In a development that would surprise only those who have spent the last two years living under a rock, the Bob Ashley-led Herald-Sun editorial board has criticized the lawsuit filed by the unindicted players.
The H-S legal/editorial team, however, reasons that the lawsuit "almost seems to trivialize the concept of damages."
It's worth evaluating Ashley by his own standards. In a summer 2007 interview, he described the paper's editorial performance in the following manner: "We were opinionated, but we were fair."
That record included the following March 28, 2006 editorial (which Ashley defended in an interview with the Chronicle):
When police officers arrived at the house with a search warrant on March 16, none of the players would cooperate with the investigation [sic] . . . The allegations of rape bring the students’ arrogant frat-boy culture to a whole new, sickening level. ‘Get a conscience, not a lawyer,’ read [potbangers’] signs waved in front of the house on Sunday. We agree that the alleged crime isn’t the only outrage. It’s also outrageous that not a single person who was in the house felt compelled to step forward and tell the truth about what happened [sic].
Ashley, in short, doesn't seem to be someone particularly well-qualified to evaluate fairness.
[Update, 9.30am ET]: As a reminder that the best paper in Durham isn't the H-S, Kristin Butler pens yet another must-read column. Her conclusion on the suit:
Don't expect admins to acknowledge that is was their unique combination of ignorance, arrogance and denial that brought us to this point.
But the inconvenient and unavoidable truth now seems to be that in his haste to avoid the perception "that a well-connected institution was improperly attempting to influence the judicial process" back in March 2006, Brodhead created many more problems than he solved.
In their apologia for the Group of 88's statement, the "clarifying" faculty decried—without providing any evidence—an atmosphere that allowed "sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus."
In a stunning piece for City Journal, Heather McDonald deconstructs the assumptions behind this claim. Since the late 1980s, ideologues have claimed that between 20 and 25 percent of college women will be victims of sexual assault. That figure, McDonald notes, would imply "a crime wave of unprecedented proportions"—ten times the rate of all violent crimes in violence-ridden
The lack of any evidence to corroborate their assertions, McDonald observes, doesn't deter ideologues like the "clarifying" faculty. Instead, it means "that the abuse of coeds is worse than anyone had ever imagined. It means that consultants and counselors need more funding to persuade student rape victims to break the silence of their suffering."
And, of course, more faculty who think like the Group of 88.