As noted many times before, a major theme of this blog has been the utter lack of accountability for the faculty members and academic administrators whose behavior in the lacrosse case failed to meet even the minimal ethical standards that a world-class university should expect of its faculty. Duke provided yet another reminder of the pattern earlier this week, when it named Group of 88'er Paula McClain--yes, that Paula McClain--as dean of the university's Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education.
In announcing yet the latest Group member to receive a promotion, President Brodhead hailed McClain as an "outstanding university citizen." And he singled out for particular praise "her concern for the well-being of individual students."
That's a very interesting description of McClain, who in 2006-7 displayed an utter indifference to the well-being of dozens of Duke students.
- In April 2006, she signed a statement that prejudged a criminal case against Duke students, affirming that something "happened" to false accuser Crystal Mangum, and that she would continue to protest the issue regardless of what the police or court decided.
- The next month, in an interview with espn.com, McClain rationalized Nifong's pre-primary publicity crusade (which ultimately contributed to his disbarment), absurdly claiming, “Whether what he’s done has made it more political? . . . This would have been political, regardless.”
- In summer 2006, McClain (apparently expressing "her concern for the well-being of individual students") issued a one-word response--"No"--when a DIW reader asked her whether she'd be willing to issue a statement on behalf of the falsely accused students, even to the extent to demanding that they receive fair treatment by Nifong.
- A few months later, in perhaps another expression of "her concern for the well-being of individual students," this time for Duke student-athletes, McClain termed herself "aghast" at a common-sense proposal to improve coordination between professors and coaches. She also openly mocked a sophomoric spoof of the proposal. As Sports Law Blog tartly observed at the time “Apparently, Professor McClain--who is co-director of Duke's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences--believes that in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse scandal, the University needs to distance itself from its sports teams, rather than embrace them."
- In 2007, in what was perhaps another expression of "her concern for the well-being of individual students," McClain responded with defiance to the legal settlement between Duke and the falsely accused players--a settlement in which Duke shielded the faculty from any lawsuits filed by the falsely accused students.
I'm sure McClain's appointment has nothing to do with Brodhead's recent remarks in which he profoundly apologized for not appointing more women and/or minorities to upper-level administrative posts--even as he, a white male, refused to resign to allow the Duke trustees to appoint a female or minority president.