At this stage, nothing should surprise me about this case. But I admit that even I was a little taken aback at reading the May 1, 2006 Sociology professors/graduate students letter that was uncovered in the Campus Cultural Initiative archive. (I summarized the letter here and reprinted it here). The letter proclaimed that “an exclusive focus on whether the administrative response operated within the scope of the law would ignore the important responsibilities the Administration has to students, faculty, and staff, as well as the citizens of Durham. The entire Durham community is directly affected by this situation, in particular, and the culture of Duke more generally. The events that transpired on March 13th [even though, at the time this letter was written, grave doubts existed as to exactly what “the events that transpired on March 13th” were] call for an immediate response and decisive leadership to ensure that everyone affected can be certain that the administration of Duke will never tolerate any form of racial, sexual, or gender violence from any individual of the Duke community regardless of their race, class, and privilege status.”
Keep in mind that this document appeared 25 days after the Group of 88 ran their ad and three full weeks after reports of no DNA matches cast strong doubt on whether Crystal Mangum was even remotely telling the truth. By almost any measure, the Sociologists’ letter to President Richard Brodhead was more ideologically extreme than the Group of 88 statement—which is, of course, saying something.
Who were the people who could have actually thought that signing such a document was a good idea?
Ten of the signatories taught in the Sociology Department—with seven professors, one professor emeritus and two “visiting assistant professors.” Of the ten:
- Rebecca Bach remains at Duke, where she is associate director of undergraduate studies in the Sociology Department and a “visiting assistant professor.” She has a special interest in LGBT studies, a trendy, politically correct field.
- Eduardo Bonilla-Silva , the professor who in a course syllabus (considered a contract between the student and the university) described the country in which he lives as the “United States of Amerikkka (I will remove the three Ks from this word when the USA removes racial oppression from this country!),” continues to teach Duke undergraduates and train Duke graduate students.
- David Brady remains at Duke, as a professor of sociology and as director of the university's Center for European Studies.
- Nan Lin remains a professor of sociology at Duke.
- Philip Morgan remains a Sociology professor at Duke. He is the former chair of the Sociology Department, and was recently named director of Duke's Social Science Research Institute, an entity that also includes case stalwarts Paula McClain and the excitable Kerry Haynie.
- Emilio Parrado is now teaching at Penn.
- Martha Reeves remains at Duke, as a “visiting assistant professor.” For those who have followed the case since its inception, the name of her spouse might ring a bell: Alex Rosenberg, the professor who claimed he signed the Group of 88 statement because of his disgust with underage drinking, even though the statement never mentions the problem of underage drinking or even uses the word "alcohol."
- Suzanne Shanahan remains a Duke Sociology professor, where she is, incredibly, associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
- Kenneth Spenner is currently chairman of the Duke Sociology Department.
- John Wilson is a professor emeritus in the Duke Sociology Department.
Eight more signatories have obtained their Ph.D. degrees and have gone on to receive jobs in the academic profession since they affixed their signatures to the May 1, 2006 letter.
Five on this list received tenure-track positions—a reminder, if one was still needed, that race/class/gender extremism is a plus in the search for employment in an academy dominated by race/class/gender groupthink. This list includes the following:
- Audrey Beck obtained her Ph.D., and then went on to a post-doc at Princeton.
- Elizabeth Essary is now an assistant professor at Pepperdine University.
- Jenifer Hamil-Luker is now an assistant professor at UNC-Greensboro.
- Denise Kall is now a lecturer at Duke.
- Yunus Kaya is a now an assistant professor at UNC-Wilmington.
- Joonmo Son is now an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore.
- Julianne Weinzimmer is now an assistant professor at Wright State.
- Julius Wilder is now at the Duke Medical Center.
One signatory, Donald Ebel, received his Ph.D. in 2008, but no record exists of his receiving an academic job. Most of the remaining signatories are either still at Duke or just graduated from the institution. Those who remain at Duke are working toward Ph.D. degrees in Sociology—in some cases, studying under one or more of the professors who themselves signed the letter. This list includes:
- Mari Armstrong-Hough remains at Duke, where she is a University Scholar in the Sociology Ph.D. program.
- Rebekah Burroway is a Duke graduate student studying under fellow signatory David Brady.
- Michelle Christian remains in the Sociology Ph.D. program.
- Katelin Isaacs is a Duke graduate student studying under fellow signatory David Brady.
- Joonkoo Lee is a Duke graduate student studying under fellow signatory David Brady.
- Nathan Martin is a Duke graduate student studying under fellow signatory David Brady.
- Jillian Powers remains at Duke.
- Leslie Roth remains at Duke.
- Steven Sacco received his Ph.D. in May 2009.
- Serena Sebring remains in the Duke Ph.D. program.
- Ashley Taylor remains in the Duke Ph.D. program.
- Patricia Thomas remains in the Duke Ph.D. program.
- Rebecca Tippett is a Duke graduate student studying under fellow signatory David Brady.
- Allison Wisecup was expected to complete her Ph.D. in May 2009.
Finally, four signatories (Joanne Durchfort, Steven Frank, Jessica Sautier, and Xueguang Zaou) no longer appear to be at Duke, and do not appear to have received other academic appointments.
The significance of this list of 37 extends beyond exposing this "Hall of Shame." The new conventional wisdom coming from apologists of Duke's groupthink atmosphere is that perhaps the Group members are extremists, but they have no real influence on campus. As you ponder that line of defense, consider this: at Duke in early April 2006, there were no fewer than seventeen academic departments and programs that had a higher percentage of members who joined the Group of 88 than did the Sociology Department.
In other words, the department that produced the pernicious May 1, 2006 letter was actually among the more moderate on campus in spring 2006.[A reminder: My clearing a comment implies neither that I agree nor that I disagree with the comment, either in tone or in substance. My opinion is expressed in any of the 1360 posts on the blog alone. The comments policy is explained in greater detail on the sidebar.]