[Update II, 8.23pm: Another fine summary of the Mangum event, from Chelsea Walker. Its closing paragraph: "The event planners’ idea of trotting out victims of false accusations at the end of the presentation to juxtapose with Crystal Mangum’s bald-faced lies as examples of the “harsh reality of minority treatment” was just embarrassing because Mangum’s case is an exemplification of the harsh realities of the antithesis to the subject being discussed: false accusations and injustice against non-minorities. In fact, Mangum herself single-handedly proved that minorities are not the only victims of failings in our justice system by leveling and pursuing false accusations against the white Duke Lacrosse players. Hearing the stories of minority victims of prosecutorial misconduct only put me in the awkward position of sympathizing with the Duke Lacrosse players, who are certainly no angels, but who were also victims of overzealous prosecution at the hands of Mike Nifong and at the behest of Crystal Mangum. It is an intolerable irony that Miss Mangum is now claiming to be an expert on the “injustices” of the legal system because the fifteen minutes of fame she bought with the reputations of the Duke Lacrosse players had almost come to an end."
[Update, 12.49pm: An excellent suggestion from the comment thread: "I think that the Stone Center should be asked to sponsor a discussion about the NCNAACP and its actions in the Duke lacrosse case. One of the saddest aspects of this affair is that the NCNAACP and other leaders (such as the Wilmington Journal) might have made common cause with the lax supporters but did not (this is nicely discussed in Until Proven Innocent). I propose a debate format around the question of whether this organization helped or hurt the interest of black people by the actions it took." I'm not holding my breath that such an event will occur.]
As noted below, on Wednesday, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center hosted an address by Crystal Mangum who spoke about “the harsh realities of minority treatment both in the justice system and the media.” The event sponsors—Theta Nu Xi Inc. sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Inc. fraternities—announced that, to ensure that the event would not “be a negative experience for her,” questions would be submitted beforehand to organizers to prevent questions related to the Duke lacrosse team. As it turned out, Mangum didn't even answer any of the pre-submitted questions, but left early--either due to the flu or due to an unspecified "appointment" occurring after 8pm in the evening with her wearing jeans, a hoody, and a baseball cap.
In light of the unusual policy of inviting . . . controversial . . . speakers but censoring any questions on the central matter of the speaker's significance, I have some suggestions for future events at the Stone Center.
“The Stone Center is pleased to announce an address by George Tenet, who will speak on appropriate methods of gathering intelligence and the importance of accurate intelligence in going to war. To ensure that the event will not be a negative experience for Mr. Tenet, questions will be submitted beforehand to organizers to prevent questions related to the run-up to the Iraq war or Tenet’s role in developing the ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.”
“The Stone Center is thrilled to announce an address by John Edwards, who will speak on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family in a political campaign. To ensure that the event will not be a negative experience for Mr. Edwards, questions will be submitted beforehand to organizers to prevent questions related to Mr. Edwards’ affair with a campaign videographer and the woman’s subsequent pregnancy.”
“The Stone Center is delighted to announce an address by Miss California USA, who will speak on same-sex marriage policy in the United States. To ensure that the event will not be a negative experience for Ms. California, questions will be submitted beforehand to organizers to prevent questions related to Ms. California’s apparent belief that same-sex rights exist in all 50 states or her subsequent statement that in her ‘country’ only ‘opposite’ marriage is allowed.”
“The Stone Center is excited to announce an address by Terrell Owens, who will speak on the need for mutual respect on a football team and the importance of wide receivers trusting their quarterbacks. To ensure that the event will not be a negative experience for Mr. Owens, questions will be submitted beforehand to organizers to prevent questions related to Mr. Owens’ behavior toward quarterbacks Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Tony Romo.”
Of course, any announcement such as the ones above would be greeted with widespread derision on any campus. UNC should be ashamed that one of its centers allowed Ms. Mangum to speak while prohibiting the most relevant questions that could be asked of the false accuser.