Monday, June 09, 2008

The Butler Column and Its Response

A few weeks ago, the Chronicle’s Kristin Butler penned a column that opened with the arresting line, “It seems anyone can get a college degree these days—especially if they go to North Carolina Central University.”

Given Crystal Mangum’s personal history of accusing people of crimes that never occurred, drug and alcohol abuse, hospitalization for mental difficulties, and participation in the sex trade, Butler wondered how the false accuser did not seem to have violated NCCU’s honor code. Butler also recalled the remarkable case of Solomon Burnette—NCCU Class of 2007—a convicted felon who had robbed two Duke students at gunpoint, and who penned a spring 2007 column seeming to advocate vigilante justice against (white) Duke students.

If Butler had more space, she might also have mentioned Chan Hall, the former NCCU student government leader who informed Newsweek that he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.” Or she might have wondered about the intellectual environment at an institution where hundreds of students offered such an extremist attitude at an April 2006 forum that—for the first and only time in the entire lacrosse case—Mike Nifong actually looked moderate by comparison. Indeed, Nifong required a police escort to get out of the hall.

Despite (or perhaps because of?) these facts, Butler’s column has attracted a storm of criticism, which has taken four basic lines of argument: (1) Butler had no standing to comment on matters at NCCU, and harmed Duke-NCCU relations by doing so; (2) Critics can invent their own version of the facts to chastise Butler; (3) Butler was unfair in her attack on NCCU; and (4) Critics of what Mangum’s graduation says about NCCU’s academic environment are racists.

(1) The lack of standing argument.

In a recent edition of the Herald-Sun, NCCU student Candra Broadie—after engaging in a few ad hominem attacks against Butler—dismissed the ability of “outsiders who have never attended the university to speak about NCCU in such a degrading manner.” How dare a student “from a high-status university,” she mused, criticize NCCU, whose “list of illustrious alumnus [sic] include Gov. Easley, Ernie Barnes, a famous artist and former professional football player, Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor [of?] Atlanta[,] and Willie Gary, a prominent black attorney, and CEO of MBC.”

If Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley had elected to utilize some basic fact-checking (not to mention a copy editor) before printing Broadie’s column, he would have discovered that Easley received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill); Jackson’s undergraduate degree came from Morehouse College; and Gary graduated from Shaw University. All three men are alumni not of NCCU but of NCCU’s law school. (Barnes, like Crystal Mangum, actually was an undergraduate student at NCCU.)

In theory, an argument could be made that a Duke student (or any outsider) should avoid criticizing NCCU’s approach to the case. That line of reasoning, however, presupposes that the institution itself had engaged in some soul-searching about Mangum or the university’s response to her false allegations.

No evidence exists that such soul-searching has occurred. Indeed, no evidence exists that any soul-searching has occurred. In January, I e-mailed NCCU spokesperson Miji Bell to ask for any initiatives or comments (from either the administration or student body) that gave a sense of how NCCU has achieved its own sense of closure to the issues raised by the lacrosse case, and whether NCCU had used the Mangum affair to look at enforcement of its student judicial code. Bell never replied.

Broadie doesn’t seem interested in such soul-searching, either. “Is it up to us,” she asked, “to hold one back from success in life because of a mistake that was made years ago? Whatever [sic] happened to forgiveness?” (Of course, Mangum’s “mistake”—at least her most recent one—occurred while she was a student at NCCU, the whole point of Butler’s column.) “According to Butler,” Broadie continued, “no one deserves a chance to live a successful life after having done wrong.” This is, to put it mildly, an unusual interpretation of the argument in Butler’s column.

(2) The damn-the-facts argument.

Broadie was not the only Butler critic who offered a factually challenged line of attack. In a recent posting at Diverse—with the none-too-subtle title of “Prejudice Rears Its Ugly Head and Aims Itself at North Carolina Central University”—Dr. Marybeth Gasman, a professor at Penn’s School of Education, accused Butler of factual inaccuracy. Wrote she, “Ms. Butler mistakenly [emphasis added] labeled Ms. Mangum a prostitute.”

Curious about Gasman’s evidence for leveling such a critique, I e-mailed the Education professor. Butler’s assertion struck me as unremarkable. After all, the case featured such items as Mangum’s former manager noting that she used her “exotic dancing” trade to scout customers for prostitution, authorities taking statements from two of Mangum’s drivers (some called them “pimps”), defense attorneys tracking down at least one of Mangum’s pre-party “customers,” and the DNA of multiple male sexual partners in Mangum’s rape kit—male sexual partners whose identity was unknown to Mangum.

Perhaps the above set of facts yields a logical explanation other than the one Butler offered, but such an explanation doesn’t immediately come to mind.

Gasman’s response? She noted her belief in freedom of opinion, and explained that her accusation of Butler’s factual inaccuracy resulted from “merely my read of the evidence—and my perspective on the case.”

We’re all, of course, entitled to our own opinions, and our own perspectives. But we’re not entitled to our own facts. It seems awfully convenient to accuse someone of factual inaccuracy—a very serious charge, after all—based on evidence that the critic then refuses to identify.

I e-mailed Gasman to note my puzzlement with her reply; she reiterated only that she had a “different perspective on this case.” But, again, whether or not Gasman has a “different perspective on this case” is irrelevant to the question of whether she had any evidence to substantiate her in-print assertion that “Ms. Butler mistakenly [emphasis added] labeled Ms. Mangum a prostitute.”

(3) The unfairness argument.

Beyond her damn-the-facts line of attack, Gasman asserted that “Butler commits a ‘sin’ in her op-ed that surfaces over and over when people are assessing Black colleges. She condemns an entire institution for one incident.”

I’m sympathetic to Gasman’s argument (though this “sin” occurs in public criticisms of many non-elite colleges, not just HBCU’s). That said, the Mangum/NCCU affair would seem to be an exception to the general rule. After what we learned of Mangum during the lacrosse case, it’s hard to imagine how she could receive a B.A. degree—and in criminal justice, no less—from any institution of higher learning.

After all, this is a person who had serious mental problems (a psychological file that appeared to be around 1000 pages long when Judge Osmond Smith held it up in the courtroom). Even before the lacrosse case, she had leveled serious allegations (rape, attempted murder, child abuse) against three different sets of individuals. She had a record of alcohol and drug abuse. Based on her statement to police, she appeared to write at around an 8th or 9th grade level.

The case file also provided an insight on Mangum’s “study habits” while at NCCU, especially in the form of Jarriel Johnson’s statement. (Most in the media delicately referred to Johnson as Mangum’s “driver.” But, if we adopt the Gasman “perspective on the case,” Johnson was apparently Durham’s version of the Good Samaritan, a man who provided a free car service to an unemployed woman who had lost her license, and who was on call at all hours of the day and night, willing to drive to all sorts of locations in the Triangle. How he supported himself financially must remain a mystery; perhaps he was independently wealthy.)

According to Johnson’s police statement, Mangum (when she allegedly was an NCCU student) spent a lot of time at exotic dancing establishments, or in hotel rooms for various “appointments,” often till the wee hours of the morning. His statement, however, contained no mention of driving her to or from class; or of her taking time to study; or indeed, of her doing anything remotely resembling academic activity.

Given what we know of Mangum, then, it’s hard not to ask the question Butler’s column raised: what does such a figure earning a college degree say about the institution’s overall academic environment?

(4) The racist argument.

Events in Durham since 2006 have shown a depressing pattern: when all else fails, play the race card. The response to Butler’s column was no exception. For instance, beyond accusing Butler of factual inaccuracy by citing evidence that she then refused to reveal, Gasman also labeled Butler’s column as “racist.”

The most inflammatory playing of the race card, however, came from an experienced practitioner in the trade, Durham minister Carl Kenney. Close followers of the lacrosse case will recognize Kenney’s name: in October 2006, he offered a bizarre interpretation of the U.S. justice system, demanding that Mangum receive “her day in court,” regardless of whether any evidence existed for her myriad tales. After the DHC had found Mike Nifong guilty of 27 of 32 counts of unethical conduct, Kenney fantastically asserted that “Nifong has been stripped of his right to practices [sic] law and serve as DA because he believes an exotic dancer.”

In critiquing Butler, Kenney didn’t even bother with Gasman’s strategy of offering an unsubstantiated allegation of factual inaccuracy. Instead, he simply leveled a claim of racism. “Butler’s column,” he fumed, “was racist at its core. Why? Because Butler made assumptions about an institution that is loving and forgiving enough to give a person like Crystal Mangum a second chance.”

Making unidentified “assumptions” about North Carolina Central, it seems, produces a “racist” column. Is there any criticism that Butler could have that would not have been “racist”? Kenney doesn’t say. Does Kenney think that NCCU appropriately enforced its honor code in dealing with Mangum and Burnette? He doesn’t say. Does Kenney have any concern about how someone with Mangum’s record of behavior could possibly have had the time (much less the ability) to complete the necessary classwork to receive a degree? He doesn’t say. Does Kenney have any concern about the attitudes expressed by the NCCU student body in spring 2006? He doesn’t say.

Kenney does suggest, however, that he saw nothing problematic with Burnette’s column, which seemed to demand vigilante justice against (white) Duke students.

Of course.

By the way, the target of all this ire received yet another award--being named by UWIRE as among the 100 best student journalists in the country.

[Update: Shortly after this post appeared, all traces of the Gasman column vanished from the Diverse website. A reader has posted the original version of the Gasman item in the comments section.]


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Butler for her award. Well earned.

Clearly Butler is right. The re-emergence of the usual suspects toting the same PC baggage as always is proof enough of this. Smart cockroaches stay in the dark so their true ugliness can remain hidden.

Fact - if Magnum is capable of the requisite work to graduate then she is damned well competent to stand trail. Or is the quality of the "education" she undertook such that incompetents can pass?

As a matter of relativity...We've seen the "quality" of much of the Duke faculty. That NCCU views Duke as "elite" may give us a pointer to how Magnum managed to pass. Lowest common denominator prevails and the race to the bottom continues.

Anonymous said...

NCCU certainly treated Ms. Mangum much better than Duke treated the lacrosse players. In fact Duke treated Ms. Mangum much better than it treated the lacrosse players. Statements from President Brodhead and others at Duke expressed sympathy for Ms. Mangum and actually gave credibility to her lies. President Brodhead even issued a premature apology for events which never occurred ( the false claims of racial slurs on the 911 tape. )

There were no such sympathetic statements for the lacrosse players and their families for more than a year after the incident and no real apologies to this day.


Anonymous said...

Gassman also continues to insist through her reading and perspective of the case that Crystal Mangum was a victim. Once again pointing out why it is so necessary that the cases that have been commented upon so much in this and other blogs be allowed to proceed.
It should be obvious to even the most casual reader that racism is alive and well in Durham - stoked, I would posit, by those white liberals who have a burning desire to expiate an original sin that they really believe should never be cleansed and by those blacks who feel that victimhood is a ticket to ride for eternity.

Debrah said...

This is incredible.

What a post!

KC has taken these people who are challenged intellectually, emotionally, and morally........

......and then proceeded to send them through his intellectual meat grinder.

(He even illuminates, then corrects, each and every technical flaw.)

No one matches his magnificent aura of the one who is always right.

The enormous power and brilliance of the KC dah-ling continue to propel readers into the analytical stratosphere!

Anonymous said...

Is Malik Burnette who was accepted to Duke Medical School last year with very inferior qualifications the brother of Malik Burnette?

Anonymous said...

What a surprise Gassman's column disappeared while an older one survives. I feel very sorry for students that have to face "educators" like her if they are brave enough to have their own ability to think. Any bets when Gassman's retraction will appear?

W. R. Chambers said...

Once again, with admirable clarity, Kristin Butler has made valid points, ones that might well have been made by or on behalf of the "thousands of hard-working, law-abiding Eagles who also graduated this May," or the "thousands of upstanding (NCCU) alumni."

I think her column would have been better, however, without the following:

1. "Summa Cum Loony"

2. "Because of the university's blatant refusal to enforce its own rules, I will never again take an NCCU degree seriously, and neither should any other self-respecting Dukie."

3. "Crystal Mangum may now have a signed and sealed police psychology degree, but she'll always be Public Enemy No. 1 in my book."

The hyperbole and overt comparison to Duke added an unnecessary element of gratuitous insult and, in my opinion, detracted from points that would have been more powerful had they been made with a touch of humility. One could say the same kind of thing about almost all of the best known, highly regarded (in one quarter or another) political pundits.

Ms. Butler seems to have a wonderful career ahead of her. I just hope she learns that critics who are humble and even understated can be every bit as interesting, powerful and persuasive as those who are biting and clever and who give off an air of superiority intended or not. Sometimes it is best to resist the clever phrase or headline. At least, that would be my preference as a mere reader.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that folks who have suffered would be sensitive to the suffering of others. This never seems to be the case, rather all seem to want a pound of flesh for their own ego. Butler is right in her understanding of the very honor code that UNCC operates under in the same way that Duke should have supported and defended their own honor code. If this had been done, this fiasco might never have happened. I might ask have any of these so-called educated people at Duke enough sense to pour you know what out of a boot.

Anonymous said...

It appears that "Diverse" has pulled Dr. Gasman's posting - I guess it couldn't hold up to a little scrutiny.

Tim G said...

It would be interesting to see how many of the lacrosse's players charges against Duke would also apply against NCCU.

Anonymous said...

One further note - Butler's column obviously struck a raw nerve. One has to think that those who have assailed her protest a bit too loudly.
What inquiring minds would like to know - has Ms Mangum been a recipient of a job offer in the criminal justice field? If so, how did she survive the background check? I would assume that someone employed in such a field would have to undergo one - or, are there different rules in Durham than there are in the rest of the country?

Anonymous said...

Malik Burnett (only one 'e') -- a native of Jamaica -- is unrelated to Solomon Burnette, the Thomas Paine of NCCU.

Anonymous said...

Malik Burnett (from Jamaica) appears to be unrelated to Solomon Burnette (son of a Durham City Councilwoman).

Anonymous said...

Re: Chambers comment at 11:00:

Thanks for writing what I have been thinking ever since the column came out. I think Kristin Butler is an excellent and courageous writer, but in this case, instead of inviting reflection she invited reflex (of the knee jerk, defensive type.)
and sorry I succumbed to the clever-phrase temptation myself!)

Ken Duke

Debrah said...

TO W.R. Chambers--

I must respectfully, but vehemently, disagree.

This case is one like few others in our history which was so deliberately designed and played out.

To have an entire school---(and it is not hyperbole to say that most everyone associated with NCCU was gleefully cheering what was done to Reade, Collin, and David)---support this Hoax from the Spring of 2006 to the present, and still think that they deserve the respect of any fair minded person is really stunning.

If I have learned anything in life it is that sometimes you must unload all the ammo on such destructive and immoral people.

Shock the hell out of them and show them that they will not continue to push others around.

Sometimes you have to tell them the truth.....

......and give a nod to civilization.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy seeing K.C. take apart people like Professor "Gasbag" from Penn, which once upon a time employed the despicable Houston Baker and Larry Moneta.

The problem is that while K.C. is running circles around these frauds intellectually speaking, the frauds are gaining ground in the elite institutions. It has nothing to do with the superiority of the product that they put out. In fact, it is a product that makes people worse off than before.

Kristin had every right to say what she did and more so. And, yes, Duke DID treat Crystal better than it treated Duke students. Says volumes, does it not?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, w.r.chambers, but your Rodney King type 'can't we all get along' mentality would not have worked. Ms. Butler's critics would have attacked her in exactly the same fashion had she made the adjustments you suggest. I oppose your proposed dilution of her voice and her right to free speech. I am amazed that someone so young has the fortitude to take a principled stand.

My only argument with her article would be calling NCCU "a nationally recognized university." But I can understand, she was just trying to be nice. But even that and a number of glowing things she said about NCCU students, in general, didn't temper the attacks or satisfy you.

We can just disagree, you hope she will tone down her words, I hope she will continue to speak her mind. I think we both wish her luck.

Anonymous said...

Those who take the postion against the Duke lacrosse team are too often plain bigots reminding of the supposed law officers in a Humphrey Bogart movie, (to paraphrase) "The facts?" "We don't need no stinking facts." This is the way that this group thinks whether a member of the DukeGroup88 or the Duke administration or the New Black Panther Party. They are essentially a lynch-mob plain and simple . . . a group of storm troopers who are prepared to wait it out. These people can justify a Mao or a Stalin for goodness sake, so facts just do not matter.

Anonymous said...

Did Jesse Jackson pay for Mangum's "degree".

anon said...

KC has quoted once again someone, in this case a student activist at NCCU who believed the Duke players should be prosecuted in spite of their innocence to atone for events of the past that caused injustice to African Americans. He mentions this in a context that suggests it is an outrageous position.

I am sorry but I must again refer to remarks by Barack Obama posted on his Senatorial web site stating his belief that in court cases the weaker participant must win to promote fairness. I fail to see the point of all this outrage and analysis by a clearly brilliant professor when he supports a candidate who would perpetrate the same outrages against an innocent person simply because they are white if their opponent in a case happens to be black and thus the weaker of the two. This is the exact same rationale used by Duke to throw the players under the bus. It is PC at its worst and an abomination against our precious rule of law. Speaking of "Precious" I read last week that insiders in the Obama campaign refer to Mr. Obama as "Precious." What are the odds of that? What irony.

Debrah said...

Here's yet another glimpse into how the black community in Durham always gets the grease on their squeaky wheels.

While other groups were cut from an allocation of taxpayer money, this foundation has been well-subsidized.

Many people in Durham are used to getting what they want by screaming into microphones..... the entire country witnessed inside that NCCU auditorium in the Spring of 2006.

Sidebar--Catotti is making rules for taxation in the proceeding post on Bull's Eye.


Anonymous said...

His statement, however, contained no mention of driving her to or from class; or of her taking time to study; or indeed, of her doing anything remotely resembling academic activity.

Well, what we do know is that CGM spent at least 5 hours in the days prior to the party "doing her nails". If NCCU would simply become NCCCU, we might be able to vouchsafe her a CJ degree with a minor in cosmetology.


Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with w.r.

For instance could not this sentence "Because of the university's blatant refusal to enforce its own rules, I will never again take an NCCU degree seriously, and neither should any other self-respecting Dukie."

be rewritten to read "Because of the university's blatant refusal to enforce its own rules, I will never again take a Duke degree seriously, and neither should any other self-respecting (insert you r alma matter here)."?

An otherwise great article for Ms. Butler.

Anonymous said...

Is NCCU a branch-satellite campus of Duke? Or vice versa? I heard one is a feeder school for the other.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree with W.T.Chambers. While I agree whole heartedly with the gist of Butler’s column and commend her for having the courage to publish it, there were a few lines that could have been left out with out diminishing its effectiveness, IMO. The “I will never again take an NCCU degree seriously, and neither should any other self-respecting Dukie” line was nothing but a lightning rod that many of her critics attacked as Butler saying that Duke is better than NCCU, when in fact Duke has behaved just as bad, if not worse, than NCCU in this whole sorry affair. I wish she had said that “neither should any other college graduate take an NCCU degree seriously.” By making a direct comparison between Duke and NCCU, Butler pushes all the class envy buttons in the NCCU community that believe Duke students think they are better than NCCU and the true message of her column is lost in all the rhetoric, IMO.

Debrah said...

Just saw this letter in my print edition of N&O's Sunday "Q" section.

There's just so much to do---even though I am now without all the responsibilities of taking care of the stunning Kitty Diva---that I usually don't get to the Sunday paper until Monday.


Here is a thoughtful letter criticizing Timothy Tyson's behavior.

Although it is not as critical as it should be, it's still a fine letter:

Final Word

Readers react to last week's Q topics

Give accuser her due

Timothy B. Tyson is right that "hiring strippers or prostitutes for student parties is wrong and also misguided" ("Historian stands by his words," June 1). And right, too, when he says that "when we want to degrade someone as an object, we pay someone to be not-quite-human."

But what he does not acknowledge is that we degrade and objectify people still more when we fail to hold them morally responsible for their actions. Unless we hold the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case accountable for her falsehoods, we are no less guilty than the players of treating her as "not-quite-human." For to be human is to be answerable to one's community. To be "children of God, worthy of respect," is to be accountable for our actions.

It is Tyson and other likeminded members of the Duke faculty who "thingify" the accuser --no, worse, make her invisible -- by painting her out of the moral frame altogether. It is only the players on the one hand, and the rogue prosecutor on the other --the white males -- who these critics accord the capacity for moral deliberation. The African-American women have no similar capacity. Otherwise we would see that the one dancer, despite sharing the same history of oppression as the other, as a woman and as an African American, still saw fit not to betray her duties to society of truth-telling and promise-keeping.

Certainly there is evidence that the accuser was emotionally disturbed. Certainly the West has a long tradition of taking mental or emotional illness into account in adjudging responsibility for wrongdoing. These considerations must be given their due. But before that is possible, the wrongdoing must be acknowledged in the first place. Nothing is gained by treating it as if it did not occur. And yet that is what Tyson and the others have been determined to do.

Nick Cariello

Chapel Hill

Anonymous said...

The Mangum graduation is the saddest joke of this entire affair. There are very few words that would have put too fine a point on it. As far as I am concerned, if you confer a criminal justice degree on a person deemed not competent to stand trial, you assume the risk of a disproportionate response.

NCCU must first obtain honor in order to have an honor code. It has self-identified as woefully short.

Time to ignore the symptoms and start treating the disease. Cut the academic welfare roles and get back to teaching things that matter. Thanks KC for doing your part to expose the frauds at Dook and the imbeciles elsewhere in academia who defend this lying skank.

Where can I as a graduate of another ACC school send my 0.88 cent check to Brodhead?

Anonymous said...

bill anderson said at 2:34 PM...

I always enjoy seeing K.C. take apart people like Professor "Gasbag" from Penn, which once upon a time employed the despicable Houston Baker and Larry Moneta.

The problem is that while K.C. is running circles around these frauds intellectually speaking, the frauds are gaining ground in the elite institutions. It has nothing to do with the superiority of the product that they put out. In fact, it is a product that makes people worse off than before.

This is something I have noticed as well. The dumber the professor, the more likely s/he is employed at an "elite" institution. I'm thinking in particular of two recent articles I read by professors -- one from Stanford and one from Harvard -- that were just "bag of rocks" level of stupid. The best professors nowadays seem to be at the "lesser" campuses.

I'm starting to believe that the DiW regular who said it's all due to a "Gramscian (sp?) 'Long March Thru the Institutions'" by the Marxist frauds. Come to think of it, Mark Anthony Neal said in his article which announced his "thugniggaintellectual" persona that this fellow Gramsci -- with whom I'm little familiar -- was his favorite author.


Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with KC and Kristin Butler on this topic. Since when does any university run a character check on its graduating students? Mangum was never accused, let alone convicted of any crime. While she may be a pathetic person, that has nothing at all to do with meeting the requirements for graduation. If a university decides not to allow certain people to graduate, who will make that decision?

Anonymous said...

Butler's article was somewhat harsh, but rather than righteous indignation, it should lead to self examination at NCCU. I would hope that people at the university would have been embarrassed to have her in their midst.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one disturbed, rather than amused, by the disappearance of Gasman's post? Are some professors so casual with their research and writings that they flee in the face of criticism? Isn't the deletion of the post a strong indictment against its logic and validity?

Good grief, I worry for my daughter, who is getting ready to apply to colleges this fall. I'm not worried that she will be exposed to political and social extremists. I'm worried that she'll be exposed to academic frauds and intellectual cowards.

She's considering St. Andrews College in Scotland. Maybe it's really better across "the pond".

Anonymous said...

The question raised by everyone should be why wasn't Mangum punished by NCCU? Duke punished Reade, Dave and Collin for mere allegations -- and only Dave graduated -- and he didn't get to walk across the stage for fear of the prejudicial publicity.

I looked at what NCCU could have done, and found the following, which is cross-posted at TalkLeft.

First, let's disabuse ourselves from the notion that Crystal Mangum wasn't a student at the time of the hoax. CBS, CNN, ABC, The Huffington Post, NBC, FOX, wikipedia, ESPN, MSNBC, the USAToday and all reported that Mangum was an NCCU student at the time of the false accusations. The New York Times indicated that she was "listed on a bulletin board in the student union at North Carolina Central as being eligible for a national honor society" at the time of the fake rape.

Section 2.01 of the NCCU Student Code of Conduct provides that NCCU "reserves the right to consider the behavior of students off-campus...." Article II of the NCCU Student Code of Conduct provides that, in the usual case, a student will be punished when the student takes part in:

"d. other such activities ... where the university's interests are clearly at issue...."

In Section 2.03 of the Code of Conduct, NCCU reserves the right to punish a student "prior to" or "subsequent to" civil or criminal proceedings against the student.

Article III describes various "Acts of Misconduct," noting specifically that any "action that disrupts or impairs the purposes of the university and its community is subject to penalty under the student code of conduct."

Section 3.01 enumerates many specific prohibited acts, including, among many others, the use of drugs, non-forcible sexual offenses (presumably prostitution) and alcohol binging. The minimum punishment for these is a suspension.

Additional relevant provisions in Section 3.02 include "disorderly conduct," "harassment," "actual or threatened ... injury to persons," and "lewd, indecent or obscene conduct (whether public or private)." All of these seem to apply to Crystal Mangum, but subsection Z of Section 3.02 really seems to hit the mark:

"Knowingly making in public a false oral statement with the intent to deceive and/or mislead or knowingly publishing and/or distributing a false written or printed statement with the intent to deceive and/or mislead or injure the character and/or reputation of another."

The really sad and relevant portion of the NCCU Student Code of Conduct is contained in Section 4.11, which provides that a student found to have violated the Code can be ordered to obtain a psychological evaluation "when in the panel's judgment a student might benefit from some form of treatment."

Durham and NCCU appear to have sidestepped their responsibilities and, in doing so, have failed the community, Mangum, and her children.

Someone should go back over the comment thread to Butler's article to do a statistical survey, looking for:

1. How many NCCU commentators completely missed the issue of NCCU failing to enforce its own code of conduct;

2. How many NCCU commentators played the race card;

3. How many NCCU commentators used the "Nixon graduated from Duke" strawman or similar arguments about more recent graduates;

4. How many NCCU commentators judged Duke based upon their misinterpretation of one columnist's column.

5. How many NCCU commentators only employed the ad homenim.

MOO! Gregory.

Anonymous said...

To the 12:34

She has a magnificent prospect of getting a job as an undercover agent for the vice squad--after all, she probably has all the vices covered and can anticipate all the tricks of the trade

Anonymous said...

Even Dook doesn't follow the NCCU Honor Code. After all, they employed a lewd show. Oops, when the you-niversity hires them (especially vis-a-vis the Angry Studies departments), it's called ART. When students hire them, it's called lewd and demeaning.
It's sort of like the use of the "n" word--either it's offensive or it's not. It really shouldn't matter who uses it.
Maybe what Kristin saw were people rising to low expectations.

Anonymous said...

Prejudice Rears Its Ugly Head and Aims Itself at North Carolina Central University (NCCU)

May 27, 2008 · 1 Comment
By Dr. Marybeth Gasman

On May 15, 2008, Duke University graduate Kristin Butler penned a hate-filled op-ed for the The Chronicle, Duke’s independent daily newspaper, exclaiming the following:

“It seems anyone can get a college degree these days-especially if they go to North Carolina Central University.”

Her evidence was the fact that NCCU recently graduated Crystal Mangum, the woman who accused the Duke Lacrosse team of rape. According to Butler,

“the university graduated Crystal Mangum, the drug-addled, mentally unstable prostitute who falsely accused three lacrosse players of raping her two years ago. Mangum is an accomplished liar and criminal, and a credible school shouldn’t have allowed her within 50 miles of its graduation ceremony.”

Putting the controversy itself aside (and the fact that Ms. Butler mistakenly labeled Ms. Mangum a prostitute), Butler commits a “sin” in her op-ed that surfaces over and over when people are assessing Black colleges. She condemns an entire institution for one incident. How often do we do this when discussing historically White institutions?

Whether you agree or disagree with NCCU giving a degree to Ms. Mangum, it seems ludicrous and, in fact, racist to call a degree from NCCU worthless. This is an institution that is ranked 16th among historically Black colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report, has a graduation rate above the national average for African Americans (49 percent), and offers strong academic preparation at an affordable price in nursing, education, law, business, biomanufacturing, hospitality, as well as other areas.

A public liberal arts-focused institution, NCCU provides a great service to the state of North Carolina and beyond, and does so at about half the price per student of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, according to a study by Dr. James Minor.

Kristin Butler has summarily dismissed this important institution because her judgment has been clouded by the alleged actions of one student. I remember a few years back when Penn State had a murderer on its faculty. Did we dismiss the institution for its oversight? No. The fact is that we hold historically Black institutions to a different standard.

Categories: HBCUs · Race
Tagged: black colleges, Crystal Mangum, Duke University, HBCUs, Marybeth Gasman, North Carolina Central University

Anonymous said...

That Marybeth Gasman's posting was pulled can indicate one of two things. To be charitable, one could assume that reading the comments to what she wrote, she was horrified and embarassed with the arguments that she advanced and decided that the best thing she could do (it would have been better to have issued a mea culpa but that would have been expecting too much) was to have the posting withdrawn and hope that people would soon forget what she had written. The other is, as someone already pointed out, that she could not stand the heat that her views generated and took the cowardly way out - refusing to meet her critics head on. The latter, unfortunately, seems to be the way of those who refuse to admit that the actions of Duke, Nifong, the police, the lower Durham courts, the Duke Medical Center, and those at NCCU (as well as the Durham community)were not only wrong but were criminal.

Debrah said...

It was so unwise, not to mention cowardly and dishonest, for Gasman to remove her post about Mangum and NCCU.

Seems she has few convictions and parrots the lines she knows will play well among her friends in the academy.

Below is yet another over-the-top and silly offering from her.

The quote in bold below is so untrue and dishonest that someone at the University of Pennsylvania should ask her to pack her bags and move on down the road.

Gasman's performance gives us an example of how lies become perceptions and are then taken as truth.

"Third, Black colleges nurture and support students regardless of their race. We would be hard pressed to say this about many historically White colleges and universities and their treatment of Black students."

Lessons Learned from a White Valedictorian at Morehouse College

May 21, 2008

By Dr. Marybeth Gasman

On May 12, 2008, as I was walking down the street in Atlanta, Georgia, I happened to glance at the newspaper stand. I was shocked to see the headline “White Valedictorian Makes Morehouse History” on the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I have to admit that my initial reaction was “geesh, can’t African Americans have anything of their own?” However, after thinking about the news and talking with quite a few Morehouse graduates, I changed my mind — at least in part. Joshua Packwood, from the interview I watched on CNN, seems like a good man with strong intellectual skills. Morehouse College, the only black college dedicated to the education of African American males in the nation, can be proud of his accomplishments.

Thinking about a White Valedictorian at a Black college gives us an opportunity to contemplate what can be learned from this situation.

First, an excellent educational institution can attract the best students regardless of their race and the institution’s racial make-up. I have long doubted this idea as I have experienced White racism toward Black organizations and institutions again and again. Joshua Packwood’s choice of Morehouse gives a glimmer of hope to the nation that race relations are changing.

Second, as Harvard Sociologist Charles Willie said years ago, White students attending Black colleges can help alleviate racial misunderstanding. Students like Joshua Packwood gain exposure to the diversity within Black culture and in effect, serve as ambassadors to the White community, helping to dispel racist myths.

Third, Black colleges nurture and support students regardless of their race. We would be hard pressed to say this about many historically White colleges and universities and their treatment of Black students. I know quite a few White students who have attended Black colleges and the majority of them say that they were treated with respect and supported in their pursuit of academic degrees.

Fourth, Whites who complain about African Americans who succeed within historically White institutions, thinking that an African American win is their loss, should take a page from Morehouse College’s notebook. Instead of seeing Joshua Packwood’s success as a setback for Blacks, the college’s students and leadership embraced Packwood, publicly acknowledging him as a Morehouse man and expressing their pride.

Fifth, although Morehouse College has a long history and strong reputation, there are still many who are not aware of the contributions that Black colleges have made and continue to make in the nation. Having a “first,” in this case a White valedictorian, brings positive attention to Morehouse and Black colleges as a whole.

Despite these lessons learned, I continue to wonder why the past African American valedictorians of Morehouse College haven’t received the same kind of national media attention as Joshua Packwood. Given the small numbers of African American men graduating from college, each and every one of Morehouse College’s best students ought to be celebrated.

Dr. Marybeth Gasman is an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Debrah said...

Like Mangum, members of the Gang of 88 are soaring to new heights.


Duke professor gets dean's spot

The Herald-Sun
Jun 10, 2008

DURHAM -- A Duke University anthropology professor has been promoted to a dean's spot in Duke's liberal arts undergraduate college.

Lee D. Baker, associate professor of cultural anthropology and African and African American studies at Duke University, will take over as dean of academic affairs of Trinity College.

Trinity College is Duke's liberal arts undergraduate college, and more than 80 percent of Duke undergraduates are enrolled in it. The remaining undergraduates are enrolled in the Pratt School of Engineering.

Baker will assume the duties of Robert J. Thompson Jr., dean of Trinity College since 1999. Thompson, who holds appointments in the departments of psychology and neuroscience, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and pediatrics, announced last October that he will return to teaching.

"Lee Baker is a noted scholar, an award-winning teacher, and a proven leader as chair of the Arts & Sciences Council," said George L. McLendon, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences. "He brings both thoughtful deliberation and enormous energy to this new role."

In an e-mail from Ghana, where Baker is director of the Duke in Ghana program, Baker wrote: "I look forward to building on the successes of the past and creating new opportunities for the future."

Baker came to Duke in 1995 as an assistant professor of cultural anthropology. From 1997 to 2000, he taught at Columbia University, and returned to Duke in 2000. He was the 2007 recipient of the Richard K. Lublin Distinguished Award for Teaching Excellence.

Anonymous said...

"Mangum was never accused, let alone convicted of any crime."

It seems to me that scores of people, maybe hundreds, have acused Mangum, in many places, of the crime of false reporting of a crime.

Attorney general Cooper himself said that her accusations were false. There's an official accusation! Of course, he then proceeded to the preposterous mendacity that she couldn't be prosecuted because of her mental health history and delusional state. The truth, of course, is that such persons are routinely and usually prosecuted so that a judge or jury (depending on the state) can decide on their mental capacity to answer to the law.

Cooper's decision not to prosecute Mangum was a political decision, typically grotesque in it's crude political calculation. It is, of course, an absolutely typical perversion of the course of justice and commonly practised by all prosecutors in America.

So, I don't see how Mangum could be more thoroughly accused. And how could she possibly be convicted if the law enforcement authorities refuse to do their duty?

Anonymous said...

An editorial writer of discernment and address must, sometimes, deliver a righteous slappin' unto the Heathen. Ms. Butler performed this salutory public service very nicely.

NCCU has served up two-plus years of racist malignity and punk-level smart mouth. They should be ashamed of their trashy behavior yet there has never been any sort of institutional repudiation of this retrograde manifestation. Sooooo... it isn't out of line to generalize about the whole institution.

Debrah said...

This is a bit of excellent news from the N&O.

Now you won't have to rely solely on the editorial staff in order to respond to the way the news is handled.

I wish this feature had been alive last week so that we could have lambasted J. Peder Zane's follow-up on Tim Tyson.

I trust that many of you will want to take advantage of this new option because I have no doubt the paper will continue to promote Tyson and the others in a positive light.

Gary Packwood said...

Long after Mangum is forgotten we will be left with the question of how Kristin and not the leadership of Duke and Durham figured out the rape was a deliberate hoax.

Actually Kristin and many of her peers at Duke flushed out the hoax early on and said so. It seems they understood intuitively that extremists with a narrative will stop at nothing to get what they want to include treating young white male atheltes as throw-away-people.

Perhaps universities will eventually adopt a Kristin Butler rule for getting at the truth before another campus is made to look foolish and full of hateful tenured radicals who use staff members and student colleagues to do their dirty work.

gak said...

I read this guy Kenny's blog about Kristin's editorial. I find it most telling that he calls Burnette's call for vigilante justice "revolutionary undertones". He wants accountability from others but not from his side.

Greg Toombs said...

Damn it, KC.

People like you and Kristin are only hastening the day when the foundation of the radical academic left's next 'argument' consists of this:

"Facts and logic are simply constructs of 'white privilege'. We must recognize them as codes used in hate speech. Their further perpetuation is racist and should not be tolerated by fair-minded people everywhere."

Who knows, maybe that dissertation has already been successfully submitted, approved and published, awaiting discovery by the elites.

Debrah said...


Victoria Peterson vs. Lewis Cheek

Anonymous said...

The fact that Gasman is a professor of education speaks volumes. Any elementary or high school teacher can tell you that more often than not the worst classes one had to take in order to get one's degree were the education courses. Those who live in states that now require one to get an MA in order to achieve certification (more often than not that advanced degree is in education because those are the courses available at the times that teachers can take them)complain loudly about the fuzzy logic employed by these professors; their disconnect from what it is really like in a classroom today; and spend their time imposing their mindset on their students. If one wanted to begin a clearing of the academic deadwood - one could easily begin in the education departments of the colleges in the United States.

Jamie said...

"When all else fails, play the race card?" Sorry, that's not quite how Durham rules work. The first player leads with any race card, the others follow suit, and when everyone at the table has slammed down every race card in their hands, why, open another deck.

Those other supposed arguments against Kristin Butler's column are all race cards. Butler can have no standing because she's white. The facts of the case can be damned because those facts apply to a black woman, and every such fact, when screened through the all-important prism of race, either dissolves or becomes an anti-fact.

Butler's charges are unfair because she's applying them to a black woman, and thus to blacks generally, and so she's an obvious damned racist. So is anybody who defends her.

See? It's really a pretty simple game.

W. R. Chambers said...

From personal experience I know that sometimes graduation ceremonies are misleading. Some students are allowed "to walk." They receive something that looks like a diploma but isn't. It appears that they have graduated, but they haven't, which reminds me, belatedly, that the relationship between university and student is essentially private.

Of course much is made of graduation. It is a grand ceremony, open to the public, presented as a joyous celebration of significant accomplishments by the graduating students and by the university itself.

But the facts that really matter remain private. We don't know how well or how much a student has learned. We don't know what struggles any student has overcome or what diseases any student has. We don't know who will be a good citizen or who won't. We don't know who is haunted by remorse, or who could care less. We don't know who will be selfish or who will be selfless.

The most important things we can not know from a graduation ceremony.

Anonymous said...

This excellent article by Kristin Butler can surely be summed up as:

An angel rushing in where FOOLS fear to tread!

Anonymous said...

We can know from a graduation ceremony that a student wasn't expelled.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Kristin Butler on her new award. She is an outstanding journalist.

Re: Summa Cum Looney

My guess it that Ms. Butler would tend to agree with w r chambers' criticisms. I think one of Ms. Butler's goals probably was to elicit some serious reflection by NCCU students, faculty, and administration. Provoking a firestorm of defensiveness that stifled reflection--at least any public signs of it--likely was not on her To Do list. Responses from NCCU and even some Duke students were almost entirely defensive emotionalism, not the result of careful reasoning and they provided little material that might lead to insightful revelation. When emotions simmer down, perhaps someone at NCCU (a law professor?) could lead a more thoughtful discussion of how the school drafts and enforces disciplinary policy.

In the meantime, many of us will have some difficulty disassociating Ms. Mangum, perhaps NCCU's most "famous" (thank you Anne Blythe) alum and her values from those of NCCU and its other less "famous" but more honorable students.


Anonymous said...

Re: 9:43 AM

Colin and Reade weren't allowed to "walk" at graduation at Duke.

But they were given a nice "perp" walk in jolly old "get the white boy" Durham for a crime which never occured, thanks to the lies of the recently graduated Ms Mangum. That was the "walk" they got.

And the relationship between Duke and David, Colin and Reade sure as hell wasn't private. The perpetrator of this crime, Ms Mangum, has certainly been very delicately protected in her guilt (she's never going to trial so I'll just scrap that presumption of innocence stuff and promise to return to proper form if she is ever charged) while the three innocent victims of her crime (and their teammates) have been brutally slandered, libeled and defamed non-stop and apparently will be for the rest of their lives. This is a filthy, sadistic life sentence that the exquisite Ms Mangum (and all who sail in her) has visited upon the innocent.

9:43 am says:
"Of course much is made of graduation. It is a grand ceremony, open to the public, presented as a joyous celebration of significant accomplishments by the graduating students and by the university itself."
It is for the quilty, not the innocent. And as for the university itself, you're right, which is why it is reasonable to draw extended conclusions about the university itself based on it's awarding of a degree to Ms Mangum.

9:43 am says:
"But the facts that really matter remain private. We don't know how well or how much a student has learned. We don't know what struggles any student has overcome or what diseases any student has. We don't know who will be a good citizen or who won't. We don't know who is haunted by remorse, or who could care less. We don't know who will be selfish or who will be selfless.

The most important things we can not know from a graduation ceremony."
Once again, no privacy for the victims. And as for the rest of the above quote, you sound like someone who lives where there is no phone service. Do you know ANYTHING about this case?

Anonymous said...

I can understand the desire for "justice" by many of the posters here........ but NCCU is not the appropriate agency to administer that justice to Crystal Mangum, nor should its reputation suffer as a result of her antics. Regardless of what Duke did or didn't do with regard to the lacrosse players (who, after all, connected themselves with Duke by hosting a "team" party in which all but one member of the team were present), Ms. Mangum's activities were not connected with NCCU in any way; after all, she didn't dance as a member of the NCCU Pole Dancing Team. Moreover, she was never (formally) indicted or otherwise accused of or convicted of any crime. Of course, NCCU could have refused her a diploma for violating various provisions of the Student Handbook, but that's a slippery slope indeed, since NCCU would have to investigate and appropriately punish all students equally......

Anonymous said...

Re: 3:26 PM

"but NCCU is not the appropriate agency to administer that justice to Crystal Mangum"

Apparently not, and neither, apparently, was the Office of the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina. Both "institutions" made the same racist decision not to prosecute Ms Mangum. So you will always be able to say she was never convicted of any crime in the Duke Lacrosse Case. I guess you could say the same about KKK goons never prosecuted or acquitted by all white juries in the old days "down south". Which apparently means that they didn't do anything.

Prominent NCCU student body funtionaries stated that the lacrosse victims should be prosecuted, convicted and given harsh sentances whether they did it or not, because they were WHITE. And then the president of NCCU sat next to Mike Nifong while Nifong deliberately incited racist hatred against the lacrosse defendants (victims, remember).

NCCU has never repudiated these actions. I would say that everybody agrees that NCCU is definitely not the institution to administer "justice" in this situation. Or any other.

3:26 PM says:
"Ms. Mangum's activities were not connected with NCCU in any way; after all, she didn't dance as a member of the NCCU Pole Dancing Team".
As i recollect, all the sensitive explainers described Ms Mangum as a demure mother of two and an honor student. There's the connection to NCCU, if not to the Pole Dancing Team, and to the jurisdiction of the student handbook. Don't all student handbooks claim jurisdiction over matriculated students on and off campus, during and after school hours. So there is jurisdiction. And, don't all student handbooks proscribe activities or behavior which will bring the institution into disrepute? Do you think that being multi-substance intoxicated to the point of falling down and not being able to perform her striptease dance might qualify under the "bringing disrepute" handbook clause. How about breach of verbal contract or obtaining money by fraud. Or, how about lying to every nurse, cop and prosecutor she talked to. Doesn't any of this violate the NCCU student handbook? What would one have to do to violate the NCCU student handbook - be white?

If NCCU has ever punished anyone for handbook violations, why not Ms Mangum?

W. R. Chambers said...

to the 1:11pm ... what I write is fair game but there's no need to question the quality of my phone service....

Anonymous said...


NCCU could have started with the numerous violations that they KNEW ABOUT. I haven't seen Kristin Butler or anyone else suggest the need for investigations by the school. Are you suggesting that NCCU did a good thing in ignoring its own student code of conduct?

What other rules, guidelines, regulations or codes should NCCU ignore?

Anonymous said...

W. R. Chambers said...

"to the 1:11pm ... what I write is fair game but there's no need to question the quality of my phone service...."

Kindly accept my retraction and apology for the lame crack about your phone service. It was totally uncalled for.

Civilly yours.....

Anonymous said...

What does the transcript of a student who never registered for or attended class, much less graduate look like? See below...


Anonymous said...

"Colin and Reade weren't allowed to 'walk' at graduation at Duke."

Huh? Why would they be allowed to walk at graduation at Duke? They didn't graduate from Duke and still haven't graduated from college. They were SOPHOMORES. And now have transferred to other institutions. Sometimes you need to think a bit.