Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Brodhead, Colbert, and Questions
Richard Brodhead will be appearing Thursday night on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. Let’s set aside the obvious: why would a group that wants to promote increased public support for the humanities select as its spokesperson a figure best known outside the academy for this disastrous appearance on 60 Minutes?
Instead, since Brodhead himself has said that he sees the interview as “a good chance to show off Duke,” perhaps Colbert could find the time to ask him why, in his first public appearance after their arrest, he said that even if Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were innocent, whatever they did was “bad enough.” Does he continue to believe what he told the Durham Chamber of Commerce in April 2006, and if not, why did he never retract or apologize for his remarks?
Some other items that remain unanswered:
(1) Why specifically did Brodhead and the Duke Board of Trustees demand Mike Pressler’s resignation in early April 2006? What did they expect the public reaction to their move to be? Did they recognize at the time that the forced resignation would likely be interpreted as a sign of the players’ likely guilt?
(2) When did Brodhead and the trustees first learn of the conduct of former SANE-nurse-in-training Tara Levicy? After so learning, what steps did the Duke leadership take to ensure that Levicy would not affect any additional sexual assault cases?
(3) What steps, if any, did the Duke administration take against either Wahneema Lubiano or the African-American Studies Department for their decision to improperly use Duke funds to pay for an ad denouncing the school’s students, and for their falsely claiming that numerous Duke departments officially endorsed the ad? If, as is widely believed, the university took no disciplinary steps on the matter, should Duke professors interpret this inaction as an implicit statement that Lubiano and her department really didn’t do anything wrong?
(4) Why didn’t Duke administrators reveal to the Coleman Committee the university’s then-secret arrangement with the city for Duke students—and only Duke students—to be prosecuted to the maximum for alcohol-related offenses?
(5) Does the university continue to stand by the Bowen/Chambers report as the best analysis for how the administration should have handled the case? If so, how can the university explain the millions of dollars in settlements and legal fees for administrators’ conduct that Bowen and Chambers ignored? If not, why did the university never elect to commission a Freeh Report-style white paper for Duke?
Somehow, I doubt any of these questions will get asked. And in the unlikely event they were asked, I can all but guarantee they would generate a non-responsive reply.