okay, it was a rough year - people have bad and rough years. The Reagan family have had the most terrible year and it is forever. Not just a year.

Anonymous said...

5:09PM
re DECLINE AT HARVARD

There's also a depressing article in the Chronicle today on the same topic.."Black, female faculty lacking in sciences"

The article does not say anything about "dumbing down" the standards but it makes it clear that the diversity proponents at Duke have now set their sights on the hard sciences.

Debrah said...

It's as though Lane Williamson of the Ethics Commission had enumerated all of Nifong's offenses and then concluded by saying, "I hope you will promise not to do this again."

So true.

This is why I get nauseated each time I hear run-of-the-mill academic emollients speak about this.

Like slapping the wrist of Shante Kimes.

Anonymous said...

Obie98 at 5:23 said...

I have serious misgivings about college's role of "turning kids into adults". I'm sorry, but that is mainly the combined responsibility of parents and the kid him/herself BEFORE they graduate high school. By the time they get to college/military/work, they better be past the mollycoddling and ready to get down to business.


I was talking to my oldest daughter about guys recently (she's getting just old enough to start dating). One of the things I told her was, "A 16-year-old guy is a boy; a 22-year-old guy is a man. It's the middle years, 17 to 21, where he's not quite one and not fully the other."

RRH

Steven Horwitz said...

There's only so many tools the college administrator has at his/her disposal. If Duke has discretion in salaries, you can deny the person pay increases. You can assign the person awful teaching times. You could possibly up their teaching load (depends on the contract). You could assign the person to awful committees, and lots of them. You could deny the person access to in-house grant opportunities or travel funds.

But all of these things need to go by whatever's in the faculty handbook. If you want to punish people for violating it, you need to stick by it as an administrator.

Short of firing, you could conceivably suspend without pay for a semester or two. Again, depends on the handbook, which normally has all kinds of procedures laid out for dealing with faculty misbehavior.

You could put a letter in her permanent record. ;)

Again, I don't know the answer either because I don't know what the rules are at Duke. What I do know is that I cannot imagine (nor do I think it is warranted) that any Termination for Cause committee would find what any of the tenured G88 did an offense worthy of firing.

As I've said before, you have a lot more latitude with the non-tenured or non-tenure track folks, and certainly what Kim Curtis did is, in my book, deserving of dismissal.

This is the reality of faculty employment: firing tenured faculty requires more than what these folks did and short of firing, what the administration can do is limited by whatever is in the faculty handbook.

Again, I neither think any tenured G88ers *should* be fired over this, nor do I think they *would* be. Ways of holding them accountable short of that are more challenging.

Debrah said...

[Update, 12.13pm: Some people appear to be under the impression that the Lubiano letter was only in print, and the Bilas letter only on-line. In fact, the Lubiano letter was both in print and on-line; the Bilas letter was only on-line. And the Lubiano letter was first in the on-line string of letters; the Bilas letters was eighth.]

I think no more needs to be said on the matter of continued Duke community "conspiracies".

Actually, the word "conspiracies" really should not be in quotes as it is a consistent reality.

When Ken Larrey stated at the end of KC's appearance at Duke that all of the flyers he and his organization put up around campus had been taken down, a few people from the Duke community took exception to that as if it were just a silly "conspiracy".......

....however, when I talked to students walking around Page that night, they didn't know about the event.

How can something like that be explained...except one way?

I'm not a PI like Spook and Mac. I don't examine details usually when I am in a particular environment as some people do.....but I am close to being an expert on analyzing the expressions and the tone of the effulgences of others.

Here's another little anecdote from KC's appearance at Page:

After chatting with some male students on my way from the car to Page, I came upon a campus security officer--(or are they called Duke University Police?)--who was on hand for the evening....as always with events on campus.

He was standing at the edge of the sidewalk leading into the auditorium and when I was coming toward him, he met me with a big welcoming smile....the "Duke brand", no doubt.

As I usually do, I engaged him with light, courteous chitchat....then jokingly told him that it's a good thing he was on hand because..."we might encounter some angry professors tonight".

LOL!!!

I wish I had a photo to provide you guys his responding expression.

All of a sudden, he had this dull look...along with a forced smile....muttering a few syllables along with a grunt or two.

If you think that the Duke administration and their little campus janissaries do not have a ready-made attitude about all that has happened this year....and one they wish to distort.....

....think again.

Oh, by the way, the Duke officer wasn't Gottlieb. He was a black officer who had a quick attitude change.

Too funny!

Anonymous said...

RRH @ 6:02

That's the question, isn't it?

After all the pressure you put on Steve to be harsher, we get to the point: It is hard to figure out what to do to punish these folks as individuals. I bet Steve himself needs to think hard about it. Not obvious at all.

Then again, the biggest thing the 88 might have accomplished is precisely that people start thinking about it.

Another academic

Anonymous said...

"If you want to be smart, 1:32, instead of smart alec, you'll do comparisons with other faculty members. And [Lubiano]'s the one he's gone after the most..."

So, let's sum up. You want us to believe that KC has some sort of statistically significant pattern of over-criticizing Lubiano. And you assert that, for some reason you haven't shared, that we were supposed to know that your sophisticated analysis was limited only to faculty members ( even though faculty members are of course hardly the only ones held up by KC for critical scrutiny -- nothing like artificially limiting your data set in order to make noise look like data!) And then you expect us to believe that this statistically significant pattern of criticizing Lubiano more than other faculty members -- which, of course, I assume you have backed up with hard data, not with the sort of anecdotal evidence that fuels myths such as "the really crazy nights at the ER are the full moon nights" -- cannot actually be explained by Lubiano doing more that deserves criticism. Such as, oh, I don't know, being the composer and organizer of an almost unprecedented public denunciation of her university's own students? As well as apparently illegally using department funds to place the ad and unethically claiming departmental endorsements it didn't have?

patrick said...

Thanks to Steven Horowitz for working his way through Ms. Lubiano's impenetrable prose. It's a fair-minded effort, but one can't help wondering why a university English professor with a Stanford PhD needs a reader's guide to her expository writing.

If I've got it right, all that "perfectness" verbiage means is that each side looked at the situation stereotypically. What they saw was what their received ideas prepared them to see. Upstanding young men, or vicious over-privileged predators. A hardworking single mother trying to get an education, or a vicious promiscuous low-life hooker.It's not clear to me that this meant Lubiano was conceding that CGM was not the hard working single mother putting herself through college in the only way she could that the 88 et al wanted her to be. But she was saying that even if CGM wasn't "perfect" she didn't have to be. She could still have been raped.

Of course she could. But she wasn't.

If we grant that all of us, being human, are susceptible to received ideas about others, I think it's also worth saying that sometimes there are people who really do fit the stereotype. (Remember Bull Conner at Selma?). Unfortunately for the 88, central casting did not send them the victim they wanted. It sent them the the most negative conceivable stereotype. And conversely, it did not send them the required villains.

I might add that the stereotype that CGM not only met, but even exceeded was probably much more a stereotype in the minds of black women than white men. I, a 67 year old white guy, have a higher idea of the black women I have known in my life, struggling upstream to make a decent life out of the less than perfect hand that life had dealt them. And alway wanting for their children, as did my Irish immigrant grandparents, a better life. CGM is, on the other hand, the nightmare that black women don't want their daughters to be.

But here is where I part from Horowitz.

"She quite rightly points out that reality is much more complicated than that. The LAXers did have a history of less-than-perfect behavior and Magnum isn't the innocent hard-working student some would have liked her to have been. Lubiano rightly targets both sides for forgetting this."

I can't accept this equivalence. There is nothing I have read on this or any other forum that makes me think that this group of young men were exceptionally depraved or in any way much different from any other group of young men, black or white, picked at random off any campus in the US. If anything, I think they might have come out a little better. CGM on the other hand is, one would hope, "sui generis".

I want to think of Ms. Lubiano as a decent woman who has been profoundly moved and can identify with the discomforts and unhappiness found by young students, black or white, from less than affluent backgrounds at a university where there are lots of privileged young people among their peers. I don't want to think of her as a shabby main-chancer like Nifong. But her own received ideas have led her astray. As they seem to have any number of people at Duke. Horowitz is a decent guy trying to show her the way back from the untenable position she and her 88 or 87 colleagues have come to. But I doubt if she or any of her colleagues will take it.

Anonymous said...

Horowitz asked

"You're the provost and president. What would you do, short of firing them?"

Let's assume that the lawsuits and AAUP censure wouldn't be worth the price of firing those who deserve it. So I offer some combination of the following:

--public censure
--monitoring their classes (which has been done)
--documentation in their files of the violations of the faculty handbook, with a warning that this is a first step toward "firing for cause" if the behavior continues
--within one year, reduction of AAAS to program status; within three years, close the program (There is ample precedence, and justification, for this.)
--starve AAAS and other G88 programs of resources
--tell them that if they have a desire for career advancement, pay raises, research funds, then they will probably be happier elsewhere

When they scream that this is racist and sexist, tell them thank you for further justifying the punishments.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Lawyer Lane Williamson is Perry Mason, Clarence Darrow, and F Lee Baily in one body. He is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

rrhamilton: Re: 6:02
Your blog was one of the most touching and well wrtitten I have read of late. Thank you.
The essence of what you describe is the whole point for me> Whatever cynicism there is by college administrators and teachers these days> they need to be held responsible for what their job really is>teaching big kids as best described by anon 4:15

Steven Horwitz said...

Duke Prof's suggestions are good ones and some echo my own.

My only qualm is with the "monitor their classes." I would say that's only justified where there was clear evidence that the classroom was used as a platform to attack the lax players or presume their guilt. We do have evidence that some G88ers did this and I can imagine using that "punishment" on them, but it would be unfair to use that as a blanket remedy to all.

Just to be clear - there are those among the 88 who are more or less guilty of violating the faculty handbook. To me, simply signing the LS or the CS should not, by itself, be grounds for anything more than the blanket public censure. For those who violated the handbook in more egregious ways, more is warranted.

Steven Horwitz said...

Patrick at 848:

I didn't mean to suggest equivalence between CM and the LAXers. I only said that Lubiano was right in saying that neither was "perfect" in the way they were constructed as alleged offender and victim. The LAXers did have records of problematic behavior(and KC and Stuart make this point in the book), though none serious and none involving racism or sexism. That's all I was saying. I surely didn't mean to suggest some sort of "equivalence."

rrhamilton said...

"Duke Prof" said ...

Horowitz asked

"You're the provost and president. What would you do, short of firing them?"

Let's assume that the lawsuits and AAUP censure wouldn't be worth the price of firing those who deserve it. So I offer some combination of the following:

--public censure
--monitoring their classes (which has been done)
--documentation in their files of the violations of the faculty handbook, with a warning that this is a first step toward "firing for cause" if the behavior continues
--within one year, reduction of AAAS to program status; within three years, close the program (There is ample precedence, and justification, for this.)
--starve AAAS and other G88 programs of resources
--tell them that if they have a desire for career advancement, pay raises, research funds, then they will probably be happier elsewhere

When they scream that this is racist and sexist, tell them thank you for further justifying the punishments.

9/27/07 9:24 PM


I think I have found my faculty advisor.

Anonymous said...

Duke Prof,

Can we random drug test them? Ok, not so randomly? And use lacrosse players to watch to make sure they don't "cheat"?

rrhamilton said...

patrick said...

(Remember Bull Conner at Selma?)


I don't want to be a pedant, but you're thinking of Eugene "Bull" Connor ... of Birmingham. Don't feel bad, most people screw up that part of history. Even KC, half the time, talks about the "lynching of Emmett Till". In fact, I think it's even in his book. Emmett Till wasn't lynched. He was killed by a single gunshot to the temple, after being severely beaten by the husband and brother-in-law of a woman he had accosted.

inman said...

Duke Prof @ 9:42

This sounds like the components of a progressive disciplinary process, which is a good thing. Those among the '88 who are good people (and I am convinced and hope that some are) deserve an opportunity to salvage their careers. The sequence of rehabilitation may be a bit different than the steps you propose.

For those among the '88 who refuse to alter behavior and continue to display attributes and behaviors unacceptable to the academy and to Duke would then be given their "walking papers". Note that I am focused on behaviors -- those actions that have a direct or indirect impact on students and the reputation of Duke. That would include classroom teaching.

If a professor is given their "walking papers", they could elect to relocate to a more comfortable academic establishment or agree to an academic purgatory in the equivalent of the Tower of London. If one wants to assert the right of tenure, then so be it, but I suspect that tenure does not grant an automatic right to interact with students or other faculty.

Perhaps Duke needs to develop a facility with small offices and limited resources at a distance from the main quad to which tenured but otherwise "damaged" faculty can be assigned.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago I read a great biography of Walt Disney. He lost a wrongful termination suit by an employee he had fired. This, I believe, happened twice. OK, Disney was forced to hire this animator back (side note, this was the guy who invented Goofy).But he sat at an empty desk all day. No assignments. Nothing. Eventually, after the second rehire, he quit.

inman said...

You know, I want to add to my prior post...

...tenure grants a scholar a lifetime appointment to pursue research ... as I understand it ....

... but it does not grant a lifetime right to interact with students.

If this is true, then there is a simple solution to faux scholarship. As soon as an agenda supercedes scholarship, and notwithstanding tenure, a tenured professor could surely be removed from contact with students.

I think there is most certainly language within the concept of tenure, the contract of tenure, that can be used to reorganize the study of "poetic thought".

So what if it requires a continuing payment of funds. If a clearly agenda driven professor can be isolated by agreeing to an annuity that for all practical purposes is less than what Duke has already agreed to pay the lacrosse victims, so be it. Pay the money and isolate the intellectual perverts.

patrick said...

To Steve Horowitz:

Don't mean to nit-pick over "equivalence" about which I believe you when you say that was not what you intended. But that seems to me the excuse on which Lubiano seems to be trying to justify herself. And since I can make neither hide nor hair of her prose, I have to interpret her through you. My apologies.

My point was that if we are to judge this whole thing through stereotypes, CGM more than filled the negative requirement, while the Lax team came closer to filling the positive. Without spin, just fact.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
rrhamilton: Re: 6:02
Your blog was one of the most touching and well wrtitten I have read of late. Thank you.
The essence of what you describe is the whole point for me> Whatever cynicism there is by college administrators and teachers these days> they need to be held responsible for what their job really is>teaching big kids as best described by anon 4:15

9/27/07 9:36 PM


Thank you for your kind words re. my 6:02 PM comment and I join you in commending the 4:15 PM.

RRH

Steven Horwitz said...

Inman writes:

If this is true, then there is a simple solution to faux scholarship. As soon as an agenda supercedes scholarship, and notwithstanding tenure, a tenured professor could surely be removed from contact with students.

And here is where the reality of academia hits us square in the face:

For many faculty, being relieved of their teaching duties would be seen as a reward not a punishment.

This is a possible course of action Inman, but I would submit that many among the 88 would see it as a liberation from the part of the job they like least so that they could engage in the part they like most.

Perhaps cutting them off from students, directly, is worth it, but I don't think this would be seen as punishment unless it also included a reduction in compensation accordingly.

One Spook said...

Debrah @ 7:27 writes:

"I'm not a PI like Spook and Mac"

Yikes! I don't know about Mac, but I'm not a PI, Debrah ... I dislike most of those characters almost as much as I dislike flat asses on women.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

9:24. Are you sure you are a Duke Prof?

If you are, is there anybody there in the administration that has the guts to put some teeth into this issue of the violations of faculty guidelines?

If you can't get your faculty to play by the rules, why do you think that the students should play by the rules?

There is a concept called "Lead By Example". Could we see any of that at Duke?

So far, it is the outstanding students who are doing the leading. I'm glad for them. But that sure leads a vacuum at the top.

That's it: Vacuum. Somebody sucked their brains out there at the top. Was it their OWN university experience BEFORE Duke, that left them so without rational thought? Not brain washed(nothing clean about this mess), but brain drained!

Anyway, GREAT Post, Prof Person

Debrah said...

TO Patrick--

"But that seems to me the excuse on which Lubiano seems to be trying to justify herself."

I couldn't agree more.

All of this double-speak, euphemism, and obfuscation are wasted. It's time to cut to the chase when discussing harmful people like Lubiano and her semi-literate buddies.

These people live very well by doing almost nothing. The very least one might expect is that they stop deliberately damaging students and the university that feeds them.

Anonymous said...

There are other ways to "punish" a faculty member with tenure, or encourage them to find other employment. They can be assigned a multi-person office in an isolated location, given classes that start at 8 am followed by 5 pm. Or 2 classes back to back, on opposite sides of campus. There must be some rooms nobody wants to teach in. Or offices next to the transformers, fans, and motors. Give them only the oldest computers, with little or no support. Re-assign their office each year, accross campus. "Forget" to connect the phone and other services.

Bill Alexander

patrick said...

To RRH at 10:05:

Thank you. I stand corrected.

The problem with people like Bull Connor who come forward to fill out the stereotypes is that they seem less to emerge from some specific locality than from some great reservoir of cliches.

Stu Daddy said...

Just a friendly reminder for Duke Prof and others...

It's Horwitz, not Horowitz. Two different fellows!

Anonymous said...

To S. Horwitz at 7:10:

I don't think signing the Listening Statement, which so many people who post here attack, is reason for punishment. The more I read about the statement, the more it makes sense to me. Indeed, I wish some of those who posted here would "listen."

I suspect that it is difficult to single out individual faculty for committees, bad ones, and lots of them. It's hard enough at a public university, let a lone a private one. I wonder why people want to "punish" W. L. in any case. All of your suggestions--like those of the people who attack her--are negative. Her former students have commented on what an excellent teacher she is. Putting her classes at bad times hurts students. Why doesn't anyone make suggestions about how to remedy the situation in terms of best using her talents to the benefit of students and faculty alike? (And for the knee-jerk [maybe just jerk] anti-WLubianos who post here, firing is not what I mean.)

While I don't expect KC Johnson to do anything but encourage posters' destructive comments, I'd've expected more from you. Even if you are a libertarian. ;-p

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Professor KC Johnson is not claiming he did not know that W. Lubiano is African American. Because, of course, he did. Any of you who follow this blog even casually will have known that; I learned it--indeed, of her existance--from this blog. She has a joint appointment in English and AA Studies. She's one of the people attacked for being advantaged by Affirmative Action. Read the posts. It's all there. That's how I realized it. And then I checked Duke's website to see who was in AA Studies and to read the CVs. Many of the faculty have face shots.

I think Professor Johnson should be concerned: His blog is being used as a site of attack by people who want fired a tenured faculty member at a university WITH WHICH JOHNSON HAS NO OFFICIAL CONNECTION.

If Johnson believed Lubiano "sees herself as a victim" (editing for style here, Prof. Johnson, isn't "considers herself a victim" more accurate?), when he wrote his hatchet job on her, what's she consider herself now?

And, you have changed your statement about Emmett Till? Shot not lynched?

Chow, chow,

Anonymous said...

Bill Alexander'S message at 12:45 reads as if he's ten years old and not very bright. In your haste to "punish" other adults, you would hurt students. That's clever. And very helpful, too. If you make a faculty member's life as miserable as possible, do you think s/he is going to be an infective professor? No? I thought not.

And that's what you didn't do in your rush to judgement: think. You don't care who/what gets hurt as long as you get revenge. And for what? Why is this your business? It's not? No, I thought not.

Anonymous said...

1:23,

What are W.L.'s talents that can be clearly communicated to all students? Seriously.

What kinds of students, other than diversity racisits, can benifit from W.L.? How? Why?

Some questions for you to think about...

Why do you pose a question only for the future?

What should W.L. do to reconcile her relationship with the Lacrosse team?

Does W.L. owe Duke, its faculty, and students an apology? Why? why not?

Given these are obvious questions, why hasn't W.L. taken part in reasoned discourse to address your issues and the issues that dog W.L.?

Do clarifying essays make her position clear? How? Why?

Why is it you wish to defend someone who overtly branded innocent students as racist, sexist, and of course the 3rd evil of all diversity racists... classist?

All the while W.L. had not a shred of evidence to support her position or her prejiduces. Oh, but she did have a "narrative!"

In her words:
"response to the Lacrosse Team incident."

AMac said...

Anon 1:23am --

Steve Horwitz has repeatedly offered his opinion that signing the Listening Statement isn't--and shouldn't be--grounds for punishment by Duke. (FWIW, I think his arguments are persuasive.)

That is not the same thing as asserting that proles mustn't criticize the esteemed author of the Statement, and its endorsers.

As far as your "mystification" about why many outside the Academy are "angered" by Prof. Lubiano's conduct and wish to "punish" her:

-- Review the five bullet points in the body of the post, in the paragraph beginning with "In essence".

-- Try this Google search: "Wahneema Lubiano" and "lacrosse". Read her essays, then contrast the fawning reviews with the rebukes.

It may be that your ethics and Prof. Lubiano's map fairly close together. The phrase "That's not a bug, it's a feature!" comes to mind.

Happily or unhappily, most folks take a stand that is much closer to that of Prof. Johnson or Prof. Horwitz.

The Old Media would have excused Prof. Lubiano's missteps as the facts of the Lacrosse Rape Hoax/Frame came to light. Down the Memory Hole, with her reputation none the worse for wear.

Happily or unhappily, doesn't look like the New Media works that way.

You might have expected a bunch of Duke-hired intellectuals to have been smart enough to take that into account before publishing their hateful screeds.

But you'd have been wrong.

Ralph Pheloan said...

"What they did would never rise to the level of "termination for cause," but it surely could, as violations of the faculty handbook, be grounds for other sorts of punishment.

You're the provost and president. What would you do, short of firing them?"

Everything I could.

I don't know what exactly the president can do, but he should be using everything he got, including public announcements that these people are both stupid and evil and he's sorry he ever hired them, reducing their power and influence wherever he can, and reducing the funding of anything they're involved with.

Brodhead has done the opposite.

Anonymous said...

The 88 have been disgraced and are laughed at on and off campus. Like Nifong, many posters want to grind them into dust. It ain't happening. Yeah, they are dumb and vindictive but the end result makes them look like fools. Duke U paying settlements must make them grind their teeth and keep their heads down. I have no doubt they have been warned by Steele to "shut up," - that is the punishment.

Anonymous said...

3:45,

Is a course in basic composition in your future? You need one.

Steven Horwitz said...

Two quick comments:

1. Signing the LS was not a "punishable" offense, other than perhaps a general statement by the administration that faculty who made public statements that could reasonably be interpreted to have presumed guilt should have recalled "innocent until proven guilty." I would not want to see ANY faculty member singled out by name for ANY disciplinary action just for having signed it.

2. For faculty who went beyond signing the LS and who used their classroom as a platform to attack LAX players/students, or those who took to the media or other public platforms in various ways, then the various forms of punishment seem appropriate *because they violated the faculty handbook's clear language of treating Duke students with respect* etc.. That handbook is the faculty's "constitution" and violations of it should expect to bring consequences of some sort.

Though we know what the intent was, the LS was sufficiently vague for me to be willing to treat it as an act of free speech, but still a rush to judgment in how it was reasonably interpreted by many. Any actions beyond that get no such consideration.

And I'm sorry 123 if you view my comments as encouraging the most hysterically anti-faculty folks among us. Amac seems to be able to see the distinctions I'm making, and if others can't, I cannot be responsible for their inability to do so.

I won't blame KC for what commenters say, and I won't take blame for people who see my comments as license to go much farther than I think appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Re your interpretation of the LS as protected by "free speech": it appears that Duke's lawyers may disagree. Duke has already paid untold millions in settlements to the Duke Three, and also appears ready to pay more to the remaining 44. The first amandment does not protect defamatory statements. I have no doubt that the LS was a significant basis for the claims of the Three against the University. NC does not recognize the doctrine of "false light" (a defamation/invasion of privacy-based cause of action that subjects a speaker to potential liability even if the statements do not satisfy traditional definitions of libel and slander, but nevertheless cast the target of the speech in a "false light"). Thus, it appears that the University must have analyzed its potential liability for the LS under the more stringent standards of libel, and the subsequent oral statements (most notably, Houston Baker) parroting the LS under the standards of slander. While you may find ambiguity in the language of the LS, there can be no ambiguity in the context in which it was publicly presented. Despite the cover your ass misdirection of the "Clarifying Statement", KC's publication of Lubiano's LS "cover email" lays to rest any doubt about the motives of the 88 or the context in which the LS was offered. There is liability here for the LS and Duke's lawyers know it.

Anonymous said...

I think Duke University paid for the keycard matter.

inman said...

steven horwitz @ 9:00

With due respect, I have a different perspective. The listening statement can (and should) be read in juxtaposition with the e-mail describing its genesis and intent.

In that context, it becomes much less vague and can be viewed as part of a conspiracy to deprive the students of civil rights,... for it was certainly intended to provoke action. Now, given the whirlwind of venom swirling around the lacrosse team at that time, how could any reasonable person not expect and not anticipate that this provocation would produce reactions, reactions that could, for example, taint a jury pool.

The Group of '88 picked a very visible venue for their statement. They didn't just mimeograph and hand out leaflets or organize a campus demonstration. They picked a most visible forum to voice their agenda statement. Importantly, that forum reached far beyond the faculty and students of Duke.

In the forum of the Chronicle, that Listening Statement can be read as a statement made not only to students, but also explicitly to all those employees working at Duke and the DUMC who, by virtue of political predisposition, would see it as a compelling appeal. Those same 'listeners' were potential jurors and it strains credulity to assert that the authors and signatories of the LS were not aware of that fact.

Yes, I think it was tantamount to a conspiracy to deny due process, a conspiracy born of deep-seated psychic energy residing in the Group of 88's collective social-system amygdala.

Anonymous said...

"Emmett Till wasn't lynched. He was killed by a single gunshot to the temple, after being severely beaten by the husband and brother-in-law of a woman he had accosted."

"Lynching" denotes murder committed by parties with no legal authority under the guise of "justice" for crimes or transgressions allegedly committed by the lynchee. While hanging is certainly the means most associated with lynching, it is simply false to state that Emmitt Till was not lynched because he was killed by a bullet.

AMac said...

Anon 9:36am lawyer --

Prof. Horwitz has outlined his views on the Listening Statement as it concerns Duke's employment of its faculty signers. In particular, he has explained why signing the LS is not (and should not be) a "firing offense" in the context of Academic Freedom.

You outline your position on the LS in terms of civil liability. You anticipate that courts might look favorably on lacrosse players' claims of "false light" defamation/invasion of privacy, and possibly libel. This would be in addition to the bad publicity that such cases would generate for Duke.

I don't see a contradiction between Horwitz's claims and yours; in my opinion they are both probably true.

For anyone who believes that tenure-track faculty's contracts with universities are akin to at-will employment arrangements in right-to-work states, I recommend a review of the case of Prof. Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado.

Churchill's proven misconduct (to say nothing of other, credible allegations) makes endorsing the Listening Statement look like the actions of ethical giants. Yet UC is having the devil's own time in ridding itself of that creep.

Anonymous said...

"I think Professor Johnson should be concerned: His blog is being used as a site of attack by people who want fired a tenured faculty member at a university WITH WHICH JOHNSON HAS NO OFFICIAL CONNECTION."

By "site of attack", do you mean "a place where people are voicing their opinions, opinions which are not always favorable to the subject of the opinions?" Well, God, we can't have that going down in America. Everyone knows that the First Amendment protects free speech "until some anonymous person decides that the conversation constitutes 'a site of attack'."

Oh, and either your caps lock key needs repair, or you think it's especially significant that Johnson has no official connection to Duke. Why? I mean, seriously, why? Are you now claiming that no matter how outrageously faculty behave, no one should be criticizing them who doesn't have an offi-- sorry, AN OFFICIAL CONNECTION?

Anonymous said...

To 1:23 -

Yes, how do we best use WL's talents for the good of the University? Let's see. I guess we should begin with a summary of her talents:

1. A writing style so thick she needs clarifying statements of clarifying statements.

2. An ability to rally whole university departments and programs and an army of professors to attack innocent students.

3. A true talent at writing provocative book titles.

4. The gift of being able to talk when she should be "listening" and request dialogue when she really doesn't want dialogue.

Where do you suggest she is best suited to explore her talents? She could take over for John Burness as Duke Minister of Propaganda, but I don't think that would be in the best interests of Duke University (close question, though). I look forward to your suggestions. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

9:46 AM

It's only just begun.

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

"... WITH WHICH JOHNSON HAS NO OFFICIAL CONNECTION."

I would submit that K.C. Johnson now has a better "connection" to Duke University than any of the Gang of 88. That is, if you define "connection" to be something other than "disconnection." MOO! Gregory

inman said...

KC ---

10:50's comment is a lttle over the top. Personal attack.

Anonymous said...

To amac: This is 9:36 anon (and yes, a lawyer...at least a recovering one!). Awhile ago I had an exchange with Steve in which he clearly conceded that the LS and subsequent similar oral defenses of it were NOT protected by academic freedom because they were not...well..."academic". My recent response to him on the first amendment issue (not academic freedom...they are distinct doctrines) was simply to point out that the LS is likely defamatory under NC law in the context in which it was offered and it appears that Duke's own lawyers agree. As to your suggeestion that my analysis is compatible with Steve's, I disagree. I will take my anaysis a step forward (I should have done so in my prior comment...sorry): any Duke professor who speaks outside the protections of academic freedom to defame his/her own students and subject the University to substantial liability has committed an act of egregious misconduct which should result in the loss of tenure and employment. While I know that tenure revocation battles are protracted and ugly, as a Duke alum, I'd rather have my donation dollars go to THAT battle than to cover up the misconduct of rogue faculty through a series of confidential, multi-million dollar settlements.

Ralph Phelan said...

Steven Horwitz said...
"I would not want to see ANY faculty member singled out by name for ANY disciplinary action just for having signed [the Listening Statement]."

And here's where we part company, possibly because they're your colleagues and not mine. I think it was an obviously wrong thing to do. It ignored the presumption of innocence. It ignored the possibility that their prejudices might not always be correct. It added to the pain felt be students of the university who had done nothing wrong by the university's normal standards. It helped cost their employer a lot of money and poor PR.

And they signed it by name. Let them be called out by name as having done something very wrong.


"Though we know what the intent was, the LS was sufficiently vague for me to be willing to treat it as an act of free speech,"
We've seen the cover letter. We know exactly what they meant. We know if they claim they meant anything else they're lying. Treat it as an act of free speech by responding with another act of free speech - public criticism by name.

And I do think monitoring their classrooms is appropriate. We don't know that they mistreat students on an ideological basis. But aren't they in a higher risk category for doing it than those who didn't sign? Assuming, as I think is reasonable that (1) ideologically based mistreatments of students is something that does sometimes happen (2) It is against both the stated rules and the self-interest of the university as a whole then I'd say that (3) the university should take steps to make sure it doesn't happen. Monitoring classes is a reasonable step. If I was designing a monitoring plan, it would cover 100% of those who had had complaints, a ramdom fraction of those who common sense indicated were likely to, and an even smaller random fraction of the rest of the faculty.

patrick said...

Two comments on Ms. Lubiano:

Anonymous at 1:23 in her defense notes that "her former students have commented on what an excellent teacher she is."

One of the perks of being a college professor is that you are in a great position to make some people really like you. It's built into the situation. In an earlier time a more formal distance between teacher and student was a brake on the possible abuse of this situation. And a classical liberal arts curriculum had more to do with awakening thought than political action. Today it is much easier to become a kind of "cult" figure, particularly if you are tenured and in a small narrowly based and politically aligned department. It seems to me that these narrow "studies" based departments are particularly prone to producing, even almost requiring, a kind of cultish mentality. I'd be more impressed by student opinions of a great lecturer on Shakespeare or the Austrian School of Economics than student opinions about the teachers of these narrowly based "studies."

In a lighter vein, an musing typo at 6:01:

"If you make a faculty member's life as miserable as possible, do you really think s/he is going to be an infective professor?"

I would say Ms. Lubiano has already shown she is the Typoid Mary of the Duke faculty.

AMac said...

Anon lawyer 1:13pm --

Appreciate your response. I'll think some about what you have written re. the incompatibility of your position and S. Horwitz's.

Since the focus is on the Listening Statement in particular rather than the conduct of members of the Group of 88 and like-thinking faculty in general, the interpretation of the text of the LS is crucial.

We can imagine a hypothetical liberal (old sense) Duke administration that was willing to consider taking action against LS signers. Is the LS actionable in terms of the explicit and implicit contractual relationships between profs and the university? I think (fwiw...) probably not. One immediate question would be, "what is the most generous interpretation that could be put on the LS?" For whatever reasons, there have been few. Probably the best was by Rich Puchalsky, at 18 Sept 2007 10:09pm in the comments of this recent Acephalous post (direct link here, if it works).

I don't find Puchalsky's interpretations to be compelling--but then, I'm not a jury or judge hearing a wrongful dismissal (or other torts) case against Duke. Much less 88 of them.

On the other hand, there is the question of what weight would be given to Lubiano's invitation-to-sign email. And one wonders what's said in the earlier drafts of the LS that the Chronicle rejected. They would presumably be produced during discovery, and might speak to the intention of the LS signers.

Anonymous said...

Duke will never learn. They have carved their place in history and have made a mockery out of truth, justice, the constitution and academia in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

11:22 PM wrote

"9:24. Are you sure you are a Duke Prof?"

Not sure why you're skeptical, but according to my recent paycheck, I am.

"If you are, is there anybody there in the administration that has the guts to put some teeth into this issue of the violations of faculty guidelines?"

If there is, that person wouldn't stand a chance. The curent administration is dominated by two groups: 1) militants pushing an agenda of gender, race, class; 2) those who are afraid of the militants.

"If you can't get your faculty to play by the rules, why do you think that the students should play by the rules?"

Good question. Ask those in charge, though I doubt you'll get a straight answer.

"There is a concept called "Lead By Example". Could we see any of that at Duke?"

We've been seeing it for 18 months, and longer. But I have a feeling you're hoping for a different type of leadership. Such a change will happen only when various constituencies (e.g., donors, parents, students, alumni) conclude that the current leadership has lost its moral authority.

"That's it: Vacuum. Somebody sucked their brains out there at the top. Was it their OWN university experience BEFORE Duke, that left them so without rational thought?"

Short answer: yes. This is a complicated issue that deserves an answer that is too long for this blog. However, here's an indication of one of the underlying causes that has "left them so without rational thought."

Rational thought is an attribute of the individual's mind. It's inherent in the concept of "individualism." However, the actual meaning and consequences of individualism are rarely taught to undergraduate or graduate students. I have heard individualism described by PC professors as code for the enslavement of blacks and women.

The particular faculty and administrators in question were taught (and choose to accept), as students, a steady stream of collectivism -- the notion that the group's wishes trump individual convictions and rights. Gender and racial tribalism (aka "group think") are merely the particular brands of collectivism that dominate Duke (and much of higher education).

Many administrators at places like Duke have a Ph.D. in the humanities or social sciences -- which fields are, to repeat, dominated by collectivism. It is rare to find an individualist Ph.D. in one of those fields. However, if you want better administrators (and better faculty behavior), find one. And then if you do, offer hazard pay and a long-term contract.

Duke Prof

P.S. Re Horwitz vs "Horowitz". Sorry. Finger cramp.

Anonymous said...

amac, 1:31 here. You raise some good points. Re the contractual issues, it is impossible to opine intelligently without reviewing the contract and applying its terms to the LS. I think Steve may have made that point as well. I think that garden variety contractual grounds for tenure revocation would likely include a patterned, complete failure to meet minimum academic responsibities, conviction of a felony, insubordination, sexual harassment, etc. (Steve may know better since he has presumably signed such a contract). I also wonder if there may be a "catch all" provision that would permit revocation on other grounds not specifically enumerated in the contract. I part company on the view that only the text of the LS is relevant. The context in which it was issued and the motives of the 88 would most certainly be relevant in a lawsuit. KC has ably recounted the contextual issues, and I will not rehash them here.

Anonymous said...

11:22 PM wrote

"9:24. Are you sure you are a Duke Prof?"


Not only is he a Duke Prof, he's my leading candidate for faculty advisor once I become provost there.

Btw, DP, a couple of questions, out of concern for your well-being: (1) Are you worried that someone will be able to identify you as "The Dissident", and (2) Do you have tenure to protect you from Party Discipline?

RRH

Anonymous said...

RRH at 6:19 wrote wrote

"Btw, DP, a couple of questions, out of concern for your well-being: (1) Are you worried that someone will be able to identify you as "The Dissident", and (2) Do you have tenure to protect you from Party Discipline?"

Yes and no.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Dear Courageous Duke Prof:

Thank you! Surely there are more like you???

Are you inclined / disinclined to stay at Duke, since it appears you are not tenured?

I understand individualism. But then I am over 65.

Where is that faithful blog-mate who keeps asking "Is ---- Communist?"

Our Duke Prof just explained to us the difference between individualism and collectivism. I am not one of the esteemed scholars who contribute to this blog, but I do occasionally contribute a thought... but if I understand it, does not this touch on the essence of the question of the value of the individual versus the value of the "group" ( STATE)

I know that is much too simple overall, but it seems to me that our Courageous Duke Prof has a finger on a nerve.

The loyal opposition at Duke, those Professors and Assistants and Fellows, etc need to decide whether they will muster the courage to step out from behind the skirts of tenure and job fears, and lead the campaign to take back Academic Freedom. In essence, it is their own freedoms that are being stolen, and then the robbery is passed on to the students.

If the faculty allow fear and intimidation to silence them, what are they hoping to teach the students about courage and moral responsibility?

Surely, Dear Duke Prof, you must have enough kindred spirits to make a difference.. a sort of collectivism in reverse.

If Todd Beamer had not assessed the situation and mustered the courage to storm the cabin of the American Airlines plane over Pa. there would have been yet another building burning in DC on 9/11. I'm not wanting to be melodramatic here, but I am saying that freedom ALWAYS costs somebody or several somebodys.

I personally think that what KC has done is extremely courageous. I am quite sure that he must have been the brunt of much ridicule from some PC colleagues in academia.

But he was driven by something bigger than self-interest. So he dared to step out as an INDIVIDUAL. And the rest is history in the making. I daresay that he did NOT forsee the unfolding of this journey when he set out.

So I believe that Duke University Professors who have allowed others to steal their voices ( yes, you choose NOT to speak... I might have done the same in the circumstances, but I hope not) might want to consider FINDING their voices. Otherwise, the intimidating will just continue, because they have found that it works.

Harper Lee has Atticus Finch say, in "To Kill A Mockingbird" "Decide, Jones, Decide, Until you Decide you are only occupying space." ( I hope I got the quote right... I don't have the book beside me. But it has haunted me for many years, and made me speak when I would have preferred to be silent.)

Speak, Dear Duke Prof. Thank you for being here. I am sure there are more of you.

dsl