Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Notes

If Duke alumni read only one post or article about what the case says about the university, I hope they choose this extraordinary post on Liestoppers. A detailed critique of Duke’s response to the case, the post plays off Duke president Richard Brodhead’s smirking defense of Duke’s actions on the grounds that the lacrosse players engaged in “highly unacceptable behavior.”

Liestoppers wonders why Brodhead hasn’t characterized as “highly unacceptable behavior” other actions we’ve seen in the case, such as former coach Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, asking lacrosse players not to tell their parents about the inquiry. Or Houston Baker’s late March public demand that Duke expel all the players. Or the rush to judgment of the Group of 88. Or the actions of faculty members like lacrosse player John Walsh’s professor, who told him, “Well, if you guys really were innocent, I would feel sorry for you.” Or what Liestoppers correctly deems the “horrifying” record of Professor Peter Wood, who has engaged in “shameless media-seeking comments, groundless speculations, and unsubstantiated insults.”

The Liestoppers alumnus concludes,

For me, the disappointing behavior of the faculty and administration won’t cause me to stop raising my arm during chants of “Let’s Go Duke.” It is however, the reason my arm will continue to sport a blue “innocent” wristband. It is also the reason that my head will hang in shame until Duke manages to address the real “highly unacceptable behavior” in this affair.


From Duke itself, last week featured two piercing statements from Chris Kennedy, senior associate athletics director and an adjunct professor in the English Department. In a letter to the editor, he blasted the Herald-Sun’s fawning pro-Nifong response to the 60 Minutes broadcast. “After all,” Kennedy noted, the paper “has consistently, uncritically, and blindly supported District Attorney Mike Nifong’s mishandling of this case. If there was a perceptible slant in the broadcast, it was toward truth and based on a reading of the entire case file.” In the end, he correctly lamented, the Herald-Sun “has chosen to promote injustice rather than to fight it.”

On the pages of the Duke Chronicle, meanwhile, Kennedy penned a guest column that reinforced the lesson of women’s lacrosse coach Kirsten Kimel: in discussions about the tensions between athletics and academics at Duke, representatives of the Athletics Department have consistently approached the issue with greater intellectual dignity than members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty.

Providing a historical perspective apparently lost on anti-athletics professors such as Orin Starn or Fred Nijhout, Kennedy pointed out that the “debate” over the athletics/academic balance began not at Duke at the late March faculty meeting but more than 100 years ago, with discussions at West Point, Columbia, and Harvard. More important, Kennedy cites a commitment to the student-athletes currently at Duke that’s seemed almost wholly absent in the faculty’s anti-athletics crusade:

At the heart of the matter, as far as we are concerned, are our student-athletes-more than 600 young men and women who chose Duke precisely because it offers a balance between first-rate academics and athletics at the highest amateur level. Our promise to them when they are recruited and when they arrive is that that balance is not an illusion. Part of fulfilling that promise means that we think carefully about the student-athlete experience, understanding that the “athlete” side of that equation must always be regarded as part of a larger whole—a Duke education—and not an end in itself.
At the same time, Kennedy objects to the characterization of the matter as a “debate”—since, he assumes, both the faculty critics and people like Kimel or him “are on the same side: Duke’s.” Based on what we’ve seen from the Group of 88, however, some might consider Kennedy excessively optimistic.


Reflecting on Friday’s Duke media seminar, Liestoppers nominates Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley as a human piƱata. Ashley regularly “provides fodder for this blog, and others, to ridicule his aversion to truth, common sense, and journalistic ethics” his comments at the seminar revealed him “to be equally disingenuous in person as he is in print.” For instance, Ashley informed seminar participants that “the Herald Sun should have been quicker to aggressively examine the competency of the investigation.” Yet, as Liestoppers pointed out, “no signs of any examination of this nature has yet to appear on the pages of the Herald Sun. Within the past week, Ashley’s hacks have not only continued to ignore the lack of investigative competency but also have defended both the prosecutor and the police vehemently.”

Contrast this performance with that of the N&O. One person at the seminar asked, appropriately, why the media has been reluctant to report on the prosecutorial misconduct of Nifong, and why papers have printed mugshots of the players but not of Nifong. The N&O’s John Drescher responded that no newspaper in the country over the past three years has done more to expose prosecutorial misconduct than the News & Observer; Duke Law professor James Coleman seconded the observation.

Coleman, as usual, was on target. The N&O has made some errors on the case: as editor Melanie Sill has strongly implied, the paper shouldn’t have printed the vigilante poster; and the March 25 interview with the accuser should have included her criminal record and a comment that she was making allegations against others, not just the lacrosse players. But these two events pale in significance when viewed against the totality of the N&O’s work on this case: the investigative reports of Joseph Neff (his latest); the fair-minded daily reports of Benjamin Niolet (plus his first-rate profile of Nifong); the increasingly passionate columns of Ruth Sheehan (her latest).

The paper, in fact, has produced more insights into Mike Nifong’s misconduct than that of every other newspaper in the country combined. (The Washington Post and New York Times, which have far greater resources, should be ashamed.) Moroever, the N&O had previously exposed massive prosecutorial misconduct in the Alan Gell case; and troubling irregularities in the prosecution of Howard Dudley.

As bad as things have been in Durham over the past six months, imagine what things would be like without the N&O, and if the Herald-Sun represented the Triangle’s only print journalism.


Taking exploitation to a new level, a group calling itself “Speak Up-Speak Out” is planning a candlelight vigil, in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, outside the house the three lacrosse captains rented last year. According to a report from ABC-11, “The names of people who lost their lives due to domestic violence over the year will be called out.”

So—women who lost their lives to domestic violence are now being compared to the accuser in this case, a person who far more likely than not made a false claim?

The NAACP has tarnished itself by affiliating with Nifong’s crusade. So has the Duke faculty. Now domestic violence activists plan to join the parade.


The TalkLeft discussion board has an interesting discussion about a question that merits far more attention than it has received: where are the legal experts supporting Nifong?

In another TL thread, Cash Michaels termed NAACP attorneys Irving Joyner and Al McSurely “pro-Nifong”: both say they want the case to go to trial (reversing 70 years of NAACP principles on criminal justice issues in the process), but both shy away from specifically endorsing Nifong’s actions.

One TL commenter muses, “I don’t think you’d have any trouble finding a lawyer willing to defend Nifong’s interviews, lineups, or refusal to meet with the players in court”—but then conveniently offers no names to back up the claim.

Another commenter, oddly, listed the following item as defending Nifong’s procedural misconduct:

There is almost no evidence that could be construed as corroborating the alleged victim’s accusations,” says Rob Warden, director of Northwestern University Law Center on Wrongful Convictions. “The prosecutor appears to have acted precipitously, without due consideration of evidence to the contrary—evidence that does not fit into their theory.”

While Warden doesn’t think Nifong can win a conviction in the Duke case, he concedes that the district attorney is under no ethical obligation to drop it “if he thinks the person is guilty.”

The issue gets to Cash Michaels’ complaint against 60 Minutes not interviewing Joyner and McSurely to counter the criticisms of Nifong made by James Coleman. In his segment, Coleman focused on a discussion of how Nifong had habitually violated procedures. If 60 Minutes could have found a reputable legal scholar to challenge Coleman’s critique of procedure, they should have included that voice in the broadcast.

Does such a figure exist? Are McSurely and Joyner now willing to fulfill that role, and defend the D.A.’s handling of the case? Their comments to Michaels are the closest they’ve come yet to doing so.


But before the duo completes the NAACP’s abandonment of its traditional position in favor of due process rights for the accused—particularly with regard to the abuse of photo lineups—they might want to look at William L. Anderson’s recent column. Or, perhaps, the most recent article of Jason Whitlock. Whitlock, a sportswriter, penned one of the finest columns on the case back in early May, arguing, “If the Duke lacrosse players were black and the accuser were white, everyone would easily see the similarities between this case and the alleged crimes that often left black men hanging from trees in the early 1900s.” Unlike so much that has been written on this case, Whitlock’s article has more than stood the test of time.

Nearly six months later, Whitlock returned to the Duke matter in a spectacular fashion, opining, “The charges against the Duke lacrosse players should be dropped immediately, and the people demanding the dismissal the loudest and most forcefully should be the very people who have made a living allegedly fighting against racial injustice.”

Had 60 Minutes, Whitlock argued, “aired the same story about three black Duke basketball players being railroaded by a prosecutor pandering to white voters and a white accuser with zero credibility, we all know where [Jesse] Jackson and [Al] Sharpton would be—right where they should be today. In Durham, asking the prosecutor to do the right thing.”

Instead, of course, with the crucial exception of Coleman, the black legal and political leadership has either avoided comment on the Duke affair or—like McSurely and Joyner—weakly rationalized Nifong’s behavior. For Whitlock, such a record will not do:

By remaining silent about this obvious miscarriage of justice, black leadership looks as racist and cowardly as it paints white people who ignore obvious mistreatment of blacks.

You follow?

Standing up for Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans would be standing up against injustice, and what we’re learning is that injustice recognizes opportunity more than color. In America, there is more opportunity for injustice to visit poor people of color. Their best defense is standing against all injustice, regardless of race.

It’s a shame that more people didn’t listen to Jason Whitlock in May. Hopefully they will not repeat their mistake in October.


Anonymous said...

How do you know that Pressler was acting on orders from above?

vinasmse said...

Attended a Duke football game yesterday....I wish the black fans could break their silence and give their support for the truth....

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 1.50am: the post says "apparently." I invite you to re-read the post.

Greg Toombs said...

RE: CBS 60 Minutes

I understand Nifong refused an invitation to be interviewed. I am confident 60 minutes made efforts to find others with a similar point of view.

The pro-accuser side of the argument had an opportunity to provide 'balance' and provided none.

Anonymous said...

The Brodhead-Group of 88 blog posters and letter writers have decided to concentrate on D-in-W because of all the national and local acclaim received. Just a distraction — not a serious argument.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Duke Three trademark the new meaning to the word Nifonged!

The Dude said...

I am Chief of investigations in New Jersey. I have 26 years of criminal investigation, worked on approx. 24 Capital Cases, and i just started teaching Criminal Investigation at the community college in Atlantic City. i think i could be of great help in providing you with some information to establish your position. In fact, I think your column has been excellent and I finally signed up to post. it has been eating at me the way this case has been handled, although i don't know anyone involved on a personnal basis.
Nilfong has violated almost every rule of basic investigation.Why he has not actually been indicted is a serious question for the people of N. Carolina.
The first point is that in any investigation, it must be established that a crime has been committed and specifically What crime. The charge must meet all the elements of the crime in question. Despite numerous inquires, I don't see the establishment of a crime being committed. Even a confession(none here) must be verified by the evidence. The State has the burden to provide exculpable evidence. They never spoke to the second female who was actually present. The State also has the burden of providing all discoverable evidence to the defense AND at the Grand Jury. By not allowing the Defendants to provide evidence at the Grand Jury, this case is tainted from "jump street'.
The entire team cooperated from the beginning. It was not a custodial situation and thus Miranda was not used. Neither were notes, reports, evidence which were exculpable to defendants.
The first thing taught during photo ID is that specific planned patterns are used. they change over the course of time but they have never included showing photos of an entire group thus assuring some type of positive response. There are still issues of cross racial ID that have not been examined yet. The OIC didn't either bother to make notes or document his photo lineup(s). He should be fired for sheer imcompetence(or several other ethical violations).
The sixty minutes segment was rather good in this area. Apparently there are no notes, reports, evidence from the second dancer. i'm sure the Grand jury transcipt has been ordered by the Defense. I wonder if things have changed???
i would be happy to lend my help to your thru email and or comments. let me know what you need. I will be teaching my class on this subject this week. In fact, this has come up under the basic investigation procedures almost every week of the first 7 classes. I would be happy to assist.

Anonymous said...

This case will be in the law textbooks — prosecutorial abuse, misuse of the grand jury system, failure to show probable cause that a rape was actually committed, lack of DNA evidence in allegedly what was a fierce struggle, failure of Nifong to consider alibis offered by the defense attorneys, Nifong's numerous false statements to the TV cameras, et al.

Anonymous said...

NC grand juries do not keep a transcript, so defense can not order it.

The Dude said...

Thanks for the info on GJ transcripts, or lack thereof, in N. Carolina. I think this will be a case for the law books. However, I think the ethical matters need to be vetted NOW! The pros. misconduct seems to be so egregious that the Court and NC Policians seems to be hoping for a full trial and a not guilty verdict(nothing to appeal). Is there a link to the Defense attorneys???
Did any of the Duke players(not charged) file any civil action or ethical complaint??? Seems like this nilfong doesn't really care about the bad press or anything else. Whose pocket is he in??? i don't know much about NC politics. I am from new Jersey and I think that is pretty self explainatory regarding the corruption issues.

Anonymous said...

Durham is a wonderland.
Nifong is being endorced by 2 PACs for this election. What do you have to do to lose an endorcement around there?

Anonymous said...

Professor, in prior posts, you have stated that the Duke Administration told the LAX players not to tell their parents about the police investigation of the rape allegations. The implication of this statement would be that Brodhead or some other high up person in the Duke Administration was urging the players not to talk to their parents. Now you have posted an article which for the first time reveals that it was not the Duke Administration but rather Coach Pressler who told the players not to contact their parents, but then you throw in the comment that he was apparently acting on orders from above, which is obviously intended to suggest to your readers that it was really still the Duke Administration that was urging the players not to contact their parents and not Coach Pressler. When I ask the simple question how do you know that Pressler was acting on orders from above, you come back with the snippy non-answer that you only said he was apparently acting on orders from above. OK, what causes you to say that he was apparently acting on orders from above and could you please be a little more specific about whose orders exactly he was acting on?

Anonymous said...

To the Dude, one can only say North Carolina is it's own country. There is no place else in this great country where anything close to this could go on and still be moving forward. Where is the governor, state justices, etc?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:42 pm,

As is the case apparently in Durham where a simple accusation automatically equates guilt and innocence needs to be proven, which by the way is abundantly clear that you do not seem to be bothered by this upside down philosphy given your lack of interest in this miscarriage of justice heaped upon three young men. It is the responsibility of Brodhead to prove his innocence now. Good for goose and all that. Eh? ;)

With that, please do me the favour in your ever so diligent defense of the indefensible and show me where Brodhead does not jump to conclusions and state that the players are innocent until proven guilty from this clip...

Brodhead also terminated all lacrosse activities immediately and canceled the rest of the season. When asked whether he had fired Pressler, Brodhead said, "Let me just say that when he offered his resignation, I quite agreed that it was an appropriate step."

No matter what happens with the police investigation, Brodhead said, the university must respond to misconduct by lacrosse players, which included underage drinking, hiring exotic dancers and, according to a neighbor and police reports, racial slurs directed at black women.

"There is a body of behavior that's already established, and it's there for us to deal with, and every day we learn more about it," Brodhead said in an interview Wednesday. "It's just time to take action on what's there before our eyes."

Quite the champion of due process, that Brodhead. LOL

Anonymous said...

"Duke president Richard Brodhead’s smirking defense of Duke’s actions on the grounds that the lacrosse players engaged in “highly unacceptable behavior.” "

What a duck and cover position he took. I am not defending the poor decision to hire strippers, but attempting to level the field.

If underage members of a hypothetical "Duke Orchid Club" were arrested during Spring Break for doing beer-bongs as they walked out of a Daytona Beach strip joint - would Brodehead have responded by cancelling the "Orchid Season" ?

Of course not.

These guys were off-campus and school was out of session. I'm not saying they should not have been disciplined, but canceling the season was excessive for Dick-B's stated reasons.

Brodehead ought to come clean and just admit that he believed the players were guilty and that he cratered to his fringe left professors and the media. --- and is still ducking to this day.

Any fair person would cut Dick B some slack for being in a tough spot, but his pure punt of the players revealed his own disdain for Duke athletics.

Go Duke ! is on hold until Dick-B resigns, or publicly comes clean and apologizes for his timerity.

BTW - the Duke Captains apologized publicly, and I for one accept their sincere apology.

Come on Dick, its not too late yet.


kcjohnson9 said...

To the 2.42:

I've used the exact same wording re the instruction to the players not to tell their parents every time I've posted on it. I invite you to re-read my earlier posts. (Here's the sentence from my 10-16 post: "Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry.") The construction in today's post was nothing new. I try to be extremely precise in what I say. I might not always succeed, but I try.

At this point, re the allegation, you appear to be more royalist than the king. Duke officials have had several opportunities over the past week to deny that they so instructed Pressler, most recently in the aftermath of the Friday media session, when the issue was raised and publicly confirmed by two lacrosse parents; they've elected not to do so. If Duke officials, of course, issue a denial that they ever instructed Pressler on the matter, I will be happy to post that denial, along with the additional information I possess on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, now that is really a complete cop out. So I gather that what you are saying is that you do not have any evidence whatsoever to support your contention that Pressler was acting on orders from above, but you are just going to say it anyway because the Duke Administration has not denied it. What an absolute bunch of hogwash and just one more spectacular example of the intellectual dishonesty that permeates this website. Also, the fact that you are once again relying on the LAX team parents as your source of information provides additional confirmation that you are really just a mouthpiece for the LAX team parents.

Anonymous said...

The lacrosse team parents are not going to say anything negative about Coach Pressler because they all liked him, and they are mad at Brodhead for firing him. So if Pressler told the players not to contact their parents, then he MUST have been acting on orders from above because that is the only version of events that allows the parents to protect Pressler while pursuing their vendetta against Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

To 5:32
"Intellectual dishonesty"??? Let us turn this question around a little. Do you assert that coach Dressler acted entirely on his own in this matter? Do you believe he would give his team such amazing instructions without being told to?
The unmistake-able fact about telling someone not to get legal help when facing 30 years in prison is that no-one would do that to their friends.
Who do you think hated the LAX team enough to instigate that plan? Coach Dressler or the Duke administration?
Be honest.

Anonymous said...

It is clear this Brodhead sycophant is either a friend, family member, or just plain wacko. It is also abundantly clear that they need to be ignored.

kcjohnson9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kcjohnson9 said...

To the 5.32:

"I gather that what you are saying is that you do not have any evidence whatsoever to support your contention that Pressler was acting on orders from above."

No, that is not what I'm saying. Again, I invite you to re-read my post, and to keep in mind my earlier comment that I am quite precise in what I say. I often have material given to me on background, from many sources, that informs what I write.

As to relying on information from lacrosse parents and players about what the players were told between March 16 and March 24: it seems to me that they are about as reliable a source as possible on this particular question--especially since I was told of this item by seven different people, in seven unrelated conversations that occurred at different times. I could have, I suppose, relied instead on people who walked past the lacrosse playing field during this week; or perhaps Duke students who were listening at the door of the locker room to lacrosse players' conversations. But in my opinion, these sources wouldn't have been as credible.

It pains me that you don't consider the claim a credible one. But I'll try to carry on as best I can.

Anonymous said...

KC: You are doing a terrific job. 5:32 wants you to be pained and distracted by continuing to say the same thing over and over. Don't fall for it.

Anonymous said...

In the "Case Narrative" post on 10.16.06, KC stated, "Without informing President Richard Brodhead, administrators demanded from the captains a candid account of the evening’s events, allegedly citing a non-existent “student-faculty” privilege to encourage the captains to disclose any criminal activity. Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry. Meanwhile, Dean Sue Wasiolek arranged for a local lawyer, Wes Covington, to act as a “facilitator” in arranging for a group meeting with police." It certainly sounds to me that 1) KC has been consistent throughout the past 7 months on this topic. 2) The likely source of the instruction to the LAX team not to contact their parents was Dean Sue Wasiolek. Has anyone seen information to confirm or contradict this hypothesis?

Anonymous said...

5:32 Poster
I am a Duke lacrosse parent. On the day the Georgetown game was cancelled, both Dean Sue Wasiolek and Tallman Trask admitted that Coach Pressler was told to tell the players "not to inform their parents" about the investigation based on advice "from the Allen Building" (that's Duke administration for those of you off campus). This information is from my contemporaneous notes (but is supported by those of every parent present) Is that good enough for you are you so obtuse that the truth has no bearing for you? To be clear, I am not the source Professor Johnson is quoting. Finally, I deplore anonymous posting, but am well aware that reprisals could well come to our sons from Nifong, Gottlieb, Bell, and yes, Duke administrators and faculty, who seem as unwilling to confront the facts as you.

The Dude said...

Does anyone have information about the non charged players considering filing charges? i arrived late and took a slight pass while the troll was around. If this person doesn't have the guts to post his name, why should this blog consider his posts? It could be Nifong or one of his minions conducting a little sock puppetry. The content of the posts suggest the person is entirely clueless and still beating the rented mule.
I am clearly intrigued by the last couple posts of which were not known to me. If anyone told the LAX players ANYTHING they well could be liable. They can't provide legal advice to students in a criminal matter. Even the simple "don't tell your parents amounts to legal advice. These players gave photos, evidence(cell photos), DNA and statements to Police under the direction of persons who were operating under quasi parental status. Wait til they start filing suits regarding their Civil Rights and being forced to give statements against interest.

Anonymous said...

From the Baltimore Sun

If cleared, two can rejoin Duke
Coach open to return, though focus on case troubles one professor

By Jeff Barker
Sun Reporter

October 21, 2006

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University lacrosse players Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann will be permitted to rejoin the team if cleared in the alleged rape of a woman at an off-campus team party last spring, coach John Danowski said.

"If their eligibility is intact, we certainly would welcome them back," he said in an interview.

Finnerty and Seligmann, who would have been Duke juniors this year, have been taking classes near their homes in New York and New Jersey, respectively, as they await trial. They were charged in April with first-degree forcible rape after a 27-year-old North Carolina Central University student hired as a stripper alleged that she was sexually assaulted by three men at a house rented by team members.

The third player charged, David Evans, graduated in May.

The players' reinstatement could raise delicate issues for Duke. Elizabeth Chin, a visiting professor in the cultural-anthropology department last spring, said the university needs to put the case behind it so it can focus on the broader issues it provoked, such as increasing interaction between racial groups on campus and between the school and surrounding community.

Although she does not oppose the players' return, Chin said, "I worry people will continue to focus on the case and won't address more systemic questions."

But Ed Douglas, a team co-captain this season from Baltimore's Gilman School, said he believes the climate has changed since demonstrators banged pots and pans outside the lacrosse house to show their disapproval of players' alleged behavior.

"There is no doubt that they would be warmly embraced on the lacrosse team, and I think there are many indications that much of the campus would welcome Reade and Collin as well," Douglas said.

He said the players would like to come back to Duke and to the team, whose season was suspended last year after eight games because of the party and the rape investigation.

"From my conversations with Reade and Collin, I think they are very strongly considering returning to Duke," Douglas said.

The players have asserted their innocence. Seligmann told CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday that cell-phone records, ATM records and other evidence would prove it was "impossible" for him to have raped the woman. Finnerty said on the program that he thought he'd be cleared by DNA samples taken from the players that found no definitive match with the accuser.

In an unrelated case, Finnerty was placed on probation after being charged in a misdemeanor assault in Washington in November.

Duke anthropologist Orin Starn said that though the lacrosse case raised questions about race relations, campus drinking and other issues, he believes the players should be allowed back if they are acquitted.

"From my perspective, this has never been about any kind of desire to wish bad things for the lacrosse players or any other Duke athletes," Starn said.
Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun

Anonymous said...

"From my perspective, this has never been about any kind of desire to wish bad things for the lacrosse players or any other Duke athletes," Starn said.

Isn't Starns the one that wants to do away with all Division I athletics at Duke? I wonder what his threshold is for "bad".

Anonymous said...

Prof. Johnson,

I'm not as quick as you to forgive Ruth Sheehan for that reprehensible column, "Team's Silence is Sickening," on March 27, the one in which she said, "Members of the Duke men's lacrosse team: You know. We know you know." I see her increasing "passion" to be an effort to erase that first embarrassing column on this subject. When I see a column titled, "Boy, Did I Screw Up!", maybe I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

I just read Houston A. Baker's letter for the first time tonight. It is appaling to me that he still works at Duke. I am not happy to be spending 45,ooo yearly to be educated by Houston Baker and co. A Duke parent

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, both Houston Baker and his wife took positons at Vanderbilt this fall. However, it makes me feel sorry for the Vanderbilt parents/students who inherited them.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to the mother of a high school senior the other day who likes Vanderbilt. All I could think of was Houston Baker (puke!). I am so glad he is no longer at Duke but I don't wish him on other people's kids either!

Anonymous said...

Dude, how can you pontificate about people who do not have the guts to post their names when you yourself are posting anonymously? Or is Dude your legal name?

Anonymous said...

3:50 PM, you say that the LAX captains apologized publicly for the team's bad behavior and that their apology was sincere. But instead of just taking your word for it, maybe we should test the sincerity of their apology using the guidelines developed by Professor Johnson in his prior posts. In that case, we would have to ask what is the ratio of the total number of words of apology to the total number of words spoken by the LAX captains in the last six months? If that number comes out to less than 5 percent, we would be forced to conclude that the apology is insincere and is instead merely formulaic. In other words, an apology for which they should receive no credit.

Anonymous said...

7:30 PM, one of the main problems that I have with many of the stories that appear on this website is that they obviously come from the LAX team parents, who are not exactly an unbiased source of information. For example, you suddenly appear out of nowhere, announce that you are an LAX team parent, and start putting words into the mouths of Tallman Trask and Sue Wasiolek which have the effect of making the Duke Administration look bad. However, KC has not bothered to contact Trask or Wasiolek to get their side of the story. This means that we are basically being asked to take your word as the gospel truth without any cross checking to see if the other parties to the conversation remember it the same way you do. As you can imagine, these kinds of situations are ripe for abuse, which should help to explain why I am not leaping forward to accept your version of events. I hope I have expressed myself clearly and that I have not been too obtuse for you.

Anonymous said...

To: 3:50

Re sincerity of apology

"But instead of just taking your word for it"

Offered my personal opinion. Expect no one to take my word on it. When you find the "arbiter of sincereity", come back and fill us in.

" the guidelines developed by Professor Johnson in his prior posts...the ratio of the total number of words of apology to the total number of words spoken"

Unfamiliar w what underlies your tortured attempt to be clever. Pls elaborate, or link to relevant info.


Anonymous said...

2:32 PM, if you go back and read KC's many posts excoriating Brodhead for devoting less than 5 percent of his total words on the LAX mess to supporting the players, I am sure you will be able to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

To 2:48

OK – Well its fair to accept you disagree w KC re: his take on Brodehead.

I’ll give you, it’s not easy to come to a full and clear understanding of Brodehead because a) his demeanor is very low profile, and b) we really don’t know what he does about the matter outside of public view.

For instance, I am grateful that he re-instated the Lax program – and I take this action as an important endorsement of the players, and I think others should give him more credit for this.

My opinion, however, of his handling on the situation pivots completely on his early SILENCE, a silence that misled us regarding the full and immediate cooperation the captains and players gave to law enforcement. This is where he was weak and kept silent to assuage – IMO - the left fringe faculty and other interested communities.

He threw the players “under the bus” for them.

Before we knew of the DA/Police dishonesty on all this, no one would/should have expected Brodehead's “enthusiastic support” of the players given the severity of the accusations. But his silence, in retrospect, was damning of these young men. The acknowledgement of what he knew to be true – that the players cooperated fully with the police “as if they were innocent” -was information we were entitled to know, and as a leader he was expected to give. He failed miserably.

We can speculate all the reasons why he kept silent – the advice of an Allen Building attorney, “white guilt”, a low regard for athletes, or that he’s more interested in recruiting/retaining faculty than in the students – but it doesn’t matter – he failed the players, their families, interested alum, and anyone with a sense of fairness.

The recent news, that the Administration instructed the players to not tell their parents of the incident, and the shutting down of the DSED voter registration table, were the final straws for me. No doubt those actions were out of Brodehead’s control ---- but, it is his ship that is sinking.

Still looking for his apology, regardless of his "ratio"

Anonymous said...

"My opinion, however, of his handling on the situation pivots completely on his early SILENCE, a silence that misled us regarding the full and immediate cooperation the captains and players gave to law enforcement. "

-He wasn't just silent. He said outright "I hope everyone cooperates with the authorities" (words to that effect).

He clearly implied that there was no cooperation.

Anonymous said...

I think you may be overstating the extent of the cooperation provided by the players. It is true that the captains cooperated fully and that the players gave DNA samples, but I do not think the players were cooperating in giving statements to the police or answering their questions about what happened that night. I think the LAX team supporters have gone way overboard trying to beat up Brodhead for his statement urging everyone to cooperate with the police. You can easily interpret his statement to mean that he believed the players were innocent, so there was no reason for them to be concerned about the police, so they should just tell the police everything they know, and we will get this thing over with. Is there some reason why you find that to be an impossible explanation of his words?

Anonymous said...

"You can easily interpret his statement to mean that he believed the players were innocent"

"Interpret" - There lies the problem for me. A supportive leader would offer a clear statement that did not require interpretation.

By your position, Brodehead's statement could also be "interpreted" that there was no player cooperation.

To your comments that the players were not cooperating as fully -- you use the word "think" a lot, so not sure what your facts are on this.

Regardless, offering statements w/o an attorney, DNA for crying out loud - access to property beyond the warrant -- give me a break - these are facts of cooperation well beyond the ordinary, and Brodehead knew at the time !

"I think the LAX team supporters have gone way overboard "

Would be supporting any Duke community member (you too)if similarly let down by the administration