Monday, July 27, 2009

Who Were the Sociologist Signatories?

At this stage, nothing should surprise me about this case. But I admit that even I was a little taken aback at reading the May 1, 2006 Sociology professors/graduate students letter that was uncovered in the Campus Cultural Initiative archive. (I summarized the letter here and reprinted it here). The letter proclaimed that “an exclusive focus on whether the administrative response operated within the scope of the law would ignore the important responsibilities the Administration has to students, faculty, and staff, as well as the citizens of Durham. The entire Durham community is directly affected by this situation, in particular, and the culture of Duke more generally. The events that transpired on March 13th [even though, at the time this letter was written, grave doubts existed as to exactly what “the events that transpired on March 13th” were] call for an immediate response and decisive leadership to ensure that everyone affected can be certain that the administration of Duke will never tolerate any form of racial, sexual, or gender violence from any individual of the Duke community regardless of their race, class, and privilege status.”

Keep in mind that this document appeared 25 days after the Group of 88 ran their ad and three full weeks after reports of no DNA matches cast strong doubt on whether Crystal Mangum was even remotely telling the truth. By almost any measure, the Sociologists’ letter to President Richard Brodhead was more ideologically extreme than the Group of 88 statement—which is, of course, saying something.

Who were the people who could have actually thought that signing such a document was a good idea?

Ten of the signatories taught in the Sociology Department—with seven professors, one professor emeritus and two “visiting assistant professors.” Of the ten:

  • Rebecca Bach remains at Duke, where she is associate director of undergraduate studies in the Sociology Department and a “visiting assistant professor.” She has a special interest in LGBT studies, a trendy, politically correct field.
  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva , the professor who in a course syllabus (considered a contract between the student and the university) described the country in which he lives as the United States of Amerikkka (I will remove the three Ks from this word when the USA removes racial oppression from this country!),” continues to teach Duke undergraduates and train Duke graduate students.
  • David Brady remains at Duke, as a professor of sociology and as director of the university's Center for European Studies.
  • Nan Lin remains a professor of sociology at Duke.
  • Philip Morgan remains a Sociology professor at Duke. He is the former chair of the Sociology Department, and was recently named director of Duke's Social Science Research Institute, an entity that also includes case stalwarts Paula McClain and the excitable Kerry Haynie.
  • Emilio Parrado is now teaching at Penn.
  • Martha Reeves remains at Duke, as a “visiting assistant professor.” For those who have followed the case since its inception, the name of her spouse might ring a bell: Alex Rosenberg, the professor who claimed he signed the Group of 88 statement because of his disgust with underage drinking, even though the statement never mentions the problem of underage drinking or even uses the word "alcohol."
  • Suzanne Shanahan remains a Duke Sociology professor, where she is, incredibly, associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
  • Kenneth Spenner is currently chairman of the Duke Sociology Department.
  • John Wilson is a professor emeritus in the Duke Sociology Department.

Eight more signatories have obtained their Ph.D. degrees and have gone on to receive jobs in the academic profession since they affixed their signatures to the May 1, 2006 letter.

Five on this list received tenure-track positions—a reminder, if one was still needed, that race/class/gender extremism is a plus in the search for employment in an academy dominated by race/class/gender groupthink. This list includes the following:

One signatory, Donald Ebel, received his Ph.D. in 2008, but no record exists of his receiving an academic job. Most of the remaining signatories are either still at Duke or just graduated from the institution. Those who remain at Duke are working toward Ph.D. degrees in Sociology—in some cases, studying under one or more of the professors who themselves signed the letter. This list includes:

Finally, four signatories (Joanne Durchfort, Steven Frank, Jessica Sautier, and Xueguang Zaou) no longer appear to be at Duke, and do not appear to have received other academic appointments.

The significance of this list of 37 extends beyond exposing this "Hall of Shame." The new conventional wisdom coming from apologists of Duke's groupthink atmosphere is that perhaps the Group members are extremists, but they have no real influence on campus. As you ponder that line of defense, consider this: at Duke in early April 2006, there were no fewer than seventeen academic departments and programs that had a higher percentage of members who joined the Group of 88 than did the Sociology Department.

In other words, the department that produced the pernicious May 1, 2006 letter was actually among the more moderate on campus in spring 2006.

[A reminder: My clearing a comment implies neither that I agree nor that I disagree with the comment, either in tone or in substance. My opinion is expressed in any of the 1360 posts on the blog alone. The comments policy is explained in greater detail on the sidebar.]


No justice, no peace said...

Media Ricochet: Manufacturing Dissent

" was so important to show exactly how this occurs when television and newspaper coverage become a factor in something like racial politics."

"...On one occasion I even saw a group of demonstrators ... marching across the Square, and Channel 2 arrived, ...and the head of the demonstration walked up to ...the head man of the TV crew and said, “What do you want us to do?” He says, “Golly, I don’t know. What were you going to do?” He says, “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. You tell us.” - Tom Wolfe, on what surprised him most about his reporting experiences which led to the writing of The Bonfire of the Vanities.

The media are useful idiots.

The esteemed Alphonse Fletcher Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University,
Henry Louis Gates, manufactured a crisis. It served his best interest to do so.

It served the media's best interest for him to do so.

It serves the Klan of 88 for him to do so.

They all depend upon the false meta-narrative built upon race, gender, class crises which either don't exist or are very, very rare.

Unfortunately the false meta-narratives have failed us all again.

Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities has it right and Gates efforts demonstrate, again, how complicit our media is in promoting these fraudulent myths.

William L. Anderson said...

This letter does not surprise me, but, then, nothing surprises me any more about this case. It should be absolutely clear that a large number of Duke University faculty members and administrators despise their students and would have been happy to see innocent people going to prison simply because of their race and alleged "social status."

I would ask what any of these people have contributed to making life better. What they want is a society in which people are browbeaten each day to believe what these "academics" want them to believe. Nothing less will suffice.

For all of their moaning about being "oppressed" and being subjected to "racist" emails, it seems that everyone who signed these letters has benefited from their signatures. No one at Duke who acted outrageously and dishonestly has paid even an inkling of a price for publicly promoting lies. That is something to think about.

Anonymous said...

So, this letter was written more than three years ago? And you're still blogging about it? Good grief man.

I realize the folks at Duke you're skewering aren't partial to introspection, but are you? At all?

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 9.40:

Thanks for the kind words!

Debrah said...

TO (9:40 AM)--

I'm a bit perplexed.

You seem to have followed this saga, yourself, at least peripherally, to have known the specifics you mention.

If this is so, it is indeed puzzling that you would issue surprise that these players from the Hoax would not be revisited at a later date.

After all, it is the academy, members of the academy like those above, as well as their janissaries, whose subsequent pursuits are of interest to the story.

You might have missed one of the underlying elements or perhaps are unfamiliar with this type of accuracy and attention to details when blogging.

Few bloggers have the capacity to offer readers such comprehensive analyses.

Or was your comment really intended to address the issues?

Gary Packwood said...

The letter with departmental signatures was a call to arms FROM graduate students at Duke TO other graduate students across the nation signaling the arrival of a contrived need for their expertise and existence.

The Listening Statement and Sports Illustrated article were sent to Mom's and Dad's across the nation who were asking their children in graduate school ...What are you going to actually DO when you graduate?

You know, A JOB to pay off the student loans!

A whole army of Ph.D students in silly studies across the country hoisted the flag of their race/class/gender extremism and prepared to march together to save American universities from themselves.

And it was all a vicious lie.

So now they are back to square one.

Wealthy universities are turning out Ph.D's who are not needed except by other wealthy universities who need someone to teach their undergraduate survey course in Sociology, Political Science, Romance Studies and all the other 'studies' departments. Bummer!

Suppose wealthy alumni know their donated dollars are used to turn out Ph.D's who function as stereotypical used car salesMEN of the 1950's?

No justice, no peace said...

"The 911 caller who reported a possible break-in at the home of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. did not mention race in the call, according to a statement issued by her attorney and backed up by Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas."

So race was never mentioned in the call.

The call transcript has not been released. One may surmise that it has not been released, not because it would embarrass Gates, but now the President.

Most disconcerting is that the good citizen who was acting in Gate's best interest by placing the call has now had to hire an attorney.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm rushing to judgement.

Quasimodo said...

"So, this letter was written more than three years ago? And you're still blogging about it? Good grief man."

Do you mean that Scottsboro happened seventy-five years ago and we're still teaching and talking about it?

xenuphobe said...

I blame L. Ron Hubbard, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

"So, this letter was written more than three years ago? And you're still blogging about it? Good grief man."

Perhaps the commenter can tell us exactly when the virulent ideology behind the letter was neutralized at Duke.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, KC... did you catch the name of the attorney representing Lucia Whalen, the woman who placed the 911 call to Cambridge police in the Prof. Henry Louis Gates imbroglio?

It's Wendy Murphy.

Why Ms. Whalen needs an attorney, who knows? But Ms. Murphy has appeared recently to renounce accusations of racism directed towards her client.

Anonymous said...

So race was never mentioned in the call.

The call transcript has not been released. One may surmise that it has not been released, not because it would embarrass Gates, but now the President.

I think you may be surmising too fast, and not just because the call transcript was released at 1 PM today. Before a call transcript that failed to mention race would embarrass Gates or Obama, it would embarrass Crowley, whose police report claimed that Whalen reported what appeared to be two black males with backpacks. It's possible that it was a completely innocent failure of memory on Crowley's part that led him to confuse what he witnessed himself with what Whalen had reported, but there is no denying that the differences between his account of what Whalen said, and Whalen's account of what Whalen said and the transcript of Whalen's 911 call, damage Crowley far more than they could damage Gates or Obama.

No justice, no peace said...

5:19, While I appreciate your opinion, I fail to follow your thinking.

911 Call Transcript

"...P11 OPERATOR: All right, tell me exactly what happened?

FEMALE WITNESS CALLER: Um, I don't know what's happening. I just had an older woman standing here and she had noticed two gentlemen trying to get in a house at that number, 17 Ware Street. And they kind of had to barge in and they broke the screen door and they finally got in. When I had looked, I went further, closer to the house a little bit after the gentlemen were already in the house. I noticed two suitcases. So, I'm not sure if this is two individuals who actually work there, I mean, who live there...

...911 OPERATOR: Were they white, black or Hispanic?

FEMALE WITNESS CALLER: Umm, well there were two larger men, one looked kind of Hispanic but I'm not really sure. And the other one entered and I didn't see what he looked like at all. I just saw it from a distance and this older woman was worried thinking someone's breaking in someone's house, they've been barging in. And she interrupted me and that's when I had noticed otherwise I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all, to be honest with you. So, I was just calling 'cause she was a concerned neighbor, I guess..."

So the basis that the call was race-based is just not true.

Do we have the audio of the officer's call? The one that led him to move outside, because the good professor was apparently screaming so loud that the officer moved the discussion to the front porch.

Of course the officer's report would suggest the "gentlemen" were black, because he had a face-to-face with them. Or at least Gates.

Whalen's comments in the transcript tell us clearly that she could not, and why she could not, ascertain the race of the "gentlemen".

So I guess I miss your broader point.

a Nice NJ Guy said...

to the 5:19 PM

Sgt Crowley DID speak with the caller, Lucia Whalen, when he arrived at the house. This was after the 911 call, and presumably was face to face and not recorded.

This was before Crowley approached the house.

In Crowley's report, he states that Whalen told him then (at the scene) that two black men with backpacks forced their way into the house.

Crowley's report has been available on line for several days

Crowley (and the rest of the world) did not hear the tapes for several days AFTER his report was written and approved by his supervisor, and posted on the web.

Given these facts, it is not possible to accept the scenario that you paint.

Remember, the 911 tape says nothing about race, except 'possibly Hispanic'. Crowley knew this, because it it on the tape of the dispatcher radioing him. No mention of blacks was made on the radio. Crowley's report states he heard "two black men with backpacks" from the witness who made the call and remained at the scene, awaiting the police.

There is nothing to indicate any discrepancy between the officer's report and the tapes of the radio and phone communications.

No justice, no peace said...

Two other points; there are other officers on the scene, including at least one other black officer. They have confirmed Crowley's account.

The audio of Gates yelling and being obstinate would do nothing but embarrass he and the President. Why? Because it fit the race meta-narrative, which of course is largely false. The fact that the President jumped in so quickly suggests he is a believer AND that he exercised very poor judgement.

The quick damage control suggest the White House is already embarrassed.

The audio would only exacerbate the points above.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to those who corrected my error that I posted at 5:19 PM. I had mistakenly read Crowley's report as claiming that the description of "two black males with backpacks" came from Lucia Whalen's 911 call, rather than from contact Crowley had with Whalen at the scene.

a Nice NJ Guy said...

to the 5:19 / 8:24 PM -

You said @ 8:24
" error. I had mistakenly read Crowley's report"

How does that impact your conclusions regarding

... "innocent failure of memory by Crowley" (or anyone else)

... 'embarrassment' of Crowley or Gates or Obama

... differences of accounts of Whalen and Crowley

... confirmation of Crowley's account by Black / Hispanic officers at the scene.

... ANY conclusion about a racial aspect to this incident.

No justice, no peace said...

The esteemed Alphonse Fletcher Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, Henry Louis Gates is now qualified to be the Secretary of the Treasury.

Foundation Run by Harvard’s Gates Is Revising Tax Return After Questions Raised

Now why didn't I see this coming?

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous at 9:40 AM, who wrote --

"So, this letter was written more than three years ago? And you're still blogging about it? Good grief man."

My questions for you are as follows: When did that letter, hidden away in a CCI file, first become public? Since you spent more than half of the words in your 35-word comment trolling about Professor Johnson and not actually tackling the issue, can you explain how the letter doesn't add to our understanding of the Duke faculty/student response to the Crystal Mangum Rape Hoax? Based upon the tone and wording of your comment, you seem to think that people should "move on." Why? Finally, would you explain how the letter from the Duke Sociology Department reflects well on the university?


"Sociology is a branch of social sciences that uses systematic methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social structure and activity...." I have noticed a zeal with which people will throw away the basic precepts of their chosen profession to go on a vicious witch hunt.

Besides swearing to abide by the provisions of the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, Nifong swore to "truly and honestly demean [himself] in the practice [of law]" North Carolina Judges also swear an oath. "A journalist is a person who practises journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues, and people while striving for viewpoints that aren't biased."

The Duke Community Standard requires that all professors dedicate themselves "to the principles of honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability" and "promote a culture of integrity." Then, of course, there are the standards of professionalism that Mehan wrote himself! MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

A Duke Dad said...
to the 5:19 / 8:24 PM -

You said @ 8:24
" error. I had mistakenly read Crowley's report"

How does that impact your conclusions regarding

... "innocent failure of memory by Crowley" (or anyone else)

... 'embarrassment' of Crowley or Gates or Obama

... differences of accounts of Whalen and Crowley

... confirmation of Crowley's account by Black / Hispanic officers at the scene.

... ANY conclusion about a racial aspect to this incident.

Rather broad-ranging questions, there, don't you think?

Obviously if there is no discrepancy between Crowley's account in the report of what he learned about the situation and when, and all other evidence regarding what Crowley learned about the situation and when, then that other evidence (which includes the cell transcript, testimony of other witnesses including the other officers at the scene) will not embarrass Crowley, at least not on that score.

However, to be brutally honest, what it seems you two are really asking is "Doesn't any point in Crowley's favor automatically prove that there was no racial aspect to the incident? And doesn't that prove in turn that the only reason a bureaucracy could have moved slowly in releasing a cell phone transcript (as opposed to the breakneck speed with which bureaucracies normally operate??) is the direct intervention of PC race/class/gender theorists?" Sorry, no. That's another race meta-narrative talking. I'm sick to death of this whole Gates affair because it's brought out all the paranoids and latent paranoids in the nation: those paranoid about racism and those paranoid about accusations of racism.

Anonymous said...

To the 9:40 AM

I suspect it is in our nature to want to dismiss and/or forget those things in our individual or collective pasts that are painful. Thank goodness that we are regularly reminded of inappropriate behaviors, illegalities and/or mistreatment of our fellow man. How else would we learn from our mistakes.

Your implication that Professor Johnson should be more introspective is , indeed, ironic.

Your suggestion that we eliminate certain known inappropriate actions from our memory due to your creative "statute of limitations" is obtuse to say the least.

"Good grief, man!"

a Nice NJ Guy said...

Reply to the 9:13 AM, Re my 10:22 PM -

No, I don't think my questions are wide ranging at all. The denigrating statements were made by 5:19 / 8:24 about Crowley, and subsequently acknowledged being in error because of having "mistakenly read [details in] Crowley's report".

My questions asked how getting the facts straight changed the damning conclusions originally stated.

I believe that nothing was said by either of us regarding paranoia, bureaucrats and their speed of doing things, or any of the other extraneous issues you interjected.

I am not commenting on your red herrings.

It is unclear if you, the 9:13 AM, are the same commenter as the 5:19 / 8:24. If you are, then answers to my questions would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

My questions asked how getting the facts straight changed the damning conclusions originally stated.

I thought the answer to your questions, including the leading ones, was obvious: if a conclusion is based on an error of fact, then the conclusion is not supported, at least not by that chain of logic.

Since you pressed for an answer, however, I spelled it out for you. This was sufficient to establish the point, and your insistence on having it repeated is nothing more than posturing.

Rob said...

To: Anonymous at 9:40 AM

To be honest, I think anyone who signed that letter given the precise timeline that it fell within, has raised serious questions over their own prejudices, motivations, bigotry and even competence.

That they should be progressing their careers within academia makes it even more critical that people have knowledge of their whereabouts so that they can make informed decisions about where to educate themselves or their families.

They say "Google is your friend" - but of all the profound socialogical and lifestyle changes that the internet has allowed, the ability to access this type of information at any point as long as there is an internet, is as beneficial as many of the other claims made for the technlogy.

Quite frankly, potential employers, partners, even neighbours should know that associating with the signatories on this list means engaging with people who clearly carry preconceived notions about you based on your race and gender. That is the price they pay for pinning their colours to their dogma laden mast, and the benefit that we as the technoliterate are able to benefit from.

Of course, I'm sure the Sociologist Signatories still fervently believe in the sentiments expressd in that letter and have no objection to the contents of the letter being online and available to help with the decision making process of prospective students.

Everyone is a winner and that is why there can never be a timebar in the discussion, and update tracking of these principled individuals.

Debrah said...

Check out this bloviating mess from Bonilla-Silva from last year.

The Gang of 88 started long ago developing a new strategy in order to keep their insanity alive.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the ranting and raving, this post is littered with misinformation. Issues of opinion aside, you spelled one signatory's name incorrectly then claimed that he was no longer affiliated with the university when he continues to be enrolled there, made mistakes regarding where people were placed and whether or not they had jobs, and listed people who left the program as having graduated when they did not. Perhaps you should do a bit more fact-finding before going about your merry partisan dance cloaked in the veil of scholarly opinion. Oh, and by the way, many of the factual inaccuracies found in this post can easily be seen from a quick perusal of the Duke Sociology website.

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 9.15:

Many thanks for your comment.

All information in the post regarding the signatories came from the Sociology Department or affiliated websites (to which I linked), so readers could see for themselves.

Certainly, if there are errors in the Sociology website, I'll be happy to correct once the Sociology webmaster updates the site. To the allegation of relying on the material on the Duke server for the post, I plead guilty.

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