Two articles that crossed my desk in the past week attest to the grip that race/class/gender-based political correctness exercises over college and university campuses. The articles also give a sense as to why so few administrations have chosen to use what happened at Duke to address similar problems of faculty groupthink on issues of race, class, and gender on their own campuses.
A faculty environment that openly embraced ideological one-sidedness and a politically correct president who boasted that in her previous position, “56% of [new faculty] hires were women and/or minorities, [and] she also formed a diversity leadership group” provided the backdrop to a sad episode that was recently profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
A summary: in recent months, two Iowa professors (first Arthur Miller, a professor of political science; and then Mark Weiger, an oboe professor) committed suicide, after facing charges of sexual harassment. The specifics of their two cases differed dramatically: based on the information in the article and some other background reading, the allegations against Miller were serious (the trading of a grade for sexual favors) and struck me as, at the least, credible. The allegations against Weiger, on the other hand, seemed to involve not what anyone other than Group of 88-like ideologues would consider sexual harassment but instead faculty conduct that was borderline unprofessional and a personality conflict between professor and student.
Miller was the first of the duo to face legal action. He was also a figure highly unlikely to have the sympathy of Iowa’s leadership. He had feuded with the Iowa administration on academic matters in the past; the university’s dean, Linda Maxson, had blocked his elevation to chair of Iowa’s political science department and had closed down an academic institute that he had founded.
Even that background, however, could not have predicted the astonishing public reaction of the Iowa administration after the allegations against Miller became public. Iowa president Sally Mason sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff at the school:
While every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence, I want to state strongly and unequivocally that such conduct will not be tolerated. It is profoundly damaging to the students and to the educational process.
I applaud the courage of the student victims [emphasis added] in coming forward to report this conduct to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and to the UI Police Department.
In a view of civil liberties that mirrored Richard Brodhead’s public statement that a trial would give his institution’s falsely accused students an opportunity to “be proved innocent,” Mason appeared unaware that publicly terming accusers as “victims” nullified the “presumption of innocence” to which her faculty member supposedly was “entitled.” Indeed, if the students were “victims,” as Mason claimed, Miller was guilty.
According to the Chronicle, Weiger followed the Miller case closely; “when President Mason issued the statement calling the students ‘victims,’ Mr. Weiger panicked, according to a friend of Weiger’s.”
The Chronicle reported that Mason “declined to answer questions about her statement.” Incredibly, however, Dean Maxson defended the president’s remarks, on the grounds that Miller had been “accused of a very serious infraction of behavioral and legal rules.” So, according to the
In her campus-wide email, President Mason also announced, “Currently all supervisory personnel are required to undergo sexual harassment training. I have asked Provost Loh to work with our faculty and staff governing bodies to extend the required training to all faculty and staff.”
The University’s Council on the Status of Women welcomed Mason’s move, claiming that “sexual harassment does not appear to be taken serious [sic] by some in the University community,” although the body did worry about “what occurs if someone refuses to participate in the training.”
This now-mandatory sexual harassment training—which the university quickly renamed sexual harassment “education”—reminds potential victims that “sexual harassers can include (but aren’t limited to) professors, teaching assistants, research assistants, supervisors, co-workers, classmates, other students, acquaintances, friends, partners, dates, and strangers” [who else is there?]; notes that there is no time limit(!) for filing a sexual harassment complaint; and offers the Crystal Mangum rule: “a complaint made in good faith is not considered false merely because the evidence does not ultimately support the allegation of sexual misconduct.”
The campus newspaper reported on another such Mason-initiated program: the university named a school coordinator for “sexual-misconduct response.” The new coordinator, Monique DiCarlo, said that the school would create new “victim-advocate positions,” with every sexual harassment accuser being assigned a “victim-advocate.” One of DiCarlo’s volunteers explained the rationale: “Having an advocate on hand at all times is crucial for any victim . . . It’s great that victims can form a relationship with someone to help them through that event in their lives.”
But, of course, deeming all accusers to be “victims” entitled to an “advocate” presumes guilt of the accused. If the allegation is false, how can the accuser be a “victim”?
While Iowa’s president imitated Brodhead’s response to the lacrosse case, the leadership of Smith College went one step further—inviting one of the most extreme Group of 88 members to lecture Smith students on the dangers of . . . racial stereotyping.
In a typically insightful article this week, Heather MacDonald recounts (among other things) how colleges and universities overreact to minor episodes of bad student behavior, if the affair confirms many academics’ predisposition that their (white) students are inherently racist--and, in the case of white males, sexist as well.
Such an event occurred at Smith College in late 2007, when a white couple who attended a student-sponsored “Celebrity Rehab” party “painted their skin black, donned Afro wigs and dressed as singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.” In response, Smith president Carol Christ—whose official biography celebrates her “well-established reputation as a champion of women’s issues and diversity”—convened an all-day campus forum to discuss diversity and sensitivity.
Who did Christ invite to campus to provide guidance to her students on such issues? None other than Group of 88’er Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, whom she personally introduced and hailed as a “foremost theorist” on race in America.
(Bonilla-Silva, of course, has used different names in his scholarly work for the country that Christ mentioned: “gringoland”; “the United States of Amerikkka”; and “Amerika.”) Bonilla-Silva’s rhetoric was entirely predictable: “I am here,” asserted he, “to speak truth to power about race matters in contemporary America and, in the process, connect the dots about this ‘incident,’ an incident and an aftermath which I believe are emblematic about how race works in post-civil rights America.” (This was, of course, the same Eduardo Bonilla-Silva who wrote of the country that would elect Barack Obama its president in 2008 that “in this country, racial ‘others’ of dark complexion are always viewed as incapable of doing much; we are regarded and treated as secondary actors only good for doing beds in hotels or working in fast-food restaurants.”) Just as he and his fellow Group members had hoped to exploit the lacrosse case to transform Duke, Bonilla-Silva urged Smith ideologues to use the party incident to transform Smith. (Given that Smith is already widely perceived as an academic bastion of political correctness, it’s not clear what specific changes Bonilla-Silva wanted.) In any event, the Group of 88’er denounced “this color-blind racism ideology” (of people like Obama?), and expressed his support for “the struggle to help Smith reflect America’s new racial reality; to help create a Smith College where neither ‘isolated racial incidents’ nor everyday color-blind racism exist. This will require a lot of effort, but the creation of a multicultural ‘beloved community’ requires nothing less.” (To send their children to an instruction whose president celebrated this vision, parents of Smith students pay $36,058 annually in tuition and fees.) I e-mailed President Christ to ask her if she knew of Bonilla-Silva’s membership in the Group of 88 before she extended him the invitation; and whether, in retrospect, she considered it wise to have had a figure who himself had set aside the academy’s traditional fealty to due process and made such a high-profile decision based on what turned out to be inaccurate, race-based stereotypes lecture her institution’s students on the dangers of racial stereotyping. Christ did not reply. [Update, Monday, 11.30am: As I have been reminded, perhaps it is no surprise that a senior Smith administrator invited to campus one of the most extreme members of the Group of 88, given the previous intersection of the lacrosse case with Smith administrators. Danielle Carr Ramdath is Smith's associate dean of the faculty, and was brought on board by Julius Chambers and William Bowen for their report on the administration's response to the case. (That report identified Carr Ramdath as an “African-American woman”; it did not disclose either the race or the gender of Bowen and Chambers. For reasons that remain unclear, the signatures of Bowen and Chambers alone were on the report, although its text claimed that Carr Ramdath shared all of its conclusions.) Shortly after the report appeared in May 2006, Stuart Taylor published an extraordinary critique in the National Journal, correctly identifying it as almost a parody of political correctness; I also published a post pointing out that the report seemed obsessed with "diversity" issues and chastising Bowen, Chambers, and Carr for going out of their way to interview extreme critics of the team among the faculty--Houston Baker, Peter Wood, Karla Holloway--even as the report writers claimed that they didn't have time to interview all the relevant figures for their task. In the end, no interviews were really required--the report was fully consistent with the preconceived "diversity" worldviews of Bowen, Chambers, and Carr Ramdath. After the case collapsed, Carr Ramdath was asked if she and her colleagues planned to issue a correction or addendum to the report. She replied, "We stand by the report, which no one has questioned." In light of the above, obviously, the second portion of her statement was demonstrably false.]
Bonilla-Silva’s rhetoric was entirely predictable: “I am here,” asserted he, “to speak truth to power about race matters in contemporary America and, in the process, connect the dots about this ‘incident,’ an incident and an aftermath which I believe are emblematic about how race works in post-civil rights America.”
(This was, of course, the same Eduardo Bonilla-Silva who wrote of the country that would elect Barack Obama its president in 2008 that “in this country, racial ‘others’ of dark complexion are always viewed as incapable of doing much; we are regarded and treated as secondary actors only good for doing beds in hotels or working in fast-food restaurants.”)
Just as he and his fellow Group members had hoped to exploit the lacrosse case to transform Duke, Bonilla-Silva urged Smith ideologues to use the party incident to transform Smith. (Given that Smith is already widely perceived as an academic bastion of political correctness, it’s not clear what specific changes Bonilla-Silva wanted.) In any event, the Group of 88’er denounced “this color-blind racism ideology” (of people like Obama?), and expressed his support for “the struggle to help Smith reflect America’s new racial reality; to help create a Smith College where neither ‘isolated racial incidents’ nor everyday color-blind racism exist. This will require a lot of effort, but the creation of a multicultural ‘beloved community’ requires nothing less.”
(To send their children to an instruction whose president celebrated this vision, parents of Smith students pay $36,058 annually in tuition and fees.)
I e-mailed President Christ to ask her if she knew of Bonilla-Silva’s membership in the Group of 88 before she extended him the invitation; and whether, in retrospect, she considered it wise to have had a figure who himself had set aside the academy’s traditional fealty to due process and made such a high-profile decision based on what turned out to be inaccurate, race-based stereotypes lecture her institution’s students on the dangers of racial stereotyping.
Christ did not reply.
[Update, Monday, 11.30am: As I have been reminded, perhaps it is no surprise that a senior Smith administrator invited to campus one of the most extreme members of the Group of 88, given the previous intersection of the lacrosse case with Smith administrators.
Danielle Carr Ramdath is Smith's associate dean of the faculty, and was brought on board by Julius Chambers and William Bowen for their report on the administration's response to the case. (That report identified Carr Ramdath as an “African-American woman”; it did not disclose either the race or the gender of Bowen and Chambers. For reasons that remain unclear, the signatures of Bowen and Chambers alone were on the report, although its text claimed that Carr Ramdath shared all of its conclusions.)
Shortly after the report appeared in May 2006, Stuart Taylor published an extraordinary critique in the National Journal, correctly identifying it as almost a parody of political correctness; I also published a post pointing out that the report seemed obsessed with "diversity" issues and chastising Bowen, Chambers, and Carr for going out of their way to interview extreme critics of the team among the faculty--Houston Baker, Peter Wood, Karla Holloway--even as the report writers claimed that they didn't have time to interview all the relevant figures for their task.
In the end, no interviews were really required--the report was fully consistent with the preconceived "diversity" worldviews of Bowen, Chambers, and Carr Ramdath.
After the case collapsed, Carr Ramdath was asked if she and her colleagues planned to issue a correction or addendum to the report. She replied, "We stand by the report, which no one has questioned."
In light of the above, obviously, the second portion of her statement was demonstrably false.]
Despite the predictable calls for vengeance, Carol Christ saw to it that the student who dressed in blackface was neither punished nor ostracized. Overall, you should praise Christ for how she responded.
I'm a Smith Professor
Do basic manners and common sense, let alone the presumption of innocence, matter when charges of sexual harassment are made?
In their statements responding to allegations of sexual harassment, the Presidents of Iowa and Smith were forceful, but is it accurate to say that they were also thoughtful? As reported, the statements sound ideological but not thoughtful. They express an impatience to condemn not only sexual harassment but also the accused. To what end?
These cases of suicide are just unimaginable in a civilized society.
That entire groups of allegedly educated people would handle things so badly and so unfairly that the accused would take their own lives is so retro.
Almost as rigid as tales from the 1950's.
Do these people in the academy know how backward they appear?
To rid university campuses of such a mindset will take more than words.
An all-out war must be waged.
And......looking at the other side of things, Professor Miller might have had a reputation as a "ladies' man".
Married four times. Having a wife 30 years his junior---(not that there's anything wrong with that)---might suggest that he has a penchant for much younger women and that the charges might not be so far-fetched.
From my experience, some professors enjoy a kind of flirtatious relationship with students; however, not to any serious degree.
Perhaps Miller did joke around with a few students as his wife mentioned.
Unless there was clear evidence that it was anything more, how on earth were they able to arrest him?
Also, you never hear much about female professors' conduct with their students.
It does seem that the academy is very selective about which cases are given so much attention and put on public display.
Back in the '90s, an older Duke professor C. Eric Lincoln was accused of sexual harassment by a student.
You heard almost nothing about it in the media.
So little, in fact, that I don't even know what the final outcome was.
And wasn't Houston Baker accused of the same thing several years ago?
The academy is obviously very selective in its handling of such cases.
Suppose I bleached my hair blonde and attended as Britney Spears-would a symposium be convened?What if I were Asian and didso_would that require discussion? Is this Academic make-work?
To the Smith Professor: Do you have mandatory "10-minute hate" sessions in which you react in anger and hatred against Goldstein or anyone else who might fall into your category of being "politically incorrect"?
The term "vengeance" that you used implies that there was an act in which one student harmed another. Now, to use your PC terms, a white person dressing as one who is black might not be "sensitive" to people like you and others who make their living by being "offended" by the "political insensitivity" of others, but even if we were to admit it were done in bad taste, nonetheless there was no "harm" done.
Thus, with no harm, there can be no vengeance, unless you endorse the idea of harming someone who has "offended" your PC notions of life.
However, judging from the tone of your post, you seem to think that the president engaged in a magnanimous response. Give me a break.
Elite Colleges and Universities advertise themsleves as being "pillers of free speech." However in recent cases they have demonstrated some of the most egregious examples of censorship and political closed mindedness in America.
All of this sounds like politically correct knee-jerk faux-liberal college speak to me.
Apparently the students understand all of this as some form of high level intellectual irony for smart people; are aware of the syntax and just don't care.
Perhaps 'Aware and Don't Care' is a good thing.
Who monitors the adults?
I'm the Smith professor. My name is James Miller and I’m a conservative Republican who has written for the Weekly Standard and the National Review Online which I hope you all take as evidence that I’m not politically correct.
I’m certainly not claiming that the desires for vengeance were justified just that they existed and President Christ took effective action to protect the student from being made a social outcaste because of them. I suspect not many college presidents would have done this given the circumstances.
It is offensive for a white person to go to a party in blackface, given that in the past whites used blackface to deliberately mock black people. The situation is not analogous to someone bleaching their hair to look like Britney Spears. The student in question, however, didn’t know about the history of blackface so most reasonable people wouldn’t take offense at what she did.
The student accidently stepped on a racial mine. At most colleges the administration would have probably attacked and at best would have left the student to the mercy of the always looking for racists multiculturalists. Christ, in contrast, helped defuse the mine even though this wasn’t the easy option for her to take.
Jim Cramer on Bob Steel:
[The New York Times hack Frank] Rich also chastises me for endorsing Wachovia's stock after then-CEO Bob Steel came on Mad Money and spoke positively about the bank. Was I taken in? Yes, and I made a mistake. I apologized both on Mad Money and on the Today Show for believing in Steel. But others say I have been too hard on myself given that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Steel's appearance on my show for truthfulness. I chalk it up to something different: Sometimes you just get had.
Indeed, sometimes you do. I know there are dozens of Duke professors and administrators who are glad to know that their statements won't be investigated for truthfulness.
"The student in question, however, didn’t know about the history of blackface so most reasonable people wouldn’t take offense at what she did."
Professor Miller, why not pull the student aside, explain the history, and leave it at that? I work with young people and occasionally hear and see things that strike me as potentially insensitive and hurtful. I simply pull the "offender" aside, provide my perspective as to why what they did/said might not be a good idea, and sound them out for their thinking on the subject. Almost always, the situation is resolved then and there and life goes on.
I don't think Christ should be congratulated because she decided to refrain from "going Water Buffalo" on the student. Why convene an all-day conference with a speaker of dubious integrity on the subject?
The bottom line is the incident was blown out of proportion to meet the ideological needs of the chronically aggrieved rather than to address a simple case of innocent ignorance. Christ's response was only laudable when compared to the behavior of some of the nation's more cowardly university presidents.
I think bleaching one's hair blonde would be analogous as women have been severely limited by prejudice as to their intelligence. Not being a blonde woman, you may not be in a position to understand . On the other hand, the real issue may be the inherent poor taste shown by all attendees of such a party-celebrity rehab couples indeed.
Then, my apologies. I'm not a conservative Republican, but I hate, hate, hate PC. To be honest, I am shocked that Smith would permit someone who does not walk in lockstep to be on the faculty.
I sure hope you are an econ prof! (It was the econ department at Duke that finally broke the ice, and we economists tend not to care much for PC.)
It seems to me that there should be mandatory courses for college administrators on the rights of students and of faculty and employees to the presumption of innocence when accused, and to the duty of the college to provide assistance and guidance to those accused.
There is an obvious need for such.
I didn't have time to reply earlier, Bill, but I felt you were a bit quick on the trigger in your initial reply to Professor Miller. Good of you to apologize!
Dr. James Miller is indeed an economics professor and has a most impressive CV here.
In addition to holding an MA (Yale) and PhD (Chicago) in Economics, he also has a JD from Stanford Law.
I believe we're fortunate to have a person with his credentials as a commentator here.
In the context of Smith College, President Christ's fair treatment of the student is commendable. But that effort is overshadowed by her action in then hosting an all-day campus forum featuring a known Fifth Degree Black Belt race-baiter and "racial grievance industry" Captain in Bonilla-Silva.
Actually, Anon at 5:00 PM said it best above, "The bottom line is the incident was blown out of proportion to meet the ideological needs of the chronically aggrieved rather than to address a simple case of innocent ignorance."
I hope you continue to comment, Professor Miller. Don't let Professor Anderson dissuade you; he's actually a damn fine man.
It is offensive for a white person to go to a party in blackface, given that in the past whites used blackface to deliberately mock black people.
Well, I'm glad we cleared that up. I am to understand that any culture whose members tarted themselves up in the past as 'others', in order to mock the 'other' culture, is to be held perpetually guilty of racial insensitivity or harassment. And its current members all bear a perpetual probation, to be busted at will by any administrator with the power-of-the-moment.
This is a good thing. Every single culture in the world is immediately guilty, since not one is innocent in history of such behavior. All that remains is the free-for-all power struggle to see who's to act as the administrator at the top of the mountain, who dispenses justice downhill in reeking bowling balls of blame and punishment.
Am I wrong?
As a long time supporter of The University of Iowa, I feel compelled to comment on the “Iowa” portion of KC’s post. I’ve spent a good deal of time in Iowa City. My daughter graduated from Iowa and my youngest son is planning to enroll there next fall.
The State of Iowa has one of the highest literacy rates in the nation, among the highest ACT scores in the nation, and Iowa City has the highest number of high school graduates, per capita, of any city in the US. The U of I has a top-rated medical school, a highly rated law school, the famed Iowa Writer’s workshop, and it is consistently rated highly among US public universities. In a nod to the high-testosterone comments from inman and others earlier about Austin, the ambiance and view in Iowa City is spectacular.
It also has an extremely high concentration of rabidly PC and highly liberal faculty (42 professors in its History department, not one a Republican), and a huge population of extremist feminists. In the wonderful Prairie Lights Bookstore there, the “Lesbian Studies” section is five times larger than the Civil War section. A man driving a car that accidentally ran into a woman riding a bicycle would likely be charged with a hate crime in Iowa City.
And yet, according to the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education link provided, "At the University of Iowa, students have filed 11 sexual-harassment complaints against eight professors over the last five years." With over 30,000 students and more than 1700 professors, those numbers don’t strike me as extraordinary.
The “astonishing public reaction of the Iowa administration” might be explainable in part due to an earlier incident that reflected poorly on president Mason. Not long before the incidents KC described, a female student had made charges that two university football players had sexually assaulted her. Although president Mason and top administrators were made aware of the situation, it was kept very low key and the parents of the young woman complained publicly.
An independent review found that the university had “mishandled” the complaint, and that set into motion the predictable feminist outrage cycle that included calls for Mason, despite her strong diversity bona fides, to resign. Iowa immediately fired its top in-house legal counsel, and he claimed that he was a scapegoat.
Soon after this, the charges against both professors surfaced. It is believed by many that Mason and Iowa administration threw those professors under the bus to prove how tough they were on sexual assault. The strength of the cases against the two seem very much as KC described, and their deaths are tragic and senseless.
And, in a comment that could only come from someone as thoughtless as Duke’s Larry “Water Buffalo” Moneta, UI spokesman Steve Parrott said in the (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette Online "We want to extend our condolences to his [Weiger’s] family. But we also don't want to forget about the woman who filed the suit.”
Somehow, I do not think the U of I will “forget.” The woman has continued her suit against the estate of Professor Weiger and the University of Iowa.
No doubt Obama's new Attorney General Eric Holder would approve of the students wearing blackface as this clearly was not a cowardly gesture on their part. I'm sure the Group of 88 would applaud AG Holder's views, even if his boss does not.
Your suggestion as to mandatory courses for college administrators/faculty/and college employees does not fall under the pc guidelines. Therefore, it is and will always be a no go.
In today's world, the only rights that seem to be important are the rights of an accuser to always be determined as legitimate (long after proven other wise) and the "right" for the accused to be determined guilty in the court of public opinion before any such legal finding has taken place.
To James Miller (Smith Professor):
I think we have lost track of the original point that Professor Johnson was making.
"Group of 88’er Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, whom she personally introduced and hailed as a “foremost theorist” on race in America."
To bring a known racial radical on to the campus and lavish praise on that person is reprehensible. Your defense of Christ is misplaced and appears to be a straw man argument.
I, for one, have had enough of fanatical groups dictating how we should act and how we must not hurt other people's feelings. In this case, the groups pulled out the race card at the first sign of trouble. Then we get the obligatory crazed speaker from the dung heap of Duke.
Spare me the excuses.
Thanks, "Ken" from Dallas.
Finally, back to the actual point.
The ever-disgruntled Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, who is basically a black man who has been raised inside Latino culture, has a multitude of things to "teach" the world.
And all those things just happen to have a Lacrosse Hoax meta-narrative running along the seams.
A real swell guy.
Duke event examines bank nationalization
Mar 10, 2009
DURHAM -- Experts from the top levels of banking and academia will gather March 25 at Duke University Law School to examine the implications of nationalizing financial institutions.
The discussion, which will examine nationalization's impact on the banking industry, consumers, the role of regulators, and free enterprise, begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Law School's Star Commons. The event is free and open to the public and a reception will follow.
Panelists will include Robert K. Steel, the former president and CEO of Wachovia Corp., a member of the Wells Fargo Board of Directors and a Duke University trustee; Edward Greene, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and former investments general counsel of Citigroup; Duke University economist Craig Burnside; and Duke Law faculty members James Cox, a specialist in corporate and securities law; Steven A. Schwarcz, an expert in capital markets and systemic risk; and Bill Brown, who formerly held senior positions at AIG, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.
"Have We Nationalized Our Banking System?" is the first of several public discussions being planned by the Law School that will focus on charting the emerging framework of public policy and regulation in the "post-crisis" economy.
This was just shocking to me when I read it.
In the 21st century, I had no idea that this type of assistance and housing for a fraction of what most people pay even existed unless someone is disabled.
It's amazing that anyone in the Triangle could be living in any apartment for that price.
And what apartment management company pays for a resident's water?
This is yet another example of the way Durham is run.
There are so many things "free" for a certain group of people....even in the year 2009.
City to referee apartment battle rematch
By Gregory Childress : The Herald-Sun
Mar 10, 2009
DURHAM -- In this city, where a three-bedroom apartment can set you back more than $1,500 a month, the rent at Lincoln Apartments is remarkably affordable.
A three-bedroom in the 46-year-old apartment complex just off Alston Avenue goes for just $355 a month, including a 12-percent increase that went into effect March 1.
But tenants, who met with the managing company two weeks ago to complain about lax maintenance and ask that the rent increase -- $38 a month across the board for three-, two- and one-bedroom units -- be postponed until improvements are made, don't think low rent is a fair trade-off for health and safety.
"The rent going up is fine and good, but the place has to be safe for people to live in," said Gloria Lee, who has rented an apartment in the complex for about four years.
The sometimes volatile meeting that took place Feb. 28 pitted tenants and members of the community organizing group ACORN against Southern Real Estate, the company that manages the property for the Lincoln Foundation, a nonprofit that owns the complex.
"That was a hanging, it was a lynching," said Howard Williams, president of the management company. "All we were doing was getting hollered at by folks we don't know."
A second meeting has been set for March 23, but this one will be refereed by city housing code inspectors who have received complaints from tenants about the property.
"What we're going to do is call and get Howard Williams and ACORN to the table," said Rick Hester, who handles code enforcement in Durham's District 2 and 4. "What we'll do is find out what the issues are and try to do an apartment-by-apartment inspection."
Residents have complained about numerous maintenance matters including water leaks and the presence of mold. One resident even complained that a mushroom grew out of her wall.
Many of the complaints cited by residents two weeks ago were also listed in a letter the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote to Williams in October 2005.
"We have recently received several tenant complaints, which addressed concerns pertaining to physical aspects of the property, as well as tenant safety concerns," the letter began.
It went on to ask Williams to address issues ranging from handicap parking to a rifle being stolen from the maintenance shop. "If this is true, why was a rifle being kept on site?"
In addition, the letter questioned Williams about "damaged, falling and leaning" fencing and gates. Cracks and gaps in building exteriors and lighting and air quality concerns and insect infestations.
While Lee doesn't have any visible maintenance complaints at the moment, she is concerned about what might be lurking behind her walls. She said she would welcome an inspection of her apartment by inspectors.
"They're probably going to find mold and everything in there, and the foundation is going to have to do something," Lee said.
The foundation, which was once part of Lincoln Hospital, is now an independent, tax-free entity whose sole purpose is ownership of the Lincoln Apartments, which were built nearly five decades ago to provide affordable housing for health care professionals at the historic all-black Lincoln Hospital.
Larry Suitt, chairman of the Lincoln Foundation's board, said he believes Williams and his maintenance staff do address tenants' concerns when they are brought to them.
"We have the utmost confidence in Southern Realty to resolve these problems," Suitt said. "If he needs our [the board's] help, I'm sure he'll ask for it."
But Suitt said more timely improvements would be possible with money generated by the rent increase. He also said the mandatory replacement of an old sewer pipe running through the property seriously depleted the foundation's reserves and income gained after recently paying off the apartment complex's mortgage.
"Big projects like that just consumed what surplus we had," Suitt said.
Williams added Monday that the recent water and sewer rate increase also contributed to the decision to increase rent payments. Like most apartment complexes, the owner pays for water and sewer.
"We have to look at keeping the lights and water on," Williams said. "That's were we are now."
Suitt said the foundation's board will meet later this month to discuss the issues that have surfaced over the past few weeks and craft an action plan to address them.
"I won't be able to speak authoritatively about that until the board meets in a couple of weeks," Suitt said.
Lee said she and the other tenants will be watching closely.
"We're not going to stop until we see something done," Lee said.
Carol Christ grandstanded while kowtowing to the PC crowd as much as she could with the hand she was dealt. She should be praised for not having the students arrested or expelled? As Ken from Dallas wrote, "Spare me the excuses."
What I find most interesting is that the Smith Administration chose to believe the legal fiction that 2 of their students (and apparently all of their friends) were so ignorant as to not understand the stigma attached to blackface. Professor Miller, do you honestly believe your students are that stupid?
But, it was an easy way to avoid the real issue -- What should be the shape and form of university restrictions on free speech?
The Smith student body should obtain Robert Downey Jr. to speak at their next commencement.
The Iowa press release regarding the dead professor would be Exhibit A if I were to prosecute Iowa for Political Correctness. "We want to extend our condolences to his [Weiger’s] family. But we also don't want to forget about the woman who filed the suit.” Thanks for the context, One Spook. Now, hurry and wash off the Herky the Hawkeye from your skin before it burns!
MOO! Gregory (Go Illini!)
I graduated from U of I in '96. The PC was beginning - I see it is worse.
Duke has a new top cop.
MOO! Gregory writes at 3:22 AM:
"Now, hurry and wash off the Herky the Hawkeye from your skin before it burns! "
Sorry, I can't wash it off. I actually have a tattoo of Herky holding a pitchfork and spearing Chief Illiniwek in the ass, while the Chief is grimacing and shouting, "MOO!"
Of course, the tattoo is no longer "official" since the U of Illinois appeased the pusillanimous PC pack and "retired" Chief Illiniwek in 2007.
Lest we not forget Whoopi's own Ted Danson Blackface incident.
Alas, the PC'ers are so transparent. I'm positive both he and she were "aware" of the history involved.
From Gregory March 11, 2009 :: 3:22 AM...
...What I find most interesting is that the Smith Administration chose to believe the legal fiction that 2 of their students (and apparently all of their friends) were so ignorant as to not understand the stigma attached to blackface. Professor Miller, do you honestly believe your students are that stupid?
Playing around with statements of Sarcasm and Irony is not a stupid activity for college kids in this the 21st Century. It is quite common. And incredibly common at universities who see themselves as sanctuaries for smart kids.
Remember Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi for a party?
Young people think they are making an INTELLECTUAL statement of Irony or they are being Sarcastic when they present themselves in Blackface or as a Nazi or write e-mails in the 'spirit' of American Psycho. They are being so ooooooo clever. Clever chaps as it were.
Where did they learn to do this? We taught them!! And we teach kids that ... Irony is wasted on the stupid. Just read the Duke Rape Hoax blogs. We are sooo ooooo clever! Who wants to be stupid?
We teach these kids to make statements of Irony and Sarcasm so they will be seen by others as clever and smart.
The race/class/gender-based political correct crowd at universities are just patiently waiting for our kids to make a statement of Irony or Sarcasm so they can pounce on a act ...that drives THEIR agenda.
Enough with the Irony and Sarcasm...already!
Twelve 'stupid' people on a jury can and do send 'clever people' to Jail for a very long time!
We have met the enemy and they are...us.
The fact that the world was changing was made all to clear to me back in 1971. My younger brother was a sophomore in high school. There was a girl in his Latin class who had a crush on him - which was not reciprocated - he was popular with the girls in his class though was not dating anyone at the time. This girl sat behind him and kicked him every day to get his attention. At first he ignored it (on my parents advice that she would tire of it when she did not get a rise from him). When it still continued, he went to the teacher (a female) and asked to be moved - she refused to do so (I don't remember now the reason she gave for her refusal). The kicking continued. My parents were of the opinion that if you had problems you resolved them yourself - it was not necessary for them to be involved. My brother finally had enough one day and grabbed the girl's foot after she kicked him again. The girl screamed that my brother had assaulted her in class - he was promptly sent to the office and the teacher and girl filed a complaint (my brother claimed he was only defending himself and the teacher accused him of being disrespectful). The girl's parents then got involved and called my parents - threatening police action. The teacher claimed that my brother had a history of grabbing girls(no such history existed) and that as an athlete (he was on the football and swim teams) he was so strong he could have inflicted real harm. (The girl appeared at school the next day on crutches - claiming that he had injured her ankle and she could not walk). She claimed that she would testify that my brother did this in class routinely (supposedly she had talked to other teachers - in fact she had not). The long and short is tht my parents were forced to consult a lawyer and play hardball - my sister was in all classes with my brother. She maintained that he never did any such thing (both were extremely good students and actively involved in many school activities). Another brother and sister also attended the same high school (I had already graduated)and they were questioned. After much questioning the following was determined. The girl who kicked my brother was upset that my sister had received some honor over her, wanted to get back at my sister and at the same time hoped that my brother would ask her out to an upcoming dance. (Remember high school sophomores operate with a twisted logic system). The teacher was being abused by her husband (he would later be charged and see jail time - though much later)and was, I guess transferring her inability to press charges against her husband into action against my brother.
The principal at my high school was a reasonable man who was open to hearing everyone and who did not jumpt to any conclusions. The fact that we lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone else also helped (though it could have gone the other way). It did not take too long before the girl's parents backed down, the girl recanted, and life went back to normal (my brother and sister were switched from that teacher's class - my parent's insistence). However, for a long while, there were those who maintained that there had to be "something more to the story". (Since my father was an executive at the largest business in town there were the rumors that he had "paid to get it quashed"). In fact, when my brother applied to West Point he was asked about the incident.
My point is this, while there are legitimate cases of sexual abuse, there are also women and girls who know that they can raise a red flag and use that for whatever purpose they want - there need to be protections in place for those who accuse as well as the object of their accusations. It would seem that the Iowa case points out, as did the lacrosse case, that authorities need to be more careful in protecting the rights of all and not leaping to the assumption that no girls lie about assaults as Tara Levicy maintained. It is hard - I know from first hand experience. I was assaulted when in my early twenties. I new that I could not identify the person who harmed me -not with the accuracy needed to convict anyone. While I felt guilt for many years that I did not report the assault (how many other girls might he have harmed?) I knew that I could never live with myself if I was responsible for sending an innocent person to jail or at the very least ruining his life because I "thought" that he was the perpetrator.
Off topic, but Lou Dobbs just interviewed David Horowitz on TV about his new book: "One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy".
Horowitz talks about how radical activists masquerading as professors have basically subverted academic pursuit.
BTW, Duke was at the very top of the list of the most PC, left wing universties that muzzle free speech by students.
I think Gary Packwood makes an excellent point..... of course the students knew the implications of blackface, and probably did it precisely BECAUSE it was so politically incorrect and ironic. I knew a guy who went to a Duke party wearing a KKK outfit...... was he a rascist? No, he was making fun of the KKK, and people who are so uptight they've lost all sense of irony and humor. The Duke lacrosse team had a long history of making fun of political correctness, which may have been one of the reasons for their persecution......... even after the lacrosse case broke, a group of Duke students went to a party as battered women "dates" of the lacrosse team...........
Very funny, One Spook! I could go on for hours about the lynching of Chief Illiniwek -- a symbol of a long dead tribal confederation. I choose to believe that Native Americans have enough backbone to withstand a symbol of somebody else's extinct confederation that they would almost certainly have never seen. (He or she only performed live and not on TV). But that's another story.
Mr. Packwood, are you suggesting that we censor teenagers so that they don't get censured by the PC censors? Should we start with David before he fights Goliath or Romeo before he takes his relationship with Juliet to the next level? I agree with you that the teenagers in the Smith case were simply challenging a gray area. I don't see that stopping anytime soon, and I can't imagine a life without wit or laughter. So, in my mind, your remedy would klll the patient.
P.S. I recognize the irony of my lame wisecracking, Gary. ;)
I too was a bit miffed by Mr. Packwood's comment.
We can't lose sight of the fact that in a university environment we are dealing with young adults aged 18 - 22. It is very normal behavior for these young people to push the envelopes of taste and decorum.
Hosting a stripper party, while perhaps tasteless and ill advised, was not an unusual occurrence at Duke in 2006. Indeed, evidence has shown that at least 20 other male and female student groups did so.
Hosting a stripper party is not a crime, but falsely accusing another person of a crime is very clearly a criminal act.
I'm more troubled by people who work in a career dealing with young persons in this age group who then idiotically overreact to behaviors that are typical. To me it is far more important to keep these actions in perspective and to ensure that policies and punishment for such behaviors are appropriate.
In the Duke hoax we have a great example of such an overreaction in one of the professors in the Group of 88 who, in a display of colossal ignorance, publicly accused an academic colleague who used the term "tarred and feathered" as using "the language of lynching." That such a professor holds power over students should be deeply alarming to any reasonable person.
Even more disturbing to me are faculty and administration in positions of power and authority over students who would abet, sanction or otherwise support acts that clearly presume the guilt of students accused of a crime.
In this entire false rape hoax, it should never be forgotten that, apart from underage drinking, the only criminal or tortious acts committed by anyone associated with Duke University were those perpetrated by Duke Administration, Faculty, and Employees.
And yet, at Smith College, a student's unfortunate gaffe of appearing at a "Celebrity Rehab" party in black face results in an all-day campus forum to discuss diversity and sensitivity.
Where is there a campus forum at Duke to discuss fealty to academic ethics and to essential American legal principles including the presumption of innocence?
Gregory 3/13/09 6:48 AM said...
...I can't imagine a life without wit or laughter.
I agree. Humor is important even if the humor associated with a Black Face Party or SM Party or Sec/Exec Party is fairly low level on the irony/sarcasm scale. The level of abstraction can get much higher.
After back to back student parties where Black Face and Battered Women are featured, the African American cleaning ladies in the dorms have been known to throw all of their asses under the bus. It has something to do with the Black Face and Battered Women make-up mess around the sinks in the Dorms.
When the parents arrive in their BMW's to snatch their budding Seinfeld from the jaws of stupidity, the campus cops - in solidarity - with the cleaning ladies write an astonishing number of parking ticket and lest we forget, 'contraband' is collected from student's waste baskets and sent to Mike Nifong's office via a secretary or two who work for buildings and grounds and attend church with ...the Nifong's...of course.
And, as everyone here on this BLOG knows... OBVIOUSLY, The Women's Center along with the AABlack Studies people and the Women's Studies people are H.U.G.E. advocates for the campus cleaning 'ladies' and the cafeteria workers. Mostly single Mom's don't ya know.
Now we are moving up the humor ladder of abstraction towards high level irony and sarcasm.
So oooo Funny. Not!
The rule in my house is pretty straightforward. If the cleaning ladies understand and chuckle about your party theme...have at it. If they don't, you make your own bail and represent yourself at the student judicial hearing. And, bail is usually 10% of the face amount on the legal documents. Bail bondsman do work 24/7. Let your finger do the walking and give 'em a RingyDingy on YOUR iPhone.
I keep wondering what's happening with respect to the law suits against Duke and Durham and you keep writing about all and sundry. I appeal to you to keep within the subject matter (TITLE) of your blog.
North of Detroit
North of Detroit writes @ 3:25 PM:
"I appeal to you to keep within the subject matter (TITLE) of your blog."
In introducing the incidents in his latest post, KC wrote of events that "attest to the grip that race/class/gender-based political correctness exercises over college and university campuses."
That subject is one of the essential elements of the DIW Blog.
To prove my point, please direct us to any reports that appeared in Newsweek or The New York Times about Michael Jermaine Burch.
To North of Detroit @3:25 PM:
The subject matter of K.C. Johnson's blog started out as the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. But it -- inevitably and necessarily -- grew into a blog about Political Correctness and what that coercive mind-control is doing to American higher education.
I read with disgust the various examples of PC mind control and attempted mind control, and I recommend to every college and university student, faculty member, and employee that they carry one telephone number on them at all times: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
I have read of instances where University administrators threatened to impose unfair and unjust punishments on students or employees, simply because they exercised their first-amendment rights and criticized affirmative-action preferences, or were seen reading a book about the Ku Klux Klan, or some such. Some member of a "protected minority" or angry feminist complained that this was racially insensitive or constituted sexual harassment, and the administration, terrified of offending the PC crowd, turned on the "offending" individual. But when he called FIRE, and FIRE threatened to take the university to court -- the administration backed down, and the PC crowd lost another one.
Bottom line: If you are in a heavily PC dominated institution, be prepared to defend yourself.
Hopefully, somebody will contribute a large amount of money to FIRE so they can carry on their good work.
And hopefully, blogs like this one will keep exposing examples of PC coercion.
Because only as it is exposed can we fight it.
North of Detroit:
The political correctness fervor that has gripped the world of academe from pre-school through the graduate institutions provided (and still provides) the milieu for the lacrosse frame to occur. Curriculum is slanted in the humanities to overemphasize the role of minorities; curriculum offerings and core requirements are re-jiggered so that students cannot escape professors/teachers who use their lecturn as a bully pulpit from which to force their political views as fact; and administrators view every juvenile action of students not with a reasonable approach but with a heavy-handed "all must be re-educated in the Chinese fashion" directive.
The Duke case should have been a wake-up call to those in academe as to what pc hath wrought. Sadly that is not so. If anything, as has been chronicled in this blog as well as others, the ring leaders of the Gang of 88 have used their actions as a platform to further spread the infection. For anything to change it is important that this important aspect of the Duke case and its counterparts in other areas be reported and discussed so that all can understand the harm that occurred and is still occurring.
Years ago (1975 or so) I was told by an employee (wife's relative) of Wayne State University that there were hundreds of rapes each year on campus. He had access to the campus police reports. WSU is a very inter-racial campus and I doubt that these were same race rapes. Would you expect to have the New York Times or Newsweek report them all? I fail to see your point. And what's with the "please direct us" phrase? Are you suggesting there are alliances here that I'm not a part of, or that my comment was not welcomed by you?
North of Detroit.
To cks @ 9:36 AM
In 1972, affirmative action kept me out of the University of Detroit Dental School despite being a member of three undergraduate honor societies and scoring above 95 in the dental aptitude tests. So, the "political correctness fervor" is nothing new to me.
I lamented that DiW seems to have has lost it's focus. Hopefully Christine Butler's new blog will fill the gap as I now look there before here.
North of Detroit
FIRE is doing a great job. They have a greater stated mission, however that Durham/Duke.
North of Detroit.
North od Detroit
You are probably right. Perhaps K.C. should confine his clear and precise evaluations and comments to activities and behaviors inside Durham Country. The fact that the illegal, unetthical, and immoral actions, behaviors ,attitudes and the politically correct mindsets of the various defendants in these lawsuits impact not only the lacrosse players and their families, but, also, all of us who live and work throughout the world is probably of no consequence. Regardless of the pronouncements of innocence or the outcome of these law suits, there always will be those small-minded individuals who still believe"something happened" and the players and their families and ,essentially, all of us will pay the price.
Some of the ever quick of foot 88 faculty members have moved, and will continue to move, to other institutions of higher education and attempt to spread their illogical agendas among students and coilleagues alike.
The once excellent international image of Duke University as an excellent academic institution has been damaged forever by these faculty proponents of pseudo-intellectualism as a science.
Yes, you are probablt correct, and I guess we should confine our national political analysis of actions and attitides in the White House and Congress to Washington, DC and never comment on the impact of these elected "officxials" on the 50 states represented.
It must hurt your back to be so philosophically bent as to keep your head in the sand most of the day.
Some days I have lots of hope that things will change for the better, and on others, it's painfully clear that the race/class/gender chic will remain on the runways of the academy at least for the remainder of our lifetime.
It's become the great fashion tip all black children are raised on.
It's the cloak worn by so many insecure and homely women who need to embrace the fantasy that virile and testosterone-driven men want to rip off that cloak and rape them.
It's that soft, warm cushion used by anyone down on their luck or by those who have not arrived at the station in life they believe they deserve that all wealthy people are bad and that they became wealthy by doing bad things. All taken away from those more deserving who think it all should be delivered to their doors, free.
Because someone from the past has suffered.
The editorialist Cynthia Tucker is trying to make the case that because the goofy daughter of ultra-pro-lifer Sarah Palin got knocked-up that this somehow mitigates the most significant factor that keeps the black community in shambles.
And with the Far Left comfortably situated in DC right now, this type of ridiculous obfuscation will probably work.
There will always be an excuse for the "noble minorities" among us.
It's early yet. I'm still hoping that Obama keeps to the center on such issues.
If anyone is interested, Stuart is sounding such an alarm in his latest at NJ.
There is no better illustration of how some cases are dismissed as unworthy because of the aforementioned factors than the realization that so few are interested in exploring the real possibility that Timothy Tyson might have concocted and fabricated many of the "selling points" of his book that he's built a career around.
No one wants to touch it because it involves people who are not sympathetic.
They are not sexy.
They have no cosmopolitan flair.
Tyson has benefited greatly because of the racial climate in this country at the time of his tale.
There was open racism then, and most people are too cowardly to reach in and sift through the differences between authentic and inauthentic injustice.
It's a hornet's nest and few are that courageous.
Tyson and others rely on that reluctance to obscure everything else about the story.
It all comes together as if some innocent man was killed for no reason and an all-white jury let the accused walk.
Is that really true?
If I didn't know so much about Tyson through his behavior---(unapologetic and gleeful libel and slander)---throughout the Lacrosse Hoax, the issue concerning fabrication in his book could possibly be dismissed.
I think we all know better than to believe that his tale is a totally honest one.
If only the people whom he has allegedly victimized in that case were more sympathetic, even someone in the academy might rush to "make it right".
I fear that the Diva would be too hopeful to expect such a degree of justice in this world.
North of Detroit writes @ 1:10 PM:
"Years ago (1975 or so) I was told by an employee (wife's relative) of Wayne State University that there were hundreds of rapes each year on campus."
"Hundreds." My, my! How about if I told you the Easter Bunny would be here this April 12th, would you believe that? If hundreds were raped, that means thousands of people; families, relatives, friends and acquaintances ALL kept quiet about it. That's amazing!
And, North continues;
"I fail to see your point. And what's with the "please direct us" phrase? Are you suggesting there are alliances here that I'm not a part of, or that my comment was not welcomed by you?"
I apologize for presuming that you have followed this Blog, but most certainly your comment is welcomed by me.
The point is that "the grip that race/class/gender-based political correctness exercises over college and university campuses." (and I would add the media to that list) is the precise reason that the lacrosse hoax appeared in Newsweek and The New York Times while the arrest of Burch did not.
Thus I asked you to "direct us," (the readers of this Blog) to such national coverage of a Durham County rape accusation wherein the alleged assailant was a black man.
I'd invite you to read the Blog and join the "alliance" as you term it.
North of Detroit 3/14/09 1:10 PM said...
...Years ago (1975 or so) I was told by an employee (wife's relative) of Wayne State University that there were hundreds of rapes each year on campus. He had access to the campus police reports. WSU is a very inter-racial campus and I doubt that these were same race rapes. Would you expect to have the New York Times or Newsweek report them all?
If any university in the United States experienced hundreds of rapes each year, not only would Time and Newsweek report that horror but the United States Government would have established a public health mobile hospital on campus replete with armed federal troops.
I just check the New York Times archives and there is no report of hundreds of rapes on the campus of Wayne State University ...ever... or at least since 1820.
North of Detroit:
I was not referring to affirmative action at all though I would agree that affirmative action has been employed (and still is) in a wrong-headed attempt to right past injustices thereby creating new ones.
What hapened to you in 1972 was not fair. But what did you do about it? Did you complain? Did you seek justice? Or did you acquiesce in the decision? When an injustice is done, one has a choice - to sit back and let injustice continue to occur or fight like hell. This blog is a way of fighting - to make it clear that there are many who are unwilling to sit back and do or say nothing about the injustice that was done to RCD as well as to others as a result of the pc mentality that has gripped this nation. There is comfort in realizing that one is not alone in one's beliefs - which in turn empowers one to be firm and vocal.
Was it the Goths or Visigoths who invaded Wayne State University in 1975? Your third-hand information from 1975 is so interesting, do you publish a newsletter? You've recommended the Christine Butler blog. Would you also recommend Koger Ebert's movie review column and Keorge Will's Sunday editorials?
By the way, Kristin Butler's excellent blog has included 4 March 2009 entries all dealing with Duke's mismanagement and/or cover up of financial problems. Very interesting and full of good reporting, but Detroit, that has less to do with the Mangum false accusations than PC around American universities.
So, your criticisms and your recommendations both make no sense. Sounds like someone's ox got gored.
The subject matter of K.C. Johnson's blog started out as the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. But it -- inevitably and necessarily -- grew into a blog about Political Correctness and what that coercive mind-control is doing to American higher education
Actually, Gus, you have it exactly backwards - what got KC's attention were the actions of the Group of 88 in re: the Listening Statement. His first several posts at Cliopatria were concerned with the Duke faculty & admin.
To the nay sayers,
Rapes at WSU?
North of Detroit
You see no relation between "Affirmative Action" and the "PC Mentality" that has "griped this nation"? They are manifestations of the same process. So, you're suggesting I'm a weakling?
In many forums posters are encouraged to disclose something about themselves. Had I known that you and others here would take personal information to attack, I would have remained silent.
North of Detroit
David Maxted: Prosecutorial ethics on trial in Durham courtroom
Mar 14, 2009
Students at all U.S. law schools take a course in the ethical rules which will govern our conduct as lawyers. In my ethics course at Duke Law School, I learned that the rules give prosecutors special ethical duties "to seek justice, not merely to convict," and to "use restraint" in exercising their power. My professor requires each student to observe a courtroom in action, so I attended a Superior Court robbery trial at the Durham County Courthouse. The actions of disgraced former prosecutor Michael Nifong showed what can happen to ethics in high-profile cases. But what I saw in a Durham courtroom led me to question whether prosecutors keep faith with their ethical duties in everyday cases.
In Durham on March 18, 2008, two men with bandanas on their faces, and guns in their hands, robbed a Cold Stone Creamery. Among the state's witnesses in the case against the defendant, two were employees working at the Creamery that night. But they saw only eyes and foreheads, and neither could identify the defendant as one of the robbers. The first employee, a black teenager, was quiet and hesitant. He described one robber as a black male, over six feet tall, and about 200 pounds. Although that description seemed to fit the defendant, it certainly fits many other Durham residents. It offered almost nothing to show that this man was that robber.
The second employee, a black woman, was the only one to link the defendant to the Creamery. She testified that she interviewed him for a job at the Creamery several weeks after the robbery. She said he did well and was almost hired, but she got a "feeling" that she shared with the Creamery owner. The defendant reminded her of one of the robbers. His eyes were "similar." But under cross-examination by the defendant's lawyer, she readily admitted she could not identify the defendant as one of the robbers. So the state's key witness admitted it could have been someone else.
The Creamery owner, a middle-aged white man, then testified that the police "always move too slowly as far as I'm concerned." He said he pressed the police "to get the ball rolling," asking them to investigate the defendant based on his employee's "feeling."
The investigating officer, also a middle-aged white man, was the state's final witness. He testified that he got an arrest warrant, went to the defendant's home and arrested him, and told him he was being charged with robbing the Creamery. The defendant requested a lawyer, which ended the questioning, but the officer testified that the defendant also said a woman had "set him up." The officer said he interpreted that to mean "set him up with the robbery."
The defendant then took the stand in his own defense. He testified that he did not rob the Creamery and explained that during his arrest he said a woman had "set him up with the job interview" -- not the robbery. He was just a man looking for a second job. The state's cross-examination yielded nothing to show the defendant committed the robbery -- no prior convictions, no missteps, nothing. The defense rested with his words.
The prosecutor presented no physical evidence. No fingerprints. No gun. No bandanas. No money. She offered only unsure witnesses and one officer's tenuous misconstruction of a statement. Not a shred of evidence disputed the defendant's testimony that he was innocent. Despite this remarkably weak evidence, the prosecutor delivered an exaggerated closing argument, sung in abstract terms about justice and the defendant's guilt.
The jury returned its verdict only ten minutes after retiring to deliberate: Not guilty. The defendant and his family were relieved, but I felt unsatisfied. Even though it was good to see jurors acquit an obviously innocent man, this trial should never have happened.
Prosecutors, ethically charged as ministers of justice, must exercise self-restraint in applying the awesome power of the State. They cannot rely on juries to check their power. Unsure witnesses and no physical evidence was obviously not enough to prove this man's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe this prosecutor may have failed her duty, wasting jurors' time and public resources, and unfairly putting a defendant and his family through a painful ordeal. The end result can only be a weakened respect for law overall.
During his jury instructions the judge said something that stuck with me: "The highest aim of every legal contest is the ascertainment of truth." Perhaps. But this depends on whether we have prosecutors who aim for truth, and use restraint when justice commands. For legal ethics to have meaning, as lawyers and as citizens we must demand nothing less.
David Maxted is a third-year student at Duke Law School.
Over 40 years ago, I experienced the thought processes of left leaning politically correct professors, in two philosophy courses I had to take in my senior year.
The Viet Nam war was going on and most of the philosophy professors opposed it. One thing that angered them was the school's requirement, that all freshmen complete a year of Army ROTC. It was unfair, they argued, to impose this requirement on freshmen, just to keep the ROTC program viable. At the time, the philosophy department consisted of more than thirty instructors, assistant professors, associate professors and professors. In my senior class, fewer than six philosophy majors graduated. In the entire school, counting philosophy majors, fewer than 50 people would have electively taken a course in philosophy. So, to keep the department viable, all students in the school were required to take 12 hours, 4 courses in philosophy, basically to minor in philosophy regardless of major. The philosophy department, not unexpectedly, did not consider that wrong.
Philosophy courses at my alma mater were totally useless. Maybe one or two people in the department actually prepared lectures - the others just BSed, under the guise of giving us insights, rather than teaching material. You passed the course by memorizing what the professor was teaching you and then, at the end, regurgitating it back to him(there were no women in the department then) as the most sublime knowledge in the universe, kind of the way a student described Kim Curtiss (of Kyle Dowd fame) on RateMyProfessor.com.
In the first of my two senior year philosophy courses, the professor said I had to participate more. One of his beliefs was that life began at the moment of conception(please no arguments about choice). I presented him with information I learned in an embryology class that his belief was not tenable. Realizing he could not refute what I said, he cut off discussion. I tried to participate, but he said he would hold on to his belief regardless of what I said so we were not going to discuss the matter.
In the second class, the professor asked if I would describe the menstrual cycle for the class. After I did, he asked if the order of that process convinced me that there was a God. I replied no, that it showed only that the menstrual cycle was not a random uncontrolled process(I am neither atheist nor agnostic, incidentally). That was not the answer he wanted. He tried to argue with me. I stuck to my position. Finally, he cited some noted scientist who said that the odds that a certain simple organic molecule could have just formed were several million to one, that this professor regarded this as proof of the Divine, was I, a college senior, going to set myself up as equal to this brilliant scientist. I answered yes, not the answer he wanted, not the kind of answer he could refute. So he ended the discussion.
The bottom line to me is, these liberal left winger politically correct professors have over the past 40 years acted more like thought police than shining examples of academic endeavor.
North of Detroit:
I am sorry that you think that I was attacking you - that was hardly the case. In fact, I stated quite clearly that what happened to you was unfair. I asked what you then did about the situation - no judgment was implied. I have no idea how you reacted thus your suggestion that I view you as a weakling are totally unfounded. The world in 1972 was a different world then today's world and one's options in large part depended upon who one was, where and in what setting an action occurred, and what one could live with in both the short term and in the long run. This I know all to well since as a female, engaged to be married, my male PH.D advisor made it very clear that I was taking up a space that a male graduate student would put to much better use since all I would do with my degree was make babies and bake cookies.
I would disagree that affirmative action and pc are manifestations of the same process though I would suggest that to criticize the former can result in the pc crowd labeling one unfairly.
Given the tenor of your post, I would hazard a guess that you still nurse an enormous resentment regarding the events of 1972. Perhaps it is warranted - I do not know. In my own situation, I decided that working with such a cretin was not in my best interest (too much time would be wasted on disrespect and not enough on the study of history) so I switched advisors. He was left explaining why he was left without a graduate student when I made clear to anyone who asked me that incompatability was the key.
North of Detroit writes at 11:22 AM:
"To the nay sayers,
Rapes at WSU?
How does the link you provided confirm "Problem solved"?
The report you linked describes the security system in place. A single comment relates that a police officer once used one of the "blue phones" to summon backup assistance when he was unable to subdue an unarmed alleged assailant despite being armed and having drawn his own weapon.
Nowhere does the report indicate the volume of calls received during any period, which is surely a matter of record and might indicate that the system actually solves problems.
I'm reminded of a report I read fairly recently that mentioned a campus "Rape Crisis Hotline" that was seeking volunteers. Such volunteering is certainly admirable.
Deeper into the report, it mentioned that during the entire previous semester, the "Hotline" had received a total of 10 calls.
I imagine a student-volunteer there could get a lot of studying done while working, and that's good.
To the Anon @ 1:17 PM:
Your comparison of the mandatory ROTC and mandatory philosophy courses was most enlightening and informative.
Later, you related the actions of two philosophy professors; one who argued for his "beliefs [...] that life began at the moment of conception" and another for a belief that a certain reproductive biological activity provides "proof of the Divine"
You then conclude by referring to these professors as "these liberal left winger politically correct professors"
Many people might argue that a belief that life begins at conception and proof of the Divine are hardly "left wing, politically correct" positions.
Those beliefs were 40 years ago and are today, positions of the Roman Catholic Church.
Along similar lines, the Washington Times features a book review of the new book "One Party Classroom" by David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin. The Duke lacrosse case is discussed.
just saw this posted at liestoppers
BOOKS: 'One Party Classroom'
Using the classroom for political advocacy
Sunday, March 15, 2009
By David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin
Crown, $26.95, 321 pages
REVIEWED BY J. PETER FREIRE
The university has become an easy rhetorical target for any right-of-center journalist eager to write a column about outrageous behavior at universities. But few are able to draw the link between the partisanship of higher education and the decline of American intellectual culture. Few, that is, aside from David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin, whose "One Party Classroom" has just arrived in bookstores.
Compiling a veritable enemies list of the top 150 most radical classes in American course catalogs, the book is broken down into 12 chapters, each focusing on a particular school. The range is telling. Some are large state schools such as Penn State, while some are elite private schools, such as Columbia University. Every chapter begins with the history of the school's radical curricula, then presents an annotated course catalogue. In this way, the authors show that these are not the consequence of administrative oversight, but rather the result of an effort to explicitly use the classroom as a platform for political advocacy.
"One Party Classroom" doesn't focus so much on the individual classroom, but rather the environmental factors that make these radical classes possible. Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Laksin's first chapter is the most damning, describing at length the Duke lacrosse rape case in which a group of Duke lacrosse players was found guilty of raping an exotic dancer, not in court, but by 88 university professors in a highly publicized statement. The only evidence the professors needed was the students' own white skin.
This may seem like hyperbole, until you read the statements of professors like Houston Baker, professor of English, and African and African-American studies, who found this an example of "abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed against us." English professor Karla Halloway actually published an academic paper in which she explained that justice "has an attendant social construction," that is, the authors note, a "bias toward white male privilege." Joined by professor Mark Anthony Neal from the Department of African and African-American Studies, among others, she moves on to make the case that the courtroom is hardly the right place to seek justice for white students' trespasses.
Compiling these statements from the faculty is only the first step. The authors point out that the flawed logic of these professors has only been rewarded and deemed authoritative by universities all too willing to sponsor these views in classes. A professor who signed the statement damning the lacrosse players is the professor of "Attacking 'White Supremacy' and Global Capitalism." Another seminar, "To Be a Problem," includes a self-description of the professor as a "queer black trouble-maker" who asks students to consider the black community as an "outcast community." In another program titled "Marxism and Society," no critiques of Marxism are offered.
It is on this point where Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Laksin make their strongest case. The problem in schools isn't simply the propaganda on offer in assigned readings. The real problem is that the radical ideologies that govern these courses also prohibits dissent. Students taking a class on Marxism will complete their requirements without ever having to think critically about it. Indeed, professors seem only to have been encouraged by their employers to teach classes that fail to draw upon a variety of opinions. The threat is not that students will find themselves converted into active Marxists as a result of a course (even if that is the stated goal). The problem is that students will leave a classroom professing to know something about which they really know nothing.
It turns out that the professors don't know much either, thanks to the blurred line that divides academia and advocacy. As Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Laksin examine the credentials of professors, they notice a trend of underqualified political activists making their way into prominent universities.
Why are we talking about that book?
That's old news.
Debrah writes @ 12:00 AM:
Why are we talking about that book?
That's old news.
Old news? "One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy" was just published one week ago, March 10, 2009.
Perhaps you're confusing it with Horowitz's earlier book, "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" published in 2006, or "Indoctrination U:The Left's War Against Academic Freedom" published in 2007.
It's been covered in the news a lot lately.
I read about that last week.
Moreover, in the fall of 2001, I attended a lecture that Horowitz gave in the grand Memorial Hall on the UNC-CH campus.
It was revolting how some people behaved.
Then-chancellor James Moeser was so cowardly and so intimidated by the Black Student Movement that he didn't even show up to introduce Horowitz as was done for all other visiting speakers.
Instead, he went to a cocktail party organized for some professor. That was his excuse---a "prior commitment".
That was my first up-close experience with overt intimidation.
Even toward audience members, the students who were protesting Horowitz' appearance were quite obnoxious.
Horowitz has been dealing with that topic for a long time.
Debrah, that was a nice letter from the 3rd year Duke law student. It does sound like Durham is back to holding sham prosecutions. A District Attorney will sometimes file charges in the hope of a plea agreement even when the evidence is very slim. Most DA's will back down if you go to trial -- that is apparently not the case in Durham. I am surprised that the Duke student used the phrase "obviously innocent," when the correct deduction from the facts was that the defendant was "obviously not guilty of the charges." Thanks for reporting, Diva!
Late-breaking news on Tara Levicy R.N.-- her NH nursing license is inactive and she has a new Maine nursing license as of 2/09 which lists her in Portland.
See Liestoppers Meeting for details.
I was in Iowa City during the time the professors committed suicide. There was nothing akin to what happened at Duke during the Lacrosse Case. I was on campus every day and have no idea what that whole discussion of this post is about and how anyone could see a connection to political correctness. There was way more talk about the football players than anything else. On top of that, there were a number of other incidents with players on other teams in other sports that had folks concerned. As far as I remember, the statements made by Mason weren't remarked on. She was already struggling over some many other things. It is okay to not like black studies or some of the stuff people consider to be PC but the case of both of the professors had nothing to do with that. I think if you checked with the folks at the University Police or Iowa City Police, they had plenty of evidence in those cases.
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