Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More on the CCI

Having gone through the full report of the Campus Culture Initiative, it’s easy to see why it received such a tepid reception from President Brodhead. The report combines a series of unobjectionable, even laudable, recommendations with persistent references to “last spring’s lacrosse event” that act as if time stopped on March 31st, when the potbangers, Group of 88, and Mike Nifong were still riding high.

The theme of the lacrosse case has been flawed procedures beget flawed results. The CCI’s record conforms to the pattern. With three of the committee’s four subgroups chaired or co-chaired by among the campus’ most extreme critics of the lacrosse team, is it any wonder that the CCI produced a report that validated the worldview of . . . the campus’ most extreme critics of the lacrosse team?


The two workable recommendations:

(1) create more physical space for student social activity around campus;

(2) streamline the faculty administrative structure to increase faculty-student interaction.

It’s hard to see how anyone could object to either of these goals, and Brodhead should allow these two and only these two items to form the legacy of the CCI.


Three minor items give a sense of the report’s quality and biases:

(1) The report’s first line: “Duke University is a university of the 21st century, emboldened and challenged by the dynamics of a changing world.” Is there any university in the country to which this statement would not apply?

(2) The 25-page report—a product of months-long inquiry by prestigious academics—cited a grand total of two (2) publications. The chosen duo? William Bowen’s screed against Division I athletics; and Janet Reitman’s widely disparaged Rolling Stone article—which, perhaps because it places the Duke student body in the worst possible light, is assigned reading in Anne Allison's spring semester class. Apparently, CCI members decided not even to try to conceal the membership’s biases.

(3) The report listed four and only four campus groups and offices with which CCI members “connected”: the Women’s Center; the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life; the Council on Civic Engagement; and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture. Some might suggest that this quartet would provide a rather one-sided view of campus culture.


The Alcohol subgroup was the only subgroup not chaired by an extreme critic of the lacrosse program. The recommendations of the CCI’s alcohol subgroup recognize the difficulty of alcohol on contemporary college campuses, but do not single out athletes as any worse (or better) than all Duke students on this question. This section, no doubt, will pose problems for the latter-day neo-prohibitionists among the Group of 88.


Other items in the report are unintentionally revealing.

(1) “There are often pressures for conformity which work against our institutional vision as an inclusive academic community.” (p. i) “The Committee came to better understand problems that exist—ranging from simple acts of uncivil speech and intolerance to what some have called a ‘culture of excess.’” (p. 4) “Last spring’s events revealed that Duke must do better in learning how to engage difference constructively.” (p. 8)

Some might think that these statements describe the potbangers or the Group of 88. In fact, the report’s implication is that those who opposed the potbangers or the Group of 88 were guilty of exercising “pressures for conformity” or engaging in “uncivil speech and intolerance” or of failing “to engage difference constructively.”

(2) “Last spring’s lacrosse event and its ensuing controversies evoked strong emotions and discussions about issues of race and gender, class and privilege, difference and respect, athletics and academics, and town and gown.” (p. 1)

It appears as if CCI members suffered from a form of Durham Rip van Winkle disease, having gone to sleep on or about April 6 and missed “strong emotions and discussions” about issues of faculty groupthink, prosecutorial misconduct, a rush-to-judgment mentality, or professors who fail to respect all their students, regardless of race, gender, or athletic status.

Those “ensuing controversies” the CCI members were bound and determined to ignore. I wonder why?

(3) “In their first year at Duke, about 15% of Black students reported that Duke instructors treated them badly because of their race/ethnicity,” as opposed to much smaller percentages for other groups. (p. 6)

This claim is a shocking one: the CCI has suggested, without any hard investigation, that a considerable portion of Duke faculty members engage in racist behavior.

(4) [update, 1.12am]: A commenter notes, “I was astonished to read in the CCI report that the Duke Class of 2010 includes 41 percent students of color. Yet, the next paragraph calls for additional consideration for admissions from 'under-represented groups.' What groups could remain under-represented?”

A good question, to which the CCI offered no answer.

(5) “Analyses conducted over the last four years indicate that this decision has increased the number of students who are not adequately prepared to benefit from, or contribute to, the work of the academic community, event with enhanced academic support services. This places Duke’s admirable graduation rates at risk, reinforces negative stereotypes, and does not serve the best interests of these students themselves, their peers, or their faculty.” (p. 22)

Reread the statement above. Some might think it came from an ultra-conservative critic of “diversity” college admissions policies.

But it came from the CCI. For those who guessed that it refers not to African-American students with poor SAT scores and pre-Duke academic preparation, but instead refers to a class of Duke students consistently targeted by the Group of 88 and figures such as Peter Wood and Orin Starn, a free guest pass to the next “Shut Up and Teach” event is yours for the taking.


In the end, there never was any doubt about what the CCI would produce, with Peter Wood and Group of 88 members Karla Holloway and Anne Allison chairing or co-chairing three of its four subgroups. As a Chronicle editorial noted a few weeks back, “The composition of the CCI’s steering committee has hurt its credibility . . . 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 most chilling provision of the CCI report is the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative, with the Group seeking to use the lacrosse case to force all Duke students to take their classes. The report urges a requirement that all Duke students take a class that engages “the reality of difference in American society and culture. The vast majority of these offerings are taught by . . . the Group of 88.

Over the past 10 months, most Group of 88 members have made clear their belief that the Faculty Handbook provisions requiring Duke professors to treat all students with respect do not apply to them. The idea that all Duke students should be forced to take a class from a Group of 88 professor or a handful of the Group’s ideological allies in the name of “improving campus culture” is Orwellian.


Anonymous said...

I have a son at Duke and I'll be damned if I am going to sit still and say nothing if these buffoons try to force a "diversity class" requirement on the student body. I guess one thing that Duke has going for it right now is that the spotlight is on every part of the school at the moment. Nonsense like this going on at Harvard, et al, is not being noticed.

Anonymous said...

As a mom of a college student, I know there are real dangers associated with alcohol and drugs (which were found at the Black fraternity where a Duke student was reportedly raped). I used the LAX case to point out to my child that alcohol does not generate good behavior. I've never heard anyone say, "I'm so glad I got drunk last night."
In this vein, I know there are issues with alcohol and drug consumption that need to be addressed on most college campuses and in most high schools. It is a terrible problem.
One interesting fact is that alcoholism and drug additions progress at a must faster pace during the teen years. That is one reason why kids who don't consume until they are at least 21 are less likely to develop additions.
Across the US parents allow kids to drink in their homes because they accept that will drink anyway. I know cases where parents supplied the alcohol.
This stupid report does not address any of these problems. As a mom, the only thing that I know can counteract alcohol and drug consumption is a zero tolerance policy with severe consequences when it is consumed.
I wish that the CCI would have thoughtfully developed a set of sever consequences for underage drinking and drugs. Instead, they continue their diatribe about race and culture. Additions know no race.
This was an opportunity missed.

Michael said...

re: 12:32

I would think that a change to requirements would only affect future classes. It would be very bad form to change stated requirements after they've been published.

It would seem to me that requirements when you enrolled are similar to a contract. I'm not a lawyer but if a school says this is what you need to graduate, that they can't go back and later change that.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

You are a better man than I am Prof Johnson, I could not get past the openning paragraph describing to us where Duke is located.

Of course that is ultimately some of the power of such people. They gain power by writing such reports from such committees that the actual scholars at Duke are too busy conducting research and teaching rigorous classes to deal with. Thanks for your efforts in reading it all and reporting on it to us.

Anonymous said...

The idea that all Duke students should be forced to take a class from a Group of 88 professor or a handful of the Group’s ideological allies in the name of “improving campus culture” is Orwellian.

What the Lax Hoax has made obvious is that the Group of 88 and their potbanging colleagues are the ones in need of re-education. They need to get over their hideous prejudices and learn to think logically.

Anonymous said...

I was astonished to read in the CCI report that the Duke Class of 2010 includes 41 percent "students of color." Yet, the next paragraph calls for additional consideration for admissions from "under-represented groups." What groups could remain under-represented?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your analysis of the CCI. That the "Rolling Stones" article is cited in the report says worlds about how the campus culture critics obtain their knowledge of the culture they profess to know firsthand.

As a student, I was always a little wary of professors who were overly involved in "student culture." I thought drinking, partying, socializing, determining living and eating arrangements, everybody getting along, etc., were the domain of the Dean of Students and related staff (for which there is a big budget).

I don't sense a real concern for students among those faculty who complain so vociferously about current campus culture, whatever the hell that is. It sounds so monolithic. Poor Peter Lange has to waste his time dealing with the foolishness in this CCI report.

dhd said...

Thanks for your analysis of the CCI. That the "Rolling Stones" article is cited in the report says worlds about how the campus culture critics obtain their knowledge of the culture they profess to know firsthand.

As a student, I was always a little wary of professors who were overly involved in "student culture." I thought drinking, partying, socializing, determining living and eating arrangements, everybody getting along, etc., were the domain of the Dean of Students and related staff (for which there is a big budget).

I don't sense a real concern for students among those faculty who complain so vociferously about current campus culture, whatever the hell that is. It sounds so monolithic. Poor Peter Lange has to waste his time dealing with the foolishness in this CCI report.

Anonymous said...

I know of several universities that have had diversity seminars and lectures for their faculty. It was only a matter of time until some group, somewhere, suggested a mandatory diversity course for students. It just happened to be Duke. My guess is that the idea will be reduced to some freshman orientation activity that the students will have to suffer through. It's so hard to just say "no" to the politcally correct because they start howling about victimization and exclusion.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts:
1. I read Broadhead's response as "keep your hands off athletics."
2. As to the statement to raise the minimum standards for admission because Duke's practice "has increased the number of students who are not adequately prepared to benefit from, or contribute to, the work of the academic community, even with enhanced academic support services", this brings up a suspicion I have had for some time that a lower admission standard could be a class action time bomb (I am speaking of some universities and colleges generally and am not speaking of Duke since I don't know their practices). Nationwide, some students are being accepted into some universities and colleges where, as a statistical matter, their chances of graduating are slim. The universities take their tuition dollars for the period of time they are at school until the times they leave without graduating. If they are not told about their low probabilities of obtaining a degree, there may be a claim there. Having stated that, I must also state that I am a propoent of a limited and surgical affirmative action program -- I think it can greatly benefit a university.

Anonymous said...

I would not take a "diversity" course. I grew up in a diverse neighborhood in the Northeast, and I don't need a lesson.

The Duke I attended divided the University in three - sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Graduation required a major, 4 courses in one division outside the major, two courses in the third division, two seminars, and English Comp (which I tested out of). Part of the reason I attended Duke was that the curriculum was so flexible. I finished three majors (including 2 lab sciences), Physics, Math, Comp Sci, a few grad classes, a major in History, three semesters of Russian, some Art History, a couple of Political Science courses, and I drank my butt off 7 days a week and twice on Sundays.

The Duke student body should stop taking crap from its faculty. It took me some time in high school to realize I was smarter than my teachers - that they made a living teaching Trig while real math students were years beyond them. It's time for Duke students to stand up and realize they have more common sense than their professors and administrators.


Anonymous said...

On My!! I miss all this out playing local horticulturist (or picking up dog doo doo in my yard!). Did I miss anything important? They always slip those miserable things in when I'm not around.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, when do you sleep?

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the CCI wants faculty to now have an active role in the admissions process as well. Each time I look at this something new jumps out.

It's nothing more than a power grab.


Anonymous said...

There is nothing surprising about the CCI document. It is typical of similar documents produced yearly at many of the nations colleges and universities. The committees, task forces or strategic planning groups that produce such documents are dominated by faculty and administrators who have an institutional stake in their outcome.

It is typical that the faculty chosen for the committees are from the various identity programs and departments such AAAS, women's studies, Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered studies, Latino/Latina studies, etc. The staff come from offices of multiculturalism or institutional diversity.

What is more to they point, anyone who is critical of the obvious political agenda of these groups is systematically prevented from serving on such committees.

It is absolutely standard university policy at most colleges and universities to simply franchise university policy concerning race, gender, religion and sexuality to faculty such as the group of 88 and their administrative allies.

The influence of these groups extends moreover into other areas of university governance where in the name of inclusion they are overrepresented on important committees that govern curriculum, executive searches, and advise on such matters as hiring, admissions and financial aid as well as the regulation of such student activity areas as the school paper and the regulation of student groups and behavior. It is these groups that have created the draconian speech codes and biased anti-harassment policies that implicitly target white males.

It is very good that the Duke lacrosse case has exposed much of these destructive university practices. It is a cautionary tale for other universities to see where there processes can lead. But it is important to realize that a lot of people at universities have a stake in "owning" the diversity portion of the university and they will not give it up without a battle. What's more, they have a lot of patience because in many cases they have nothing else to contribute to the university, particularly staff members in student affairs.

One of most revealing aspects of the problem can be seen by comparing the salaries and titles of staff members who are involved with diversity with the salaries and titles of staff such as departmental secretaries who are primarily involved with academics.

A good departmental secretary with twenty years of experience may be making $35,000 a year as compared with in assistant vice president for diversity who will make two to three times that salary. Such discrepencies are completely unjustified in terms of their contributions to the university. Nor can it be justified in terns of diversity since the underpaid staff are often minorities.

The damaging part of such staff inequities is that they create an entire class of administrators whose sole purpose is to perpetuate a myth of campuswide pervasive racism and sexual violence. That such claims fly in the face of continuing preferential treatment for women and minorities in almost all areas of university life makes no difference since the inflated salares of such staff members are justified by such claims and it is in their personal interest to make them.

This is a problem that is not going to go away easily. College administrations have invested heavily in the creation of a huge diversity enterprise. It is essentially a form of protection against charges of racism and insensitivity to minorities and women. And above all it is hoped that it will lessen the possibility of embarassing incidents and will help contain demonstrations and sit-ins which may arise from if such incidents actually occur.

As the Duke case clearly shows, this administrative strategy creates more problems than it solves.

Anonymous said...

There's a great old line, 'careful what you ask for, you might get it!' which the G88 might usefully consider. If they require all students to take their classes, rather than just those predisposed to believe their nonsense, they will lose ideological control and get a lot of challenge. Might be good for them!

Anonymous said...


Suffering and Evil in Black Life

"Explores the black Christian tradition with respect to the problem of suffering and evil in black life. Against the backdrop of the problem of evil in church history, the course provides a historic overview of perspectives on suffering and redemption articulated by African-American Christians such as Maria Stewart and Martin Luther King, Jr."

Everyone needs should be forced to take the class above, should they not? It is a Methodist-founded institution, is it not? Where's the problem.

One could complete a Ph.D. on whether people who hate donate more or less to charity? One may have difficult finding an advisor...

or, in order to complete the indoctrination one could marry religion and

SXL 115S-01 - Study of Sexualities

Study of Sexualities

"Topics include homosexuality and theory, history, law, religion, education, the arts and literature, the military, and the health sciences"

It seems intuitive that this indoctrination should be held in the Duke Chapel. Of course we'll need to change the name from "Chapel" to "non-secular meeting venue" so as not to upset our Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, etc., brothers and sisters.

Who could possibly disagree with a plan such as this?

It IS for the children.

Anonymous said...

"A message from the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions:...

...We like students who make intelligent and interesting mistakes, students who understand that only in risking failure do we become stronger, better, and smarter."

Duke Admissions-Who we are looking for?

The CCI gives new meaning to the aforementioned admissions objective. Future graduates, once the hit the job market will fully understand the meaning of "INTERESTING MISTAKES" as mentioned above. We paid over $200,000 for this "education"?!?!


"We want to help you achieve your very best."

Best at becoming a race baiting, bigot? Best at deconstructing the English language? Best at revisionist history? Best hypocrite? Best noise maker? Most clever sign-maker?

Best at sending innocent Duke Students and classmates to prison?!?!

The race to the bottom is becoming more competitive every day.

Anonymous said...

This morning, the CCI report was met with much fanfare on my local TV news station WGHP -High Point.It may have been a copy of stock footage from a Durham station,But the two gang of 88 members featured were in contol and almost seemed sane during ther seconds of air time.It would be a great public service to have a concerted effort to educate the news staffs of stations around the state as to the true underlying motives of the authors of this piece of radical fiction. This looks like a job for the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

"Some might suggest that this quartet would provide a rather one-sided view of campus culture."

What do you expect? Leftist academics consider the other groups (college Republicans, religious organizations, etc.) as representatives of the elite who ALREADY have a voice.

They just can't bring themselves to understand that no matter what color, these are all young kids who- for the most part- are trying to make it on their own in the world for the first time. However, it is easier to treat them as archetypes of their representative races.

J. Kaiser

Anonymous said...

KC & all;
More North Carolina/Durham self serving ethics. No wonder Toyota passed over North Carolina for Mississippi for construction of its new SUV plant.

A must read in the March 12 FORBES magazine page 42. Below are just a few paragraphs.


Pensions, Pols, Payola
Neil Weinberg 03.12.07

The case of Richard Moore is particularly galling, for this man has built his career crusading against conflicts of interest on Wall Street. He calls himself "North Carolina's elected guardian of the state treasury" and advises the New York Stock Exchange on good governance. He forces investment banks that work for the state to swear off conflicts. In 2002, amid a raft of corporate scandals, he grandstanded before a U.S. Senate commerce committee: "We are demanding that broker/dealers and money managers eliminate actual and potential conflict of interest from the way they pay analysts and conduct their affairs."
When asked for the state-mandated reports, Moore said they were unavailable. He handed over data on payments to fund managers only after FORBES prepared to take him to court ( his constituents can get their first peek here).

Did we say unrepentant? This is almost comical: To handle FORBES' inquiries, Moore's office retained the Durham, N.C. law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and it turns out lawyers from that firm kicked in $34,560 to Moore's campaigns.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead needs to much more severely limit the scope of this. It is important to understand that this is not the majority of professors on campus and they must be put in their place which is not on Duke's campus.

Anonymous said...

Making a Difference

Recommit to Diversity and Access
"Throughout the plan, we renew our commitment to being a university composed of different people from different parts of the country and the world. More than a third of Duke's undergraduates are now students of color. The percentage of African-American faculty members doubled in a ten-year span and enhancing faculty diversity remains a major priority. A third of all graduate and professional students comes from other countries, as do many undergraduates and faculty. We also are expanding our many collaborations across Durham, the region and the world."

Dr. Brodhead's Strategic Plan (NOT CCI) letter
"Over the past two years, people across the Duke community have come together to plan our future...

...Our plan looks beyond the traditional model of universities...

...The important problems of the contemporary world exceed the scope of any single discipline. ...cultural differences and ethical values...

More than ever, we will prepare students to approach issues with creativity, flexibility and a curious mind. Engagement across lines of race, ethnicity, religion and national culture will become more important as training for an increasingly interconnected world..."

A New Model

Like creative ways to defend oneself from false felony charges? Flexible ways to reconstruct history (Listening Statement?), and a curious mind (Why are hasn't the University Leadership defended their students?)

It appears that the INACTION in regards to the rape hoax is consistent with execution of the five-year plan.

Anonymous said...

Three pts.
The CCI and 88ers seem to talk/make suggestions as if the evidence proves that the rape etc. did happen. Sometimes I wonder what they would have outlined if there really was a rape, than again i wonder if it matters to them.

Second, one of the issues that needs to be addressed with these diversity courses is how does one teach these courses without creating or reinforcing sterotypes. When I taught at a variety of colleges (in a Soc. dept) I never had that adequately explained.

Lastly, the suggestion for required classes will not sit well with the other faculty members. They realize that they need students in their classes/majors. At my former school where I taught when they passed a diversity requirement all the depts. said okay that is fine as along as my class XXX counts as a diversity requirment. There were some tense faculty meetings.

Anonymous said...

12:52 AM--
You're right that most curricular requirements changes are imposed prospectively--at least that has been the experience of my Duke children (classes of 2004 and 2008)--their requirements differed based on their admission years, even though some changes have been made during their time at Duke. I'm not sure the university would have any true contractual obligation to determine each student's graduation requirements according to their date of enrollment, but it's obviously good policy--both because it allows students to plan their four-year programs coherently and because it avoids understandable unhappiness from students who may find that they took courses they can't use or must take additional courses to meet requirements.

By and large the requirements at Duke are fairly flexible--students have a wide range of choices within each requirement--but there are a lot of them, so students still find themselves working out matrices of requirements like puzzles, especially if they are trying to complete double majors, minors, or certificate programs. (My daughter selected one class this semester because she can count it toward her Econ minor, her Markets and Management Studies certificate, and--most importantly--her requirement of 3 writing-intensive classes. Luckily, it turns out to be an interesting and well-taught class, on US international economic policy, but she would probably have had to take it even if it were not or go to summer school to get all the credits she needs).

The Cross-cultural Inquiry requirement that the CCI report seeks to change is now very broad and fairly easily accommodated, applying to a lot of classes that deal with non-US history, politics, or arts as well as upper-level foreign language classes, world religion classes, and many classes covering African-American history or culture, gender, or sexuality. The main difference the proposed requirement would impose is that one of any student's 2 required CCI classes would have to focus on difference within US culture, rather than beyond it. Many students already meet their CCI requirement with such courses--and some of them (not all) are excellent courses, fostering serious inquiry and supported with challenging reading lists--not all such classes are merely polemic harangues, despite the assumptions of some of the commenters on this board. Nevertheless, it's hard to see how adopting this new requirement would clearly benefit anyone other than the departments offering these classes. It's hard enough creating a meaningful learning experience for students in any class they are taking because it's required, rather than because they freely selected it; in this case, where the requirement comes with an implicit judgment (i.e., you have to take this class because we suspect you of lacking sufficient racial or gender sensitivity), it seems even less likely that the students would actually take much of value from the class. Instead, they would resist truly engaging and "play" it--figure out how to parrot back what they think the instructor wants to hear and then forget about it.
That being said, if the university could figure out a meaningful way to get students engaged in a real dialogue with each other about these issues (one where everyone, regardless of race or gender, comes in with an open mind, an equal opportunity to speak and an equal willingness to listen), so that they could actually see each other beyond the stereotypical cultural assumptions they may have brought with them to college, it would be a very useful thing. It seems unlikely such a task could be accomplished in a course, though, and even less likely that it could be accomplished through this proposed requirement.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that every member of the Campus Culture Initiative Steering Committee was appointed by "bad enough" Brodhead. That he limply tries to hedge now that the useless CCI report is out is typical of his "leadership" style. Brodhead always likes to be very vague, but when you can figure out what he's saying, it's hardly ever impressive. If he's not mouthing PC platitudes for a PC-crowd, he has no clue. He gives "tepid" a bad name.

As another poster observed, it's very likely that "bad-enough"'s hesitation about CCI's plans arises not from any principle, but because the tentacles of CCI-ism threaten to encroach on Duke basketball. Poor, conflicted Brodhead can't pander to one interest group without antagonizing another.

Enough: a secret Brodhead Relocation Elsewhere Steering Committee must have been formed months ago. Where is its report?

Anonymous said...

The most chilling provision of the CCI report is the Group of 88 Enrollment Initiative, with the Group seeking to use the lacrosse case to force all Duke students to take their classes.

It is chilling in the abstract but would not be in the reality. It would turn out to be large sections, routine assignments, probably an easy A. The courses would become the object of jokes, very similar to some of their courses now. You'd be amazed at how quickly Duke students can learn to swing around the lingo, and then mock it.

On the other hand, other courses currently given, including some in comparative religion, are substantial, excellent and pertinent to major world events of the present day.

AMac said...

The necessary counterpoint to KC Johnson isn't provided by the self-beclowned membership of the Group of 88, qua hoax enablers or qua CCI authors.

To get a sense of the problems that face Duke and similarly-situated private universities, read Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons." It is an exaggerated portrait of what's wrong with a privileged culture of entitlement, boozing, hook-ups, and anti-intellectualism. As is Wolfe's wont, nobody comes out looking particularly good.

If I were part of Duke's community, I, too, would be vexed by this unflattering picture: how real is it; what can and should the institution do about it? That the dopey "More Sensitivity Training!" answer is first in line doesn't mean the question isn't worth asking.

Ex-professor Stuart Rojstaczer has offered schadenfreude-laced anti-lacrosse diatribes, so he's no hero of the hoax. That aside, the acid reflections he offered on Wolfe in a 2004 Durham Herald-Sun Op-Ed (cached here, for now) are worth reading:

--begin excerpt--

[The characters in “I am Charlotte Simmons”] are not the wide-spectrum of students at Duke… we don’t see the eager pre-meds, the granolas, the engineers, the students who want to go on to graduate school and become academics, the just plain serious students, and those who go to the Chapel every Sunday.

Tom Wolfe focuses on the “pond scum” of Duke’s campus. Dumb racist jocks, misogynistic frat boys, submissive/catty sorority girls, and arrogant and insecure academic achievers inhabit Wolfe’s Duke. Wolfe’s characters are vain, obsessed with status, and while generally gorgeous on the outside, are very ugly on the inside…

How real is Wolfe’s Duke? For that slice of the Duke undergraduate body that is represented by Wolfe, I’d say it’s very real… Wolfe’s Duke is a dead on accurate description of about one-third of Duke’s student population…

But what about the other two-thirds? Included in that two-thirds are decent human beings. Included in that two-thirds are students who care about the classes they take.

--end excerpt--

It is not obvious to me how widespread these attitudes are, much less how such issues should be approached. To state an obvious but oft-overlooked point, almost all of Duke's students are adults, and must be treated as such. In these troubling times, the cultural Marxists hold fast to their faith that salvation will come through empowering the 'diversity' elite to mold individuals by guided exposure to narratives of oppression and grievance. This strikes me as both creepy and ineffectual.

Anonymous said...

I wish that the CCI would have thoughtfully developed a set of sever consequences for underage drinking and drugs. Instead, they continue their diatribe about race and culture. Additions know no race.
This was an opportunity missed.

Feb 28, 2007 12:37:00 AM

Yes, an opportunity missed. Alcohol abuse destroys students who otherwise are such wonderful people.

Anonymous said...

I was astonished to read in the CCI report that the Duke Class of 2010 includes 41 percent "students of color."

About 40% of the students currently at Duke are European-heritage students, i.e., "white" students. Of these about 19% are male and 21% are female. So the traditional majority is now a distinct minority.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:59

Very well stated.


"In the end, there never was any doubt about what the CCI would produce..."

Does this qualify as a self-evident truth? Once again Brodhead demonstrates his incompetence (and biases) by fostering yet another PC policy-related activity and putting it in the hands of the very people who are the root cause of the problem.

Does anyone these days believe that university presidents (and trustees) are somehow outside of the Leftist (for moderate Dems, here meaning devout socialist and Marxist), ultra-Liberal and race/gender/quasi-gender PC activists/advocates/leeches? Or is it even more likely that the supposed responsible executives and watchdogs are themselves willing participants in the tragi-comedy being played out in the minds of the young? (The solution is left to the reader.)

For a few examples, see the recent Summers replacement at Harvard (ultra-feminist), or U. of Michigan President's ("As president, she has unveiled several major initiatives that will have an impact on future generations of students, the intellectual life of the campus, and society at large. These include campus initiatives that will examine student residential life, the interdisciplinary richness of the U-M, ethics in our society..." Sound familiar?) response to "affirmative action" changes forced by law. Then there was the recent incident in the CA university system with the lesbian UC Santa Cruz Chancellor. These feminists and their numerous ilk are products of "the long march through the institutions."

There is a disease in the entire area of education; it begins in K-12 and extends through the institutions of "higher learning;" it is of epidemic proportions; and Duke is far from the first to contract it, though the lax case does present a marvelous highlight.

And as for "exceptions" such as Duke athletic policy, it shouldn't be necessary to point out the serious money involved or the regular positive national exposure athletics (re Duke, mostly basketball) provide. Trustees will be sensitive to this at least, and it will marginally influence their otherwise complicit [in]actions.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with a diversity requirement per se, but I would be willing to bet my definition is differnt from what teh CCI wants. At my university the requirement was you had to take at least one class about a culture different then your own. This requirement could be just as easily fufilled in the history department as in the sociology department. You could take an art history course about Chinese art to fufil it for example. I don't really think it is that much of a hardship to say take a class whose focus is on a culture other then yours. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of Duke students already do so. To be clrera this is very differnt then saying you must take a class about tolerance.

Anonymous said...

I see no problem with "diversity requirements". Why is being forced to take a class about, e.g., the Civil Rights movement so bad when kids already -- at least in liberal arts schools -- have to take a math, a science, and an economics class?

Sometimes I think we forget that many active Americans in politics today had parents who weren't real citizens (e.g., Al Sharpton, love him or hate him, his father wasn't allowed to vote for half his life, and his ancestors were "owned" by Strom Thurmond's family... who was a hardcore opponent of desegregation and only left Congress when he died not so many years ago).

Some of you said you came from diverse neighborhoods and don't "need" such a requirement... well, techinically no one "needs" any types of requirements. I certainly -- as an attorney -- don't use my math or economics requirements from college. Also, thats like the son of a businessman saying he doesn't need a econ class.

Look, the Group of 88 are ridiculous caricatures of the far left, campus liberalism. Their ridiculously unfair treatment of their own students doesn't mean that America didn't only became a true Democracy when many of our parents were young (i.e., when all American citizens above the age of 18 were allowed to vote, regardless of gender or race).

I think -- regardless of how liberal or ridiculous some or most of the faculty is in America -- the Civil Rights movement was too IMPORTANT, and, moreover, too RECENT to not be an extremely important thing to remember.

Insofar as colleges have any requirements at all... politics is certainly an important one (after all, politicians make decisions about freedoms, peace and war)... and perhaps the most significant political story of recent times, if not in our history, was the Civil Rights movement.

Am I completely off base here? We cannot really act as if -- just because civil rights are what they are today -- that it wasn't only yesterday that we all had them.

Anonymous said...

The CCI report proposes that group fraternity/sorority living arrangements be discontinued. It strikes me as anti-intellectual, anti-athlete, and anti-self-expression. It places a higher value on empathy for socially marginalized groups than intellectual rigor, elite athletic performance, and social network building. It wants Duke to be something it has never been. The authors knew the existing culture when they applied for employment and have chosen the wrong place to work. Same for the students. Therefore, all should relocate to a university with a more compatible culture. Those not yet there should reconsider their options.

Anonymous said...

I've taken "diversity" classes like those at issue here, for my poli sci major.

I absolutely HATED them... not because of the obvious agenda of those teaching them... but because the simple FACTS about American history -- regardless of the professorial agenda -- made me uncomfortable.

I certainly wouldn't have known most of those ugly things if I never had to take these classes.

I do believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when looking at America today, those people who know the beautiful things about America, as well as the hideous things about our history (including recent history), are the most well-rounded thinkers.

Anonymous said...

Duke Admissions-Who We're Looking For?

You could start by looking for people who understand the difference between nominative and objective pronouns.

Anonymous said...

Starting from when Brodhead told Pressler to pressure the players not to inform their parents of the party's immediate aftermath, I have had one thought: Duke's endowment will be smaller when this is over.

No amount of after the fact corrections can save certain parties in this situation.

Gary Packwood said...

Re: The 41% People of Color Issue at Duke

It might be helpful to take a quick look at the current makeup of the 1.9 Million population here in Houston, Texas. What is happening in Houston is expected to happen across the USA in 10 years or so.

We have no majority population group here in Houston.

Our three primary populations groups are African American Black, Caucasian, and Latinos.

The Caucasian and African American Black people are an aging population as you might expect and the Latino population is very young.

While we plan for more senior citizens services we must also plan for more reproductive health services.

The USA is changing and the 41% person of color estimate for Duke is just the beginning.

Anonymous said...

The most disturbing thing about the CCI report to me was the statment that "agreeing to disagree" is no longer enough. It seems to me that one of the bases of a strong democracy is for people to be able to respect each other even though they agree to disagree on issues.

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the strength of Duke is its incredible student body. If anyone requires "diversity" education it's the members of the CCI themselves. My child and my child's peers have taken upon themselves more "diversity" experiences than my generation did. so when my child applies to duke this fall and perhaps later matriculates I just don't buy the notion my child will need to overcome a "diversity education" deficit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:30. I was in the civil rights movement, spent parts of two summers at Rust College 67 and 68. The likelihood that an 88er is going to teach civil rights accurately is vanishinly small.

And anon 9:38. You don't need diversity courses to learn the good, bad, and ugly about the US. That's basic history. You need diversity courses to learn to hate the US, that being their goal. Also, you will learn ways to excuse atrocities committed by other cultures.

Gary Packwood said...

Behavior of varsity athletes who are not wanted

Thanks to KC for his comprehensive analysis of this document.

KC, you have a remarkable ability to pick up Poop from the clean end.

So the committee takes a passive aggressive position with respect to varsity athletics.

The ‘it is ok if varsity athletes are on the campus but they are not wanted culture’ need to be worked on first before any other cultural initiative at Duke comes before the faculty and students for debate.

Where is James Meredith when you need him?

I can not imagine that varsity athletes are going to voluntarily change their behavior if they are not wanted at Duke.

Anonymous said...

When I read in the CCI report that interactions across racial and ethnic boundaries was worse at Duke than "a cohort of 20 private universities", that seemed to conflict with a study I read about last summer. I went back and found it: "The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education". Its studyis from data gathered during 2001-02. Guess where Duke ranked among 26 universities examined? Yep, #1.

JBHE Diversity Study

An excerpt from the introduction:

"We now have in hand a very large and complete database on institutional performance. This puts us in a position to blend our statistics and provide an overall ranking of the nation's leading universities on their comparative success in bringing African Americans into the ranks of higher education.

We wish to emphasize that our rankings relate only to the institutional integration of African Americans. Our agenda does not include Hispanics, Asians, or other people of color.

Unlike other ranking efforts in the field of higher education, our statistics, without exception, are highly quantitative. This is in sharp contrast to highly impressionistic institutional rankings such as those compiled by U.S. News & World Report in which 25 percent or more of the total ranking score is derived from subjective surveys of university reputations as determined by presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions at other institutions. "

The paragraphs on Duke are:

"1. Duke University (Average Score: 90.36): Duke finished at the top of our survey for the simple reason that it consistently ranked near the top for each category and did not rank anywhere near the bottom in any category. Duke finished no worse than ninth in any one of the 11 categories for which data was available. Duke also had the best performance among the top-ranked universities in its five-year gain in the percentage of blacks in its freshman class. For the 2001-02 academic year, blacks made up a striking 11.2 percent of the first-year class at Duke. This was up from 7.8 percent five years ago. Duke's worst performing category was in the percentage of tenured faculty who are black. However, with a tenured faculty that is 2.7 percent black, Duke still was rated higher in this category than 17 of the other 26 high-prestige universities.

Clearly one explanation for the strong performance of Duke in so many categories is the sincere commitment of President Nan Keohane to racial diversity. Duke's strong improvement in black faculty levels may be attributed to an incentive plan which makes it highly advantageous for academic departments to engage black faculty.

This high ranking does not mean that Duke University is a Shangri-la for black students. Serious racial issues remain on the Duke campus. Residential segregation has been a problem in recent years. Some observers have noted that there is little overall interaction between many black and white students on the Duke campus. Also, there has been a high rate of faculty turnover among blacks.

A decade ago, Harvard's Henry Louis Gates Jr. called his one year experience at Duke the most racist experience of his academic life. But clearly the climate at Duke for both black students and black faculty has improved immeasurably since that time."

Anonymous said...

So the findings of one of the five committees looking into the shameful happenings at Duke is as follows…

1. Duke needs more “gathering spaces for all students” because “white, heterosexual males dominate the social space on campus.”
2. Duke should do away with allowing the white boys to room together
3. College kids drink too much
4. Emphasize the importance of teaching to the faculty ( I laughed out loud when I read this one)
5. Add race appreciation classes
6. More minority faculty and students
7. Get them darn athletes under control

I can’t wait for the findings from the other four skulks – I mean committees – to come out. I’m betting we won’t see anything about denouncing and punishing the gang of 88. I’ll wager that we won’t hear about the real discrimination that took place on the Duke campus. I’ll give you odds that we won’t have an apology from Brodhead for his lack of real and timely leadership on this issue. Any takers?

Anonymous said...

Stunning - the Blind Spots these reclusive academes have, all the while presuming themselves qualified to instruct on the 'real world changes' -

Anonymous said...

No "Anger Management" for 88 Proff's ?

Quite an oversight.

Anonymous said...

40,000+ per year and the assigned reading is Rolling Stone?
WTH is going on over there? Do you purchase your bong at the bookstore when you purchase the rag? The world truly has gone stark raving mad.

Anonymous said...

"I certainly -- as an attorney -- don't use my math or economics requirements from college." I think your not using your cognitive requirements either.

"Am I completely off base here?" Yes, and long winded too.

Anonymous said...

There are, of course, other options. I heard that an Evangelical group founded a school that is designed to serve as a direct pipeline into intimate conservative politics.

There is also BYU. There are other places, as well.

Yes, advocate for changes at Duke and wherever your alma mater may be... but if you hate academia so much, go to one of those "alternative" schools. Or VMI!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03...

Great! A counterpoint... please do provide reasons why -- aside from being long-winded -- my post "lacked cognitive requirements", whatever said "cognitive requirements" may be in an undergraduate liberal arts education.

What did you disagree with? Do you believe a real democracy exists when some citizens, based on race or ethnicity or gender, are unable to participate in the Democratic process? Or do you agree that America only truly became a democracy some time in the 1960s?

I believe the latter. I don't hate America, I just won't allow my patriotism to fool myself into believing irrational things, like labeling one's country a proverbial "land of the free" before it actually became same.

Anonymous said...

In the report, it says females have higher GPA than their male counterparts and write honors theses at higher rates. This is seen as a positive fact in the report. I am certain that if it was the opposite (men had higher GPAs), then the report would outline some institutional gender bias that leads to this result. This suggests that helping females perform well academically is a higher priority than helping men (I'm not saying this is the case because women have a higher GPA; that could by due to a variety of factors such as hard work, dedication, etc; I'm saying it because these professors clearly see that as a positive thing, suggesting that they have been working hard to do something about it). This can be summarized by a leading female educational administrator (I forget who it was, and I don't know the exact quote, but it went something like this): "When girls underachieved, we were told to fix the institution. When boys underachieved, we were told to fix the boy."

Anonymous said...

6:59 AM, thanks for your comment on the huge diversity enterprise thatis sweeping higher education. I hope that you publish it in many places.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, thank you. Your, sir, are an inspiration. Bill Anderson's September '06 piece on modern Reichtag fires was dead on: the Enrollment Initiative is the G88's grab for more, using the hoax as their 'fire' for justification. Rather than using legitimate methods to compete civilly and professionally, the G88 resorts to supporting false criminal allegations. This type of action is beyond uncivil - it is itself criminal. False allegations are always dangerous, to the individual and to the foundations of society.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:30 AM said:

I see no problem with "diversity requirements". Why is being forced to take a class about, e.g., the Civil Rights movement so bad when kids already -- at least in liberal arts schools -- have to take a math, a science, and an economics class?

Few could argue against a class about the Civil Rights Movement because it is an important part of our history, however I don't think that type of class is what these proponents of a diversity requirement have in mind. Professor Johnson has done an admirable job in showing us some of the different courses that the G88 already "teach".

dhd said...

6:59 AM, thanks for your comment on the huge diversity enterprise thatis sweeping higher education. I hope that you publish it in many places.

Anonymous said...

When are the potbangers and group of 88 going to don their proper garb of big shoes, red noses, floppy clothes and horns and all try to fit into a volkswagen bug together, as they did last year?

Anonymous said...

"Cognitive requirements" relates to the process of acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning. Look it up. It could have been useful in your college education.

"What did you disagree with?" Mandatory hate-filled "sensitivity" training disguised as a university course conducted by venom spouting useful idiots. A sound course in U.S. History will incorporate all of the problems you seem to have with the U.S. in addition to outlining a few of the good things, which you, of course, ignore.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling Brodhead has played this one well, so far: he avoided a potential "no confidence" vote from the faculty (which has resulted in the departure of two presidents in recent years). Now that things have calmed down, he's going to let the 88 and sympathizers be marginalized.

He's still got a problem with the civil suits from parents, but the longer the state takes to resolve the criminal case, the better off he is -- time is on his side.

Hate to say this, but he looks fairly good at this point.

Unknown said...

12:37:00 AM said: I've never heard anyone say, "I'm so glad I got drunk last night."

I personally have often been very glad of getting drunk. I have done many things while drunk that I might not have done otherwise, and while these things were not always well-considered they have on balance added greatly to the richness of my life.

One interesting fact is that alcoholism and drug additions progress at a must faster pace during the teen years.

The fact is actually that teenagers are full of youthful bravado and habitually take risks in a wide range of activities. Assuming they don't get themselves killed during this period they usually mature into more sensible behavior of their own accord.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03. As to democracy and restricted franchise--or slavery--see classical Greece and republican Rome.

I understand that the franchise was in no way restricted in the Soviet Union. Saddaam got north of 99% in his last election, with a pretty good turnout, too.

I suppose you could say that we didn't qualify as "land of the free" until all could vote, but, see above. I'd be inclined to quibble at the label if slavery were still legal.

I doubt you'd be interested in "land of the freest", since that would still have us looking pretty good, the antithesis of the diversity studies' goal, despite being accurate.

Who, exactly, has to have the franchise for us to glory in your admission that we're a democracy? Illegal aliens? Criminals? Or do we have a moving target?

Couple of clues: If I was in the civil rights movement forty years ago, I've been an adult for forty years. Hard to think of a new one to pull on me. And I've hung around with the leftist crowd from time to time. Seen how they think and...hard to think of a new one to pull on me.

Unknown said...

The report contains two telling premises:

1. Last spring’s events evoked intense feelings, which had accumulated over time, and
reactions on campus and beyond were polarized along dimensions of difference and
group identities: gender/sexuality, race and ethnicity, and athletics.

2. The strong reactions to the events of last spring were not confined to social life but also
pervaded the classroom and larger community, threatening the belief of many that they
belonged to, and were valued members of, the Duke and Durham communities.

These premises assume that something happened last spring that requires the University to look deeply at certain social issues related to sex, gender and race. But, the fact remains that nothing happened last spring that would call for such in an inquiry. As I see it, two things did happen: A bunch of lacrosse players paid two strippers to perform at their house and a reaction by the left wing on campus to an alleged crime that as it turns probably did not happen. Neither of these two "events" support the kind of inquiry sought in the report.

What should be the subject of inquiry is the attempt at throught control by certain academics at Duke who arrogantly believe they should have a monopoly on the unviversity's LAS curriculum. This is condescending and patronizing to Duke students.

I am offended that some universities (not just Duke) seek to impose certain ideologies upon its students. While I realize that some Universities (my alma mater for example, University of Chicago) do impose certain minimum requirements from the Western canon, these requirements are intended to provoke thought and dialogue not impose a speciific viewpoint or perspective. I doubt reading Sophocles' Antigone could be viewed as an attempt to indoctrinate college students.

Given the composition of the CCI, I suspect the agenda is not to provoke clear thinking but to impose ideology. That's a subtle form of fascism.

Gary Packwood said...

European Heritage and Diversity Training at Duke.

It now appears that Duke is about to run off third generation college student applicants whose families are successful and prosperous Roman Catholic Irish, Italians and Germans.

In just a few years I can envision the need for a special diversity fund drive at Duke to bring speakers to the campus for discussions about European heritage and culture. Students will not be available on campus to speak about such matters.

Paid speakers will talk about the historical signifance of Europeans suupport for the arts and athletics along with the old problems during the 1920’s of steel mills in Cleveland and Chicago advertising …IRISH NEED NOT APPLY…next to their Help Wanted sign on the front gates.

Duke students will be just mesmerized with all this new learning about diversity and will cluster around TV sets on Monday evening to watch …The Antiques Road Show.

Diversity professors will be expected to take notes.

Ms. Finnerty, Ms. Evans and Ms. Seligman of course, will step forward to launch that special fund drive...for diversity …at Duke.

Anonymous said...

9:34 AM--
Actually, there are no group sorority living arrangements at Duke. Only fraternities have selective living group sections on campus; sororities are non-residential either on or off-campus. I don't know the history of this distinction, though it does, presumably, affect the balance of males and females living on West Campus. There are also other selective living groups, some of which seem to have specific goals and purposes--an arts theme house, a foreign language group, the Baldwin Scholars, which is a women's leadership program--and some of which are self-defined groups that appear to perform some of the same functions as Greek organizations, such as scheduling social events and community service activities, but without all the baggage (or the single-sex membership requirements) of traditional fraternities and sororities. The one such group for which I could find a website appears to be very ethnically diverse, which would seem to counter the CCI claim that such arrangements decrease diversity--but it is only one of many and may not be typical.

becket03 said...

The report is part of a decades long effort by political activists to force the "dominant" culture into submission to the favored cultures of those same political activists.

It's sheer pretense to contend that hierarchies -- and therefore dominance -- are not evident in every culture and society that's ever existed, including those deemed "marginalized" by the lights of CCI leftwingers. What CCI really wants is to replace Jock dominance with LGBT dominance, or African-American dominance, or some other favored group's dominance.

Talk of egalitarianism is just that: TALK. It has never been demonstrated anywhere in the history of homo sapiens or in any other natural domain in the entire history of the planet.

Our bodies themselves are, as Camille Paglia wrote, "fascist" in their rigid hierarchy, and dominance and submission is so intricately tied into our everyday lives that we barely notice it.

When I speak, I dominate the airwaves around your head. When you speak, you dominate the airwaves around mine. If we both speak, nonsense and confusion dominates.

So also for childish dreams of egalitarianism -- where all speak at once.


AMac said...

Beckett03 3:06pm --

As Lenin remarked, Who? Whom? Who is in a position to do down whom? In "Charlotte Simmons," Tom Wolfe made a point quite similar to yours through the character of Professor Quat--a blowhard whose abundant hypocrisy and doctrinaire Marxism would have made him into the eighty-ninth, had the book been written a few years later.

Anonymous said...

9:01 "It is chilling in the abstract but would not be in the reality. It would turn out to be large sections, routine assignments, probably an easy A. The courses would become the object of jokes, very similar to some of their courses now. You'd be amazed at how quickly Duke Students can learn to swing around the lingo, and then mock it."

At $46,000 per year one should be able find something more funny to joke about. Hell at three hours for one year the equivalent tuition could be used to bring Chappell in for the entire semester and further expose the hypocrisy of the Gang of 88.

These race/gender/class warfare programs are a joke, which is why they are attempting to mandate indoctrination. It is criminal at any price.

The opportunity cost is both hard dollars and time being spent is criminal. These students could be attending a class that lifts the human spirit and society and the University could be allocating the resources for research that could be saving lives.

This stuff is bull shit indoctrination - plain and simple.

If someone prefers to pay for it, more power to them, but don't mandate that others must jump in the goose-stepping.

Anonymous said...

"...and perhaps the most significant political story of recent times, if not in our history, was the Civil Rights movement."

From where I sit, this is off base. To think the Chinese, Indians, Eastern Europeans, et al are too terribly concerned about our Civil Rights movement is very short-sighted. They are training for the future.

History is great, and important to some, but to force indoctrination to all, at that tuition rate, or any cost, is criminal. There is an opportunity cost.

Anonymous said...

12:11 I'm not certain, but think we're actually a representative republic - something to do with protecting the minority. And, that concept was executed by the founders, who most reasonable people would agree achieved much more than what happened during the 1960's. Those men were truely disruptive in a political sense and clearly staked everything on the outcome of their beliefs.

becket03 said...

amac 4:PM

You see marxism in my remarks? A blowhard I could live with. But marxism? The dictatorship of the proletariat jumps out at you when you see egalitarianism challenged?

Alrighty then...interesting perspective.

BTW, Hilton Kramer, a god to The New Criterion editors and longtime critic of the egalitarian impulse, and even David Pryce-Jones, whom you linked to, would probably find little to object to in my remarks. Why you think that link refutes my argument is a bit of a mystery.

Anyway I don't want to hijack DIW to discuss this off-topic issue. Sorry you seem to have misunderstood my post.