Friday, January 19, 2007

The Chronicle on the CCI

Today's Duke Chronicle has a must-read editorial on the Campus Culture Initiative, explaining the reasons for student apathy to the program.

The editorial makes an unanswerable point:
The composition of the CCI's steering committee has hurt its credibility. Two out of the CCI's original five subcommittee chairs (Holloway and literature professor Anne Allison) signed an advertisement in The Chronicle last April applauding protesters who surrounded the home of lacrosse players, and a third-history professor Peter Wood-has criticized the team in numerous media outlets. Stacking the CCI with critics of "white male privilege" suggests that the initiative was created to pacify countercultural professors, rather than to shape a new and improved campus culture.
The Chronicle quotes one student saying, "I'm too busy to care about [the CCI] unless it affects me." This attitude is understandable--but unfortunate. It would be comforting to think the CCI will collapse under the weight of its one-sided leadership. But as the defiant statement of the (rump) Group of 88 suggested, those arts and sciences professors determined to exploit the lacrosse case for their own agenda are determined to move forward, even as the case itself collapses.


Anonymous said...

The purpose of the "campus initiatives" always has been to strengthen the hand of the faculty radicals. The lacrosse case was a hook by which they could demand an expansion of the programs they wanted, the hiring of more faculty members who are like themselves, and an attempt to turn Duke University into something akin to one of Mao's re-education camps.

In other words, this is not a serious initiative, or at least let us say it is not exactly an example of truth-in-advertising. Instead, it is a fraud, but then the people who are most heavily involved are frauds, too.

Anonymous said...

I think this article makes clear one way I disagree with KC and the commentators on the blog. From the very beginning, i was certain the whole incident was a hoax and that it was fed by various stereotypes and politics. At the same time, having been a Duke student and having relatives as current Duke students, I knew that the incident was not at the center of the students thinking in the same way as many alums, I also knew that it was not going to devastate Duke, send it to the second tier and so forth.

The students, for their part, whether because they are self-centered or better grounded, had lots to do other than worry about the lacrosse team, jobs, grades and so forth. Also, as part of a college community, most of the students knew full well that some portion of the professors and students were crack-pots and that was just part of the experience at a university.

One little understood fact here is that most of the students at Duke, and many of the faculty, are far more conservative and practical than students and faculty at other universities. That was the history of the university, it was founded to churn out Methodist professionals (lawyers, teachers, doctors and so forth) and students with that mindset are attracted to such a school.

It is true that to enhance its national profile, Duke has sought out scholars and students that would fit in better at Brown or Oberlin, but the basic character and attraction to the school is the same.

So, we all should be up in arms over the open railroading of innocent defendants, but the drama over the faculty that is meangingful to KC and others, is of little concern to the students or the future of Duke.

I know people may disagree, and reasonably disagree, and I know I am biased and pro-Duke, but I think this article and the other student commentators support my position.

Anonymous said...

We all know the charges are going to get dropped. There just has to be a little song and dance to make sure it seems all sides are heard before it is dismissed.

what do commenters think will happen to Nifong criminally and civilly? Could he go to jail? Will he have to pay out any money personally?

What about Duke? How much do you think they will pay out and to who?

How about the false accuser? What happens to her criminally? Do the boys bother suing her or do they only go after the deep pockets?

The Duke kids will be millionaires pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

When I was on campus parents' weekend last Fall, the attitude towards the CCI was just as described in the editorial. Students who thought about it at all thought it would be a waste whose reports would soon enough be ignored and forgotten. Some students spoke admiringly of one their comrades who went to a meeting (either CCI or some other similar discussion group) and called BS on the proceedings.

One way to mollify a malcontent such as Holloway is to form a committee on the problem and put him/her in charge of it. That avoids the problem we are starting to see now of Holloway standing outside the process taking potshots at any (marginal though it may be) at the process or any conclusions it draws which are at odds with her views of what it should say.

Anonymous said...

Correction to my 10:35:

"taking potshots at any (marginal though it may be) legitimacy of the process ..."

I agree with 10:23.

Anonymous said...

From The Chron:

"Two out of the CCI's original five subcommittee chairs (Holloway and literature professor Anne Allison) signed an advertisement in The Chronicle last April applauding protesters who surrounded the home of lacrosse players..."

In other words... Even the The Chron, which has to be sober and measured in its judgment (politics of student journalism should go on another thread!), doesn't believe the sincerity of the 88's second statement. After all, they had plenty of time and practically an e-ticket to the microphone anytime they wanted to clarify their earlier statement.

Anonymous said...

"The disaster is the atmosphere that allows sexism, racism, and sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus." Statement by group of 87

"The CCI probably hasn't heard much from this undergraduate constituency, because students are too busy enjoying their short four years in the Gothic Wonderland to shoot off a complaint by e-mail or attend a small group discussion." Editorial in the Chronicle

I guess the students see the atmosphere at Duke differently from the group of 87

Anonymous said...

The CCI is typical of campus initiatives on diversity and multiculturalism. It is always staffed by faculty and administrators with a PC agenda. Attempts to place people with differing views on committees and task forces concerned with such initiatives are generally rebuffed. Framing a request for participation in a diversity initiative in terms of an assimilationist point of view on issues of multiculturalism is a sure way to be disqualified.

This is the essence of the PC problem on university campuses. The question of defining identity has been franchised to a select group of minority vendors with a decidedly separatist agenda. For all the talk of majority prejudice, the one thing that threatens their agendas is people seeing their identity as just plain students or more generally generic Americans. While the ideology is one of inclusion, the real purpose is to bombard minorities with enough negative narratives about the larger society that they will retreat into their ethnic, racial, gender or orientational enclave.

It is ironic that the result of the lacrosse hoax is the appointment of the very people who perpetrated much of the injustice against the players to the committee that is supposed to respond to it.

When CGM claimed she had been raped the police had to investigate the allegation. What she alleged was a serious crime. A proper investigation would have soon discovered that in all likelihood her story wasn't true. But the outcry from the Durham community and the PC Duke faculty and students created a demand for a rush to indictment and punishment that made it difficult to conduct an honest investigation.

Now we have professors claiming they were not challenging the presumption of innocence when they publicly thanked the noisy students who demanded immediate punishment and promised punishment above and beyond that meted out by the legal authorities.

Can anyone actually believe that the ad was not thanking the screaming, pot-banging students marching outside the students house with a giant sign saying "castrate".

There is a serious need for an honest cultural initiative. One that explains to a substantial portion of the faculty that bearing false witness and calling for the castration of innocent students is WRONG.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:45 -

yep, the CCI is a non-starter for the students. They're too busy enjoying their racist- and sexist-free social life!


Anonymous said...


What has been going on at Duke since classes started last week? Have Duke students publicly challenged the G88? Have students protested and picketed the classes of the G88 as some suggested on the message board at the Duke Chronicle?

Anonymous said...

My read of the students at Duke is that most of them know the lacrosse team, particularly the defendants, got screwed and that Brodhead did not do enough to support them. But the students are getting on with their own lives, both academically and socially. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that if Reade, Collin and/or Dave walked into Cameron the night of the UNC game on 2/7, the cheers would be as loud and as sustained as the entry of the basketball team.

Anonymous said...

How seriously can anyone take the CI
committee? We don't need a committee
of sob sisters to tell us we need
more laws
more quotas
more ways to level the (ahem) playing field
more outrage
We have more than enough laws,
quotas, affirmative action, and outrage.
We are tired of hearing the same old story
We are tired of hearing about our society's
professional victims.
We have done enough to legislate equal opportunity.

People have to learn to live with their "outrage"
regarding white privilege, prostitutes, strippers,
underage drinking, or learn to deal with it
constructively individually. (Therapy?) The laws are already
on the books. Too many laws. Do we really need
"hate crime" laws? Do we need another committee of posers?
Enough is enough.

The students rejecting the CI committee
have already processed this. Any reasonable person would.

And what is the point of saying "the n word" in a forum where every other nasty word is spelled out. I hear the word nigger 50 times a day on the bus, in conversation, in so-called music, and other venues. I hear "fuck" just as often. Are we going to have nasty word crimes now? Are we going to legislate politeness?

I appreciate the work done on this and other Nifong-Duke-Rape-Scandal
blogs. I'm just a little old olive skinned lady writing from untutored feelings. The horrible personal footnote is that I live in fucking San FranSicko - I need a one way ticket to the mid-west bad.
group hug

MTU '76

Anonymous said...

10:23: Let's put it this way. If anyone was on the fence between being a moderate and liberal in their formative college years, they have definitely jumped to the right because of this incident at Duke.

What this means to me is that a rational busy student has too much to do to worry about joining the CCI and parroting pre-prepared statements on multi-culturalism. The entire argument when viewed in light of the events of the past year has been blown out of the water. The dark side of the message has been revealed in a very dramatic and ugly manner.

What it also tells me is the failure of jamming multi-culturalism down the throats of students. Any mind which you helped create and that is filled with curiosity would discover the wonders of different cultures naturally. If you try to shove it down that student's throat, however, all that will cause is rebellion. These sorts of initiatives have the opposite effect of their intent in my mind.

Gotta go to Court. Talk to all of you later.


Anonymous said...


LOL at "San FranSicko". I grew up in Ohio (midwest in character if not exactly geographically) and have brother who had lived in SF area for decades, so I know what you mean. There is a lot I like about SF but I'm not sure I would want to live there long term.

I understand you're having your own little college student/law enforcement brouhaha out there over the beating of or brawl with (depending on reports) the Yale all male singing group "Baker's Dozen".

Here's your cyber hug <<<< MTU >>>>

Anonymous said...

Hey Little Old Olive Skinned Lady:

I'm just a little old olive skinned lady writing from untutored feelings. The horrible personal footnote is that I live in fucking San FranSicko - I need a one way ticket to the mid-west bad.
group hug

Some of us have respect for little old (olive-skinned) ladies. Especially ones who have the balls to write what you did.

Anonymous said...

I am heartened by the Editorial's dismissal of the CCI, and its stated rationale.

Even if the CCI, in an exagerated example, enforced "martial PC thought law" -- they will simply have no effect beyond the margin of how kids intend to enjoy their time at Duke, and how they interact.

There might be a few more 'sensitivity sessions' here and there -- but the only effect the CCI/88 will have is somehow convincing themselves that they are 'arbiters of good' and that they know better than the rest of us.-

At this point, let the CCI/88 have their fun - When the Report come out all serious minded people will have a good laugh and see that the CCI/88 are in their own little world -- the students see to know this - Good for them.

Anonymous said...

As parents we sent our two students to Duke for the superb education they offer. They were already good people and contributors to society with no need to be re-molded by some arrogant PC committees imposed requirements. Fie on the CCI and its cohorts.

Anonymous said...

I have a child that was at Duke last spring and is still there. Last spring and summer, most of our conversations revolved around the incident, especially when the campus was over-run with news media and the innocence of the players and unfairness of the administration in cancelling the lacrosse season. We don't talk about it much any more, but are back to classes, grades, etc. At this time, it appears that most of the students have concluded that the players are innocent, the administration was wrong and do not have high regard for their instructors.

Regarding multiculturalism, racism, sexism, from my visits on campus, and based on my child's friends, there is really very little friendship across racial/cultural lines. I doubt many AA students would classify a white student as a BFF (best friend for life). I do not see much inter-racial dating, actually dating as we knew it has changed. I see students concerned about classes, grades, parties (including alcohol) and are not heavily influenced by their instructors, but except in the sciences, they are regurgitating what the professors wish to hear to get a good grade. Getting that diploma is their goal. To them, this is basically four years of fun and studying is the price they have to pay.

I went to college during the Viet Nam era and don't think things have changed that much. At that time there was a minority who were politically involved, but most of the rest of us were concerned with grades, classes, parties (drinking age was 18 then).

Anonymous said...

More academic freaks on the loose! When will it end? When will people recognize these are a bunch of CrAzIeS??? YES, I DO believe in alien life forms. They have landed on earth and are assembling at universities.

Anonymous said...

The Duke student body should start up a Faculty Culture Initiative (FCI) to report on the real issues brought to light by the Hoax and its aftermath, e.g. (1) the hatred for white, male, prosperous and/or athletic students exhibited by a portion of the faculty; (2) the failure of those faculty to recognize their responsibilities as teachers, mentors and role-models (3) the apparent compulsion of faculty members to create a false public image of Duke as a cesspool of racism, sexism and violence; (4) the disloyalty of Duke faculty members towards the institution which employs them; (5) the failure of faculty members to understand or value students' rights to due process; (6) the surprisingly meager academic qualifications and scholarship of many such faculty members in light of Duke's tuition cost. Not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.

There could be several subcommittees, to report and make recommendations on different subtopics. Participants should be given academic credit and/or paid by the university.

Someone should be given the specific task of asking Ms. Lubiano when we might expect the eagerly-anticipated and long-awaited publication of 'Mugged by a Metaphor.'

Anonymous said...

Duke University, the perfect storm of political correctness: belligerant professors from the advocacy departments; delusional accuser; spineless college administrators; activist pot-banging crazies, posturing community activists, accused white male athletes; cowardly faculty unable to stand up for their students and oppose the mob.

Anonymous said...

2:45: You forgot the compliant Durham Police Department and the ever-helpful Michael Nifong.

Anonymous said...

12:08 Maryland Esquire---Please talk to everyone much, much later. You're a boring loudmouth with too much time on your hands.
So dense that you don't see the boiling racist inside you. You put some effort into a dialogue of reason, but you're just a repetitive hack trying to hide your white racist view of the world by coming down on others for being what you MOST CERTAINLY ARE, hoping you will get some of the stink off you.
What a clueless dolt. What the students are doing is none of your business. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

A Maryland ambulance chaser?


Anonymous said...

Essy-quire couldn't write his way out of a parking ticket.
Well, at least he has posted a few times lately without a racist rant. That's something.
Please.....go away!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:23 that the students (except perhaps those under the direct influence of the Rump) are not paying that much attention to this matter--at least that's what I hear from current Duke parents. Those kids have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. There seems to be a lot more interest in getting basketball tickets than in the fates of their peer defendants. I am not sure many of the students have the time, experience or maturity to appreciate the significance of what has happened at Duke, nor do they have much idea about how to rectify it...which is fine, I guess. THEIR college years at least will not be much marred by this incident.

A lot of Duke parents, alums, and the rest of the world ARE paying attention, however. I expect a moral failing of this magnitude within the faculty (which they publicized and continue to publicize themselves) to be recognized and addressed by the adults through a variety of avenues, although the total amount of giving may or may not change significantly. There is every possibility that well to do Duke parents/alums will make up for the deficit in giving just to maintain the appearance all is well at Duke. Even though I believe this is counterproductive to the health of the University, I completely understand their impulse to do so.

But this is a story of injustice and prejudice that has deep resonance for a lot of us, and once the books, movies, etc come out, this incident and the Duke/Durham response is likely to enter the collective consciousness in a way that cannot be easily addressed by the University. The more the Rump publishes about this without the clearly needed apology, the longer it will take to get Duke back on the good foot.

For the record, I have noticed that my childrens' school, which used to send 3 or 4 kids to Duke every year did not send a single student there this past fall. And I have yet to meet anyone connected with Duke (granted these are mostly white Northerners) who has not expressed deep disappointment in the University's response.

I believe the problems at Duke call into question the grounding of the faculty at all colleges. As a parent soon to send some children off to college, I would feel a lot better about Duke if they made some public efforts to deal with the problem. The Economics Dept. statement was
an excellent start, but no sooner was it out than the Rump weighed in with its nonsense. AAARRRGGGGHHH!


Anonymous said...

4:37 - Need counseling much?

Anonymous said...

4:48 - No, I think not. I think I'll keep right on posting.

Keep banging your pot if it makes you feel better, even if no one is left to listen.


Anonymous said...

4:37: Oh look, an ad hominum.

You take back the night if you like. I enjoy the sunshine of truth.