Thursday, January 12, 2012

Updates: Times, Cline, FERPA, Chafe

[Updated, Friday, 1.03pm: Duke has filed its discovery requests in the McFadyen lawsuit. University lawyers are asking for potentially thousands of documents, including logs of Facebook accounts, e-mails to their teammates and their parents, high school grades, drafts(!) of class papers, tax returns, and medical records since 2001.

The document requests suggest that the university's legal strategy will focus on attempting to blame the lacrosse players for any damages they received, presumably by trying to detect stray items in Facebook posts or e-mails. The strategy is unsurprising: if the Brodhead administration's actions are indefensible, the university has little choice but to go after the plaintiffs. That said, it's still striking that as the same university that wants thousands of documents from its former students has been willing, thus far, to hand over only 27 documents of its own.]

New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane, last seen searching out Wendy Murphy for guidance about how his newspaper should report sexual assault cases, posted a provocative item this morning asking if the Times should be a “truth vigilante.”

Brisbane said that his post was prompted by reader concerns about the paper’s repeating false candidate claims (such as Mitt Romney’s repeated assertion that Pres. Obama embarked on a tour to “apologize” for the United States) without reporters pointing out that these claims were . . . false.

Of course, it’s hard to give any credibility to someone, like Brisbane, who sees Wendy Murphy as an arbiter of truth. In any case, the Times’ indifference to repeating false items obviously predated the current campaign. The factual errors from Duff Wilson’s reporting remain uncorrected.


Durham County’s “Minister of Justice” is back in the news this week. Tracey Cline, continuing her quixotic case against Durham judge Orlando Hudson, filed papers demanding Hudson’s removal from a yet another criminal case, on spurious grounds that he is biased against her office.

N&O reporter Andrew Curliss noted that Cline’s filing repeated factual errors that she’s made in previous legal documents (even if the office struggles with basic research, does anyone from the Durham DA’s office bother to read the newspaper?). At least, however, Curliss notes that Cline's 30-page submission was “much smaller than previous filings by her that attacked Hudson.”

BTW: Cline came second for worst prosecutor of the year, 2011, to John Bradley.


I have a post at Minding the Campus using the recent example of former St. Joe’s basketball player Todd O’Brien to point out how universities too often abuse FERPA, using the law not as it was intended (to protect student rights) but instead as a shield to avoid public criticism.

That post suggested (and a browse through FIRE’s archive would confirm) that universities too often interpret FERPA far too rigorously. But the post also acknowledged the one high-profile instance in which a university ignored FERPA so as to serve short-term public relations interests—Duke’s decision to give the DPD keycard information on the lacrosse players—without a subpoena, and without telling the students or their parents. Intriguingly, among the handful of documents turned over to Bob Ekstrand in discovery was an email from Duke falsely claiming that the university had followed FERPA’s terms.


Finally, Politico reports on a new PBS movie focusing on Bill Clinton and the former President's many, many affairs. Among the people quoted in the article--U.S. history's race/class/gender specialist, none other than William Chafe.

The Group of 88'er conclusion: Clinton's lack of control over his behavior was "terrifying." There's no indication whether Chafe will be endorsing a full-page ad in the Chronicle denouncing Clinton.

Hat tip--O.S.


Lance the Intern said...

Tracey Cline's motion to have Judge Hudson removed from the Sutton case was dismissed this morning by Judge Henry Hight. Judge Hight stated that Cline "failed to provide the factual basis to prove" that Hudson should be removed.

The hearing took all of 7 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Here is my prediction. Providing she isn't disbarred in the next 10 months, Tracey Cline will sail to a re-election win. Ms. Cline could slaughter, roast and eat baby kittens on the Courthouse steps and she would still be re-elected. ZThe same electorate that was too uninvolved and illiterate to elect her the first time will surely back her again.