This a common-sense decision that serves the best interests of both sides. For the three players and their families, the move continues the process of putting behind them the events of the last 15 months; for Duke, the settlement prevents litigation that could have posed serious public relations problems, even if the University had eventually prevailed in court.
Below are the statements of both sides:
STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND THE PRESIDENT OF DUKE UNIVERSITY:
This has been an extraordinary year for Duke students David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, who were accused of serious crimes they did not commit. In April, after a thorough review, the North Carolina Attorney General declared that they were innocent of all charges and that the charges never should have been brought. We welcomed their exoneration and deeply regret the difficult year they and their families have had to endure. They conducted themselves with great dignity during their long ordeal.
These young men and their families have been the subject of intense scrutiny that has taken a heavy toll. The Board of Trustees and the President have also determined that it is in the best interests of the Duke community to eliminate the possibility of future litigation and move forward. For these reasons, and after considerable deliberation, the trustees have agreed to a settlement with each student. Beyond this statement, the resolution is a private matter among the students, their families and Duke.
This past year has been hard for many people who care about Duke -– for students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and friends –- and for the three students and their families most of all. We resolve to bring the Duke family together again, and to work to protect others from similar injustices in the criminal justice system in the future.
STATEMENT OF DAVID EVANS, COLLIN FINNERTY AND READE SELIGMANN:
Today, we are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Duke University to resolve any differences between us.
Years ago, each of us made a decision to attend Duke because it is one of the greatest universities in the nation. We chose to represent the University on the athletic field and in the classroom as student athletes. We were honored to be admitted and proud to wear the Duke uniform and to compete against the best lacrosse teams in the nation. Duke is a very special place. It balances top-notch academics and athletics, and it offers unparalleled opportunities to its students. We were drawn to Duke because of its sense of community.
The events of the last year tore the Duke community apart, and forcibly separated us from the University we love. It is impossible to fully describe what we, our families and team endured. As we said from day one, we are innocent. But it took three hundred and ninety-four days, and the intervention of the North Carolina Attorney General, before our innocence was formally declared. We were the victims of a rogue prosecutor concerned only with winning an election, and others determined to railroad three Duke lacrosse players and to diminish the reputation of Duke University. Throughout our ordeal, however, we never forgot the lessons we learned, both on and off the field, about character, integrity, and honor. Those lessons, and the love and support of our wonderful families, friends, lawyers and supporters across the country helped us to prevail against those who refused to seek the truth and to protect all citizens from injustice.
We hope that today’s resolution will begin to bring the Duke family back together again, and we look forward to working with the University to develop and implement initiatives that will prevent similar injustices and ensure that the lessons of the last year are never forgotten.