Thursday, October 04, 2007

Holsti Letter, Munger Response

A most unfortunate letter in today's Chronicle from Political Science professor Ole Holsti (a man whose scholarship I very much respect), demanding that the lacrosse players apologize for the party (when, of course, the captains already have, and repeatedly so), criticizing the parents of all the lacrosse players, and playing down the administration's need to apologize. Coming on the heels of Orin Starn's screed in yesterday's H-S, the letter undoubtedly raises concerns about the faculty's willingness to embrace President Brodhead's apology.

I e-mailed Prof. Holsti to ask if he was aware that the captains had apologized on no less than five occasions for the party. He responded, en toto, "Many thanks for your interest." One wonders, also, for what, say, Brad Ross' parents should apologize--for teaching him how to drive, since he spent the entire evening of the party in Raleigh?

The letter triggered an almost immediate response from PoliSci chairman Michael Munger, posted on his blog and to appear in tomorrow's Chronicle. I wholeheartedly endorse Munger's response, and hope that as people read it, they remember that not all Duke faculty speak with one voice on the lacrosse affair.

To the Editor:

I write to disagree with the view of my good friend and colleague, Dr. Ole Holsti, that the lacrosse players should now apologize.

Dr. Holsti criticizes "the parents of the lacrosse players." The "lacrosse players" are not a homogeneous group; they are not equally blameworthy for the party. Some attended, some left in disgust, and some were never there.

Further, the organizers of the party have apologized, in several different forums. These heartfelt apologies came immediately after the events being apologized for. Whether the events at the party required an apology is moot; those responsible have apologized, and the entire team had its season cancelled. Surely that is enough, more than enough, apology and punishment.

Finally, I am not so sure that President Brodhead's apology went "beyond what was necessary," as Dr. Holsti claimed. I do know that a lot of time passed between the events and the administration apology.

Nonetheless, I would hope that the players, and parents, accept Dr. Brodhead's apology in the sincere spirit in which it was offered, and without qualification.

Mike Munger, Chair
Department of Political Science
Duke University


Anonymous said...

We had dinner with Duke faculty last weekend and one of the guests - not faculty - asked, sympathetically, if Brodhead had a future at Duke. A normally level headed friend of ours literally screamed about this case, screamed about the stripper, said they wished they had signed the letter and non G88 faculty were going to be speaking out now. It was difficult to have a coherent conversation but it's about the civil case, hatred of 'rich Yankees' and - most important - anger that taxes will go up now and the money will go to 'rich Yankees'.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that there are some Duke faculty who are not at war with their students, but, as a parent, I expect the number of faculty at war with students to be "zero."

Anonymous said...

Although I appreciate Prof. Munger's effort to clean up after the regrettable "mess" left by Dr. Holsti, I fear that Dr. Holsti's sentiments more than speak for themselves. It is also obvious Holsti speaks for more than himself. Finally, while Munger's gesture warrants some praise, it also, similar to Brodhead's feeble effort (though less so), is too little and too late to spare Duke from the coming financial hit.

Candidly, every time I think the folks at Duke can't do or say something even more stupid than the massive self-inflicted damage they've already unleashed, they manage to surprise me anew. Consequently, I hope the Lax Hoax victims empty out Duke's endowment.

sceptical said...

Comments by Dr. Holsti and other on the Duke faculty illustrate why Duke's confidential settlement with the 3 indicted players was necessary (from Duke's perspective). A civil suit against Duke would have revealed far more animosity towards the lacrosse team and athletes in general on a far larger scale among certain elements of the Duke faculty. The Duke administration had to buy silence so that these ourageous attitudes, writings, and actions would not be uncovered during discovery and depositions. I am happy the 3 former Duke students received the money, but it was at the price of covering up for the politically correct among the Duke faculty.

Anonymous said...

1:15 reports: "... anger that taxes will go up now and the money will go to 'rich Yankees'."

Well, speaking only for this "Yankee," I certainly hope I'll be able to hear all the way from New York the collective screams and moans from Bull City once the lovely Durham taxpayers finally confront the reality of municipal fiscal insolvency. I'm not sure even massively jacked-up property taxes will be enough to cover this liability--a liability that steepens with each passing day.

The North wins, once again.

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

Prof. Johnson--

Would it be possible for you to detail the apologies made by the lacrosse team, their captains, and the coach? These apologies have been referred to a number of times by you, in the comments section, and in other forums, but I haven't seen them compiled and detailed in one place.

I distinctly remember the report of the captains meeting with President Brodhead and apologizing to him (something that was well-publicized at the time), but I've seen others writing that the players apologized "numerous" or "five" times, and I neither remember this, nor have I found any record of these apologies.

Perhaps it would be useful to collect and chronicle these apologies, as they've become a source of so much scrutiny of late. Comparison of these apologies with those made by others -- President Brodhead and Mike Nifong, for instance (as much as I shudder to put them in the same phrase) -- might be illuminative. Thank you, --ss

Anonymous said...

Munger's effort to blunt Holsti's blunder reads, in part: "Dr. Holsti criticizes "the parents of the lacrosse players." The "lacrosse players" are not a homogeneous group; they are not equally blameworthy for the party. Some attended, some left in disgust, and some were never there."

Munger is a political scientist by professional training. His words, translated into "lawyer-speak", mean, in short: Shut up, Holsti, what you wrote and published constitutes group libel.

Duke's first expensive settlement effort (with the Lax Hoax 3) covers any and all faculty statements made *before* the settlement date (now long passed). Holsti's actionable idiocy is not covered. Duke is exposed on yet *another* front.

Again, the gift that just keeps giving....

Anonymous said...

The thing that is so striking to me about Holsti is how a supposedly educated and thinking person could be so uninformed about the facts on this case.

Anonymous said...

I predict that Duke will settle out of court with the lacrosse players that did not get indicted. If not, then professors such as Holsti and the Gang of 88 will likely make slanderous remarks in public that will strengthen the case for these players. Indeed, such stupidity may also open new venues for future lawsuits by the 3 wrongly indicted lads since their settlement apparently does not protect Duke employees from civil liability after the date of the settlement. Duke's only hope is to keep their admissions to failures secret. Secrecy is critical to protect their image. And, the Duke administration knows that these bigots on their faculty will continue to violate the law and the ethics of their profession. Duke will want these violations to be kept out of the public spotlight arising from continuing lawsuits. It will be up to faculty like Munger, Coleman, and the Economics professors as well as Duke students to continue to fight for student civil rights.

Michael said...

That is an excellent letter by Prof Munger -- wow!
He made a number of excellent points AND really
shot down Prof Holsti's letter. And it took courage
for Prof Munger to write that letter -- he will get
flak from his colleagues for that letter, whereas
Prof Holsti showed no courage in writing his letter
-- just ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to give Prof. Holsti the benefit of the doubt that he simply did not know all of the facts before commenting. That a tenured professor would comment on such a significant case BEFORE doing even a minimal amount of research is, of course, a disappointment, but another matter. I suspect that if he is of good will and intended his comment in good will, he his privately eating crow today. His cryptic response to KCJ, I think, illustrates his embarrassment and his hope to just duck and hide from his commentary.

Anonymous said...

OT: HBO Plans Movie

kcfan said...

How is it that not one of these bien pensants has called on Crystal Magnum to apologize?

Speaks volumes about their agenda, does it not?

Anonymous said...

Is Holsti a Communist?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me what exactly is wrong with hiring strippers to entertain at a party, or with working as a stripper? These are certainly not illegal activities, and I'm not aware of any Duke rules prohibiting students from hiring strippers or from performing as strippers. I'm not sure if I'd even consider either of these bad judgment. If Holsti wants to collect apologies from everyone affiliated with Duke who has ever hired a stripper, attended a strip club, or stripped for pay, fine, but that's a very long list.

gs said...

What ever Holsti believes is one thing, but criticizing the Lax players parents?

I guess he will next be asking the parents of muggers and other real criminals to apologize?

I understand that one of the 88 kids was a criminal, has he asked her to apologize for raising a criminal? or is this just confined to white Lax players parents who kids throw wild parties?

Where does Duke find these people?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No big deal...just another Duke professor slandering his students because he/she doesn't like them. Happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

Ole says ....

"When will we get an apology from the parents of the lacrosse players for not raising their sons to understand that hiring strippers is wholly unacceptable behavior."

I confess to having hired strippers -- both in college and later. I have e'mailed my parents and asked them to e'mail apologies to Ole for not raising me right.


Anonymous said...

off topic

I just read that UPI rights have been bought by HBO. Bravo to KC!

I think it's great because so many people that need to hear the message just do not read books--so at least they will view the movie. I hope it stays true to the book.

Ralph Phelan said...

Someone on the Chronicle board calling himself '"irresponsible" student' had a somewhat less temperate response:

I can only salute Holsti's letter. Actions such as his and Starn's will only help the judicial case underway against both Duke University and the City of Durham. Excellent job, professor, it's almost like the lawyers of the LAX-ers have paid you to help.

However, on a different level, just in the unlikely case Holsti was a tiny bit serious, I can't help but wonder: were the student lives of all the members of the Gang of 88-1+27+whatever as immaculate, as "sin"-free as they claim now their students's lives are?

(Just ONE funny detail, in retrospect. When Crystal Gail Mangum was the supposed "victim," hypocrites of Holsti's kind insisted she was a meritorious single mom and insisted in calling her an "exotic dancer". Now the same people call Mangum a "stripper" - she's not a "victim" anymore, but a weapon (an extremely poor one, at that) with which to accuse Duke students, through proxy, of vulgarity and "irresponsible behavior".)

I will give only one example, speaking of parents. Holsti's colleague, Karla Holloway, one of the most vocal condemners of the Duke victims, raised and educated a murderer and a rapist, whose nefarious, unstoppable activities could only be stopped with - literally - the bullet of the law. The late Mr. Holloway's murders and rapes were never under doubt. Karla Holloway has never apologized for her "contribution" to American society, but was quick to condemn students FALSELY accused of rape.

What is Prof. Holsti's opinion, what is more irresponsible behavior: raising a son up so, between working hard in school, he wants to look at a scantily dressed woman at a party, or raising up a sadistic assassin? ogling a woman while drinking beer or making yourselves the accomplices of a lying prostitute attempting to throw innocent young men in prison? drinking beer or changing, as a professor, the grades of your students according to your (misinformed, hateful) "opinion" on the Duke Hoax case? Could you answer any of these questions, Professor?

The Holloway example may be a radical one - probably Duke U. is the only university who employs a person with such a stained family history, but I would also strongly suggest that the LAX-ers and their lawyers look up the records of the 88-1+27 "professors," including Holsti, and find out anything relevant in their lives, from noise citations to DUI condemnations, child abuse, domestic violence, divorces, child abandonment, unresolved allegations, anything, everything, ALL the dirt.

Usually I would consider such concerns a waste of time, and low blows, but these faculty blowhards have absolutely earned it. After all, it's too late for "judge not, that ye be not judged".

They have judged and it is time for them to be judged. Any single little detail of their lives which makes the LAX-ers' transgressions pale by comparison NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT UP AND PUBLICIZED THOROUGHLY.

This kid sounds a bit irritated, doesn't he?

Ralph Phelan said...

Once again my motto for this affair comes into play:

"No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

I had truly not anticipated that the first major effect of Brodhead's feeble apology would be further trashing of the lacrosse team by non-member G88 sympathisers.

Well, I guess that eliminates any risk of Brodhead successfully smoothing the waters to the point where people really would "move on."

Ah - there's my explanation. These people thrive on conflict. They want the bitterness to continue as it's where they get their power. I should have figured that out in advance.

Anonymous said...

I think we have to chalk Munger up as one of the good guys here. I have been as much of a Klan of 88 basher as any here, but I thought his rebuke was gentle and genteel. As Department Chair, his soft voice carries quite well, I think.

ES Duke 1990

Richard Aubrey said...

From the outside, it looks as if Holsti thinks he is required to say something like that. For some reason.
Good standing in the department?
Threats of being called racist?

Anonymous said...

One can only marvel and question the quality of the scholarship that the likes of Holsti indirectly reveal with their comments on the Duke Hoax.

What insecure, irrational, extremely ideological people. How do they find safe quarter at Duke?

Gary Packwood said...

Ole began his undergraduate work at Stanford in about 1950 which was seven year before Leave it to Beaver hit our TV screens.

Lucy and Ricky were sleeping in separate twin beds and Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason, was always suggesting that he was going to 'punch out' his wife in the Honeymooners sitcom.

Bathroom levitating by the alleged female victim might just have pushed Ole, bless his heart, 'round the bend.

Perhaps DIW and the Duke Chronicle needs a comment section for Emerti Faculty.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. The Duke Lacrosse team has a spring break party is which strippers are hired. One stripper, whom the team never wanted to hire, has a history of promiscuity, drug usage, mental instability, criminal behavior, making false rape accusations. Post party she accuses the team of gang raping her.

There is no medical or forensic evidence of a crime. The DA who, in my opinion, is a narcissistic, sociopathic individual who believes his personal good trumps the law, ethical legal behavior and the United States Constitution, picks three Lacrosse Players at random to prosecute and convict because such actions will secure his job and ultimately pad his retirement.

Members of the Duke faculty, the gang of 88, who should be intelligent, rational, educated seekers of truth and knowledge cheer on the rogue DA and do all in their power to create a lynch mob atmosphere in Durham. This all happens, it seems, because those Duke faculty members dislike caucasian male athletes, especially if they come from families considered well to do.

The Lacrosse Players, their attorneys, the bloggers, a lot of people with real integrity and courage stand up, fight back, expose the whole sordid mess for the corrupt garbage it is. The Duke players are proclaimed innocent, which is what they were all along. That is not the end of the story, however. Now, real retribution is looming over the city of Durham, Duke University, the 88ers, the lynch mobbers.

What are they all crying now? It is the fault of the Lacrosse team. If they had never hired strippers, no one would have ever been falsely accused of rape, no one would have been unconstitutionally prosecuted, the 88ers and the lynch mobbers and the pot bangers would never have tried to lynch anyone. Isn't that sort of like Adolph Hitler saying if it weren't for the Jews there wouldn't have been a holocaust?

The 88ers, the Lynch mobbers, the pot bangers have put themselves in league with people such as Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller. They are the San Francisco lawyers whose Presa Canarios attacked and mauled to death a 33 year old woman. Afterwards, Noel and Knoller denied responsibility and blamed the victim saying, among other things, the victim wore the wrong perfume.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say Congrats KC, on the HBO deal. Your hard work is being well rewarded.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping that part of the settlement with Duke was that these ridiculous excuses for professors would have to stop giving their stupid opinions and getting themselves published in the paper. They should not be allowed to continue to drag these boys and their familes through the mud. They are trying to get on with their lives. The entire world knows how racists and hateful the Duke 88 are and how they don't recognized the Constitution but are guided by their own set of rules. So just Shut Up. No one wants to listen to you stupidity anymore. (Unless of course you pay the $45,000+ to send your kid to Duke)

redcybra said...

The posters are tearing into Holsti in the Comments section of his letter. Some of them are on the nasty side, but jeez, when you write a letter bemoaning the lack of apologies from someone, and people point out that yes, they did apologize more than once but either you're not interested in that little fact or you haven't been paying attention for the last 18 months, what do you expect?

Anonymous said...

People with common sense inherently know the first rule one should follow when one finds oneself in a ditch: stop digging!

Sadly, the Duke Arts & Sciences faculty is populated by many allegely learned people who lack any semblance of common sense. They keep digging. Professor Holsti is simply the latest to be found with shovel in hand.

Sitting here in Dallas, it is amazing to watch this drama continue to unfold.

Mike from Dallas

Anonymous said...

FODU it seems is calling Brodhead to resign. Not a bad idea.

Too little too late

Anonymous said...

So, if the LAX players issued a blanket apology, covering all the present and consenting, and the absent and not consenting players, would Dr. Holst feel that Duke University's participation in invasion of privacy, violating Civil Rights, and complicity with a rush-to-judgment on the part of the faculty, the police, and the local officials would have been okay?

Caught doing something that is repugnant to others does not constitute a crime unless laws are broken.

On the moral scale, might we consider that participating in inviting a lewd dance to a male party ranks a 10 in bad judgment, but a 0 in violation of law.

What might we rank Duke University's complicit faculty and administration on the same scale?

I am appalled that one so supposedly educated would not see the difference!

This whole case is not about preference or matters of taste. It is about laws.

Anonymous said...

Although your "colleagues" will never acknowledge it and are probably unable to recognize it, you once again show your deference. To call the Holsti letter "most unfortunate" is far too kind. Offensive, ignorant, hateful, disgusting are some words that would not seem to go far enough. It is to your credit that you still can not imagine a professor having or showing such animosity toward his students. I applaud your decency but as his reply shows, he doesn't deserve anyone's respect.

Anonymous said...

Much of the present day controversies still hanging around can be laid right at the feet of the man who supposedly leads Duke; brodhead. Without his bias opinions early on, his PC silly (but i am sure vaid in his own mind) attitudes and his unwillingness to help control any of the storm that came around due to his lack of action or courage, or wrong actions, many of the comments made now on both sides of the issue would be moot and probably never have been written.

In order to stop this nonsense from continuing into the future, a new leader needs to take over Duke. Even if brodhead wanted to, and steel was supportive of his trying, this controversy will remain until brodhead moves on. If he, brodhead, does not realize this by now, then Duke is in a heck of a lot more trouble than they realize.

Issues at Duke are so messed up right now that it is the students who are suffereing, no one else is suffering. All the blogs and letters and investigations and meetingsd and conferences that are happening right now are becasue egos need to be satisfied. Egos that dont even respect themselves. let alone who they are educating.

Major injustices were done in this case. If brodhead were truly into learning from them and fixing them, he would leave Duke amd form and lhead up some independent organization to make sure that this and other similar items will never occur again in an educational environment. Instead he hangs on, wanting to bring strangers to Duke to do the work for him, by organizing conferences.

This man has no courage. This man is lost in his own self. This man will never rise to the level expected of him to fix, let alone learn from it.

Just my opinion.

largenfirm said...

Congrat's on the HBO movie deal, KC.

I've been following this since about Day 3, and hope more folks get educated about the abuses possible with a corrupt prosecutor.

W. R. Chambers said...

Dr. Holsti's letter might not be so terrible (if one were of extremely generous spirit and if Dr. Holsti were elderly to the point of being out of touch)if there had been a stripper party and nothing else...nothing at all. No charges. No case. No death threats. No unimaginable fear for the players, their families and their friends. No disgraceful district attorney and lemming like staff. No race pandering campaign by a ruthless, pension seeking, mean-spirited, incompetent prosecutor aided and abetted by people who would have been at home workng for the Stasi. No (It's not about the truth) firing of the lacrosse coach. No politically correct calculations by top Duke administrators who were in a street fight with unscrupulous adversaries (the D.A., his robotic foot soldiers and much of the media both local and national). No total pervsion of the criminal justice system by scheming, lying public officials. No attack by the ever charming Nancy Grace and all knowing Wendy Murphy. No slanted reporting by the NYT. No repeated apologies by the players. No threat of financial ruin for the players' families. And if the players had not been declared innocent by the North Carolina Attorney General.

But all of that happened.
And much, much more.

Unless Dr. Holsti is so poorly informed as to stagger the imagination, or unless he is entitled to respect merely because of his age, it is very hard to get one's mind around the point of view expressed in his letter. Out of respect for his emeritus status and in light of KC's admiration of Dr. Holsti's scholarship and given that he was a professor at Duke University I give Dr. Holsti the benefit of the doubt. I couldn't disagree with him more. I have no idea what the basis of his views are. I think he is so wrong as to have emabarrassed himself and Duke. He was obviously uninformed about the players' apologies. And there must be some explanation for the slanderous statements he made about the players' parents. I don't know what the explanation is. By explanation I don't mean justification or that there is any merit to what he wrote. But there must be some explanation for why he said it. Has someone been talking with Dr. Holsti about the case and urging him to speak out?

W. R. Chambers said...

It seems relevant to note the number of Duke faculty. The chart below is out of alignment but shows that there are 1,167 tenured or tenure track faculty and 997 other faculty.

FACULTY -- Fall 2006
(tenure/tenure track) (other regular rank)*
Arts and Sciences 487 131
Engineering 95 22
Divinity 28 12
Environment 39 12
Fuqua 99 14
Law 44 8
Medicine 847 780
Nursing 28 18
TOTALS 1,667 997
* (Includes professors of the practice, research professors, lecturers, clinical professors and medical associates.)

Anonymous said...

The first thing I thought when I heard that Brodhead had apologized was that the next sound we would hear would be the 88 and their cohorts squealing like stuck pigs. It's only started! This will make them madder than the original false charges!

Anonymous said...

KC - I wrote the earlier off topic post on the nurse involved with the boot camp death. I am an RN of fifty years with five in Corrections. Her lack of medical exam or intervention can not be defended. This is a crime. Vegas

miramar said...

Thank God Holsti is retired. Unfortunately, since it is now impossible to even insinuate that "something" must have happened in the bathroom, about the only thing left for these people to do is to criticize the lacrosse players' "irresponsible behavior, including hiring a stripper, that initiated the sad affair." The same point was made in the latest Duke Magazine in a review of the Pressler book.

The logic here is that since the players hired strippers and drank, then they deserved everything that happened to them. That means that Nifong, DPD, and CGM are not to blame, but rather the players. Ironically, the blame-the-victim approach used to be used on rape victims, but now it has come full circle and is only appropriate for those falsely accused of rape.

Anonymous said...

To 1:29 PM:

Your invocation of the Civil War is ironic. If the South had won the Civil War, Derm's (and Atlantas, D.C.'s, New get the point)municipal governments wouldn't be in such sad shape. This is actually the North's fault.

Anonymous said...

In spite of what people thought here on this blog, the Duke settlement obviously did NOT include anything about shutting the G88 up. In fact, they seem energized and more vocal. Something smells.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is the gang of 89

Anonymous said...

$5.9 Billion is the last reported value of the endowment.

I hope the anger that seems to be seething in so many at Duke is not starting to be directed at students in general! It is "bad enough" that they are blaming the victims here...

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

Holsti's letter is really about control. The faculty at Duke previously owned Brodhead lock stock and barrel. Now that is in doubt as he has apologized and critized faculty behavior.

This is a serious battle. Holsti really should be sanctioned as much as Duke can for taking out after the parents of Duke students. Suspension without pay for a term is not out of the question. It is very very very very dangerous for a private institution like Duke to have professors taking shots at the parents of students.

BTW, I wonder if in his open minded way Holsti thinks Professor Holloway should have apologized for not raising a son who knew that rape, attempted murder and prison escape was wrong? Or as the second poster underneath it put it, "I wonder when we will get an apology from Holsti's parents for raising an idiot?"

Anonymous said...

Lets see - the faculty hates it's students, the administration hates it's students, the faculty and adminstration hate each other. The students now hate both the administration and faculty.

Funny University.

(Apologies to D.T. Suzuki.)

Michael said...

I've just published an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education's Review section comparing the crude stereotyping of the Duke lacrosse players with the crude stereotyping of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indians a century ago. If you'd like to see it, send me your email address and I'll forward you a copy. (The CHE website is subscriber only so if you;re not a subscriber you can't access it yourself.) I'm at
--Mike Nelson

Anonymous said...

KC said ...

A most unfortunate letter in today's Chronicle from Political Science professor Ole Holsti (a man whose scholarship I very much respect)...

KC, have you started to wonder just how good a judge of intellect you are?


traveler said...

As a parent, the worst part of this sordid G-88 mess, is the realization that some of these faculty members are sub-par educators, at best. To think of young minds that dare not speak out against obvious ignorance because of grade retaliation. To think of young minds believing this garbage, banging pots, hanging posters, and screaming ugly statements at their classmates. To see so-called educated people recklessly disregarding the law. To see professors so arrogant they cannot say they are sorry. To see a professor so intimidated she would lie to her student before going against the gang she knows is wrong. None of things speak to Duke being the college I thought it was. More depressing is that Duke is probably no different than most institutions of lower learning.

no justice, no peace said...

Inre: "...said they (Duke faculty member(s)) wished they had signed the letter and non G88 faculty were going to be speaking out now..."

Well why don't they nut-up and run another Listening Statement?

What a brave soul you are for joining in for dinner.

Can you imagine what Thanksgiving is like around those tables?

Who do they thank?

What are they thankful about?

Do they have over/under bets on who bolts first?

If they own televisions do they allow any to watch football games?

Are any jokes allowed or will they likely upset more than one attendee?

Is giblet gravy considered a meat?

What is the politically correct approach to firing off wonderfully stupid letters to the paper without over-stepping ones boundaries within the angry studies?

Eating a meal with one of them must be like going to the State Fair Midway freak shows.

Did they charge admission?

Do you have a child studying at Duke?

Has anyone grade retaliated against them yet for bringing up the topic?

JWM said...

Dear KC,

What follows is a comment I just left at Prof. Munger's blog.

My comment is OT to this thread, so I'm posting it here as well.

Dear Professor Mumger:

Thank you for speaking up for the players.

With regard to President Brodhead's apology: I don't think he went nearly far enough.

Example: he didn't say a word about Reade Seligmann or the racists who shouted threats, including death threats, at him.

On March 29, 2006 President Brodhead issued an immediate, full, unconditional and written apology on behalf of the University to the woman who was then known publicly as "the first 911 caller" and her "friend" based on the caller’s disputed allegations that she and her friend were victims of racist slurs shouted by men coming out of a house the University owned.

That was considered a proper thing for President Brodhead to do. He was praised for his statement.

Now he issues an apology in which he doesn't even mention the name of a student who was the target of what were indisputably threats from racists. His failure to mention the student or criticize the racists has drawn no criticism that I've seen; and Brodhead is praised for his apology.

There's a double standard at work.

Thanks for giving me the chance to comment.

John in Carolina

Debrah said...

I appears they are going to continue this insane exercise of 'round and 'round over at Duke.

The university picked up an enormous tab for this kind of nonsense once.

My grandmother had a saying she used on kids who would never listen...and who just kept misbehaving:

"If you won't listen, you're going to have to feel!"

Someone in the administration at Duke needs to cut these foolish professors loose. Let them say anything they wish.

Freedom of speech, right?

Let them continue showing the contempt they have inside them for students and athletes.

Let them continue to slander and libel the innocent lacrosse players.

And then every lacrosse family at Duke should sue them personally for everything they've got. Down to their hole-pocked underwear.

Keep the lawsuits going until these rot-infested pricks are drawing Social Security.

Something has to be done about this vicious, destructive, and selfish behavior.

People like Starn and Holsti are emotional and psychological imbeciles.

Anonymous said...

The comments (over 100 now) following Holsti's letter on the Chronicle site are something to behold.

no justice, no peace said...

One wonders if HBO is in negotiations with Dr. Starn over the rights to "Ishi's Brain"?

Michael said...

I just read an article on the HBO deal. Congrats to you and Taylor.

At the rate things are going, you're going to need a volume II.

Are you going to play yourself in the movie?

Anonymous said...

Ole Holsti taught American foreign policy and security issues. He's no liberal and he's not a member of the 88.

He was somewhat of a cold fish as a professor and as a person.

I think he was just offended by the stripper party. I also think his letter was idiotic, as was his grading of my PS157 midterm.

Anonymous said...

To RRH at 2:41....

Thank you. I needed to laugh out loud!


becket03 said...

Here we have Holsti, yet another academic, a senior, "respected" academic no less, who finds it necessary to broadcast a view to the world that's transparently ill-informed.

What a black-eye for academia this whole mess has been. How ordinary and flawed so many of the teachers who've come to light through this case have been shown to be.

Instead of standing in the corner, the object of scorn and snickering, the dunces appear to be in charge of the class, sharing their wisdom without apology.

A confederacy of academic dunces, indeed.


Debrah said...

"I think he was just offended by the stripper party."

Who gives a flying fig what offends him?

He's beating a dead horse for some unspoken reason.

I'd say he is well aware that Duke University's image is going to tank if they can't continue to demonize the student athletes.......attempting to divert attention away from the scum they employ and their behavior this past year.

And even this very day!

Debrah said...

Ole Holsti

Anonymous said...

Prof. Johnson--

I asked at 1:34 (above) that you dedicate a post to an examination of the apologies made by different lacrosse players at various times and to different constituencies. Since I made that post this issue has blown up on the Chronicle message board in some productive -- and not-so-productive -- ways. (A note: I have not posted on that message board; I looked there after my comment above.)

As a result of that discussion, I want to reiterate my request for an examination of the various apologies. As I can reconstruct, there were at least two separate apologies:

1) The team captains to President Brodhead.

1a) Professor Brodhead's (or the captain's?) release of this apology to the media.

2) Ryan McFayden (sp?) regarding his email. (I believe this was made in a press release.)

I'm not aware of any other public apologies. That's certainly not to say that they don't exist, but it might be worth listing them all in one place, making it harder for people to plead ignorance.

Thanks! --ss

ME said...

To ss at 1:34 and 8:02 pm,

Despite your preemptive parenthetical protestation: “(A note: I have not posted on that message board; I looked there after my comment above.)”, the words you use, your sentence structure, your use of parentheticals and your desire to make a “Comparison of these apologies with those made by others -- President Brodhead and Mike Nifong, for instance (as much as I shudder to put them in the same phrase) -- might be illuminative.” are all eerily (I shudder as I type these words) quite similar to those those used by the Duke Chronicle commenter ‘William Shakespeare.’

One would certainly hope you are not the Chronicle commenter ‘William Shakespeare.’ That William Shakespeare is clearly a jackass of the highest order.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but Holsti's approach to this issue simply gives credence to those who wonder why we even have a professoriate. If this is the best a PhD can do, why bother?

mb said...

Re. the topic of apologies from LAXers, I too would be interested in seeing a list if for no other reason than to have something to shove in the faces of the terminally brain-dead morons who seem to swarm around the angry studies departments at Duke and elsewhere. An example of an LAXer apology would be the appearance of one of the players (Evans?) on 60 Minutes where he clearly stated his regret for throwing the party. Contrast the apology made by the Duke LAXer on one the most popular, widely-viewed nationally-broadcast TV shows with the tepid remarks of Broadhead at a forum that received little press outside of the Triangle and we get a sense of the disconnect from reality people like Holsti appear to have. It's just mind-boggling that folks like that are employed at universities at all, let alone (formerly) top-level ones like Duke.

It simply blows my mind that the students at Duke have more intelligence and maturity than the administration and the faculty in the angry studies and other humanities departments. Who the hell hires these clowns anyway?

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

ME at 8:46 said:
To ss at 1:34 and 8:02 pm,

Despite your preemptive parenthetical protestation [...Your writing is] quite similar to those those used by the Duke Chronicle commenter ‘William Shakespeare.’

One would certainly hope you are not the Chronicle commenter ‘William Shakespeare.’ That William Shakespeare is clearly a jackass of the highest order.

And it begins.

No, I'm not "William Shakespeare," either as a pseudonomynous identity or as the Bard himself. I am a regular reader of this blog and an occasional poster. Most recently I posted up my reflections on Prof. Johnson's talk at Duke, comments that got me attacked rather viciously by Debrah. (See the end of the discussion regarding the September post "On the Schedule":

You're right that I don't believe that Prof. Brodhead's missteps -- whatever they may be -- are any where as close as the lies and perversions of the legal system perpetrated by Mike Nifong. I'm sorry if that offends you, but it seems like a relatively reasonable opinion, and not one that deserves the kind of scorn that you offer above.

The discussion on these boards has been illuminating and productive, often at least as useful and occasionally more important than the posts themselves. (My apologies to the author.) However, when they disintegrate into ad hominem attacks based on little to no evidence (and again, let me reiterate that I have never posted on the Duke Chronicle discussion board), they descend into the bad caricature of healthy discussion. I think that this is an important enough subject for us to remain civil, if lighthearted at times. The kind of attacks by Debrah in the above link do nothing to advance the discussion, I don’t think. I don’t put your comment in the same category as that screed – and I may be overacting due to having been burned in the past – but I fear that it has that tone, hence this response.

ME, I hope that addresses your concerns. Oh, and I did find the list that Prof. Johnson published to be quite helpful, didn't you? ;)

Thanks, --ss

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 6:52 said...

...The comments (over 100 now) following Holsti's letter on the Chronicle site are something to behold.
Did you see the following students comment? I just howled. So funny.

Does anyone know if Baghdad Bob Burness new textbook "Effective Damage Control" is out yet? The Mayor is asking.

Anonymous said...

This faculty obsession with students' apologies for attending (!) a spring break party featuring 20 year olds drinking beer while hosting a couple of strippers , is simply fascinating.

What you have on bold display is a two facetted hypocrisy; on the one hand (1) you know damn well most of these "professors" smoked pot (breaking the law) and drank beer and went to raucous parties in their youth, and (2) you know they couldn't care less if it were African American frat boys (like the Duke basketball team) or white women doing exactly the same thing.

It is just astonishing at how deep and transparent their jealousy/hatred/resentment of young white men who don't have their value system, really is. There's no way in heck they should be teaching at an esteemed university, but there you have it. Post modernism at it's finest.

TaterCon said...

What parent would shell out tuition dollars (with a healthy 2 digits to the left of the comma) to help pay the salaries of professors at Duke that have so little in common with their own values?

rrhamilton said...

ss (not The Bard) says ...

I don't believe that Prof. Brodhead's missteps -- whatever they may be -- are any where as close as the lies and perversions of the legal system perpetrated by Mike Nifong. I'm sorry if that offends you, but it seems like a relatively reasonable opinion...."

This is essentially the same position taken by the esteemed Prof. Horwitz. And from a certain point of view, it makes sense.

As a comparison, if a teenaged girl is forcibly raped by one man and the same girl is merely "felt up" by another man, we could certainly say that the offense of the former was far more dastardly. In fact, compared with the forcible rape, a momentary "grope" -- all with clothes on -- would seem almost not in the same league. But what if we add to our comparison these facts: The man who raped the girl was a stranger; the man who "felt up" the girl was the girl's father. Suddenly the levels of reprehensiveness of the two acts seem much closer, don't they?

This is the point that many of Brodhead's critics have tried to make.

rrhamilton said...

For RD at 7:35,

I'm glad that my 2:41 made you laugh, but I now realize that I would not owe any apology for my youthful commercial relationships with exotic dancers (or is it "strippers" now that we are attacking the boys instead of defending the woman?)

You see, Prof. Ole and the other 88ists would not need an apology from me, just as they have not asked for apologies from all the other Duke students who have hired strippers or drank beer before age 21. Why do Ole and the 88ists not ask for an apology from me or the other, non-lacrosse, Duke students who hired strippers? Because unlike the poor Laxers, none of the strippers I or other, non-lacrosse, Duke students hired ever went spastic and began making accusations of rape. See, none of our lives were threatened with ruination due to our failings to uphold the moral standards the 88ist hold for all white males -- so we are off the hook. We sinned and paid no penalty, so we owe no apology.

I do expect Prof. Ole, however, if he doesn't want to be hypocritical, to call for an apology from that girl who was raped at the frat party last February. After all, she made some bad choices, including underaged drinking and partying when she was only 18. And now because of her bad choices, Duke is suffering the "blackeye" of having one of its students raped at one of its frat parties.

Anonymous said...

rrhamilton at 11:22 said...
As a comparison, if a teenaged girl is forcibly raped by one man and the same girl is merely "felt up" by another man...

I understand what you're saying, but I reject your analogy. In your example both men have violated both the letter of the law and generally accepted morality. However, in the case of President Brodhead I think that it would be a stretch -- and quite an amazing one, at that -- to prove that he broke the law. We can certainly disagree with the ethics of his stand throughout the case, but I don't think many people think that he broke the law.

Mike Nifong, on the other hand, clearly did break the law: in fact, he's now spent a night in jail, surrendered his law license, and vacated his office as a result of doing so. In addition, I think that most people agree that his greater violation -- that of the presumption of innocence, and an individual's right to a fair trial -- is an even greater ethical breach that goes above and beyond his legal violations.

This is way I originally shuddered to put Mike Nifong and President Brodhead in the same sentence, and disagree with your characterization.

I hope this is makes sense, as it's late. More importantly, thank you for disagreeing with me without attacking me -- truly the best that this board has to offer!

Thanks, --ss

Michael said...

If I made public disparaging remarks about a customer, I would expect to be greeted by a security guard with a cardboard box the next morning.

Does Brodhead have the guts to fire this guy or otherwise remove him from Duke? His department chair made a good start with a rebuke letter - does he have the means for sanctions?

When do we start seeing Duke joke on Leno?

rrhamilton said...

ss, I understand what you are saying, and I accept your statement of facts and will try to use it to persuade you of my point.

First, Nifong violated the law? Perhaps, but I will tell you a lawyer's secret: Every lawyer knows why Nifong was disbarred and it had nothing (ok, very little) to do with what he did to the Lax boys. Every lawyer knows there is one offense (among very few) that will earn a disbarment nearly everytime: Lying to a judge -- either under oath or in open court. Thus, no matter how the matter may be dressed up for public consumption, Nifong was not disbarred for hiding evidence from the defense; he was disbarred for lying to the judge about hiding evidence from the defense.

You see, it all goes back to relationships, after all. No lawyer is going to be disbarred for playing hardball with his opponents -- even if he veers pretty far over the (seldom bright) line of the law. A lawyer owes no duty of good faith or fair dealing to his opponents. On the other hand (and it's a HUGE hand), all lawyers are "officers of the court", and they owe non-negotiable duties of honesty and loyalty to the courts. It was when Nifong was shown to have violated those duties that we all knew he was toast.

Now, back to Brodhead: Let's assume that you're right, he broke no laws. I doubt that you could ever prove a father groped his daughter in a court of law -- barring videotaped evidence. But you don't have to think that such a father should be punished the same as a rapist to believe that he is unworthy of respect and that children should not be placed in his care, do you?

And, I never attack first, but I like to think that my counterattacks are near-Divah quality. :)

Anonymous said...

It is sad but not surprising the craziness that continues to come from Duke "professors"

"demand that the lacrosse players apoligixe for the party"

These men are citizens and as such have a right to have a party and some of them had the right to be drinking. Then they are Duke students (or were), then lacrosse players. They are also sons, brothers, nephews, cousins, etc.
They are people who did not deserve to be treated as they were, especially not from their "own" university.

Duke on the other hand had accepted them as students and accepted their tuition money, therefore they did have a responsibility to them. What a shame that Duke let them down.

I suspect that all these young men will go on as planned and be leaders, great, famous, humble whatever, each in their own strength and way. I know they will be better than any of the "famous" professors or administration but that is not saying much as that bar has not been set very high.

I suspect they will be following the examples set by "(Some) Good Things Did Happen in Durham"

I hope the Duke professors continue to speak out, show the world, maybe some prospective students will go elsewhere and alumni will begin to talk with their pocketbooks.

Maybe some changes will occur but somehow I doubt it. I suspect the lacrosse players won't care and who could blame them. What a shame for this story to be part of their college education. What a shame that some of the adults that had been entrusted with their care, let them down. I wish them ALL the best and look forward to reading great things about them over the years to come.

Debrah said...


Please be advised that the "ss" poster is from the Duke community and is always civil as well as always outfitted with a negative vibe about anything deeply critical of Brodhead and Duke's administration.

This is the one who almost choked to death arguing with me about the number of people at Page.


Soft as a feather, surfacely......but a dead weight for objectivity on this case.

Ralph Phelan said...

And here we have another message from a slightly disgruntled student:

"Without Sin??

posted 10/04/07 @ 3:34 PM EST

How many of the 88-1+27 Duke faculty monsters have records from the '60s - '70s showing they were using not only weed, but also stronger substances? (I am not including here Ole Hasty here. Good ole Ole. He's just a benevolent, senile old man. Dick Brodhead disturbed the poor bed-wetter in his bed, in order to torture out of him some half-baked defense of Brodhead, and of his faculty exceedingly disgusting behavior. Leave Ole alone. He's still alive, but his family has an increasingly hard time in telling the difference.)

However, we know that almost 46% of the judgmental faculty imbeciles have police/judicial records indicating their more-than-passing familiarity with illegal substances.

How can these hypocrites, participating in sexual orgies compared to which hiring of strippers would be chamomile tea compared to absinthe, be so judgmental, when they should know that an even cursory check of their own records would bring out things they thought - and hoped - forgotten?

Bring it on, losers. This is going to be fun. However, don't forget, your past will hunt and haunt you all, more than you signed up for, when you added your worthless signature to the lynching documents you've adhered to.

Next weeks will be very interesting for many of the faculty involved.

That's a promise, not a threat. "

Anonymous said...

Thanks Debrah, but lacking your steamy panache, I cannot rely on a writing style that summons visions of stilettos, corsets, and cats-o-nine-tails the way only the Divah can. :)


Anonymous said...

Why the hell should they apologize for having a college party? They are college kids and that's what college kids do. Who are these sanctimonious, holier-than-thou phonies to criticize? I think what we are seeing here is simply ugly jealousy of the players financial status, both real and imagined, and pure old fashioned racism towards whites.

Anonymous said...

Debrah at 1:31 am said...
Please be advised that the "ss" poster is from the Duke community...

Yes, Debrah, I am a graduate student at Duke.

However, as I have only posted on one other thread -- the one that you attacked me on -- it would be hard to say that I'm "always" anything. But if I am always to be something, I suppose that there are worse things than to be polite. I'm afraid that it's simply how I was raised: manners and respect can be granted to anyone, until that violates that unspoken agreement.

You clearly do not hold to these values. So be it.

In response to your specific point that I am "outfitted with a negative vibe" (like a jacket? or more like I'm Bluetooth enabled?), I would reiterate that I was in no way trying to disparage Prof. Johnson's performance at Duke in my previous posts. Similarly, I'm not trying to cast aspersions on anyone (except, in passing, Mike Nifong) here: I simply asked Prof. Johnson for a listing of the lacrosse players' apologies. He provided that, and I thanked him.

I appreciate your continued interest in me. Thanks, and enjoy the rain -- we certainly need it!

Have a good weekend all, --ss

Anonymous said...

rrhamilton at 1:17 said...
ss, I understand what you are saying [...] and will try to use it to persuade you of my point.

First off, thanks for the civil and constructive response. I to understand and sympathize with the desire to not reduce moral and ethical violations in such a way that they are entirely covered by the law. Certainly, we accord a reverence for a morality that stands outside of -- and at times opposed to -- the law.

However, your example is based on the idea that both Mike Nifong and President Brodhead (or the rapist and the gropist, if you will), broke the law, but that we can only prove it in one case. And I understand that there are many times that that is the case. For instance, I honestly think that OJ Simpson is a murderer, but he was found innocent in a court of law. Still, I think he is a criminal.

I don't feel this way about Professor Brodhead. I do think that he made mistakes, but I don't, in any way, think that did anything criminal. Further than that I simply don't feel comfortable positing at this point -- I haven't done enough careful research to do so.

I'm sorry that I haven't responded to you sooner, but sleep and work intervened. Take care, --ss

rrhamilton said...

ss said...

[RRHamilton's] example is based on the idea that both Mike Nifong and President Brodhead (or the rapist and the gropist, if you will), broke the law, but ....

No, it's not based on what they did, it's based on their respective relationships to the defendants. I thought I had made this clear, ... I'm going to scroll up because now I'm wondering what I said.

Hmmmm, I can see I did a poor job in my 11:21 PM remarks, and it wasn't helped much when I said at 12:17 AM, "You see, it all goes back to relationships, after all." Of course, you couldn't see that at 12:17 because I wasn't clear at 11:21. I'll try to be clear now.

What I am trying to show you is that whenever analysing a dispute, the first thing to consider is the relationship between the alleged offender and the alleged victim. It is from such relationships that all of our duties and responsibilities arise.

In the lacrosse case, what was the relationship between Nifong and the players? Well, the players were suspects of a horrific crime and Nifong was charged by society with investigating and prosecuting those responsible for that offense -- in other words, they were in a naturally antagonistic relationship. Now, what was the relationship between Brodhead and the players? The players were students at Brodhead's school and they were proclaiming their innocence. There was nothing in this relationship that would impose on Brodhead any duty but to support his students.

Was Nifong more antagonistic to the suspects than his relationship with them demanded? -- yes, he was, and for violating certain legal rules Nifong was severely punished, essentially his career ruined.

Was Brodhead less supportive of his students than his relationship with them demanded? -- yes, he was, and thus far, we've seen little in the way of punishment.

I hope that makes it clearer: I am not starting out by looking at the ending point -- at where the parties (Nifong, Brodhead, and the players) ended up, but rather at the beginning point -- at where the parties started out. Nifong's relationship imposed on him a duty of antagonism (within legal bounds); Brodhead's a duty of support (within moral bounds). Both of them failed, but only Nifong has been punished.

Anonymous said...


Actually, that helps a lot, and is something that I've been mulling over a lot with regards to this long process. I agree with you that these relationships -- I might term it as networks of affiliation and obligation -- are central to understanding what transpired and making sense of it after the fact.

I'm still not sure that I agree with you on the role of President Brodhead. I'm not being coy: I've actually been wrestling with this throughout the case. I'm not sure what obligations the president of a University has to students charged with a felony, what he (or she) has to the remaining student body, what to the larger community in which the students reside, etc. This is complex -- we've moved past a point of in loco parentis, but no other model has fully supplanted that. Certainly the consumer-driven model is a possibility -- and has been held up as the understood given on numerous occasions on this blog -- but I don't think that fully encompasses the complexities of the US higher education system.

Thus, I'm not disagreeing with you, but neither am I agreeing with you as to your analysis regarding President's "guilt" (for lack of a better, non-legal term). I will say that I think that it would be a bad idea for him to resign: bad for the University as a whole, bad for the students, bad for the faculty, and bad for Durham.

Again, thanks for this. You're right in that I didn't follow your comment back to your previous point, and only when read in tandem do they make full sense to me.

I'm to bed -- have a good night! --ss

Anonymous said...

Hope everyone who made comments to this blog with also take the time to read "Until Proven Innocent". As a graduate of U Va. living in SC with no affiliation with Duke I was appaled with what the 88 professors were allowed to say, do and teach in the classroom. I would tell any of my student to think hard before attending Duke University!!

Anonymous said...

10:45 Those parents who want their adult children get into a good graduate school. The 88 have killed any influence they ever had.