Last week, Durham resident Michael Burch pled guilty to two counts of attempted rape, for which he received a sentence of between 48 and 67 months in prison. The Burch case provided an unusually clear illustration of the hypocrisy of the Duke administration and faculty “activists.” In the lacrosse case, President Brodhead’s second public statement was an apology to Kim Roberts and Crystal Mangum (“the woman and her friend”); in the Burch case, where his own institution’s student was the alleged victim, Brodhead was silent. The only Duke administrator to publicly comment was Larry Moneta, who appeared to blame the accuser, former Duke student Katie Rouse.
Meanwhile, the “activist” faculty who were so confident of Mangum’s allegations that they issued a statement thanking protesters who had, among other things, urged castration of the lacrosse captains remained as silent as the grave about Rouse’s ordeal. I am unaware of any member of the Group of 88 or the clarifying faculty ever publicly commenting on the charges against Burch.
Surely, the fact that Rouse is white and Burch is African-American couldn’t account for such disparate reactions?
After the plea agreement, Newsday ran a powerful interview with Rouse, who openly discussed her experiences. (She transferred to Hofstra after the attack, so she could be closer to her home on Long Island.) Rouse spoke of her frustration with the Durham “justice” system, noting that Burch was charged with a second rape after being released on bail. (He was released on bail after the second alleged rape, as well.) She said that she was glad the affair was now over, and looked forward to moving on with her life: “I think for a while it changed how I acted, how I was always sad, afraid to be by myself. But it didn't change me permanently, no.”
Newsday’s article mentioned that Rouse received considerable abuse on some North Carolina blogs, and that she “felt her case was always in the shadow of the more notorious rape accusations of the year before, in which a stripper falsely accused three Duke students, one from Long Island, of raping her. The charges were later all dropped and the students exonerated.” The article didn’t mention that much of that abuse came from the very same people who had presumed guilt in the lacrosse case, nor did the article mention the widely disparate reactions to the two cases from the Duke administration and faculty.
A brief follow-up piece from Newsday’s Ellis Henican appropriately praised Rouse’s courage and character, but likewise left an incomplete portrayal of the toxic Durham atmosphere: of the crime, he wrote only that Rouse said “she was attacked in a bathroom at a fraternity party in an off-campus house.”
Relatively few Newsday readers follow Durham events closely—and so, unfortunately, I suspect that few Newsday readers would come away from the Henican article knowing that Rouse's attacker was not a Duke student, and that the only Duke administrator to comment publicly on the crime effectively blamed Rouse.
By the way, a final irony: Rouse’s case was handled by assistant district attorney Jan Paul—the same Jan Paul who showed her commitment to truth and justice by weeping openly as her onetime boss, Mike Nifong, was convicted of criminal contempt for lying to the court.
Wahneema Lubiano was a no-show at the Group of 88-dominated “race in America” conference this past weekend at Duke. (Her panel, “Race, Gender and Sexuality: Intersections on Multiple Dimensions,” went on with a substitute moderator; according to an e-mail Lubiano sent to one DIW reader after the event, she is “currently in Prague(!),” where she will remain until fall 2009.) But those who think that this episode suggests Lubiano hasn’t been tending to her work should think again.
Lubiano still hasn’t managed to complete either Like Being Mugged by a Metaphor or Messing with the Machine, both of which have now been listed as “forthcoming” books (a designation that refers to completed manuscripts under contract) for at least twelve years. But, according to her Duke website, Lubiano has produced a new scholarly publication: “Black Studies, Multiculturalism, and Airport Bookshops: An Interview with Wahneema Lubiano.”
This piece of “scholarship,” which totals all of three pages, appeared in an obscure journal called e3w Review of Books. The journal’s website was last updated in 2007, the year before Lubiano’s latest “scholarship” appeared, and the journal, published by the Ethnic and Third World Literatures specialization at the University of Texas, does not appear in any major scholarly database. So no copy of the Lubiano publication is available on-line.
Lubiano’s five most recent “publications” provide a glimpse into her scholarly productivity. Three of the five “publications” are “interviews”—“Airport Bookshops,” which her Duke website mysteriously lists as two separate publications, and “Interview with Wahneema Lubiano,” in The Chicano Cultural Studies Forum. A fourth is her co-authored apologia for the Group of 88, which she penned with Group/clarifying colleagues Michael Hardt and Robyn Weigman. And the fifth is a reprint of “Race, Class, and the Politics of Death,” a short article that was originally published in 2006.
According to her Duke CV, the above list contains all the “scholarship” produced by this tenured professor at one of the nation’s leading universities in the last decade.
For the record, I have never encountered another professor who lists “interviews” as scholarly publications. But then, as we all learned from the lacrosse case, Lubiano operates according to her own rules.
At last weekend’s Group of 88 conference, a DIW regular asked Group member Sally Deutsch about the advertisement. According to the comment posted in this thread, Deutsch “maintains that the ‘Listening Statement’ did not refer to the rape accusation and Buchanan Blvd.”
Signatures for the ad in question, of course, were solicited through an e-mail penned by Wahneema Lubiano, whose first sentence was, “African & African-American Studies is placing an ad in The Chronicle about the lacrosse team incident.” [emphasis added] The ad, moreover, unequivocally asserted that something “happened” to Mangum; thanked protesters who had among other things urged castration of the lacrosse captains; and contained several quotes from alleged Duke students discussing Mangum’s allegations.
And yet, in Deutsch’s world, the ad “did not refer to the rape accusation and Buchanan Blvd.”
Deutsch is the same Duke dean who, after the issuance of the AG’s report, refused to admit that there was no rape in the case. Perhaps she remains emotionally or intellectually unable to confront any facts about the case. Another possibility? Duke attorneys have instructed Group members to issue such denials, since the settlement with the three falsely accused players does not cover contemporary faculty utterances.
Finally, a reader informs me that she recently received a ballot for the Wells Fargo board of directors--and incumbent director Bob Steel is standing for re-election. After his Duke and Wachovia performances, some might argue that a "no" vote would be in order.