Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Green Light for Nifong

In last week’s New York Post, columnist Abby Wisse Schacter penned a piece on “presidential spinelessness.” She focused on events at Columbia, where the president tepidly defended free speech after leftist students shouted down on-campus speakers whose message they opposed. Needing another example to sustain her thesis, Schacter cited what has emerged as the conventional wisdom in media circles:

Duke President Richard Brodhead didn’t have the guts to demand some proof - or even to wait for charges to be filed: Faced with an outside community that was rushing to judgment, he canceled the entire lacrosse season and demanded the coach’s resignation. Months later, it’s now obvious that the rape/assault never happened. University presidents are supposed to uphold the highest standards of reason, discipline, leadership and moral clarity. But this bunch is too weak to lead.

Schacter’s column provides a glimpse of the task confronting Brodhead as he tries to deflect widespread criticism of how he handled the lacrosse case. After Duke hired a public relations firm, the president started touring, speaking to alumni groups and defending his actions. I heard from a few people who attended one such Brodhead gathering, and have read notes from another Brodhead talk.

The storyline from these gatherings goes something like this:

Neither Brodhead personally nor the administration as a whole rushed to judgment or did anything to fuel the media firestorm against the team. Instead, the president was one of the few people in the beginning to emphasize presumption of innocence. And if he did rush to judgment (which he didn’t), Durham authorities were to blame for this rush to judgment (which, to reiterate, didn’t occur). As Brodhead explained to the late Ed Bradley in a 60 Minutes interview, “We had public officials speaking as if it was almost certain that this thing had happened,” and it was unrealistic to expect the head of a prestigious academic institution to doubt the word of a government official.

Accepting the image of Brodhead as a latter-day defender of due process, of course, requires overlooking his silence about Nifong’s establishment of a “separate-but-equal” system of justice for Duke students. In the Nifong-orchestrated system, Duke students are treated according to procedures different than those used for other Durham residents, while they are meted out disproportionate punishment based solely on their identification as Duke students.

In the event, a close examination of the events between March 16 and April 3 shows that Brodhead’s actions signaled a belief that team members, more likely than not, were guilty. As the president’s defenders have pointed out, each and every one of his statements contained a for-the-record reminder that, legally, his students deserved presumption of innocence—comments that were buried amidst much more passionate denunciations of the team and its alleged or actual behavior. Moreover, Brodhead took no actions that suggested he believed the players were innocent, even though members of his own administration had told team captains and lacrosse team parents that, based on interviews they had done and information they had received from Duke police, they did not think that a rape had occurred.

This approach made clear that Duke would offer no institutional resistance to whatever steps the “minister of justice” might take in going after the University’s students.


March 16 through March 23

Over the course of this week, Duke officials learned from Duke police that the accuser had given dramatically conflicting reports about what had happened—and what had not happened—the night of the party. They knew that the police were rightly skeptical of the accuser’s myriad, mutually contradictory, allegations.

Perhaps most important, however, Duke officials learned that the captains had behaved like people confident in their innocence. The students who lived in the house had cooperated fully with the investigation: they each spent several hours giving detailed statements to the Durham Police. Each also offered to take polygraph tests (an offer that the Durham Police, for reasons that remain unclear, spurned) and to submit DNA samples (which the Durham Police accepted). That they gave this evidence voluntarily, without even requesting lawyers, suggested that the captains had nothing to hide—a point raised by Susannah Meadows of Newsweek in a recent media forum.

The administration, for wholly understandable reasons, seemed to hope the allegations would go away. At the same time, Duke officials took at least two actions that would have had explosive legal ramifications against the University had a rape actually occurred:

  • Apparently acting under orders from above, Coach Mike Pressler instructed all other players on the team to keep quiet about the incident—including not telling their parents. The entire team not being represented by lawyers from the start denied them a much-needed week to prepare, with counsel, how they would respond to the investigation.
  • The Dean of Students office—the same office that would assemble the disciplinary “statistics” against the students later last spring—arranged for a local attorney, Wes Covington, to act as a “facilitator” of events between the players and police. This structure left it at best unclear if conversations between him and members of the team were privileged. In the end, Covington championed a dubious solution of having six more lacrosse players join the three captains in speaking to police without presence of an attorney. This advice is so peculiar as to suggest that whoever he was attempting to represent, it was not the players.
According to the Bowen/Chambers report, lower-level administrators were responsible for both of these actions, and Brodhead does not appear to have become personally involved before the 24th. Yet neither action could be characterized as that of an administration faithful to due process.

March 24

On March 23, Nifong secured a procedurally fraudulent non-testimonial order mandating that the 46 white players give DNA samples. Police tipped off the media, which was waiting to film and photograph the lacrosse players as they entered the police station.

Given their belief that no crime occurred, it was not surprising that Duke officials initially made measured comments to local journalists. Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the N&O that Duke would “let the legal process work out . . . you’ve got to let the facts play out.” Duke spokesman John Burness informed the Duke Chronicle that the team would continue to play their games as scheduled. He said the university would await a report from the police department before taking any action, and that Duke “was monitoring the situation and cooperating with officials, as are the students.”

That afternoon, meanwhile, the team captains met with a group that included Duke executive vice president Tallman Trask, III (the number two person at the school), Alleva, and Pressler. They were assured that they could be completely candid with the administrators, since the conversation would be protected by “faculty-student privilege” (a privilege that does not exist). Alleva grilled them on what happened; the captains, from all reports, held back nothing. Upon hearing their unequivocal denials of the allegations, both he and Trask told the players that they believed the players were innocent.

(The captains had been represented by counsel from the start. That Duke officials nonetheless wanted to obtain from them detailed descriptions of the evening’s events outside the presence of their lawyers is not a policy normally associated with support for “due process.”)

Later that day, Pressler relayed the meeting’s results to the team. Trask said the University would take some disciplinary action for the party after the legal investigation was completed, suggesting that an appropriate punishment might have the players spending a day cleaning up the Trinity Park neighborhood. He added if no charges were filed, no further steps would be taken against the team, and that there was no doubt that the game against Georgetown, scheduled for the next day, would be played.

That afternoon, a faculty meeting took place to discuss the incident; the N&O reported that the sentiment was “this is sad, and it’s terrible.” This meeting was the first sign of the faculty witch-hunt that would intensify in subsequent days, eventually leading to calls for the abolition of the team as a symbol of white, male privilege. Shortly after the meeting’s conclusion, a visiting professor of English, Faulkner Fox, who played a key role in rallying the community to brand the players guilty, sent out a list-serv request that “activists” organize what came to be known as the “pot-banging” protests.

March 25

The day opened with the N&O’s front-page story on the incident, featuring an interview with the “victim.” The article has been widely, and properly, discredited, but at the time it had enormous impact.

From the Duke angle, the article contained a stunning item. The piece concluded with remarks from Paul Haagen, chairman of Duke’s Academic Council, who said that violence against women was more prevalent among males who play “helmet” sports, such as football, hockey, and lacrosse. “These are sports of violence,” he said. “This is clearly a concern.”

As John in Carolina has pointed out, Haagen’s words, whether he intended them to do so or not, explained “to readers why the Duke students might have committed the violent acts of which they are accused in the story.”

Brodhead convened a meeting with faculty and administration officials to review the latest media accounts. They surely noticed protestors gathering for the game, holding signs that read “Don’t Be a Fan of Rapists.” Out of this meeting, it appears, came the administration’s decision to change course from the day before and forfeit that day’s game and one the following week.

Lacrosse parents had arrived in Durham fully expecting the scheduled game against Georgetown to take place. Instead, they were informed of the decision to cancel the game. That several first learned of this information from Georgetown parents, who already had been told about Duke’s decision, raised questions about the integrity of Duke’s motives.

What changed between March 24, when Duke officials assured the players that the game would proceed as scheduled, and March 25, when the Brodhead administration decided to cancel the game? The Bowen/Chambers committee, which investigated Duke’s initial response to the affair, does not appear to have received access to administrators’ contemporaneous e-mails, which might have shed more light on the rationale for the decision. The only plausible explanation: the cancellation resulted from a fear of protests fanned by the potbangers’ reaction to the N&O story.

Lacrosse parents, correctly, anticipated that the last-minute cancellation of the game would send a signal to the community that Duke thought the team was guilty. Several parents noted that Duke seemed willfully naïve about the public relations effect of its actions.

At a tumultuous meeting, the parents urged the assembled Duke officials (Trask, Alleva, Dean of Student Life Sue Wasiolek, and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta) to say publicly what all already had told them privately: that they believed the team was innocent. When the quartet refused to do so, the parents asked to meet with Brodhead. That request also was denied.

Administrators present at the meeting struggled to avoid contradictory stories. When asked why, given the seriousness of the charges, Duke officials hadn’t contacted the parents, Wasiolek cited FERPA regulations. Moneta, on the other hand, pointed to practicality concerns, reportedly remarking, “Do you know how many calls we get from the Durham police about our students? If we called a parent for every complaint we get we would be calling parents every weekend.” Responding to a question on why she would advise anyone to speak to the police without benefit of counsel given the allegations of a gang rape, Wasiolek predicted that everything would go away, because the Durham police told her the witness was not credible. That such legal advice came from a J.D. (from North Carolina Central Law School) is amazing.

According to recollections from many participants, the meeting ended with parents frustrated and upset at Duke’s handling of events. But in an interview published two days later in the Duke Chronicle, Moneta presented a radically different picture of the meeting’s tone. The Chronicle summarized his remarks in the following way: “the parents were frightened and nervous for their children.” Any fair-minded outsider would have interpreted this kind of reaction from parents as consistent with a belief in guilt.

Moneta, meanwhile, soon repudiated the position on innocence he had taken at the meeting, writing, “Not sure what I blurted in the heat of the conversation. What I’ve consistently said to parents is that I hope that all the players are exonerated but until the facts are finally determined, I take no position on the matter.”

March 26

Brodhead, it turned out, had no need to hear from the lacrosse parents, because he had already decided on his course of action. He would accompany the last-minute cancellation of the Georgetown game with a statement that sent a strong signal that he and Duke thought a rape probably occurred and implied that team members had not cooperated with authorities. That statement, along with the cancellation of the Georgetown game, received enormous media attention on March 26.

Brodhead defenders have pointed out, correctly, that the statement included a for-the-record passage on the importance of presuming innocence. But no news outlet, for unsurprising reasons, focused on this section of Brodhead’s remarks—since his actions and other portions of the statement suggested his true beliefs were otherwise.

Accordingly, WRAL, the Herald-Sun, and the N&O each highlighted Brodhead’s two most newsworthy clauses: “Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke” and “The criminal allegations against three members of the men’s lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties.” The Herald-Sun article included a third, also highly negative, quote from Brodhead: “Whatever that inquiry may show, it is already clear that many students acted in a manner inappropriate to a Duke team member in participating in the March 13 party.”

Did Brodhead intend for the media to emphasize the “physical coercion and sexual assault” clause, thereby leaving the impression that he believed a rape occurred even if he didn’t know the identity of the criminals? It’s hard to believe otherwise: holder of a Ph.D. in English, he obviously possesses the ability to craft a statement to mean what he intends. Moreover, the almost unprecedented last-minute cancellation of the game suggested an act based on panic, not a presumption of innocence. Or, perhaps, Brodhead did intend to stress the presumption of innocence, but was singularly incompetent in doing so. Without access to contemporaneous e-mails between administrators, it’s impossible to know for sure what motivated Brodhead to say what he did.

As one lacrosse parent told me, “This nightmare never would have happened if we had proper legal representation earlier or if Duke had let it be known to Durham officials they believed their students were innocent and expected them to be treated fairly with due process. But Brodhead panicked and gave Nifong the green light to go after his own students.”

Tomorrow: The failure of appeasement; an Orwellian conception of “due process.”

(Posts from today and tomorrow are based on e-mail or personal discussions with more than two dozen participants in the campus events between March 16 and April 3.)


Anonymous said...

I am not sure I entirely agree with the criticism of Brodhead in this post largely because I don't think we are giving enough emphasis to the limited information Brodhead had at the time he made his decisions back in March and April.

As KC points out, Brodhead's initial statements did ride the fence a bit by both condemning sexual assault and whatever actions did occur at the party and stating the presumption of innocence. Both of these statements are defensible considering that the actions of some of the players at the party were certainly boorish.

Although members of the University staff may have concluded that the players were probably innocent, the information circulated by the Durham PD suggested guilt. I think it is important to remember the amount of misinformation circulating at the time of Brodhead's initial statements. Facts were still coming to light and the actual truth was not really clear yet.

Brodhead thus had an impossible decision to make. Either come down hard against the players and face extreme criticism if he was wrong, or strongly advocate for the players' innocence and face the public relations disaster if they were guilty. The logical choice was to ride the fence. It is easy to criticize his choices now because hindsight is 20/20.

Now criticism is understandable given his decision to cancel the lacrosse season. However, remember that at the time of his decision, as KC points out, the most prevalent story in the media strongly suggested the guilt of the players. The pragmatic move was to cancel the season so as to allow the University to at least appear to remain somewhat neutral.

I also think the criticism leveled against Brodhead for his refusal to stand up for the players at the present time is also somewhat misplaced. Just acting on the misinformation that Brodhead had in March and April, Brodhead already has drawn heavy criticism. Given the extreme shift of public opinion regarding this case (from guilty to innocent), I can understand his reluctance to make any statements at all about this case that could draw further criticism (or attention) to the University over this matter.

I am not saying that Brodhead's current actions are the absolute right ones. I am saying though that his current course of action is both understandable and defensible.

I also think that Brodhead does deserve all the criticism he gets for refusing to speak up about the Durham PD's anti-Duke student policies in general. His silence on this matter is inexcusable. However, as argued above, his silence as to Dave, Reade, and Evan is another matter.

Finally, on a separate issue, the criticism of the Durham PD for refusing to allow the players to take a polygraph is misplaced. Polygraphs are never admissible in court and are sufficiently unreliable that they would not be terribly useful either way to the PD.

Thanks for reading.

Duke 03'

Anonymous said...

To 1:15
The special value of this KCs latest post is to clarify a very important chicken/egg question: Did the public image of the LAX guys turn bad because of the actions of Brodhead et al or did they abandon the students after that had happened for other reasons? I think we can see pretty clearly how the peculiar actions of Duke administration smeared their own students (whom they believed to be innocent) in the court of public opinion.
As for lie detectors, their value is not as court room evidence; everybody knows that. But as a tool for screening out bogus accusations they are worth a lot. For example, if a dozen or more LAX guys had passed such a test and the AV had failed, what would have an ethical DA done with that bit of data?

The Dude said...

I checked the link to the N&O article. The accuser was crying and made statements! To Whom? Are these in report form and were they made available to the Defense Team?

A witness Mr. Bissey is quoted as witnessing the part of the incident. Did Durham Police interview this person whose name and information was quoted in the NEWSPAPER? Nifong never interviewed the accuser but the newspaper did??? Does the Defense have a copy of the statement from Mr. Bissey? Although the article is not fully complete, the timeline and the fact that only one woman returned to the house seems to be rather significant.

We have a serial killer in Atlantic City. Everyone has probably heard it on the news. I don't think anyone leading the investigation will foret to take notes and i'm sure the top twenty investigators working the case will have more than three years expierence issuing parking tickets.

I still can't understand why Duke u questioned the team(IN PART?). Is this information recorded anywhere and does the Defense have same? KC makes excellent points all the time. Please read between the lines, also. Duke U. had lawyers questioning people and they did not represent the players interest. I assume these meetings were REQUIRED by Duke. Sounds like more liability for Duke.

Anonymous said...

On top of Brodhead's pathetic wavering at the start of this crisis, we also have the official talking points from Duke:

1. The "justice" system needs to deal with the rape charges;
2. The lacrosse team was full of Really Bad Actors that (horrors!!) hired strippers! NO ONE AT DUKE EVER DOES THAT!;
3. The Duke Administration and Brodhead are innocent victims of the lacrosse team, which was full of singularly bad people who mistakenly were admitted to Duke;
4. The Gang of 88 simply was showing concern about violence against women; and,
5. We have Really High Standards at Duke and no one ever should hire strippers or engage in underage drinking.

Of course, if the administration really believed its own crap, Coach K would be out the door for the behavior of his players, and half the Duke student body would be in prison.

Let's face it folks; when Brodhead and company saw a crisis, they immediately went into full-blown CYA mode. Yes, yes, I have heard that Brodhead is a "nice guy," and that it was the evil lacrosse team that put him into this position.

All I can say is that when one assumes the high-paying, high-profile job of a college or university president, one must remember that the undergraduate student body of that place is going to be full of kids with raging hormones and who do not understand the full consequences of their actions.

But even with that, there is no way the players deserved what has happened to them. Had they done something beyond what others at Duke have done, that would be one thing, but that is not the case.

(And, please, do not prattle on about the "broomstick" and "cotton shirt" business. They have been overblown and exaggerated, and we know what really happened.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Duke '03 that Brodhead's initial (mis)steps are somewhat understandable given the presumption of good faith normally accorded to public officials (the DA) and the vehemence with which Nifong was insisting that a brutal crime had occurred. But now that Brodhead must clearly realize that the prosecution itself is an injustice -- one that continues daily -- I cannot fathom his refusal to speak out clearly. If charges, almost certainly false, had been brought against African American students so that an unscrupulous prosecutor could curry favor with white voters, is there any doubt that the president of the students' university would speak out, unequivocally, against such an injustice? While doing so here may not have affected the election, or even have helped Nifong, the election is now over and Brodhead's last excuse for equivocation is gone.

Anonymous said...

To 1:15
Initially, I gave President Brodhead the benefit of the doubt regarding his comments and actions in March and April, believing he had little information. Now, it seems he actually had quite a lot. And what he knew from the Durham police (the witness was not credible) and from his own lawyers and administration (the boys had cooperated fully and those questioning them believed they were innocent) could have led him to take a very different approach. Regardless of how he handled things then, the current excuse for not calling attention to the violations of due process and equal protection--namely, we were wrong before so let's say nothing now--really do not wash. It's a heads I win, tails you lose for the falsely accused defendants who are students to whom he at least owes a duty to give voice to the truth. The students and their rights to due process did not in April and have not yet made his list of priorities. From Cash Michael's report on President Brodhead's speech to the NAACP, it seems clear town/gown relations are the priority. Although, President Brodhead gently acknowledged the importance of respecting due process rights going forward and eloquently argued that these rights are essential for everyone, he carefully avoided even suggesting these rights had already been badly violated.

AMac said...

anonymous 5:39am --

Neighbor Bissey gave a statement to the DPD, it is available on the web.

anonymous 7:07am --

It has been noted elsewhere that considerations of self-interest may serve to motivate many of the actors to maintain an equivocal or low-profile position, despite the pileup of evidence that shows that the felony prosecution has been a farce and a fraud from the beginning. Presumably a number of people are wondering about being either on the giving or the receiving end of high-dollar tort cases before this chapter comes to a close.

The actions of those who drove the prosecution forward and those who abetted it will likely be seen in a much harsher light if the prosecution collapses before the case comes to trial. In this narrow sense, potential defendants might hope for a hung jury, or even a conviction by a Durham jury. That would make matters look much more nuanced, in a subsequent civil trial.

Anonymous said...

With regard to Brodhead's outrage, I believe that among other activities at Yale, the students have a group (not a club or anything)called chicken and porn, where students get fried chicken and watch porn. I don't think anyone every tried to crack down on that group or other open displays of what polite society would call inappropriate sexual behavior at Yale. The primary difference between what goes on at Yale and the stripper for Duke is the perception that the players are aggressive thugs, rather than super eggheads approaching porn with a sense of resigned smugness. Of course, Reade Seligman and other Duke students could have been just such an egghead, but that is beside the point.

I think Brodhead was justified in discplining the team for the party. I do agree that it was a huge mistake. However, someone of Brodhead's intellectual ability should not have ever confused schoold discipline with gang rape allegations and further should have not used the incident to further political motives.

Anonymous said...

Based on the information we now know is true, the Lacrosse team did no more bad stuff than the Basketball team did in partying and hiring a stripper. Therefore, now that Brodhead knows this, he should show the same level of outrage and to be equal in his justice, he should cancel the BB team's season and force Mike K to retire.

For a guy who touts equality, justice, etc., wouldn't this be fair?

AMac said...

anonymous 7:41am highlights one of the difficult issues faced by private American university since the lowering of the age of majority to 18 in the 1970s: the doctrine of in loco parentis no longer governs a university's relationship with its students.

Here is an excerpt from Utah State University's Student Code:

Relationship Between the University and Students: Under the concept of in loco parentis, universities generally were viewed as standing in the place of students' parents and courts gave universities a great deal of discretion in disciplining students pursuant to such parent/child relationships. During the 1960's, however, the law moved away from the concept of in loco parentis and the relationship between the students and a university is now considered contractual. The existence of rules and regulations regarding student conduct does not place the University in a custodial relationship with its students... All students who have reached the age of majority are responsible for their own actions.

(Note that IANAL. I do live in a college town where students living off-campus regularly irritate their neighbors.)

Duke's administration was thus in the difficult position of being "responsible" for the behavior of its adult (over-18) students, while lacking clear-cut mechanisms for affecting off-campus conduct.

Presumably, the university was moving to buy the rental property on Buchanan St. in order to gain such leverage.

It is plausible to suppose that senior administrators found it very frustrating to have to repeatedly deal with community complaints about routine 'nuisance' behaviors of a plurality of Duke students.

Perhaps Duke officials persisted in viewing the March 13th stripper party through the familiar prism of underage drinking and nighttime noisemaking even as the felony rape charges were brewing. This would partly explain the administration's difficulty in grasping that, this time, the menace to the university would come from an entirely different direction.

Anonymous said...

Brodehead = McFly - eom

Anonymous said...

Brodhead had the advantage of the 3 captains looking him in the eye and telling him that the rape allegations were false.
Is it too much to ask that he simply state that he believes in their innocence?
Town/gown relations in Durham will only continue to worsen if Duke students are "automatically guilty" because Durham officials say so.

Anonymous said...

must strongly disagree with 1:15 and 7:07:

i'm a well-respected editor and producer, so i'm put in situations like brodhead's from time to time (minus the publicity)--this idea that he only had 2 alternatives--side with either precious or students--is ridiculous: i would have executed the tertium quid, and that's nothing more than waiting for the facts to come in--by firing the lacrosse coach brodhead showed his hand; if he were my employee i'd fire him on the spot, regardless of the players' innocence or guilt

duke alumni should withhold contributions, or hold them in escrow until he is dismissed--and let the board of trustees know why you're withholding--brodhead's behavior is immoral--worse, it's incompetent

KC Johnson, I wish you were more honest about the racial aspect of this case: by introducing the phrase "separate but equal," but not following up with the obvious conclusion you are hurting your argument:

It's not separate but equal, it's simple preferential treatment: blacks want lower standards for themselves, and they got it from both brodhead and nifong--this stripper/prostitute is not credible

the common denominator here is society's tolerance for immoral black behavior--whether it be demands for gross affirmative action or calling for the heads of horny lacrosse players

stop writing in code, and begin telling like it is--the truth will set you free

Anonymous said...

to 1:15

How is cancelling an entire season & firing a coach remaining somewhat neutral? To me, those actions show an overwhelming belief of guilt. I think Broadhead was trying to get out ahead of the charges so he would look strong and decisive.

There was a lot of misinformation circling when this hoax started and Broadhead was probably believing what he heard. But it's his responsibility as the head of Duke to make sure that the information he is basing his decisions on are in fact accurate.

Had he been unable to verify or corroborate any of the initial accounts, he should have showed restraint and allowed the season to continue

Anonymous said...

Broadhead was spineless and weakened to the pressures of the potbangers and agenda driven feminists and Duke 88 who latched onto this false allegation to use as their soap box. He showed absolute lack of leadership and rational thought. He allowed theses people to govern the stand that Duke took on this case and his words and actions projected guilt. This futher inflamed the racial tensions and allowed Nifong to continue his dirty deeds behind the scene. Broadhead didn't stop the DPD from barging into their dorms and questioning the players. He didn't stop Nifong from threateneing his students if they didn't confess to a crime that didn't happen. Broadhead and Duke wanted to protect their coffers, plain and simple, they didn't care about the innocent young men who were being framed for a crime that never occurred. And today, instead of going public and saying "inlight of all evidence, I stand by these students and their innocence, I apologize for any role Duke played in making this more difficult for them, I am embarrassed by the Duke 88... he will not do this because he is weak and spineless. A true leader knows when to admit mistakes were made and to correct them. All the PR in the world will not change the rush to judgment and condemnation of these innocent boys and the role Broadhead and Duke played in slandering them and their families and presenting an aura of guilt. Their PR firm should reccomend a clean start, an apology, an acknowledgment of innocence and punishment for Duke 88 signers. They are not people who should be teaching young impressionable minds. Brodheads's recent tours, and speeches as damage control is not going to work. He is not admitting any wrongdoing. Does he and the PR firm really think people are that stupid and will accept his lame explanations for his actions. No we won't. This speeches are simple coverups for wrong doing to try to save them from a civil suit. That is not going to help. People want the truth, an apology, no more lies and whitewash, Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

Many good comments 11:02, but I would disagree with your conclusion. Preferential standard according to race is certainly a central issue, but we must always focus on the false charges against the lacrosse players and implications for rule of law and due process. As I'm sure you know, the guys are not abstract concepts, but real persons in direct jeopardy. Please not the irony of exhorting K.C. to achieve freedom through addressing truth, when he posts his opinions under his own name, everyday, while you, (and I and most posters) remain anonymous. Perhaps we should all set ourselves free and begin posting under our names. Right on to both 11:02's and 11:25 regarding Broadhead's disastrous performance-- he may have been able to slink through his presidency under normal circumstances, but the Hoax required that a leader step up and lead, and Broadhead obviously lacks the moral fiber, not to mention the necessary instincts. He still does not appear to understand what is going on! Presidential material he ain't. He will have to go away before recovery can begin for Duke. And if Duke Admin does not take a stand for the wrongfully accused, we may not ever recover. This is the worst disaster in Duke University history and Admin and the Board do seem to recognize that this is their moment in history. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

The timeline of events revealed in this narrative suggests to me that the real mainspring of Brodheads motivation was not concern regarding donor opinion or Duke/Durham relations or even public opinion in general. He was acting mainly out of fear of finding himself on the wrong side of a PC dividing line. I mean, for years he has been intimately aware of the remorselessness of the PC crowd - the lack of nuance, the activism, the seeming permanence of their judgments. He had been conditioned like a lab-rat to jump when that gang pointed.
And being a Professor of English, where could he have hidden from them? It is not like he were an engineering professor who could ignore the noise and nonesense once back in his own department

Anonymous said...

Forgot to proofread! Please correct my last sentence to read that amidst the greatest crisis in Duke history, the President and Board DO NOT recognize that this is their moment Thank you, sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of 1:15 but more with 7:12. I am much more disappointed in Brodhead's current stance than his inept crisis management in the opening weeks. With the presumably full discovery disclosure of the prosecution's case and once the election was over there was no longer any good reason not to come out in favor of the players and to express regret at least at the earlier precipitous acts of faculty and administration.
If the alums reception of his stance at D.C. version of the "conversation" tour is any indication, though, that stance is selling well. I was there and Brodhead's statement of continued faith in the legal process and presumption of innocence was well received (but not by me).

An additional factor adding to administration's need to be seen as "doing something about it" was McFadyn's unfortunate tasteless parody email which was released. The forced resignation of Pressler and cancellation of the season occurred the day after that email release, as I recall.

I have still not seen any reason why Prof. Johnson repeatedly says that when Pressler advised, sometime between 3/16 and 3/23, the players not to tell parents about the investigation he was "apparently acting under orders from above." No one has said Pressler told them he was given that instruction and Pressler hasn't publicly said so, as far as I know.

I really don't think anything Brodhead or the faculty did influenced or could influence Nifong. He accurately read his constituency and played the case for all it was worth. Some white egghead from the plantation complaining about an unfair prosecution would not have deterred Nifong. I understand the anger of the players' families for the administration and Brodhead's abandonment of them, but a sprited defense from that quarter would not have made any difference to the prosecution. It would have made a world of difference, though, for the morale of the Duke community -- students, faculty, alums and parents.

Anonymous said...

"If the alums reception of his stance at D.C. version of the "conversation" tour is any indication, though, that stance is selling well."

We'll see how well it plays in the NYC event (March 1). A lot of lax players here in the NYC/NJ area!

Anonymous said...

I think the simple question that we should all be asking is:

Is Brodhead an asset or a liability to the University?

I fail to see how a good housecleaning would damage the reputation of the school further.

Anonymous said...

Thanks KC

Many good comments here, but I saw none regarding the comments from those under Spineless Dick.

Duke09parent said;
"I have still not seen any reason why Prof. Johnson repeatedly says that when Pressler advised, sometime between 3/16 and 3/23, the players not to tell parents about the investigation he was "apparently acting under orders from above." "

Whether it was or not, we need to look to where the buck stops. All the comments and actions coming from those in positions of any authority at Duke early on are Spineless Dick's problems.

The picture is much clearer if you also consider the actions I of those under.

Is he responsible for all under him or only himself?

Anonymous said...

11:51 - You are quite simply wrong. It is impossible to argue the fact that if Broadhead, with all the economic power Duke has in Durham, sat down with the Mayor and DA and told them to slow down, investigate fairly, treat his students farily, and then evaluate where to go based on cold-hard evidence, (with Duke’s attorneys and PR minions), things would be as they are today. The threat of Duke pulling out of economically beneficial Durham endeavors, (Duke is the largest employer in Durham, not to mention its numerous charitable projects and student/parent spending), would have gained any ear in the County to at least act deliberately, constitutionally, and fairly.

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

I think what it came down to with Broadhead was that he was more concerned with what Durham and the national spotlight heard him say than concerning himself with his own students and Duke's reputation and most importanly, justice in general.

A small fraction of Broadhead's poor judgement handling the situation can be attributed to Nifong's initial press attacks in which he was absolutely certain that a rape had occurred.

However, since that time Broadhead has been exposed to even more factual evidence than us to see that these boys are completely innocent. It is obvious that Broadhead is more concerned with appeasing the AA crowd than he is seeking justice and defending Duke and Duke students. Even if his poor judgment does not result in decreased students applying to Duke and decreased donations, his reputation has been dragged through the mud.

The fact that Broadhead fired Pressler is disgraceful. An even bigger disgrace is the fact that he has not spoken out against the Durham PD's admittance that they have a different policy for Duke students than the policy they have for Durham citizens. The fact that such a policy does not upset Broadhead and trigger him to take a stand is ridiculously ignorant on his part and shows he is more concerned with his reputation as a liberal AA supporter. More than anything it shows Broadhead is not a good leader at all.

I feel that Broadhead is not even in full touch with the reality of his own campus environment and the environment on campuses nation wide if he finds underage drinking so terribly disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The way to deal effectively with a bully is to show no weakness.

Anonymous said...

To 1:10- One thing you don't realize is that Duke will not denounce the policy within the DPD that discriminates against Duke students because Duke actually was involved in developing that policy WITH the DPD.

Anonymous said...

Early in the "investigation," Durham police showed up at a Duke dorm unanounced (with Brodhead's knowledge) to "interview" some of the lacrosse players, who by then had legal representation. This was done not to gather facts, but to further the fiction that the lacrosse players were not cooperating, since the attorneys were not present and the players were not going to speak to police under those circumstances.

Brodhead deliberately chose to go along with the lie that the players were being uncooperative with the police, and he even publicly denounced their getting lawyers. Had the man been truthful at that point, at least he could have helped to calm some of the invective being directed at the lacrosse players. Instead, he chose to promote the Big Lie, and that is something he did deliberately.

When people defend Brodhead, they forget this incident, and they fail to point out that he engaged in a number of deceitful actions. By helping to promote the lie of player uncooperativeness, he stopped being an honest man, in my book. Therefore, he deserves the criticism he received.

Please do not tell me that somehow Brodhead was being prevented by the lacrosse players from telling the truth. It is not difficult to say what is true when one is in possession of the truth. Brodhead chose another path, and he did so KNOWING what he was doing.

Anonymous said...

Some comments:

I have no issue about how Brodhead handled the initial situation (the focus of KC’s column). One thing left out of KC’s time line was Ryan McFadyn’s email (about killing and skinning strippers). If I recollect correctly that had the effect of dramatically tipping the balance away from any prospect of reasonable discourse. Especially when it was taken out of context and magnified by the media. A lot precipitated from that email alone.

Be careful how much power you attribute to a university president. An object lesson is Lawrence Summers of Harvard – a truly capable and intelligent man – who was run out of the presidency of the school because of *relatively* innocuous comments that did not fit well with the loopy left faculty.

Ironic. “Sic semper tyrannis” is what John Wilkes Booth shouted after assassinating Lincoln. Although he thought he was doing the nation, and the South, a great favor it turned out to be one of the biggest disasters in US history, considering what transpired after. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s very easy to criticize from afar. And it’s very easy to assassinate character especially when the bullets are anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Aha! I had wondered if this might not be the case, and that explains a lot. I am sure the administration probably got very tired of complaints and problems and gave the green light to the DPD to hold Duke students to a higher standard of behavior. It seems to have backfired. If Duke wants greater control of student behavior, what is wrong with having Duke students treated like any other citizen when it comes to law enforcement, but adding under age drinking, noise, disturbance of the peace transgressions to an honor code enforced by a student-faculty run "court" system with power to suspend and expel? I wrote 7:12, (please pardon the lack of subject verb agreement in the middle of that comment), and I agree that administration/faculty relations has played as great a role as town/gown relations in shaping President Brodhead's responses. What still seems to be completely missing in President Brodhead is concern for due process and equal protection violations in law enforcement and basic human decency in the University's treatment of the indicted players. I would call what's happened thus far severe emotional abuse--the emotional equivalent, say, of an ongoing public flogging.

I am not too surprised President Brodhead had a warm reception in D.C. He has a wonderful, stirring way of expressing the right sentiments. You have to look closely at the facts to see how shallow those sentiments are--not so many people have the time and inclination required for that. Lucky for President Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am more disappointed with the present administrative stance that with the actions taken in the weeks after the party. There is some revisionist history going on here. The season was canceled (and Pressler fired) as a direct result of the McFadyn email. We all know now that his email was a quote from American Psycho, but that information took a while to come out, and the media had a field day with that comment. At the time, Brodhead said many times that the cancellation was NOT a punishment for the rape charges, but that, given the circumstances, and the media attention, "now was not the time to be playing games." Every practice was a media circus--every player on the field was portrayed by the media to be an example of the university thumbing its nose at the legal system.

Firing the coach was another matter. I don't agree that the coach deserved to be fired for this incident. But it is my understanding that there was more to the firing than this one incident. Pressler HAD been warned before about the behavior of his team. Apparently there were some other reprimands, too, and some issues in the past that were well-known in the lacrosse community, but which the university has kept confidential.

Some other comments are also off-base--that "Brodhead allowed the DPD to enter the dorms." The police were allowed entrance to the Edens dorm by other students--who may have been intimidated bythe police to get to Edens, and no one from the administration would have had reason to know the police were there until they were called by someone. Certainly Brodhead had absolutely nothing to do with the police getting into the dorms.

KC--It is unfair to suggest
that the fact that the NO omitted Brodhead's sentence about "innocent until proven guilty" when they published excerpts from his statement is evidence that he didn't emphasize their innocence. He can craft the most balanced speech, and the paper can take excerpts to make it look slanted--this happens in the press all the time. It shows bias on the part of the press, but not on the part of the speaker. The fact that this statement (and lately a much stronger one) always comes first in his speeched is evidence of the priority he attaches to the comment.

Finally--were many of the university's positions the result of concerns about being PC? Absolutely--that is the world we live in. It isn't right or fair, and it is getting worse by the day. Just look at all the arguments during the election about who said what, and what they must have meant when they said it. This is a major problem in the world today--free speech only applies to some. It's not a Duke problem, but it certainly affects Duke, and did in this case.

Anonymous said...

The thing about hit pieces like this one is that they are so biased and one-sided that they lack credibility. In this case, you have a group of LAX parents who are 100 percent biased in favor of their own kids (surprise)and who hate Brodhead because he fired Pressler and cancelled the season, which was going to be their big moment of glory. These parents are on a mission: they are going to do everything they possibly can to ignore or minimize the irresponsible behavior of their own kids and to tear down and demonize Brodhead. As part of their strategy to shift the blame for this mess to Brodhead and to punish him for cancelling the season, they are feeding information to KC which KC, as their chief mouthpiece, then dutifully spins into a narrative which seeks to portray Brodhead in the worst possible light. As Learned Hand reminded us a week or two ago, Brodhead was recruited to Duke because he is a proven leader who knows how to run a top notch university. However, you will search in vain for any mention of this in any article by KC because those comments do not further the agenda of tearing down Brodhead. Instead, what you get are hit pieces like this one which take the shallow and one-dimensional view that because Brodhead has not done the bidding of the LAX team parents by speaking out aggressivly on behalf of their kids, he is unfit to be president of Duke, no matter what else he has done to benefit the university and no matter what else he might be capable of doing to benefit the university in the future. This is not objective analysis. This is garbage. The fact is that Brodhead was a highly respected and even beloved figure at Yale, an institution which operates on a much higher level than Duke, and as the parent of a Duke student, I am very greatful for the fact that the trustees of Duke seem to have a much greater appreciation for Brodhead and his talents than KC and the other fanatics who post on this web site. I also want to say that given the long history of irresponsible behavior by the LAX players, the enormous amount of damage they have done to the university, and the fact that their parents are obviously working hard to tear down the president of the university, not based upon a fair and balanced evaluation of his presidency but based solely on their own personal and biased agenda, I think the university should give serious thought to shutting down the LAX program, revoking the scholarships of all players who attended the party on March 13, and telling those players and their parents to go to hell.

Anonymous said...

As a former Duke Lax player, I was disheartened by the initial news of the alleged crime. I was probably 'harder' on the players in my initial opinion than most, given my connection to Duke Lax.

But, I was hoping and believing the allegations were simply not true.

I feel betrayed by Brodehead because I believe I was entitled to know the players cooperated fully with the police and behaved confidently in their innocence. -That would have satisfied me, and it was not too much to ask.

He abandoned his leadership and 'stood down' for those who needed his nominal support. Note - I did not think that the President of Duke should declare the boys to be innocent and 'falsely defend' what he did not know for certain. But he did know the captains cooperated fully and he gave me/us the opposite impression.

Obviously we are all betrayed by Nifong, and who hasn't lost confidence in the legal system where ever they might live.

The sad irony here, now, is that the 'most punished' are the 'most innocent' - I'm thinking of the the 3 indicted, the entire Lax team, and Coach Pressler. -- Those 'least punished' are those who 'failed the most'.

I plan to see a Lax game this year. I expect it will be an "away game'.

Anonymous said...

3:36: i have a sense of humor, so i found your post pretty funny

your spelling of greatful [sic] was also most appreciated

don't u think you should attend to your spaghetti sauce and let others deal with the issue at hand?

Anonymous said...

According to the 3:36 PM poster, anyone who disagrees with the lack of due process, the false accusations of rape, and the charging of crimes that never were committed somehow is a "fanatic." In other words, this Duke parent has no problem at all with what Nifong has done, or Brodhead's behavior.

I wonder how that person would feel if the university threw his or her own kid under the bus that way. (Oh, I know, this person's child is perfect, and never engages in any wrongdoing whatsoever.)

So, a president is permitted to spread the falsehood that players are rapists and uncooperative with the police (or at least do nothing to stand in the way of such charges being put forth), and this is called leadership?

And, if standing up for what is right is fanatical, then, yes, I am a fanatic. I do not know any of the players or their families, except through email and telephone conversations, but this notion that the only people to blame are the LAX players and their ignorant players is beyond the pale.

I would ask the poster if he or she believes that it is perfectly fine for a district attorney to lie, to rig a lineup, and then to secure charges against people who did not commit the crimes for which they are charged. If that person says that the LAX players, or the Duke 3, specifically, are guilty, then I know that the person does not care a whit about things like evidence. Perhaps this person one day will be in the dock with this kind of "evidence" against him, and then he will understand the dishonesty of the "justice" (sic) system.

By the way, since you have told all of us to go to hell, why don't you identify yourself.

AMac said...

Background on Ryan McFadyen's "American Psycho" email discussed by anonymous 3:00pm is in KC Johnson's post of Sept. 12th.

anonymous 3:36pm --

KC Johnson--whom you don't seem to like, much--provides his readers with links to source material when he makes an assertion of fact to his readers. While you write well, your comment lacks a single hyperlink to back up any of the claims you make. "I'm anonymous, take what I say on faith" is a hard sell.

Anonymous said...

To 3:36
Whoever you are, why don't you post under a consistent name? Your writing/thinking styles give away the fact that you are a singularity in this debate; you would give away nothing more by helping us refer to you in a consistent way. How about IHateLaxGuys.
I doubt that you believe half of what you write. You actually think the LAX parents are after Brodhead because he cancelled the season and scuppered the teams chances of a National Win? As if the life-ruining prospects of 30 years in prison as a rapist could be an after-thought. I bet few in those families will be able to think of much else until the threat is gone and even then they will NEVER be the same.
You have never once taken up the challenge of explaining why the LAX party was notably worse than the usual girls-gone-wild ambience of college partries these days, why anything that happened there could conceivably be connectable with a rape charge in a sane universe.
Think of it this way, if a Nifong-like DA plus a Judas-like College President worked hand in glove with the media in a similar situation they could ruin the young lives of any group of partying students they aimed at.
But if the local DA had even ordinary morals this would not have become a "mess" at all. Likewise, a college President of even moderate courage would not have thrown the kids to the wolves to placate the PC bullies even before Nifong showed his colors.
So tell us again how the LAX guys were the ones causing this "mess".
And then there is the email. Tell me, who lost their nerve on that matter? Who instantly jumped, publically, to the worst conclusions? Who could not seem to stand up for one millisecond against the tide and say, "Let's wait for real facts."
Even that would have been craven however because Brodhead had already been told that that no rape plausibly occurred.
Brodhead is your ideal "leader"? Better you than me.

Anonymous said...

Here is a test for all the Brodhead fans out there:

Q1: If this happened at a basketball party, would Brodhead be calling for Coach K's resignation?
a. yes
b. no
c. yes, at the end of the basketball season
d. but this is different

Q2: If Brodhead did cause Coach K's departure, how long would it take for Brodhead to be fired?
a. 1 month
b. at the end of the school year
c. 30 minutes
d. but this is different

Q3: If the facts were the same, only with the basketball team, how long would it take for Brodhead to come to the aid of the players in challenging Nifong, et al?
a. 1 month
b. at the end of the school year
c. 30 minutes
d. but this is different

If you are a true Brodhead fan you know the correct answers are all 'd.', because it means you--like Dick Brodhead--are unable to face the truth in this case: That the boys are innocent and deserve every bit of support from the Duke administration.

Anonymous said...

To 2:33 Well, John Wilkes Booth WAS the greatest actor of his generation and knew a fine turn of phrase when he heard it: sic semper tyrannis-- thus always to tyrants-- is the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is emblazoned upon the flag with a depiction of the lady Liberty wielding a broadsword, one foot upon the prone figure of a slain despot. I'll bet I go a lot further back and deeper with Duke University and with Harvard University and their workings and personalities than do you, 2:33, and Broadhead is no Larry Summers. Summers was brought down by a pack of lazy Marxists who resented his attempt to challenge their sleepy sinecures with a call to renewed sense of purpose and with the repeated request that people think clearly in order to justify their academic pursuits. People, much like Houston Baker and the Despicable 88, could not stand the challenge and ran to the Corporation, among them Duke's former president N. Keohane, who wimped out and cut Summer's legs out from beneath him. A dark time for Harvard, who needed a brilliant iconoclast to reinvorgate the place. Broadhead, in contrast, is a weak, hollow man. This is not character assassination, merely an interpretation of his disastrous handling of the Hoax. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

3:47--I did not find your post funny. I am not the 3:36 poster, and I don't even agree with everything 3:36 said (although I think some of his/her points have merit.) But if you are suggesting that someone who cooks dinner for the family (i.e., a mother???) has no intellectual capacity, then you have your own intellectual problems.

This whole thing is not black and white--the lacrosse players are not angels--or even academic superstars (much as many wish to believe). But they are also not that different (morally speaking) from other college students. Brodhead did not handle this perfectly, but he also is not the demon many wish him to be. It would be nice if more people would actually try to consider the perspectives of others.

Anonymous said...

I have not read any reports prior to this string that Brodhead had advance knowledge of the DPD guys entering the dorm and trying to get interviews. Bill, do you have a reliable source on that or was it your (reasoned) speculation.

Also, I very much doubt Duke admins participated in any DPD plan to make custodial arrests of Duke students for minor offenses where other Durham residents were given warnings or citations.

When my son got his underage drinking citation on the first night he was at Duke (the infamous Fall of '05 Trinity Park sweep) he was not arrested.

Anonymous said...

to 3:36:

You state that because of the "long history of irresponsible behavior by the LAX players” the university should shut down the sport.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought their "long history of irresponsible behavior" consisted of underage drinking and noise violations. How does that possibly warrant the death penalty for a program? If that is the measure of whether or not a sport should continue, I hate to tell the millions of people who watch college football, basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, chess, debate etc that none of their beloved teams would exist.

Student athletes (especially at the level Duke Lacrosse has reached) should be commended and applauded for the dedication and commitment that they make. These students were in good standing, got excellent grades all while committed themselves to practice for hours a day. They travel during exams, write papers and study on buses and in hotel rooms. They make just as big if not more than the average student.

And you better believe that had the season continued and the team reached the final four or won a national championship, Broadhead would have been sitting front row praising “his” team.

Anonymous said...

well said 4:28(a)
4:28(b): there is only 1 thing you need do to redeem yourself vis a vis the brodhead admin:

please tell me why he shouldn't be fired immediately for firing the coach for unjust cause, and by extension, legitimizing the nifong fungus?

if u can't, then stand down and don't put too much oregano into the meatballs!

Anonymous said...

Re 3:36

I don't think I will get too excited about this rant. Rest assured that this is the first shot across the bow of the spin that's coming to get this clown off the hook.

Anonymous said...

To 4:48--The Pressler firing, I agree, seems to be a very unfortunate outcome of this whole mess. I feel for him and his family. Having said that, I KNOW I don't have all the facts on Pressler, but I do have it from a very good authority that there was more history than we know. There were prior issues, and there were prior warnings, at least according to my source. Hard for me to say whether that "history" provided any justification, but I'm hesitant to judge.

Anonymous said...

I guess I qualify as a Brodhead supporter. I have criticized his actions, too (see above at 11:51 a.m.) but generally I have felt the criticism here and elsewhere of him has been overboard. (You guys don’t need to go over old ground for your reasons; I’ve been reading virtually every day since May).

So I’ll give a shot at the quiz from 4:17:

1- b. Coaches and teams are not equal at a university. Coach K and the basketball program have much more power than any other entity there. It’s silly to expect him not to get preferential treatment except in a utopian society. I don’t pretend a university is such a place.

2. You don’t’ give the right choice. Brodhead wouldn’t fire him absent direct and admitted proof of egregious behavior. If K left, he would have to blame his departure on Brodhead for the latter’s job to be in jeopardy, and then it would take a couple of years.

3. Again you don’t provide the right answer. I don’t think Brodhead would have challenged Nifong in that situation either. Before the November election I told Brodhead via email he should issue a statement the day after the election challenging Nifong to recuse himself from the case and apologizing for earlier precipitous actions of (unnamed) segments of the University. That one he didn’t answer, although he had answered two earlier ones I sent.

Many of you think Pres. B is unprincipled. I disagree. I just think he is wrong.

(BTW I applied spell check to this and Knifing is suggested as the alternative to Nifong.)

Anonymous said...

The Duke campus police knew about the cops coming to campus. If Brodhead did not know, or if no one told him, then that would tell me that his underlings do not respect him.

The Durham police visit was done purely for show. Afterward, Brodhead DID call for cooperation with the police, and he DID condemn the players for hiring attorneys. Both of those are on the record.

So, here were a number of young men being accused of what used to be a capital crime, yet Brodhead condemns them for seeking legal protection? I don't know why people continue to defend this person. He literally called for a bunch of young men who really do not know much about the kind of hardball that prosecutors play, and he condemned them for seeking legal protection when those young men KNEW they had committed no crime of rape and kidnapping?

Come now. We are adults on this post. It is obvious that Brodhead either was too weak to stand up for even basic due process, or he really wanted those guys to get plowed under by the law. Either way, the man certainly did not show any leadership in a time of self-induced crisis.

Again, the lacrosse team showed bad taste, but it was the same bad taste shown by others at Duke. Furthermore, the rape charges are false, and it was quite obvious that from the start they were false. Read Nifong's early statements about DNA and the like, and you can see pretty quickly that these young men were set up. The whole thing is a lie, and Brodhead is a participant.

Anonymous said...

To Dukeparent09--very well said.

Also, some were remarking yesterday about Cash Michaels' piece on the NAACP meeting, and the fact that he referred to DA "Knifing." They wondered if he did that on purpose--and they inferred some meaning from it. I think he just used spellcheck......

Anonymous said...

Bill, Please provide a link to Brodhead's speech that questioned the players' need for attorneys. I felt I followed all of his speeches, and I don't recall that (and frankly don't believe it.)

Also, what evidence do you have that the administration KNEW the police were coming on campus. I have heard from students that were there that the cops simply showed up and asked some students to let them in--nothing about campus police or the admin. These two claims are very serious, IMO, and I'd like something other that your word that they are true.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens, anon 3:36, what an angry post!

It's not just "a group of LAX parents" who are expressing dismay here and on other forums. I suspect there are thousands of Duke alums and friends, like me, quite unconnected with lacrosse, who are aghast that the Duke administration and faculty have shown such disregard for their own falsely accused students.

I don't "hate Brodhead" or want to "tear him down." But I am critical of his failure to insist that falsely-accused students entrusted to the care of him and his university be treated fairly. I don't understand his failure to condemn the Group of 88's betrayal of the students, the potbangers' mob action etc. Maybe Brodhead has done a lot of good things for Duke in the past; maybe he'll do good things in the future. I don't know. But that doesn't mean that it's "one-dimensional" or disloyal for alums to decry his handling of this situation and call for a change in direction. Maybe he'll learn something from the criticism -- something about how the Duke community/family expects teachers to support students.

And do you really think that Duke should tell all those students who attended the party to "go to hell"? Even those who only dropped by for a few minutes? Those whose only "offense" was drinking a beer? Should Duke tell the same thing to every student, male or female, who attended any party where a stripper of either sex performed?

The Duke administration really needs to rethink its approach to the hoax. Hoping to stay off the front pages and throwing mud at the lacrosse team (i.e. even if they're not rapists after all, they're "no angels" and "what they did do is bad enough")isn't acceptable to those of us who love the place. And then the administration needs to pay attention to the issues of academic credibility that the antics of the 88 have brought to public attention. Otherwise prospective students and parents will start telling Duke to go to hell, which would be tragic.

Anonymous said...

Re: "I'll bet I go a lot further back and deeper with Duke University..." "Broadhead, in contrast, is a weak, hollow man..."

Clearly from the contents of you post you do know *so* much more than I do about Duke. Ummm... but just FYI its "Brodhead" not "Broadhead"...

Anonymous said...

...and certainly not Brad Dickhead

Anonymous said...

"As Learned Hand reminded us a week or two ago, Brodhead was recruited to Duke because he is a proven leader who knows how to run a top notch university."

Um...wasn't he Dean of Yale College...not President?

kcjohnson9 said...

A couple of quick points in response, as I'm just out of class and am working on tomorrow's post.

1.) Several people have mentioned the McFayden email and the firing of Coach Pressler. Both occured on April 5--well after any events described in this post.

2.) Like many people, my opinion of how Brodhead has handled this affair has changed, as more facts have come in. I was initially (in April) somewhat favorably disposed toward him. The more I've learned, the more dubious I've become about his actions. The decisions he faced, as one commenter pointed out, were not easy ones. But that doesn't mean they can't be analyzed.

3.) I wrote this (and tomorrow's) post for one reason and one reason only: the recent attempts, based on the DC gathering and other initiatives, to "rewrite" the past and assert that the administration in general and Brodhead in particular actively defended the presumption of innocence and due process.

A case could be made, as Duke '03's thoughtful 1.15 comment did, that I have taken an overly critical view of Brodhead. But I don't think it's unfair to evaluate him by the very standard that he, himself, is claiming that he upheld.

Anonymous said...

The only child the 3:36 poster has at Duke, is his pet dog, when he takes the dog for a walk. According to him Yale is a much better institution of higher learning, so why isn't his/her child going there instead of a low standard University like Duke. Maybe he/she doesn't want to walk his/her dog that far.

Anonymous said...

These young men are being framed for a crime that never occurred. Nifong, DPD, Duke 88, Brodhead, and the pro-Nifungus press all played a role in this. Everyone acts as if they know exactly what Dave, Colin and Reade did, said and act like act the party. Everyone acts like they know them personally and has a right to judge them based on the lies that have been fabricated. If you look at the pictures they don't look drunk, they look board. They never denied being at the party. They never tried to hide information from the police. In fact the police refused to take the lie detector test they offered. These young men were upfront from the very beginning. So the posts who condem these young men for going to a college party are sitting to high on their own alters. Those people who condemn the LAX team in general, you are condeming a group, making general assumptions that are incorrect. To play a sport like lacrosse in a division 1 school and maintain the grades these 3 young men did you have to be dedicated and intelligent. Physically it is challenging, you can't be a hard drinker, especially when they had an early practice the next morning. It seems those who wanted the season to end just hate athletes altogether based on jealousy or hate, such as the Duke 88. All I can say is Thank God the Federal Government has stepped in and is investigating. I believe they will be taking Nifongus's measurements for his striped jumpsuit soon. This new judge is an idiot if he doesn't dismiss this case on December 15th. He is just going to be added to the investigation, as to why he has sat on these motions for so long, and allowed Nifong to get away with so much lying in court. It will be interesting to see what connections he has to Nifong and the Governor.

Anonymous said...

"He can craft the most balanced speech,[but he's so self-centered that he overlooked the fact that] the paper can take excerpts to make it look slanted..."

Anonymous said...

5:17 pm said: ”Also, some were remarking yesterday about Cash Michaels' piece on the NAACP meeting, and the fact that he referred to DA "Knifing." They wondered if he did that on purpose--and they inferred some meaning from it. I think he just used spell-check......”

Spell-check prompts for changing a word as typed. Either the writer isn’t looking carefully, or knowingly allowed the change. In Cash’s case, it’s definitely a matter of negligence. He has difficulty with grammar, punctuation, spelling, thinking, and truth. I found that slip rather apropos.

KC said: “Several people have mentioned the McFayden email and the firing of Coach Pressler. Both occurred on April 5--well after any events described in this post.”

Thank you for correcting those who blatantly claim a high road that exists only in their minds instead of with facts.

The importance and significance of KC’s article is the PROOF that in hiring a PR firm, Brodhead and Duke are paying for LIES in order to save them. That a firm would lie and that there is a NEED to hire one is a clear indication that Duke and Brodhead are in deep donation do-do. Neither cares one iota about any other aspect.

At our annual family gathering, this year, it was a somber time of “Thanksgiving,” indeed. Duke and our support of it were seriously discussed. Collectively, we have five children ready to attend Duke in the next five years. All alumni fundraising letters have been returned check-less with the following statement signed by 24 living alumni in our family:

"Until President Brodhead is dismissed and certain Duke faculty appropriately and publicly disciplined for their actions involving the Lacrosse players and the accusations for which they have been indicted, not one child nor one dime will make its way to Durham from this family.”

To be honest, this has been coming a long while. Duke is going the way of every other university in its practice and philosophy, as so aptly discussed in this blog by Bill Anderson and others. We have designated our support solely to athletic scholarships and other specific areas for the last ten years. This time, the break is likely to be permanent, no turning back. When the young members of our family begin to attend other schools, the loyalty will finally be shattered and the dollars scattered to various other institutions. So be it.


Anonymous said...

"Duke is going the way of every other university in its practice and philosophy,"

So twaddlefree, what university is left for your Duke-caliber children.....

Anonymous said...

I think that the only way to make the people at Duke respond in any way but what their talking points have declared is through students going elsewhere, and individuals not sending money. Furthermore, these acts must be made public, so others can see the consequences of Brodhead's actions.

My oldest daughter, who was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee and is doing very well right now, had considered Duke. After seeing the "60 Minutes" broadcast in October, she told me that she is very glad she did not go there. As a faculty member of another university, I will once again emphasize that what the Gang of 88 did -- and its approval by Brodhead -- simply cannot be dismissed as the actions of some cranks.

These faculty members SPOKE for Duke University, and while other faculty members have disagreed, only a few have dared speak out. This tells me that not only are they intimidated by the Gang of 88, but they also believe that if they speak out, the Duke administration will pull the rug out from under them.

Thus, Brodhead supports the bad people and stabs the good people in the back. I have two children who are very smart and are good students, and will be sought after by colleges when their time comes. Rest assured, neither of them will attend Duke University, unless that place makes a full apology for the role it has played in the wrongful criminal charges against the Duke 3.

I have no problem whatsoever in criticizing Brodhead. Look, I do not claim to be a competent administrator, and never would be considered for a job like the president of Duke University. However, I do know right from wrong, and no one can tell me that Brodhead did not have a clear choice. He did, and we know that he chose to do wrong.

As for his statement about the players hiring lawyers, I did not make it up, no matter what the Duke apologists might say on this post. In other words, I am not lying. Now, I cannot point to the exact link that led me to the story last April, but I remember clearly reading Brodhead's comments, and he declared that he was "disappointed" that the players had chosen lawyers. I guess he wanted them to face Nifong alone.

So, Duke apologists, call me a liar if you wish, but if you choose to do so, you do not know me at all.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that Prof. Johnson's analysis of the 1st month of the crisis is valuable is for high level managers to consider how to handle crises such as this. Rarely are such fast moving and public crises perfectly handled.

Johnson rightly points out that his original post did not go as far as April 5th. But several posters referred to the cancellation of the season and the forced resignation of Pressler. Those actions occurred the afternoon of the day the McFadyn email was released by DPD in a search warrant application and that day was April 5th.

The injustice of that forced resignation was not immediately apparent to outsiders. The email seemed to be further evidence of a program out of control. The top guy of the program loses his job in such a situation. Only later did we learn that Pressler had exerted efforts to control his players and that Duke lower level administrators had not even informed him of some of the minor infractions of his players.

One of the indicators Dave Evans gave of his leadership qualities in his courthouse steps speech was the statement that he was relieved he was one of the ones indicted. He must have felt the responsibility for starting the party, which led to the false accusations which in turn led to so much trouble for his teammates and his coach. So if any of his teammates were going to have to bear the burden of indictment, he wanted to be among them. That was when I decided to contribute to the defense fund.

Anonymous said...

10:29 PM said: ""Duke is going the way of every other university in its practice and philosophy,"

So twaddlefree, what university is left for your Duke-caliber children.....

My response would be far too lengthy and way off topic for this forum. And, since I can see the smirk in the words you have written here, I will respond only that:

1. "Duke-caliber" has long be redefined relative to what it once meant. In fact, once the checks stop, our children are unlikely to even be accepted to Duke.

2. Those who desire a liberal arts foundation on which to base graduate level study in business, law, or medicine are now not likely to understand Western Civilization and its impact on modernity if they attend Duke. The 88 have made that abundantly clear.

3. There are many universities still committed to truth. All have the problems that were delayed in permeating Duke, but the leadership is such that the loonies are tolerated, not allowed to rampantly run roughshod over the minds of our children. Frostburg and Brooklyn look more interesting with each new day.

Anonymous said...

Duke09parent said: "That was when I decided to contribute to the defense fund."

Our family discussion also included where the support would go this year. Hopefully, there will soon be an "offense" fund.

(I also wrote the previous post...forgot to sign, sorry.)

Anonymous said...

KC. Regarding the following:

"1.) Several people have mentioned the McFayden email and the firing of Coach Pressler. Both occured on April 5--well after any events described in this post."

The McFadyn email may have been made public on April 5. But it apparently was known about earlier. According to the following link the email was written 03/14/2006 (the 3/7/2006 in the text looks to be a mistake - probably meant to be 3/17/06). The "Attachment for Application for Search Warrant" was made 03/27/2006 around your timeframe (see bottom of page in link).


It is not inconceivable that the adminstration as well as the "pot bangers" at that time did know of the email before the public did, either from the police or from the source that sent it to the police. Its content in itself is so startlingly that, at the time, it could have easily skewed opinion dramatically.

Anonymous said...

If you can bear to watch it... here is a link to the interview in which RB "questions the logic" of the players lawyering up.

select the very last video

"Duke news conference regarding rape allegations"


Anonymous said...

5:47, likes to focus on spelling rather than the gist of the argument. A diehard Duke administrator still trying to squeak out from accepting responsibility? Dean Sue, is that you? sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

If a university is going to ban a sport because the team members drink underage or make noise then no university in this country is going to be able to field a team in any sport.

I participated in athletics in college and I can tell you that athletes can be hard partiers. I think the reason for this is that student-athletes have even more responsibilities and pressures than the average student. As a result we feel a need to blow off steam. That's how it was for me anyway. I drank underage on a regular basis and although I wasn't monitoring my noise level, I have a feeling I got pretty loud at times. Our team was involved in a few stunts and situations that we wouldn't want our parents to know about. Such is life.

3:36 needs to unclench.

Anonymous said...

KC, I noticed that in your summary of the Abby Wisse Schacter article, you failed to mention that she also tore into Donna Shalala, whom you and several members of your audience have held up as a model of the type of person we need to bring in to replace Brodhead as president of Duke. Was there some reason why you left this little tid bit out of your post, such as intellectual dishonesty on your part? By the way, who the hell is Abby Wisse Schacter and since when does her opinion represent conventional wisdom in media circles?