Saturday, October 07, 2006

Clarifying the Record, II

Over the past several weeks, I've heard a number of concerns raised with the performance of Stephen Bryan, Duke's director of "judicial affairs," who seems to have a longstanding animus toward the lacrosse team. During the runup to the Coleman Committee investigation, Bryan did a number of unusual things--for instance, counting against the team offenses committed by a student who no longer played lacrosse; or providing the committee with arbitrary date ranges of offenses, cut off in the middle of the academic year.

A lacrosse parent took note of this pattern as well, and also some newly released information on Duke's disciplinary totals. I reproduce the parent's letter below, which also makes a critical, if long overlooked, point in this case: the disciplinary structures at most colleges and universities (though not, based on events of the last six months, Duke) focus on academic integrity offenses, not students drinking beer. This avenue of focus wasn't open to Duke critics of the lacrosse team's character. Over the past five years, the lacrosse players, it turns out, have a perfect record on academic integrity matters. I would have expected no less from students with the record of strong academic performance that the Coleman Committee report revealed.

In recent posts, you have noted the numerous statements by Duke professors and President Brodhead and his aides critical of the lacrosse team. Even though most people now realize that the team in general and the three boys in particular are victims of a hoax perpetrated by the Durham DA and the DPD, neither Brodhead nor any of these Duke professors have had one positive word to say about any of these Duke students. In fact, we now know that many of those at the highest levels at Duke have been disparaging the team to reporters and others in off the record conversations.

These Duke officials have all ignored the findings of their own Coleman Committee, which noted the team's 100 percent graduation record, the large number of players on the ACC Academic Honor Roll, and the team's community service record. Rather, Brodhead and the professors have continued to criticize the behavior of the team. Brodhead criticized the entire team (June 5 statement) for its "pattern of irresponsible behavior." Prof. Orin Starn wrote in a recent op-ed piece that "almost one-third of the team had been arrested on public drunkenness and other charges."

For the record, fifteen members of the team have received citations over the last four years--thirteen for holding an open beer can in public. This is not something to be proud of or dismissed. But it does need to be put into perspective and measured against the total number of Duke students who have been cited for alcohol violations, especially now that we know that the DPD has adopted an official policy to target and arrest Duke students.

According to Duke's Office of Judicial Affairs (judicial.studentaffairs.duke), more than a thousand Duke students were cited for alcohol policy violations during the same four years the lacrosse players were cited. Maybe this is why school officials never paid too much attention to their behavior in the past. For the last four academic terms, there were a total of 1,139 alcohol policy violations. An additional 207 students committed alcohol violations but were granted amnesty for these violations because medical attention was sought. Thus, the fifteen violations committed by the lacrosse team represents 1.1 percent of the total number of alcohol policy violations at Duke during the same timeframe.

It is also interesting to examine the statistics for students charged with academic dishonesty. Over the past four academic years, 180 students were charged with academic dishonesty. Ninety-one were charged with plagiarism, seventy-four were charged with cheating, and fifteen were charged with lying. As far as I know, not one lacrosse player was charged with academic dishonesty. While there were some athletes cited, the statistics show that the overwhelming majority--86 percent--were non-athletes. Moreover, 34 of the adjudicated students were from Pratt, the school's engineering school. Does Brodhead think that engineering students at Duke are guilty of a pattern of irresponsible behavior? Shouldn't academic dishonesty be viewed with more alarm than holding an open beer can?


Anonymous said...

A BIG thanks to KC for getting the great being recognized in the AP article that was even run at the HS.

You've done a GREAT job!

HS link:

Anonymous said...

oops! Sorry I didn't Preview that, but I'm sure you get the message!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting the blog on the wires!

Anonymous said...

Ditto. You are doing a great job.


Anonymous said...

'15 players [alcohol offenses] over 4 years' Do you know how many 'unique' players there have been in the past 4 years (lacrosse of course). If that was factored in the stats would probably be close to the Duke alcohol violations level...underage drinking isn't something new.

Oh: one reason why lacrosse students are cited appears to be that they choose housing that is owned by Duke but policed by Durham (rather than on campus housing or a place in an apartment complex). Where you 'are' can lead to more encounters with the police even if your behavior is the same as the 'norm'. That is mostly because it is DUKE POLICY NOT TO ARREST DUKE STUDENTS FOR ALCOHOL VIOLATIONS. Yes, that is correct: it is a disciplinary referral (to the Dean) if you drink on campus and are underage...Duke police PROTECT DUKE STUDENTS.

Anonymous said...

How interesting that KC and his KCoolade drinkers have conveniently "forgotten" about "Laughter and Forgetting in Durham." Can't say I am surprised....
How can anyone trust the veracity of KC's posts when he consistently disregards inconvenient facts, offers one-sided interpretations, and obsessives about administrative conspiracy theories? The sad part is that KC is a historian who should know how to critically and objectively analyze events and documents.

Anonymous said...

For the last you have one fact, one real objection? Yuu made several non specific accusations, but offered not one word of evidence. This is just like the hoax enablers, damn the facts; assassinate the character.
The mantra of the Gang of 88...We don't need no stinking evidence!