Thursday, I offered ten questions the Blue Committee might consider in evaluating President Brodhead’s performance in the lacrosse case. At the time, I asked readers to offer their questions, and said I would post the more interesting ones. I slightly rephrased some questions for consistency.
1.) While speaking at “A Duke Conversation-Chicago” on April 18, President Brodhead defended the Group of 88 by stating they were “representing students who felt threatened by the lacrosse incident.” Who were these students that “felt threatened?” The only threats at that point were to the lacrosse players who had been plastered all over campus and threatened with a banner stating “castrate.” How exactly was the G88 endorsement thanking people for not waiting for the truth to come out defending people who felt threatened?
2.) Duke has settled a grade retaliation lawsuit filed by one of the 2006 lacrosse team members. Has President Brodhead seen to it that the professor who used the grades of Duke University for their own ends has been punished? And has he investigated whether or not this was the only incident of grade retaliation against lacrosse student or other Duke students who don’t conform to the worldview of its faculty?
3.) On April 5, 2006, President Brodhead said, “I pledge that Duke will respond with appropriate seriousness when the truth is established.” On April 20, 2006, he said, “If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” What information appeared between April 5th and 20th to make the president change his focus? More specifically, what did Reade and Collin say or do personally that led President Brodhead to believe Crystal Mangum’s “story,” or did he blindly follow your activist professors in believing that “something happened”?
4.) What concrete steps has Duke taken to address the issue of the Durham Police Department targeting Duke students?
5.) In spring 2006, President Brodhead claimed that to start “interviewing” people would be interfering with the police investigation. Yet he made a number of strong statements and decisions in the meantime. Was putting himself in a self-imposed information vacuum while taking action the best way to run a university?
6.) One of my many questions to Brodhead/Burness would be in connection with one of his final statements on the matter, after the indictments were dropped. On his area of the Duke webpage his comments mentioned his willingness to help the Duke community heal. I’d like to know what he intends to do to help the Duke community “heal” since I’ve seen no evidence of any action on his part.
7.) Given that several additions to the faculty that were hired during a transparently “diversity-first, merit-second” hiring binge (self-described by an influential Dean as a tool to “change” the perceived “whiteness” of Duke, in his words), reacted so irresponsibly as to provoke the University to write undisclosed settlement checks to at least five families, has the president given any thought to restoring merit to the top of the hiring criteria at the University he has been entrusted to steward?
8.) Does President Brodhead agree with the statement that the reason leftward leaning faculty fill the ranks of the faculty—to the virtual exclusion of other viewpoints in many departments—stems from the fact that liberals tend to be more intelligent people than conservatives? Does the president even know who on the Duke faculty made that statement?
9.) What tangible steps has the administration undertaken to achieve a greater intellectual diversity on its faculty?
10.) What risk-management steps has the administration undertaken to avoid having to sign additional undisclosed settlement checks (also drawn off of other people’s money), in case members of the faculty are again presented with a political issue they are not mature enough to handle?
11.) Will the administration continue to support Duke’s student athletes as well as it supported the men’s lacrosse team during an investigation from a rogue District Attorney?
12.) Does President Brodhead agree with the Group of 88’s characterization of their listening ad as a response to general conditions on campus regarding race relations and sexism issues or does he believe that in the context of the timing it was released, it was dealing with the alleged gang rape on March 13? If he agrees with the Group’s characterization of the ad as being a social commentary on the Duke culture, why does he feel he should continue to be president of a university which is apparently rife with racism, male privilege and sexism?
13.) President Brodhead disciplined an innocent lacrosse team by canceling their season and firing their coach. What discipline has been meted out to Duke’s faculty and administration for their less than innocent behavior?
It's worth remembering that the Blue Committee appears stacked in Brodhead's favor--its seven members include Group of 88'er Sherman James, and no member of the committee has in any way expressed concern with Brodhead's leadership.