Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Meagerly Articulated Agendas

In American history, other examples exist of prosecutorial misconduct—though Mike Nifong is rapidly earning himself a position among the worst of such cases. Other examples exist of women filing false claims of rape—though few, it would seem, possess as many credibility problems as this accuser and the story that she ultimately told. Other examples exist of the media getting a story badly wrong and refusing to reconsider—though few parallel the behavior of the New York Times or the Herald-Sun over the past eight months.

But at least one aspect of this case appears to be unique. I know of no other criminal case in which the statements and behavior of the students’ own professors constituted grounds for a change of venue. The recent defense motion (pages 16-18) details the actions of the Duke faculty members whose irresponsible conduct has shamed the profession: Houston Baker, William Chafe, Wahneema Lubiano, Grant Farred, Peter Wood, Joseph DiBona, Karla Holloway, others in the Group of 88. These professors give new meaning to the promise that at Duke, “teaching is personal,” with faculty members “committed to giving students the individual attention that nurtures ideas and pushes them to excel.”

The change-of-venue motion’s faculty section, unsurprisingly, revolves around the Group of 88’s statement. Several weeks ago, Holloway complained that the Group’s critics had “displaced the actual content of the ad for the fiction of their own meagerly articulated agendas.” In fact, most critics have focused on the “actual content” of the ad, which several weeks ago vanished from the Duke website. Specifically, the signatories:

  • asserted that something “happened” to the accuser;
  • said “thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard” to protesters who had branded the lacrosse players rapists;
  • promised that their agenda “won’t end with what the police say or the court decides,” coupled with their commitment to “turning up the volume”;
  • lashed out at the lacrosse players for triggering a “social disaster.”

Group members, on the other hand, have offered a variety of interpretations of the statement’s meaning, several of which are unsupported by the document’s “actual content.”

Alex Rosenberg. In an October interview with the New York Sun, the R. Taylor Cole professor of philosophy stated that he signed the statement to express his opposition to “affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.” A few weeks later, he offered a different rationale, contending that, with his signature, he was complaining about the culture of drunken loutishness on campus.”

The “actual content”: The ad does not contain the words “alcohol,” “drinking,” “beer,” or any other word suggesting that its signatories were expressing an opinion one way or the other about such issues. Regarding Rosenberg’s first rationale: nothing in the ad suggests a tolerant attitude toward getting “hookup . . . from rich and attractive Duke coeds.” Indeed, I suspect that Rosenberg’s novel justification for the ad was shared by fellow Group of 88 member Robyn Wiegman, head of the Duke women’s studies program.

Sherman James. In a November interview with the Chronicle, James asserted, “I stand by my right to express my opinion, other than that I don’t have anything to say. I think everyone should have the opportunity to express an opinion.”

The “actual content”: The ad contains no references to the First Amendment, academic freedom, or even freedom of speech in the abstract. Some, moreover, might consider it unusual to strike a blow for civil liberties by signing a statement that implicitly aided Mike Nifong’s prosecutorial misconduct.

Alice Kaplan. “I signed the statement,” she asserted, “because I care about Duke and I care about the students and the experiences they’re having.”

The “actual content”: The ad does reference alleged (anonymous) student experiences. But Kaplan’s rationalization strains credulity. As her colleague, Michael Gustafson, pointed out, “I would agree with Professor Kaplan’s assertion that the faculty members who signed that petition cared about what all their students were going through if, parallel to the ad that ran this spring, there had been a new one that came out this summer or fall capturing the outrage over the due process denied our students. I would have a better time accepting her statement if any one of the people who signed that document had spoken out against the death threats hurled at our students, against calls for our students to be ‘...prosecuted whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past’ as reported in Newsweek. But instead - there was silence - the same kind the faculty that supported that ad railed against. This is still a social disaster, but the inability to see it in its fullness has left us even more polarized than before.”

Maurice Wallace: “The fact is,” he wrote one correspondent, the ad “does not criticize the lacrosse players(!).” [emphasis added] Instead, the statement “is a record of sentiments shared by no less than two or three generations of Duke's invisible classes.” For good measure, he noted, “I have not reconsidered signing the ad. I plan no public statements on behalf the accused students. They have secured well-paid lawyers to do that.”

The “actual content”: It would appear that Professor Wallace did not read the advertisement before signing it.

William Chafe: In a Chronicle op-ed published a few days before the ad appeared, Chafe argued that the lacrosse players’ actions needed to be interpreted through such history as “Emmett Till was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1954” and “sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power, privilege, and control.”

The “actual content”: It’s hard to see much concern with the fate of Emmett Till—or with race or racism in general—in the faces or slogans of protesters like these, whose conduct the ad publicly thanked. After criticizing the players on several occasions in the spring, Chafe abruptly changed course in May. He asserted that “whether or not a sexual assault took place is something we will not know for months and is a task for the criminal-justice system to establish,” and therefore he would no longer comment on the issue, or on questions of due process for Duke students.

Wahneema Lubiano: “Members of the team,” she wrote in a blog posting explaining the ad’s purpose, “are almost perfect offenders in the sense that [critical race theorist Kimberle] Crenshaw writes about,” since they are “the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus.” ESPN reported that Lubiano “knew some would see the ad as a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team.”

The “actual content”: Lubiano authored the ad. Presumably its wording reflected her beliefs.

Many other Group of 88 members refused requests from both the Chronicle and from me to provide an explanation of why they signed the statement and what they thought the statement meant.

In short, 88 faculty members—people who are paid to say what they mean and mean what they say—produced a statement so inflammatory in content and effect that it contributed to the need for a change in venue. And yet these same professors were so cavalier about their act that they cannot even collectively come up with an interpretation of the statement’s meaning that corresponds to the text.

Some say it was about drinking; to others, it addressed the problems of the past. Some say it mobilized sentiment against the “perfect offenders”; for others, it had nothing to do with the lacrosse players. Some cite Emmett Till as a reference point; others turned to what current-day alleged Duke students thought about events. And Holloway contends that critics have “displaced the actual content of the ad for the fiction of their own meagerly articulated agendas”?

In the end, what matters is the text. And the text rationalized a rush-to-judgment attitude that is worthy of the strongest condemnation.

Hat tips: G.N., D.F.


AMac said...

Sixty-five or so Duke professors and about two dozen university staff and visiting faculty did a commendable thing with the "Listening" statement. They freely shared what they really thought with anyone who cared to pay attention.

Individuals of greater moral stature would have admitted their errors by June, certainly by the summer's end, as revelations followed one after another. (But would such folks be among the signing lemmings in the first place?)

With fingers in the wind, individuals with less faith in their failed gods would have known how the wind was blowing and, cynically, offered insincere apologies and halfhearted retractions.

Thank you, Group of 88, for opening your hearts to us, and for holding true to your vision, right to the end.

Now we know you.

Anonymous said...

As a former student of Professor Chafe's, I am heartbroken by his failure to correct his mis-take(s) and apologize...

But then, if you think about it, he was right:

“Emmett Till was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1954”

Dave, Reade and Colin have been brutalized in 2006 and are the victims of a high-tech lynching in Durham witnessed by the world.

“sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power, privilege, and control”

I assume he means gender, but even if he means sexual activity and not politics,

we know that the false accuser had "sex" with some men other than the accused based on DNA analysis and statements under oath by others.

Here the 'power' is that wielded by a corrupt DA, complicitous DPD, do-nothing judges, look-the-other-way bar associations (NC and ABA) and others too numerous to mention, racist officials and vote-pandering community leaders;

the 'privilege' is held and exercised by the FA, the Group of 88, Professor Wood, Professor Chafe, and others who feel that popular, young, heterosexual, white, male athletes, enrolled at a private university, whose Northeastern-based families happen to be somewhat wealthy, should be punished for the sins of others;

and the 'control' is that exerted and enforced by all of the aforementioned parties and the main stream media.

Anonymous said...

I read the filing, and just hung my head when I saw that 1/3 of the rationale for change of venue was due to negative statements from "employees of the county's largest employer" - the Duke professors (ie "88").

I suspect they're quiet now because their lawyers advised them that 'no good' will come for risking slander.

Its that simple.

Anonymous said...

KC for those of us that have not seen the actual statement could you please put it up in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that in their very detailed motion for change of venue, the defense team did not cite even one single statement by President Brodhead as having been prejudicial to the LAX players.

Anonymous said...

To 1:40
May I take it to mean that you regard the defense team as a rock solid source of truth and rationality? In all matters?
Give it up. The train has left the station. It is way too late for Brodhead to find any sort of redemption. Most of the history of this tragedy has already been written and Brodhead and Duke leadership in general will occupy the same strata of shame and failure as a Pol Pot or Caligula.

cf said...

Life is not, after all, a course in deconstructionist lit.

Anonymous said...

The fact that in a very detailed 31 page motion the defense team did not cite even one single statement by Brodhead as having been prejudicial to the players indicates that the defense team does not regard any of his statements as having been prejudicial, comments by KC, Bill Anderson, and others on this board to the contrary notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Please. They probably just didn't want to have the motion run to 100 pages. Brodhead made plenty of prejudicial statements. He referred to the trial as a place where the students/defendants could prove their innocence (contrary to all constitutional guarantees); he said that even if the students didn't commit the charged crimes, whatever they did was bad enough. And on and on. We all know how Brodhead behaved towards the accused students, and it was deplorable. He'll be held accountable, one way or another.

Anonymous said...

FYI The N&O is running an editorial entitled 'Shaky Case', ie, one actually written by the editors.

Amazing and about time...

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that 'Shaky Case' (in the N&O) is a rather 'weak' editorial...although it does suggest that Nifong should no longer enjoy the 'benefit of the doubt' from the majority of durham residents.

One BIG problem; the DNA points are flawed - they really do not mention or explain that what was kept from the defence was that multiple unknown males had DNA that was transfered to the accuser....the N&O takes it as just failing to let them know the players were excluded. In that sense it's a conflicting editorial as they do acknowledge the dna and then do not etc.

At least it's something.

Anonymous said...

Great work, again KC

Anonymous said...

I agree that Brodhead did not make statements akin to what the Gang of 88 said, and my criticisms of the man have not been directed at what he said, but rather what he has NOT said.

Other than Brodhead having expressed "disappointment" at the players having hired lawyers and "what they did was bad enough" (what Brodhead said in that statement "was bad enough" in my opinion), my point has been that he permitted the lynch mob atmosphere to go on, and not once did he say anything negative about the Gang of 88. Not once.

Perhaps Brodhead can change the image on the Duke University mace to the wetted finger held to the air.

The Drill SGT said...


I don't have the details available but BA or KC can likely cite chapter and verse about 2 other Broadhead incidents. They went something like this:

1. sent a Duke attorney in to give the players advice to cooperate, without disclosing to the players of course that the attorney had Duke's interest at heart, not the players. perfidious.

2. told the lax coach or somebody in the athletic staff to counsel the players to "fully cooperate with the police" and "not to tell their parents about the rape charges" very bad advice without real counsel on your side.

Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to anyone else that the tenor of Nifong's early press conferences and public statements were bolstered by, say, a Meehan voicemail that said "Hey, Mike, this girl has male DNA all over her crotch and rectum?"

Imagine if a subsequent phonecall took place, stating "Hey, Mike, you might want to come down to the lab because it ain't these kids DNA."

Given the lack of professionalism Meehan has demonstrated thus far, including his initial enthusiasm regarding his participation in such a high profile case, I do not think a giddy phonecall to Nifong discussing preliminary results would be that unusual.

Of course, I am aware there are timeline problems with the above hypothesis monguering, but it certainly would provide a rational basis for Nifong's early "certainty" that CGM was sexually assaulted.

The Drill SGT said...

Cederford, I found the releant section in KC's "Case Narrative"

Despite this cooperation, Duke administrators actively assisted the state. 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.

The night before the meeting, one player broke down and told his father, who happened to be in Durham. Other parents then were informed, and—recognizing the need to obtain competent counsel—postponed the meeting. In response, Gottlieb, incredibly, gave up, and turned the investigation over to Nifong.

Anonymous said...

About the only decisive thing that Brodhead did was to fire the coach and cancel the lacrosse season upon police release of McFayden's email. Oh, and he immediately suspended McFayden, too.

But when it came to dealing with the Gang of 88 and the potbangers, Brodhead cowered in his office and quoted Shakespeare. In other words, he let 88 members of the faculty -- some of Duke's least productive faculty, I might add -- basically take over the university.

To this day, Brodhead places all of the blame on the LAX players. Now, had the LAX players done something really outside the box of what other Duke students have been doing, that would be one thing. For example, the basketball team had a party where there were strippers, but Brodhead never has made a comment about that.

To be honest, I think it is pathetic that Brodhead still wants us to think that ALL of his problems come from some lacrosse players. The man needs to look in the mirror.

I realize that the Brodhead apologists are going to come out of the closet, but after last week's events, I realize that Brodhead is such a moral coward that he cannot even get himself to say the obvious.

This is the same guy who was willing to write to a head of state in another country to demand an end to a politically-motivated show trial. However, he cannot even get himself to condemn a politically-motivated show trial in his own town.

So, please do not tell me that Brodhead has been a "good guy" in this affair. He has been an enabler of Nifong from the start, and he needs to take his share of the responsibility for what has happened.

Anonymous said...

To 8:27
I think you are right, except that the call was from a police officer who heard from the rape-exam nurse that there was physical evidence of recent sex and sperm deposition. That is all Nifong felt he needed to run with this story. No doubt, he assumed that with strippers at private parties sex often happens and that DNA would connect in some degree with some of the party goers - who would then claim it was all consensual. That would leave Nifong in the role of a PC hero taking the side of the perfect victim (vs perfect perpetrators) in a he said- she said debate.
I believe that that was the mental picture Nifong developed for this case.
Indeed, I think that this scenario formed early in the minds of lots of folks - who found it delicious beyond explaining. And so giving it all up and basically reversing the polarity of the story required more integrity than they turned out to possess.

Anonymous said...

I got interested in the case when I heard the Dukies say no sex occured. These are educated students, they heard of DNA. The common defense with a stripper is to claim consesual sex. If they were lying it would be uncovered easily.

I agree with Hman in that Nifong thought the DNA would solve the case, thats why he didn't worry about the lineup rules. I think he was also trying to scare other lax players to come forward. At that time i believe he thought a rape had occured. He figured someone at the party would come forward with a rape story.

Then when the DNA came back he realized he was screwed.

Anonymous said...

I think that hman has hit on something very important. In fact, when I was a guest on WBAL radio in Baltimore a few weeks ago to discuss the case, a caller suggested that maybe there had been consensual sex at the party.

It turns out that it was not true, but Nifong at the time might have thought that to be the case, but figured he could get a he said/she said rape case. However, once he got the DNA samples back from the state, he got desperate and decided to try his luck with the private lab.

It was that decision that was fateful. First, the lab confirmed what the attorneys were saying; second, he and Brian Meehan then engaged in criminal behavior to suppress evidence.

All of the court sessions have been recorded, so Nifong cannot claim not to have said something that is on the tape. This is important, because he has been caught in many lies.

Granted, this is North Carolina, the Land of Lying Prosecutors, and maybe nothing will happen, but the Bar will be under the kind of scrutiny that never has happened there before.

By the way, I guarantee you that ALL of the news that comes from this case from now on will make Nifong and company look even worse.

Anonymous said...

If I was Gottlieb, I be running to the feds to turn witness. He ran the line up, he submitted that report from memory, that other cops notes say is not true. He was with Nifong at the DNA lab. Nifong may have immunity, but not Gottlieb.

Anonymous said...

Just curious.. How many of the group of 88 are african americans ?

Anonymous said...

To Drill Sgt:

Your posts are great examples of someone hurling accusations at another when they do not really know what they are talking about. If you read the language you have quoted from KC more carefully, you will see that he never accuses Brodhead of being the one who told the players not to hire lawyers, and there is a good reason for that. From everything I have read about this case, it appears that the decision to have Coach Pressler tell the players that they should not hire lawyers or tell their parents what was going on was made by Dean Sue Wasiolek without the knowledge or consent of Brodhead. You should note that this action does not necessarily reflect any kind of evil motives on the part of the university. For example, since this action was taken in the very early days of the case, it may simply have been based on the idea that the players were innocent and had nothing to hide and thus did not need lawyers, which after all is the very same basis on which the LAX captains had already given extensive statements to the police without lawyers being present. Also, you should note that there is no indication that Pressler ever objected to this, and to my knowledge, this action never resulted in any prejudice to the players because their parents were informed before anything happened. I am not suggesting that this last point means that the initial decision by Wasiolek was a good one but simply that it serves to put the whole episode into perspective. Finally, I should note that KC already knows everything I have said above but almost never corrects erroneous comments like the one from Drill Sgt, and I find that troubling.

Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

Broadhead's message is very clear, he WANTS a trial. If this thing never goes to trial he really looks bad. Broadhead and the group of 88 railroaded these boys. If they do not go to trial he looks VERY ignorant.

Anonymous said...

To drill sgt:

Your 8:24 post has two points against Brodhead on his early handling which don't hold water. #1 you contradict by saying the Duke lawyer met with the team without Brodhead's knowledge.

#2 quoted KC's essay:
"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."
I have read just about all there is on this case and I have never seen Pressler say if he was indeed ordered to tell the players this or by whom.

Brodhead's panic day of April 5th was an overreaction, erroneous but in my mind understandable. The turning point away from his neutrality stance should have been
when Meehan's May 12th report was public, demonstrating that no DNA from team players were on or in CGM.

I know many of you disagree with me on when Brodhead should have begun defending "his students" as he calls them. But your choices of criticism don't hold up. After all, whatever Brodhead really did and didn't do was bad enough.

Anonymous said...

I like Dean Sue but if she really did tell the players to speak to the police and not tell their parents then I think she was naive. The LAX families have said that they feel they lost time in gathering exculpatory evidence because of they delay. She is a lawyer--seems like odd advice to give students that are being accused of rape. I hope its not true--could someone confirm this info? I asked the Chronicle to try to get to the bottom of it but I never saw anything on it. At the very least I hope the school stops this parctice. Each guy needed his own lawyer from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

To 3:49 AM:

The point is that the defense does not regard the statements you have cited as being prejudicial. The statement about proving their innocence does not mean a thing. It either is just an innocent slip of the tongue, which is absolutely meaningless because everyone knows that the rule is you are innocent until proven guilty, or it may be an awkward attempt to say that if there is a trial in this case, the players will have no trouble demonstrating that they are innocent, which is not a statement that any reasonable person would regard as prejudicial to the players. Also, when Brodhead said whatever they did was bad enough, he obviously was not saying that it was bad enough to go to jail for 20 years. He was just saying it was bad enough to constitute a violation of university policy and to warrant some disciplinary action by the university, such as the cancellation of the two games. However, in their zeal to demonize Brodhead for cancelling the season and not speaking out more aggressively on behalf of the players, the LAX team supporters take statements like these and twist them in an effort to portray Brodhead as someone who is dark and evil, which simply is not the case. The defense lawyers understand all of this, which is why they did not include any of these statements in their motion for change of venue.

Anonymous said...

Well before the events of March, 2006, I had heard from several Duke students of the violent, excessively aggressive behavior of Sgt. Gottlieb towards Duke students. I also had been told that Duke had been monitoring Gottlieb's arrest record, in response to numerous complaints, AND that Duke had been maintaining a FILE on Gottlieb.

Does anyone know if there is a way to determine whether this story is true? And if so, is there any way to compel Duke to turn over such a "Gottlieb" file to the court?

It is ironic, that Nifong was counting on one of the lacrosse players to "race to the courthouse" for a reduced plea- bargin in exchange for identifying the "real rapists". Now, it seems almost certain, particularly if there is a Federal Civil Rights investigation, that some member of the Durham Police Department (perhaps Sgt. Gottlieb) will lead the race to "give-up" the corrupt DA Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable... I have just been told by a person who was in Durham this past weekend for the court hearing that Duke has hired Sgt. Gottlieb for the Duke police! Can this be true? Is Duke trying to arrange some sort of "information privilege" for Gottlieb? This has to be a wild rumor, but if the "Duke hater" Gottlieb were to end up as a Duke employee (presumably... with Brodhead's concurrence), it would represent another sick twist to an already sickened Duke University.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that Broadhead is either dark or evil. In fact, I would say just the opposite. However, he is handcuffed by being "so PC" in all things when representing Duke. He put PC before his own students welfare and for that reason he has failed them miserably. Very nice guy, he just got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Before going overboard with criticism of Duke faculty generally, remember that the "social disaster" statement being referenced appeared as a paid ad in the student newspaper. The ad was said to contain a number of statements made by undergraduate students at a meeting a few days before publication. Many statements reflected the strong emotions of undergraduates at that moment, and some were sophmoric. These statements, which were uneven and disjoint, appeared when there were strong feelings that many undergraduates and many faculty held at that moment, when, you recall there had been forceful public statements by DA Nifong, and no visible response by the Duke administration. The statements were said to be about a "social disaster," which this series of events certainly has been, but did not claim knowledge of any crimes.

The faculty who you have identified as the 88 were not the authors of the statements, nor is it likely that each of them agreed with each statement. Their names did not appear on the ad, as printed. Apparently they did pay for the ad, because, it was said, they wanted other student voices to be heard.

The ad was inflammatory and the defense properly cited it as a rationale for a change of venue. It is not unusual for a paper run by undergraduates to include the views of students who are undergraduates in articles, opinions, ads and otherwise, and it is not unusual for faculty to support the expresson by students of their views, though doing so in ads is unusual (because of the cost).

It is unlikely that the ad changed what many people were thinking, as undergraduate views tend to be extreme, and most people discount them. This ad has been taken much more seriously at long distances from the Duke campus than it ever was, on campus, by anyone.

The ad was not (and was not presented as) a statement reflecting the Duke faculty as a body. Such views are given on the Duke Academic Council web site. Neither was the ad the view of all Duke faculty. Contrast, for example, the views of Professor Coleman.

Faculty at Duke have been and are among those who are most concerned about the way the state has proceeded with the case, despite having no actual evidence that the accused students committed any of the crimes they are charged with. There probably is some individual Duke faculty member who supports most anything, but it gives unnecessary and unwarranted support to this unfounded prosecution for people to act as if the Duke faculty, who are intelligent and hard-working people, broadly supported this destructive prosecution. They do not.

Anonymous said...

When this thing is "over" - when Nifong is indicted for obstruction of justice, when Gottlieb is no longer employable as a police office, when Brodhead is forced out for weak leadership, and when the false accuser is jailed for fabricated reports - it will be time to address the Group of 88.

Two thoughts come to mind. One, current students should boycott their classes if at all possible. When it is possible to determine prior to registration which courses they will teach, avoid them at all costs. If one ends up in one of their classes by mistake, try to transfer. Teaching to empty desks would be the pedagogical equivalent to passing through a gauntlet of turned backs.

Second, I would certainly contribute to purchasing an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education in order to reprint their original ad, highlighting each signee's name for educators worldwide to see and note. The frontispiece should be a statement of the facts pointing out how egregious their original condemnation and continued refusal to retract are in retrospect. Nothing libelous, simply a statement of facts presented in conjunction with the statement they signed. The point will be obvious. This would be their version of the "wanted" poster.

In short, the stigma attached to their rush to judgment should have an ongoing negative impact on their professional reputation, just as it has and will on the three falsely accused and unsupported defendants.

It's time for those of us who are saddened and outraged by the actions of this group of Duke faculty to bang a few pots of our own.

Anonymous said...

Can someone help me out with the Cousin Jakki aka Clyde thing- what's the skinny on this, outside of the obvious fact that she looks like a he? Ala the Indian sprinter? GENETIC MALE??? Is there a story or is this just a lil' pokin' fun of an androgenous cousin that never actually talked to the accuser?

Anonymous said...

I get tired of how the anonymous poster says that I am demonizing Brodhead and trying to make him out to be evil. I would challenge that person to find one of my articles or posts in which I say that.

However, I have said that Brodhead was weak and was pushed around by the loudest, but least-productive of the Duke faculty members. He has been pushed around by Bob Steel, and he has been pushed around by Mike Nifong. Never once has Brodhead openly objected to the lies and violations of the law and of students' rights by Nifong and the Durham police.

For a man willing to write a head of state to stand up for a Duke student, one would think he would have the courage to stand up for something in his front yard. However, let's face it; there was no price to pay to stick up for a student from another country.

However, had he stood up for what is right here, then the Gang of 88 would have pummeled him. But by standing up to those loud thugs, Brodhead would have won a huge measure of respect, and when this affair finally was over, he would have been a hero.

Instead, when this thing is done, he will be standing in the background, and whatever he says will be ignored or taken with a grain of sale.

No, the man is not evil. I am sure he is a very nice person, but what Duke University needed was something other than nice cowardice.

Anonymous said...

One thing nobody's mentioned is the (almost totally unenforced) AAUP canon on academic freedom, the section c that says professors making public statements as citizens should be restrained and accurate, and make it clear they aren't speaking for the institution. The statement (as I've seen it described; now that it's been taken off the Duke web site, KC, I hope you'll do something to make it available) seems to violate all these, and the change of venue motion suggests that the defense recognizes a problem with the 88 appearing to speak for the university.

How does one file a complaint about this? I have a suspicion that some of the signers have had second thoughts about their action.

John Bruce

Anonymous said...

I need to make one more point regarding my comments on Brodhead. There is nothing wrong with his recent comments, and I don't want a person to be in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, although sometimes being a university president places you in that situation.

That being said, had Brodhead NOT written the letter in support of a Duke student facing politically-motivated charges in another country, I would be willing to say that his current statement on the lacrosse case is enough. However, because he was willing to come out and tell a government official that the legal case against the Duke student was a sham, then I think he has set his own standard.

The lacrosse case is every bit the sham that the other case was. We have witnessed lawbreaking by the authorities, and lawbreaking done in daylight for all to see. Thus, Brodhead cannot claim ignorance or a "wait and see" position.

No, if he was willing to say what needed to be said in one country, but not in his own county, then I would say these actions speak for themselves. Yes, if he were to forcefully speak out, there might be a political price to pay. No doubt Karla Holloway would denounce him and Bob Ashley would call for his firing.

But because he has kowtowed to the PC crowd, which had no interest whatsoever in the truth, Brodhead comes under fire from us. And, no, I have not wronged this man. He wronged Reade, Dave, and Collin.

Anonymous said...

Anderson's last comment is correct. Brodhead is taking heat not because of maliciousness or ill will, but simply because in the moment of crises, he proved himself to be a weak leader. Very nice man and if you want to discuss Shakespeare, I can imagine no better. But he let the pc-thought-police set the tone and run the show, used none of the power or prestige of the university to push back against Nifong or set the record straight in the public eye. He has let the university's name and reputation founder for nine months. Steel and the Board don't seem to have the resolve to take on the pc-thought-police, so I don't predict much of anything will happen. The price the school will pay in reputation is enormous.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything in your last post except the choice of the last word. I would substitute "milquetoast" for cowardice.

Anonymous said...

The ad did not have any "signers" in the sense of names shown on the ad, although one could get faculty names by finding a web site. The ad did not represent the text or unnamed authors as speaking for the university.

The ad was presented as being student voices,
"Some of these things were said by a mixed (in every way possible) group of students on Wednesday, March 29th at an African &
African American Studies Program forum" The text said some faculty whose names could be found elsewhere had signed on "in support."

Anonymous said...

To 9:45
I get the impression that many of the folks who were at first so energized by this story reacted that way because it fit well with some other agenda having little to do with violence against women, civil liberties, etc.. So when facts accumulated that destroyed the usefulness of this case for the promotion of their real interests, they simply clammed up or try to change the subject - partly to avoid being held up as rush to judgment types and partly because the facts of this case, per se, were never important to them.
For those who have cared, a lot, about what really happened at the party and care about such notions as truth and fairness and the rule of law the opposite can be observed. Their commentary grows louder and more insistent.
Come we now to R. Brodhead: My first question of him is, "At what point in time did you learn that Nifongs proscecution was utterly corrupt and clearly aimed at doing extreme harm to students at your University? Any honest answer from him would brand him forever - like someone who lets a freind drown without even getting themselves wet trying to help. Sure, doing that is not illegal. But from some points of view, it is considerably worse.

Anonymous said...

the "liberal" nonblack duke faculty who signed the petition did it to placate black faculty

if "victim" were white, 88 white: what would happen? (see larry summers)

brodhead and all trustees should be replaced--immediately

"no less [sic] than two"--Professor Maurice Wallace, associate professor of English (i love academic welfare!)--poor Professor Maurice doesn't know the difference between fewer and less--pathetic

the 88 should be fired--is this possible? anyone familiar with academia, KC?


Anonymous said...

"Wahneema! Hey girlfriend, I've got a meagerly articulated agenda--in my shorts--that's right, baby, get on your knees and suck"

Dick Brodhead

Anonymous said...

Broadhead's most recent comments are precisely the same as his past comments; "We expect fair treatment of our students, they must have a presumption of innocence, Nifong's case in on trial too..."

Nothing he said has changed in the slightest. His steadfast statements are about treatment of his students AT TRIAL-something that despite recent events and uncovered facts of civil rights abuse, prosecutorial misconduct, and lawlessness, he apparently believes must go forward. There is no other way to interpret these broken-record words; in his opinion, nothing has changed since March with respect to the case and how it should be handled. They do not favor a state or federal investigation of Nifong, dismissing the case, or even appointing a special prosecutor.

We must ask President Broadhead whether or not he believes this hoax must still go to trial with Mike Nifong at the helm. Based on his comments, his answer would have to be yes ( but most likely buried in academic rhetoric).

Glenn Nick
Duke Lacrosse ‘06

Anonymous said...

11:55--if ur truly who u say u r, a duke lacrosse player '06, y did u misspell brodhead's name?

just curious

otherwise, i agree with u

brodhead's a bitch, so let's trat him like a bitch



Anonymous said...

I am at a loss for those defending Brodhead. I certainly understand his statements early on, and his concern about a stripper party, even if I disagree with them he is the President of the university and was confronted with facts he he found objectionable. However, the ground rules were set shortly thereafter by the police applying recognized scientific concepts when they went looking for DNA that would "conclusively" demonstrate innocence and guilt. That was done--it is physically impossible that the rape ocurred and not a single cell was left on the purported victim (witness the ease with which Meehan contaminated the samples).

Once the students were persecuted anyway, it was incumbent upon the President to say that while concerns were raised early, and the police were right to investigate, he was disturbed that law enforcement was changing the rules without scientific basis in the midst of a self-created political firestorm. Once the ID issue came out, his statements should have been even more forceful and the intentioal withholding is repugnant and unalawful. At no time would he have been forced to approve of the students' choices or backtrack on his discipline, he merely would have expressed core values of the University such as honesty, scientific rigor, and respect for the law. Does he have to make sure he doesn't burn all his bridges and avoid the broad and appropriate condemnations of Durham that are posted on this board? Sure, but that type of careful speech and political skill is why he was chosen (wrongly) as University President. Rather than navigate tricky political waters while protesting mistreatment, he punted in a cowardly way.

By way of contrast, the President of NCCU "heart" was with the false accuser and nobody seemed the slightest bit concerned that he was a big supporter of the accuser, who claimed she was raped, when Duke students, the lacrosse players and the whole team are now victims of at a minimum constitutional violations.

So, has Brodhead avoided the type of absurb inflammatory rhetoric of the faculty blowhards, sure, but alumni (me) are stunned and disapointed that he refuses to take a stand on matters that go to the "heart" of University values and,indeed, the concept of freedom in the United States.

Anonymous said...

I notice an interesting change of tone as I read through the above comments. We begin with two or three people accusing Brodhead of making statements prejudicial to the players, a position which KC has also taken in several of his posts, which is simply not true, and which in effect has been repudiated by the defense team. However, we end up with people saying that Brodhead is a very nice man and that he really is only being criticized for not having been more aggressive in standing up for the players. You should note that these positions are very different, so in the interests of having a more honest discussion of these issues in the future, I would appreciate it if people would stop accusing Brodhead of making statements which were prejudicial to the players, which is not true, and instead focus on the only real issue, which is whether he should have been more aggressive in standing up for the players.

Anonymous said...

well said, 12:13

write a letter to trustees calling for B's head

of course, the Trustees also hv to go because they've backed B


The Drill SGT said...

duke09parent said...
To drill sgt:

Your 8:24 post has two points against Brodhead on his early handling which don't hold water.

I agree that my first post inaccurately credited Broadhead with some unethical activiites. I would not that I stated that I was recalling these from memory without the details at hand. I still think they were unethical for the Duke Adminstration to have done them, even though Broadhead may not have been involved directly.

Note, that I did go out in the second post and provide the more accurate version

Anonymous said...

12:23--well said, but...

agreed,he's not a leader


1. fecklessness: allowing the 88 to tar and feather innocent students; not protecting the rights of the accused at the outset; not calling for an investigation of the 88 and the terrorists; at this late date, not demanding nifong's removal from case, and not allowing the 2 to return to class

2. incompetence: allowing the academic welfare class to frame the case on campus; firing the coach without cause

3. fostering severe harm to duke's brand: i don't know about u all, but duke doesn't sound like such a good schooll, now does it?

it's a no-brainer: Brodhead, the 88, and the "Trustees" all hv to go

in a nutshell, there should be a collective scream of NO CONFIDENCE


Anonymous said...


Your statement that Brodhead and the Duke faculty owe their high salaries to the payments that the Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann families have been making to Duke is almost certainly false because all three of these players have undoubtedly received scholarship money from Duke. So they are not paying money to Duke, they are receiving money from Duke.

Anonymous said...

To 12:13 PM:

You seem to be missing the point. Several people on this website, including KC, have accused Brodhead of making statements that were prejudicial to the LAX players. I have pointed out that these accusations are not true. You have come back and said you are at a loss to understand why I am defending Brodhead because you think he has not been aggressive enough in standing up for the players. As I indicated above, these are two very different things. I have defended Brodhead against the false accusation that he has made statements prejudicial to the players so that people can focus on the real issue which is whether he should have been more aggressive in standing up for the players.

Anonymous said...

1243, see my 1235 post

these r not "prejudicial"?

action (or no action) speaks louder than words, especially at PC DUKE

what's your point?


Anonymous said...

To 12:35 PM:

I would take issue with several of the points set out in your comment. First, Brodhead did stand up for the players at the beginning of the case. All you have to do is look at the videotape of his March 28 press conference, which is on the Duke and WRAL websites. Second, the reason why the two players have not been allowed to return to class is because Duke has a long-standing policy that students charged with a felony will be suspended from the university until the charges are resolved. This is a very reasonable policy, and Brodhead is simply following the policy. Third, you say he fired Pressler without cause, but I would argue that he fired Pressler because Pressler failed to control his team, even though he apparently had been warned about bad behavior by the players on several prior occasions, and when his failure to control the team led to the current mess, a decision was made that he had to go. I have also read in comments on this website that there were other issues in the background with Pressler, though I have no knowledge of any such issues. Finally, you contend that Brodhead fostered harm to Duke's reputation, but there really is no evidence the the decline in applications for early admission to Duke or other negative fallout from this case are due to anything Brodhead has done or failed to do. The negative fallout may very well be due to the fact that there is a public perception based on the media coverage of the case that the LAX players engaged in some very nasty behavior which reflects poorly on the university and that there seem to be some problems with the justice system in Durham. In fact, I think this interpretation is more likely correct than your interpretation because media coverage of the case has focused mainly on the players and Nifong, not on Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

A Duke committee report concluded that Pressler acted promptly and appropriately whenever player problems were brought to his attention.

Early on Broadhead spoke publicly acknowledging "our outrage" and "our" calls for swift punishment. But he said we should wait for the legal process to proceed, and that Duke conducting its own could hamper the DA's efforts to obtain a conviction.
I remember reading this online, more than once, but alas I could not locate this account via google.

His reference to "our outrage" was telling.

Anonymous said...

To 1:00
The regretable comments that Brodhead did make were prejudicial in their effect even if they were not intended to be and even if a narrowly focused analysis of the text reveals various escape clauses from that allegation. The later thing must be partly behind the defense team ignoring Brodheads remarks.
But saying "Whatever they did was bad enough" when they were on trial for their lives will never pass anyones smell test. It reeks of throwing them to the wolves. You can place his remarks within the context of Duke policies if you want. Doing that is not false, just like Brodheads various statements were not false. But the life and death issue for these kids never had anything to do with their standing with Duke and its rules/policies.
What he said put them in greater danger in terms of the real world - where a false rape accusation pushed along by a corrupt DA is a nightmarish, existential threat.
So Brodhead runs away and hides behind transparently bogus talking points like "let the system work" as if what has happened has any connection with authenic criminal proceedings or now this, "When I slammed them I was talking about violating school policy." As if school policy is what matters to anyone at this point.
One needs only a working nose to sort out what is really happening here.

Anonymous said...

To Glenn Nick:

There is absolutely nothing in the comments you have quoted from Brodhead that would indicate that he wants a trial. In fact, the statement that we expect fair treatment of our students can very easily be taken to mean that in this case, the judge should dismiss the charges before trial because fairness mandates that result. However, instead of pretending that he has perfect knowledge of the case and demanding that the judge dismiss the charges, Brodhead has taken a more low key approach because he recognizes that the judge must be allowed to make a decision on this issue without interference from Duke. Do you seriously think that if Brodhead were to start making loud public statements about the case in order to put pressure on the judge to dismiss the charges that he would really be able to achieve that result? If Brodhead were to do this, the most likely result is that the judge would get mad that Duke was trying to pressure him in the performance of his duties, which might actually cause him to go harder on the players in court, and his actions would be interpreted by the black community in Durham as one more example of rich white boys using their money and connections to gain the kind of special treatment that is not available to poor black defendants. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the fact that Brodhead is showing some sensitivity to these issues, especially when you consider that the players are represented by an army of highly paid and highly qualified attorneys. In a way, the criticism of Brodhead that I see on this website is much ado about nothing (I think that was a nice touch, don't you). When you put aside the false accusations that he has made statements which were prejudicial to the players, what you end up with is that he is being criticized for not speaking out more aggressively on behalf of the players. However, if he had done so, I think there really is very little doubt that he would not have succeeded in getting the case dismissed; he would have angered the judge and probably all of the political leaders of Durham; and he would have angered the black community in Durham and reinforced a stereotype of Duke as an elite institution controlled by rich white people and willing to use its power and influence to help them gain special treatment. In other words, he would have accomplished nothing of benefit to the players and would have done a lot of damage to Duke in the process.

Anonymous said...

to 1:00:

1. Brodhead stood up for the players? I guess u didn't read KC Johnson's letter, dated 8/4, about Brodhead's scapegoating the players. He never mentioned any of their good qualities, eg, community service, grades--no, he certainly didn't stand up for the constitutional rights of the players, nor did he condemn the hateful rhetoric of the academic parasites so perfectly manifested in the meretricious persiflage of Professor Wahneema

Brodhead has yet to criticize Mike Nifong, and he has yet to address his reaction to Congressman Jones's letter to DOJ--yeah, with friends like Brodhead...

The 2 can't return to class because they were charged with a felony. Sure, that's a great policy when there is a possibility that a student committed a felony. Such is not the case here: Crystal Mangum has been proven to be nothing less than a vicious, felonious whore with absolutely no credibility. Any real leader would act now,because Mike Nifong has the credibility of the whore--NONE. A real executive would do the right thing--the tertium quid!

Pressler failed to control team? True, whoever called for the strippers should have vetted their criminal backgrounds, but these guys are--what--20 years old? No one would have said anything about the coach had not this predator concocted this BS story.

Brodhead took the easy road, urged on by the 3d rate class of 88, and fired the coach. What's the message Brodhead's sending to the world?

Your arguments are weak.

If Wahneema were a white male, do u think she could get a job teaching at a 4th tier community college?


Anonymous said...

to all the Brodhead supporters:

If he is such a stand-up guy, why does he still have the boys on suspension from Duke, in light of the overwhelming evidence that this is a hoax?

There would not be one shred of concern if he simply allowed the boys back to school based on the the common sense assessment that this is a sham prosecution.

Sorry foloks, the guy is a class A weenie!

Anonymous said...

To 1:35 PM:

Your comment is yet another example of people making inaccurate statements about Brodhead. If you look at the videotape of his March 28 press conference, you will see that he was not expressing outrage at what the players had done or suggesting that they were guilty of rape. Instead, when someone asked for his reaction to the outrage in the community, he responded by saying that he could very well understand why people would be outraged by the possibility that a rape may have occurred in their community but that it was also very important to understand that the facts of the case were not clear, that the players had denied the accusations, and that the players must be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. There is nothing about these statements that is in any way inappropriate, and if you doubt what I have said, I invite you to review the videotape of the March 28 press conference, which is available on the Duke and WRAL websites.

Anonymous said...


I've got the title of your book:


let's c: who may they b?



Anonymous said...

Lay off Glenn, as he is a bit closer to the situation than the rest of us. Furthermore, say what you will about Brodhead, but it is clear he does not want to be caught on the losing side.

Yet, if the young men were to be convicted of anything, we would know that the verdict was a farce, and a racially and politically-motivated farce at that. It would take a little bit of courage for Brodhead to point that out, but I will guarantee you that if a jury convicts them of anything, Brodhead will say something like "The jury has spoken, and we must respect the ruling."

No, he does not want to be caught on the losing side, and if charges are dropped or the young men are acquitted, no doubt he will express happiness and relief about that, too.

Yeah, I liked "milquetoast," too, but did not know how to spell it! Thanks!

Anonymous said...


I don't think you get is not his words but his actions--or inactions--that speak for him.

Answer the question on why the boys are still suspended?

I don't believe there is any state or federal law or even any Duke regulation that requires a student to be suspended BEFORE they are found guilty of a felony. In light of the facts he would be totally justified in lifting the suspensions...

Hoever the guy maintains the suspensions because he is totally afraid of a few worthless faculty and a handful of blacks that may criticize him.

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure the reasoning expressed in 1:37's post is Brodhead's thinking. Whoever above argued that more courageous statements from the core values of a university could have been made was right, in my view.

The reason I'm willing to forgive the mistakes he and others made in March, April and May is that it is rare for crisis managers to get everything right in a fast moving crisis. But once things calmed down, the supposed full discovery was made and the secondary DNA results again cleared the defendants, a better response could have been made.

Bill, I had to look up milquetoast for the spelling.

I didn't get proper credit for "whatever Brodhead really did and didn't do was bad enough."

psych said...

I have a daughter who is a high school senior. She is not applying to Duke. She is applying to top notch schools like the University of Chicago. I do not know if she will be accepted. Two years ago if thought that she would be accepted to Duke I would be ecstatic. Now I would not even let her apply to Duke. Why? It is not because Duke Lacrosse players threw a party that strippers went to. Even if they had raped the false accuser, I would have been pleased for her to attend Duke. I would not let her apply with my blessing now because I would not want her to go to Duke because of the President, the faculty and the administration of Duke. I also now know that Duke is on the way down. It will take years if ever for its reputation to return and that is Mr. Brodheads fault and responsibility.
I know I am not the only one who feels that way. It will be a long time if ever that Durham is thought of the same by people like me a white guy from the North with middle class or slightly better economic resources.

Anonymous said...

Duke University, by bestowing honor and power to the Gang of 88 has clearly stated that the university does not want students whose families do not fit the PC profile. Now, I doubt that a representative of Duke would openly say that, but when the Gang of 88 was given the power that Brodhead gave it, he was de facto making that pronouncement.

Let Duke live with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

The idea that Brodhead has not harmed Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans is absurd.

Actions speak louder that words. When he ended the lacrosse season and fired the coach, he sent a loud and clear message: THEY'RE GUILTY!

pdug said...

It does almost seem like the inverse of the lynching pehonomenon in the South.

Rosenberg's first comments seem particulalr apt in that regard "How dare those [X] look at a [Y] like that when they have [Z]"

X = rich white boys, or poor black boys

y = poor black victim girl vs. pretty white girl

z = coeds of their own race vs. their own kind

Anonymous said...

It's very sad to see how these faculty members rushed to condemn their own students and the excuses they make now are pathetic.

As for Brodhead, he is a very weak man. He probably spends his time barricaded in his office and hunkered down under his desk, emerging now and then to utter a few platitudes. That's not exactly great leadership.

Anonymous said...

To 1:37 (Brodhead Surrogate)
No one has ever suggested, in my hearing, that Duke administration tell the judge what to do. The constant complaint is that virtually nothing has been said against the extreme mis-conduct of the DAs office.
I expect you would say that doing that would be counter-productive as well. Which is just a round about way of saying that you guys are truly afraid of the DA (or the whole town.)

AMac said...

Pro-Brodhead Anonymouses (P-BAs) --

You argue forcefully in defense of Pres. Brodhead's actions during the Rape Hoax Scandal.

Some regular readers of these comments will note that the same points, in the same style, have been presented on this blog in numerous other threads over the past few weeks.

Which is fine: I could say the same thing about the anti-Brodhead comments.

It seems likely--though I might be wrong--that the same folks are re-writing more or less the same things, so that as the Hoax accellerates towards its conclusion, more readers will have had the chance to consider Brodhead's side of the story.

To return to a point that's been made before, if you P-BAs would choose psuedonymous screen names, it would make it easier for the rest of us to follow your arguments and provide some context to them. (Same goes for A-BAs as well).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Ditto Psych. My interest in this case stems from my legal background and the fact I am the parent of several Yankee high school students, one of whom is a senior this year. I do not have any connection with the Duke LAX players or their families. I have said all of this before, but the way President Brodhead and his faculty have treated the Duke students is more important to me as we assess colleges than any of the following: the rankings, the success of the sports teams, the beauty of the campus, the comfort of the dorm rooms, the selection of food, the proximity to home, airport, beaches, mountains, I-95, etc., placement in graduate programs, research opportunities, appeal of foreign studies programs, community service opportunities, diversity and friendliness of student body, number of Rhodes scholars, Guggenhiem fellowships, or Fulbright scholarships. Did I leave out anything? Perhaps many are not troubled by President Brodhead's eloquent but feeble calls for due process. I am. I would hope for at least the public testimony to truth if not a call for the investigation of Mr. Nifong's eithical lapses and probable crimes from the president of the college to which I entrust my treasure--first and foremost my children and second my very hard earned savings.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

bill anderson said...
Duke University, by bestowing honor and power to the Gang of 88 has clearly stated that the university does not want students whose families do not fit the PC profile. Now, I doubt that a representative of Duke would openly say that, but when the Gang of 88 was given the power that Brodhead gave it, he was de facto making that pronouncement.

Except that neither Duke nor Brodhead ever did any such thing. Please, there are enough tragedies in a situation where people are accused of crimes based on no evidence without us making things worse by imagining things that did not happen.

Anonymous said...

"Except that neither Duke nor Brodhead ever did any such thing."

You need to read the Early Decision results...

Anonymous said...

That is an absurd argument. If Brodhead did not want to "interfere," why don't the Duke profs (88+)feel the same way?

Anonymous said...

To 7:22,
Hasn't President Brodhead appointed some of the Listening Statement signatories to important committee positions within the University since the publication of said document? Hasn't the BOT annointed the AAS and AAAS, fields of study whose professors drafted, signed, and published said document, independent departmental status since publication of the Listening Statement? How else do you expect the public to understand the University's position on the Listening Statement if President Brodhead and the BOT in no way distance themselves from the contents of the statement and in fact reward its authors with status enhancing positions? And how can all of those actions by the signatories to the Listening Statement, President Brodhead, and the BOT not discourage other faculty from speaking up with specifics about the Mr. Nifong's constitutional abuses and probable crimes against the students?


Anonymous said...

How else do you expect the public to understand the University's position on the Listening Statement if President Brodhead and the BOT in no way distance themselves from the contents of the statement and in fact reward its authors with status enhancing positions?

I don't think the President or BOT has done that. Remember that the statements were those of undergraduate students and appeared in a paid ad in the undergraduate newspaper. There were no faculty names on the statement as published and it was not presented as having faculty authorship. The stated goal of the ad was to make known the views of students at a meeting that they had. The faculty identified as sponsors of the statement apparently paid for the publication cost of the ad. These faculty were not the authors, and it is unlikely that most of them agreed with each of the statements of the students.

The views expressed were about a "social disaster" as those students perceived the situation, not crimes. The statement did not involve conclusions about any crimes.

The President and BOT do not respond to opinions expressed in the student newspaper, many of which are arguments among undergraduates or criticisms of the university administration, and it is wise that they do not.

Using the "Listening statement" as the basis of judgements about who is OK or not OK is not based on what actually occurred. For that reason doing that moves the focus away from the serious injustice that is real.

AMac said...

anotherfac --

I read the Listening Statement a while back, and recall being appalled by its rush to judgement, given the circumstances at the time.

Maybe I was wrong. I'd like to give it a second read... but I can't. Is a copy archived somewhere? (It's been removed from the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine.)

Here's a blog post from April 23rd on Cliopatria that my search did hit. Read the post and comments for interesting, nearly-contemporaneous back-and-forth.

The 88 knew or should have known what positions they were supporting. I fail to understand why it's "no fair" to hold people accountable for their words and deeds.

Academics should be held to a higher standard. Their job is to work with words. No "I take no responsibility because I calibrated my remarks to not exactly state what I clearly implied."

Like the sleazy candidate whose press release reads, "If there turn out to be credible charges of child pornography against my opponent, I will be appalled, but meanwhile I support his right to due process." Actually, in some ways that hypothetical weasel comes out looking better than the 88. At least he mentioned due process.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I never thought I would see someone defending the Gang of 88 on this blog without having the ID of "theman" or "jakki" or "Justice58." Does this poster have any idea what Marxist professors are like and their outlook on students?

The lacrosse team was the object of a hatefest, and that is the only thing one can call it. These 88 signatories were not in the background; they were front-and-center, taking charge and dominating the discussion on campus.

They made it quite clear of the object of their hatred, so please do not cover for these people. Go to Yolanda's blog or the Herald-Sun, but please do not try to put anything over on us. I am a college faculty member and I literally have academic training in historical and contemporary Marxism. I know how these people thing, and what they want. They are not concerned about anything but grabbing power and being little tyrants.

Anonymous said...

anotherfac and amac,
It took me awhile to find it, but the Listening Statement can be found by going to this site and clicking on the link. I just printed it out. The statements made by the students seem highly prejudicial to me. The willingness of the Group of 88 to collect and publish these statements along with a comment that they were "turning up the volume when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait. To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard" indicates some pretty strong support for the ideas expressed by those "speaking individually" and those "protesters making collective noise." Furthermore, the Group of 88 leads into the quotes from students with the following: "These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and themselves." How can you argue that this is not intended to fan public condemnation of the accused and that someone--President Brodhead, the BOT--someone needed to address this in private with the signatories and in public for the sake of Duke's reputation? In light of what has since transpired for the LAX team in general and the defendants in particular statements like this, "We want an absence of terror..." or "We go to class with racist classmates. We go to gym with people who are racists...It's part of the experience," or "I can't help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that's not so upscale" an incredibly poignant twist. How could President Brodhead, the BOT, and the Group of 88 not publicly revisit and revise some of their statements and clarify their positions for the sake of their own reputations, for the sake of Duke's reputation, for the sake of their falsely accused and tormented students, and for the sake of justice? How did this Listening Statement not add to the injustice experienced by the accused. How?


AMac said...

Observer --

Thanks. I had to use this slightly different FODU link to access the Listening Statement.

It's even more of a rush to judgement than I recall.

It should be a snap to get these 88 academics to sign a Listening Statement defending the cops who beat Rodney King. After all, King's record shows that he was a bad person. So, doubtless, King deserved what he got.


Anonymous said...

To: Magnificent Matty Moose

Nifong likely knew from the beginning she had semen all over her. I believe the SANE exam probably determined that Mangum had semen on her.

The state lab found a mismash of semen on Mangum. Nifong went to DNASI in the hope that DNASI could with more refinded tests find some DNA from one of the defendants on her. This failed and any calls were purely about the conspiracy to hide evident and obstruct justice and nothing else.

Even the so call partial match of Evans on the finger nail was found by the state lab. BTW, the state lab also probably had many of the same results about the five men and also obstructed justice with Nifong.


Anonymous said...

Response to Anotherfac -- I really do admirethe doggedness of your defense of Brodhead and his faculty, but...

The listening statement, at the bottom, says, "We [evidently meaning the AAAS Dept.] thank thefollowing departments and programs for SIGNING ON TO THIS AD with African & African American Studies..." (emphasis added.) And there follows a list of 14 Duke departments and programs. Thenit refers the reader tothe AAAS website for the names of individual faculty who "signed on in support."

To claim that this was just a student-generated document, and that faculty merely paid for the ad, is disingenuous. In fact, we know that Wahneema Lubiano (crazy name, crazy gal)put it together. The naive reader might well have taken it for a semi-official Duke publication; at least, a lot of Duke teachers "signed on in support" of its content. That's why it's so unfortunate that Brodhead and his administration haven't dissociated the university from it, and so few faculty members have criticized it.

Anonymous said...


please don't denigrate the work of the genius Karl Marx by implying that the cognitively challenged 88 had the foggiest what he and engels were writing about

the 88 have the IQs of short order cooks


Anonymous said...

editorial suggestion:

precious and nifong are finished

let's concentrate on purging duke of the 88, board of trustees, and brodhead


Anonymous said...

For those who think the Group of 88 should not be condemned because they didn't write it, they only paid for the ad and had their names associated with it online:

Imagine this fictional conversation, which could have happened if a few small events occurred differently---

General Gage: So Mr. Hancock, before I have you hanged for treason, do you have anything to say about this document you signed

John Hancock: I am not responsible for that document. Mr. Jefferson wrote it. I may have contributed to the cost of the paper and ink, the copying costs and the distribution costs, but I didn't write it. You can't hang me for someone else's words.

Gage: Guard, take this man and hang him immediately. He's not only treasonous, he makes ridiculous arguments.

I don't blame Brodhead for the statment. He could and should have criticised it in a letter to the Chronicle, though.

Anonymous said...

I think the people on this board are really funny. Just to make sure I am not missing anything, let me briefly summarize the facts. Duke is a top university with thousands of high achieving students. The president of the university is a very distinguished guy from Yale. The trustees are all very successful wealthy people who give lots of money to Duke, and the faculty are among the best in the country. However, a group of jocks at the university many of whom are receiving scholarship money from the university decides to hold a wild party. They have been doing this for years and the neighbors have been complaining loudly, but the jocks are an arrogant group of guys, so they just ignore the complaints and kept on partying. At this particular party, they have underage drinking and strippers and are having a high old time, but suddenly things start to get ugly. One guy says he would like to use a broomstick on one of the strippers, other guys start making racist comments, the strippers get mad and call the cops, and one of them says she was raped. The guys are innocent, but the whole sorry episode turns into one gigantic public relations nighmare for Duke. Not to worry. The jocks circle the wagons and go into spin mode. They hook up with some bloggers who put out the word that the jocks are a bunch of fine young honor students who have done nothing wrong and who are really just victims of a dishonest stripper and a corrupt DA. They then start tearing into the president of the university, the trustees and the faculty for not doing enough to help them in their criminal case. They demand that all of the foregoing people either resign from the university or be forced out by the alumni of the university. They even distort the facts in order to further this agenda. When the dust settles, the very distinguished president of the university is gone, all of the very successful wealthy trustees who have been giving lots of money to the university are gone, any member of the faculty who either criticized the jocks or failed to stand up for them is gone, but the jocks are all still there with scholarships in tack and partying on. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Where are you Anotherfac?

I admire your doggedness as well. I just do not understand it or your reasoning, although I appreciate the opportunity to try. As pointed out by European Dukie, the fine print at the bottom of the Listening Statement does indicate the support of the signatories for the comments of the students and states that if it were not for the lack of space, the names of the faculty sponsors/signatories would have been published as well.

Duke09Parent--excellent analogy. This statement was much more than sensitive, caring faculty members providing a public forum for their students to air grievances and concerns. It is time for these faculty members to show some sincere concern for the students whom they thoughtlessly and I now believe purposely harmed. Is this not the intentional infliction of emotional distress?


Anonymous said...

We can argue forever over the merits and motives of Duke's,( i.e. president , trustees, faculty) behavior. Duke's behavior will ultimately be judged by prospective students, alumni and possibly a court of law, if action is taken against Duke by the lacrosse players. I believe that Duke's behavior will result in lower quality students, a decrease in alumni contributions and significant litigation costs.

Unfortunately we are witnessing the start of the decline of what was once one of the country's most respected universities. It started with a lack of courage. Courage is doing the right thing when the right thing is hard to do. Remember Jim Burke, CEO of Johnson&Johnson during the famous Tylenol scandal. Jim's courage in speaking out early and strongly resulted in enhancing, rather than damaging, the reputation of one of the world's most admired companies.

In the Duke case, speaking out in support of the lacrosse players' rights would have required a moderate amount of courage back in the early spring. Given what's transpired since, in terms of exculpatory evidence, numerous examples of gross prosecutorial misconduct etc., it would take very little courage to speak out now agaist the unjust treatment of the indicted lacrosse players. Back in March, on a scale of 10, the " couragemeter" probably registered a "5" or "6". Right now the meter reading is probably "1". Yet the recent actions/inactions and public statements by Duke officials imply that they do not have at least "1" ounce of courage to stand up for their students against these injustices. Once the three players are completely cleared of these obviously false charges, the " couragemeter" will then read "0". I expect that then the President, Trustees and some ( but not all) of the faculty will finally find "enough" courage to publicly say the " right thing ".

Anonymous said...

They then start tearing into the president of the university, the trustees and the faculty for not doing enough to help them in their criminal case.

"enough ... help"? Please give an example of any help. Perhaps from the 60 minutes interview? Where Brodhead told the students (who had been protesting their innocence) that "The first thing you’ve got to do is tell the truth.” ? Is that the kind of "help" you mean?

I would like Brodhead to help them by saying "The first thing the accuser and prosecutor should do is tell the truth". Surely this is an equally appropriate statement.

There are numerous ways that Brodhead could help. But no, he says "We have to wait for the legal system to grind on to its conclusion ... before a judge and a jury"

Anonymous said...

11:23, since you spent so much time spinning your take on this, perhaps you will return and look at replies. Much of your characterization of events is wrong, but I won't rebut it point by point.

You at least accept that the boys are innocent of rape. If all that had happened to them after the fiasco of the party was that they forfeited two games (a pretty significant sanction for what happened), then the blogs would not have grown. There might have been some protests in the Chronicle and some worry among other teams who had staged similar parties, but the whole thing would have died out in a matter of a few weeks.

If the DA had just done what most DA's do, accept the negative DNA results as proof of innocence and dropped the charges in May, then all that would have happened is cancellation of the lacrosse season, loss of Pressler,the short suspension of McFadyn for his gross email parody, and all these guys would be back in school. There would be a debate about how the cancellation of the season was a high price to pay for what turned out to be a lame party, which would have lasted through the Fall semester. But it would all have blown over. Two games forfeited and most folks would say they got what they deserved. The whole season gone and most people would say, well they got more than they deserved but they left themselves open to a low life's false accusations.

The joke is that two guys are still out of school, another is off a nice career track for a year, and three families have spend a boatload on lawyers. It's a pretty damned cruel joke.

Anonymous said...

You are distorting the facts. The jocks did NOT "circle the wagons and go into spin control." The hard evidence, as opposed to the tales and innuendo spun by Mr. Nifong and his enablers, surfaced, and a few bloggers, legal experts, and journalists ensured that this evidence, which has been entirely exculpatory, did not get lost in the deluge of prejudicial invective supplied by the many caught under the spell of Mr. Nifong's insistence, authority, and racial pandering. I have read few defenses of the LAX players party and drinking behavior. However, most people posting and commenting here have embraced the concept that individuals are responsible for their own actions. The LAX players, primarily the captains, are responsible for the party and the underage drinking. Individual players are responsible for the broomstick comment and the racial slur. The accuser is responsible for making the false accusations. Mr. Nifong is responsible for blatantly violating the players constitutional rights and the ethical canons of the NC Bar and for engaging in a politically motivated false prosecution. The Group of 88 are responsible for their ad, fanning misplaced student outrage, and heaping public condemnation on the accused. President Brodhead is responsible for lacking the leadership to state publicly on behalf of his students what is readily apparent to all--Mr. Nifong needs the gong whether it is sounded by the judge's dismissal of the case, the DA's recusal of himself, the intervention of the Bar, the FBI, or the DOJ. I see the interests of Duke University and those Mr. Nifong's victims as overlapping. You, obviously, do not, and neither does President Brodhead. The integrity of the justice system of the United States is more important than your quibbles with the foolish, but far from felonious, behavior of the Duke LAX team (for which they already have been amply punished).


Anonymous said...

To 11:54 AM:

The whole thing began with the irresponsible behavior of the LAX players, the lies of the false accuser, and the unethical and inflammatory public statements of the DA.

To 12:08 PM:

On 60 Minutes, Brodhead stated that when the trial begins in the spring, the DA's case will be on trial as much as the players.

To 12:13 PM:

Thank you for acknowledging that the cancellation of the season, the firing of Pressler, and the short suspension of Ryan McFadyen were relatively minor matters which would have blown over fairly quickly if not for the misconduct by the DA. I find your candor on these points to be very refreshing. So I gather you would agree that there is no need for Brodhead or any of the trustees to resign or be forced out of the university based on these actions.

To 12:28 PM:

If you do not think the LAX players have circled the wagons, perhaps you could ask Glenn Nick to tell us who made the broomstick comment and who made the racist remarks at the party and then come back here and tell us how far you got.

Anonymous said...

It would be helpful if you would pick a handle so we don't have to keep looking back and forth for times.

You might notice that those of us frequently on these blogs hardly have a uniform opinion on what the Duke admins should have done, when they should have changed course and what should happen to them now. I have kept my handle through all my posts so those who have been here for many months know my position.

But I'll state it for you again. Brodhead and others took some actions which were correct and some which were not. I do not judge them harshly for what they did and didn't do in the fast moving crisis through May. By the end of May it was known (since the state was required to disclose all of its case to the defense) that no DNA of the players was on or in the accuser and some other male's DNA, said to be her boyfriend's, was identified from her vaginal swabs. Then the photo array procedure was described. With those two bits of information, it was clear that independant scientific evidence cleared the players and the DA was unfairly manipulating the accuser's identification of her attackers. Brodhead, speaking for the university, should have changed course when that information was released. His last remaining justification, in my mind, for not speaking out for his students, was to avoid being perceived as trying to influence the general election on Nov. 7th.

I have never said Brodhead or trustees should resign for the actions they took and didn't take last Spring. Even for the now inexcusable continued public neutrality stance I don't call for resignations or firings. If the alumni reactions through severe loss of financial support and prospective student reactions in significant fall off of qualified applicants justify a change in leadership, then it should be done. Too early to tell.

Anonymous said...

To 1:37,
In general the candor of these LAX players has struck me as exceptional, somewhat naive, and very refreshing. While I disapprove of the ugly comments, I feel you are straining at gnats. The serious issue here is not the couple of ugly, immature comments to strippers who did not begin to fulfill their sleazy assignment, but the behavior of the adults in positions of power, influence, and leadership. Duke and Durham's reputation rests primarily on the actions of those adults not on the antics of a few misbehaving college kids.


Anonymous said...

To 11:23

You miss the point of the outrage. It does not matter that the Duke students were "bad" or "good." On any college campus, Duke, Yale, Harvard, San Diego State, whatever, there are students who are capable of and commit rape, drink to excess, and various other offenses to your sensibilities. Assume that the lacrosse players hired the strippers as prostitutes and were using cocaine, rather than have the stripper party, IT WOULD NOT MATTER BECAUSE THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR CONDUCT UNLESS THEIR CONDUCT WAS RAPE.

In fact, and perhaps you simply are uninformed, the issues of wrongful conviction, which have been front and center in American jurisprudence for nearly thirty years, almost always involve defendatns who have done bad things. Many of the people who are concerned about this situation have also been concerned about the other situations. So, the Northwestern innocence project has shown that "gangbangers" have been wrongly prosecuted, the fact that they were "gangbangers" did not make it okay to sentence them to death.

The second resonance here does involve their actual conduct. Much of what the lacrosse players have been accused of doing is false. They were not vile kings of the campus, but generally speaking good students who were respectful. What thousands of people have picked on them for doing, drinking beer to excess, is something that has been going on at duke and every other university forever. Is it bad? Perhaps? Should alcohol be de-emphasized? Almost certainly. But to single out this high achieving respectful group for condemnation out of the norm is a reflection of underlying racism obvioulsy inherent in the system.

However, that is truly a secondary point to the wrongful prosecution that is ocurring that runs head long into all the reforms in North Carolina and elswhere. Why did Professor Coleman and others work on Project Innocence? Not to protect wealthy lacrosse players, who are unlikely to get into the system, but the average person and, yes, the below average or troubled person.

This is about the loss of basic American freedoms and principles and the undoing of important judicial reforms. If you dont care, then you are an empty person

Anonymous said...

To 1:37. The president, trustees and faculty may be distinguished, wealthy and successful but they lack some core values such as integrity and courage. Money can't buy this good stuff. You either have it or you do not. On the otherhand, some of the lacrosse players may drink too much beer and make too much noise sometimes but they have told the truth from the beginning. And in terms of academic honesty ,their record is perfect, i.e. no incidents of cheating, plagiarism etc. Their behavior in this regard is, in fact, better,on average, than other Duke students.I'd say that their moral compass is working better than many of the mature, "wealthy, distinguished , successful"adults in this affair.

Regarding your assertion that the President speaking out for his students would have actually hurt these students and Duke's reputation, I could not disagree more. The President's statements, as well as his actions/ inactions, will ultimately be very harmful to Duke in terms of attracting quality students, alumni donations and litigation costs.

Regarding your call for Glenn Nick to identify the player who allegedly made the broomstick comment, I am sure that Glenn, and all his teammates, have been appropriately advised by their attorneys not to discuss the details of the party since these discussions could possibly be used against the 3 indicted players at trial.

Anonymous said...

My 5:42 post should have been addressed to both 1:37 and 11:23. Sorry if this confused anybody.

AMac said...

anon 11:23am / 1:37pm --

As has been noted, your precis of the case at 11:23am contains a number of distortions. I could be wrong, but from content and style, it appears that you've posted these bills of particulars on a number of threads. If so, it would be a waste of my time to yet again compose an answer worth reading. My earlier efforts are in D-i-W's archive.

If you are a regular commenter, it's annoying at best that you insist on this cloak of anonymity and unaccountability for your earlier words. As duke09parent already alluded to.

The name of the student who allegedly made the crass 'broomstick' remark--which, recall, Kim Roberts told Ed Bradley that she and the A.V. did not at the time regard as threatening, but merely ribald--is in the public record. Under other circumstances, I'd look it up for you and link it, but conversation is supposed to be more of a two way street.

Anonymous said...

1. the broomstick comment was so innocent that Kim subsequently hit the person saying it in the face; it was photographed and nancy grace even commented on it. Face it, the LAX team WERE vile kings on campus and lived up to that reputation that night. They had more disciplinary actions againist them both in criminal court and in Duke's disciplianry system than the other sports teams.

2.the professors and students at that forum knew these dudes personally and knew what assholes they were as a group. the 88 will not apologise nor should they have to as they speak from experience not emotion on a messageboard

3.the long post from the 11;23 poster was dead on; the duke 3 is trying to escape the consequences of their actions and hired expensive lawyers and a spin doctor(Bennett) to spin this case and make the issues about everyone( Nifong, the stripper, Brodhead, Gottlieb, etc) except the accused. The plan has worked masterfully on those on this blog and many in the public and the media have fallen for it hook line and sinker. The only problem has been that the case goes on and all their underhanded attempts to get it dropped by removing/destroying Nifong have ended as complete flops, especially the election. Instead of wasting all this time on a nonissue about Nifong witholding evidence when the defense got that file in oct october and the evidence was present and obviously available o the defense as it was reviewed by them and wa in thier possession in Ocotber and we already knew there was no dna link to the accuser, you guys should ask these questions:

Why is the defense so anti-trial and

despite the mounting pressure--why does Nifong hold onto this case?

the answers may surprise even the likes of you.

Anonymous said...

Question 1: I cannot speak for the defense, but I do not want to have trial because it's an expensive waste of time when there is no credible evidence to convict the defendants of anything.
Question 2: Mr. Nifong has engaged in astonishingly unethical, if not criminal, behavior, and he is just not ready to acknowledge the jig is up.


AMac said...

anonymous 5:24am --

1. you only make that point about broomsticks because you make your living selling vacuum cleaners and are afraid the competition will sweep your business under the rug.

2. the leaders of the 88 wanted to hook up with hot co-eds who liked athletes better than them, their motive was simple jealousy.

3. KC Johnson has had a lifelong vendetta against Duke because he applied to be the Dean of the Engineering School and was rejected.


What's that you say, anonymous 5:24am? That I just responded to your argument with talking points made up out of whole cloth? That my dishonest debating tactics should be clear to other readers? That the reason (beyond simple laziness) that I haven't backed up any of these three libels with supporting hyperlinks is because I can't?


Anonymous said...

I read the Listening Statement a while back, and recall being appalled by its rush to judgement, given the circumstances at the time.

Maybe I was wrong. I'd like to give it a second read... but I can't. Is a copy archived somewhere?

One of the posters above now has given the link.

What I get out the statement is how a few AA students felt at a time when the intensity was at its highest. I do not see in the statement any conclusion about any crimes alleged to have happened at the March 13 party (for which no one has presented evidence).

These students and their faculty sponsors made the statements and can be criticized, but in doing that, let us stick to what the statement says, not extend or strengthen it.

There is enough there to criticize, though it is good to remember that these are undergraduates talking. But, in some ways what the AA students quoted were saying has more in common with the situation of the lacrosse team than it is in opposition.

One student says "I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what
it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport,
like football, something that’s not so upscale. Everything seems up for grabs--I am only comfortable talking about this event in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public.
But worse, I wonder now about everything. . . . If something like this happens to
me . . . What would be used against me--my clothing?"

In my reading this statement is sympathetic to those accused --- we have a student picturing himself as if he was one of those accused and agonizing over the same question "who will come to my defense?".

In any event, no one on campus understood this statement (published as an ad in the undergraduate newspaper) as a statement of Duke university, or a statement endorsed by President Brodhead or the BOT.

Whatever thoughts people may have about race relationships, it is in no one's interest for the case to become a referendum on such issues in some symbolic way. Statements about social context are significant for Duke and society, but they are not the most important to Dave, Reade or Colin right now.

We want to stay focused on the main act --- the criminal charges, on the lack of actual evidence for them, and on the people who can do something about this bad situation.

Anonymous said...

To 2:03 PM:

Why would Brodhead be held responsible for a decline in the number of applications to Duke? If there is a decline, it will undoubtedly be due to the fact that the ugly behavior of the lacrosse players has made it appear that the students at Duke are a bunch of arrogrant racist brats who are consorting with strippers and prostitutes and getting themselves into legal trouble when they should be studying or playing their sport or doing something productive. This image was reinforced by the comments of the prosecutor at the beginning of the case, by the long drawn out negative national media coverage of the case, and by the public comments of Houston Baker, who talked about the culture of racism and white athletic privilege at Duke. All of this delivered a big hit to the reputation of Duke, but none of it had anything to do with Brodhead. It all started with the ugly behavior of the lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the players have been in spin mode. Bob Bennett was hired for the express purpose of turning around the negative media coverage of the players, and this website obviously spins every aspect of the case 100% favorable to the players.

Anonymous said...

You-Tube Video: Duke Lacrosse - LAST STAND
Willie Nelson song

You-Tube Video: SNL Nancy Grace - Duke Lacrosse
Holiday Message from Nancy Grace.