Monday, October 26, 2009

In the Can

I recently received an email from DIW reader and commenter ES Class of 1990. He reports:

I got a fundraising call from a Duke Freshman this evening. This is a tried and true Duke event, in which living groups raise money for Duke and get a slice for their group or cause...I have done it myself. It is called “Dialing for Dollars.”

When I informed the polite young lady that I would not contribute to the university in any financial way until there had been an accounting of the behavior of the Gang of 88, she pointed out to me that Brodhead had in fact apologized and that the video was on YouTube. I countered that they still had not addressed the fact that several students had their rights to privacy violated and that faculty had in fact violated their own code of conduct...both events that would preclude any giving on my part until they had been sorted out in a public forum. I wished her good luck and ended the call.

It hit me later...they had a planned, “in the can” counter to the Gang of 88 argument! ”Look here, the President DID apologize, and here is the URL.” They clearly had been briefed and coached to deflect this argument to giving, knowing that it would be a sticking point with alums.

Is that amazing or what?

Indeed the news is amazing, for at least three reasons beyond the obvious: the fact Duke has an “in the can” response suggests this issue regularly comes up in fundraising pleas.

1.)These remarks represent the first acknowledgement by anyone affiliated with Duke that Brodhead’s September 2007 statement referred to the Group of 88. In his remarks, the President didn’t specifically reference the Group, but merely apologized for ill-judged and divisive comments by unnamed Duke professors.

2.) While it’s nice to know that Duke finally recognizes the Group’s statement as “ill-judged and divisive,” the acknowledgement raises the question of why Brodhead’s apology never accompanied any policy changes to deal with the problem that the Group’s statement illustrated.

In that respect, the “apology” is a little like an apology from a neighbor whose little boy regularly tosses a baseball through your window—but who does nothing to ensure that the little boy sees that he did something wrong; or to ensure that the following day, the little boy doesn’t again toss the same ball, in the same direction, and through the same window. At some point, the “apology” rings a little hollow.

3.) ES’s point about Duke not living up to its own standards is well-taken—even more so in light of a front-page story from yesterday’s Times. The article profiled a deeply troubling move by the Cook County (Ill.) State’s Attorney to subpoena records, including grades, from the student journalists in the Medill Innocence Project, a program at Northwestern’s journalism school. The interim director of the Illinois Press Association observed, “Taken to its logical conclusion, what they’re trying to do is dismantle the project."

Faced with a dubious demand from a local prosecutor that would seem to violate the federally protected rights of its students, how is Northwestern responding? The dean of the Medill School blasted the subpoena as “astonishing” and has committed the institution to vigorously contesting the prosecution’s demands in court. Such a response, of course, would be fully expected, both by parents and by the Congress that passed FERPA.

Contrast the Northwestern approach to defending students’ federally protected rights to that of Duke. When the Durham Police, working alongside the disgraced ex-DA Mike Nifong, demanded that Duke turn over FERPA-protected information regarding the lacrosse players, Duke did so willingly. Then, stunningly, the University didn’t come clean about what it had done—even after a subsequent court hearing on the request resulted in even the prosecution-friendly Judge Titus ruling that Nifong’s demand fell afoul of federal law.

Brodhead, it should be noted, never apologized for the FERPA fiasco.


Michael said...

I've had a similar experience to that of "ES Class of 1990." For 3 years now I've responded to solicitations from Duke by saying that the funds I would otherwise give are "on hold" until the civil suits are resolved, because I believe the university should not be spending donor money on legal fees supporting the defense of various administrators who were not acting in the best interest of the institution and who made serious (and entirely avoidable) mistakes in judgment. This year, the student who placed the call had "talking points" about how the annual fund could not be spent on legal fees. (As if the annual fund couldn't be spent on other things that could then free up funds from other accounts to pay legal fees!) In any event, Duke annual giving is prepared to encounter resistance from alumni who are questioning whether the institution is deserving of their largess given the current state of leadership.

Anonymous said...

Then there's this:
Greetings from Duke! I am contacting you on behalf of [Name] from Duke University Development. On November 3 and 4, [Name] will be traveling to Long Island. She would enjoy and appreciate an opportunity to meet with you, introduce herself, and to bring news and updates of current happenings at Duke.

These brief meetings are also meant to provide you with an opportunity to ask questions, discuss priorities and initiatives currently underway at Duke, and to share with us the thoughts and ideas that are currently important to you.

I will give you a call within the next couple of days to schedule a time to get together. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions at [Name and Number]

Stuart McGeady said...

The telephone exchanges I've had with Duke students dialing for dollars, once or twice annually, have been nearly identical to the one reported by ES Class of 1990.

Generally, the talking points for cheerful, optimistic, true blue Dukies seem to be along the line: The lacrosse affair was a long time ago, it was an unfortunate isolated incident not indicative of what's great about our wonderful university, President Broadhead made an eloquent apology (have you seen the video?), and all that's behind us now.

I usually ask about the status of the ongoing lawsuits, and why have several members of the Group of 88 professors been rewarded with positions of leadership and increased responsibility.

That's where the conversations abruptly end.

dukeprof said...

Thanks for the outstanding work you do on this Blog! I have been reading it since the beginning. This is an excellent and well documented record of political correctness gone vary bad at a formally good university and accurately reveals the pathetic 88 human beings who enabled it.

Anonymous said...

To Brodhead, Duke's historic near-lynching of its students is now summed up in a slick marketing ploy.

What I can't believe is that somebody who has cost the entity they are supposed to be leading over $100 million still keeps his job. I firmly believe that Brodhead could have averted Duke liability by handling the crisis in a logical and reasonable manner -- but that would've entailed some courage in the face of the groupthinkers at Duke. Even just refusing to hand over FERPA-protected information and faking a decent "bedside manner" with the players and parents in private would have gone a long way to averting liability. Brodhead couldn't even manage that. Has there ever been a CEO, president or manager who has run up such a bill and kept his job? MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

I had heard previously that the fundraisers use a form checklist that includes "Lacrosse" as a box to check for those alums who decline to contribute.

No Justice, No Peace said...

This Duke action is similar to other's that are used to mitigate the damage to the brand.

For example, the Duke travel brochure has not included the professors who lead the trips abroad. They once did. But who would want to pay several thousand dollars only to discover that a Listening Statement fraud would be leading the way.

It is also clear that they intentionally mask the influence of the Klan of 88 in their recruiting efforts. At least that was the case the last time we participated in a campus tour. One would never know these "professionals" existed.

It is interesting that you mention the FERPA fiasco in the singular. It seems to me that each violation of each student would demand it be plural. Also, based upon the behavior of both the administration and faculty it would be most surprising to find there weren't several other violations.

Anonymous said...

I just told them to go to hell

No Justice, No Peace said...

I have extended the refusal to give by making it clear that I am discussing the Duke transgressions with other family/alumni who have not followed the hoax. Most only know what they read in the paper.

Also, the giving opportunity extends beyond annual cash contributions and includes estate planning and long term gifting. Many who have grandchildren who might attend and/or are in a position to make substantial gifts to Duke have little understanding of the leadership problems.

I also think it a problem to not challenge prospective students and their parents to dig a bit deeper and fully understand what they are getting themselves into for $200,000.

"Durham-in-Wonderland" is an excellent graduation gift and primer to enlighten those prospective families.

Anonymous said...

"I believe the university should not be spending donor money on legal fees supporting the defense of various administrators..."

Duke's trustees have an apparent conflict of interest, because they may be personally liable to repay Duke for the cost of its defense if they are found responsible for what went on.

Under such circumstances, questions might be raised about whether they have any incentive to see the suits come to trial. Especially, if their legal expenses are paid by Duke and they can hope to wait out and wear out any plaintiff.

Likewise, questions might be raised about any settlement reached, if it keeps them from testifying and being saddled with personal responsibility.

Given that, haven't they an ethical duty as trustees to step aside (at least as far as the handling of the suits is concerned) and let others decide how much of Duke's resources are to be given to continuing the suits? (Trustees of a charitable, tax-exempt institution have an especial duty to avoid even the remote appearance of conflict of interest.)

And don't Duke's attorneys--who are paid by Duke and not the trustees--also have a legal obligation to protect Duke's interests (and its funds), before they consider the interests of the trustees?

Could they be required to refund to Duke some of the monies they received as fees if they are perceived to have placed the interests of the trustees ahead of the interests of Duke?

Anonymous said...

In a somewhat similar vein, I recently got a call from The Herald-Sun, asking me to renew my (long-lapsed) subscription.

I replied that while we used to get that paper, we were repulsed by the Herald-Sun's ignorant reaction to the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax, and that the paper had disgraced itself, by blowing the single biggest criminal justice story in the country that year, despite it happening in their own back yard, and by getting everything about the story completely backwards. And so that's why we will never buy the paper again.

(And I spoke slowly and calmly, so as not to overwhelm the Herald Sun ditz.)

Her reply was:

"The what?"

So there you have it. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I was at Duke this past weekend, and sat in the President's Box for the Duke - MD football game. President Brodhead was in the box, but hardly interacted with any of his guests, though they are among Duke's most consistent givers. Basically, if you spend any time with him, you recognize that he is a small, awkward man -- hardly up to the task of leading a great university. When your development people are writing copy to avoid the real issues, the time has come for action. I'm afraid that Jay Bilas got it right, it's time for Dr. Brodhead to step aside for the good of Duke.

Anonymous said...

Last year I participated in an electronic Duke alumni survey conducted by a third party consultant. Others who read KC's excellent blog likely did the same.

Many of the questions were fair game, and were what one would expect, i.e., along the lines of how can the University encourage alums to become involved with the school.

But stuck at the end of the survey were several elliptical questions related to the lacrosse incident. The University is clearly worried about its reputation, but has little idea of how to make things right, and one was struck that the aim of the questions was to determine whether the lacrosse incident had truly blown over. Of course, until they deal with the antics of many of the Gang of 88, and deal with the likes of Larry Moneta, who made inappropriate and snarky remarks about a Duke women who actually was raped, none of this will blow over.

By the way, fixing this isn't very hard - it just takes will and principle. If Brodhead made clear that one of the fundamental missions is to take proper care of the 18-22 year olds in their charge, and truly care and look out for them - and in so doing tell many of the angry studies types to go jump in a lake, well, some progress might be made. But Jay Bilas is right - Brodhead is not the guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to ES Class of 1990 and others for asking the important questions when called by Duke Development. I think I was removed from the call list two years ago when I aked a few pointed questions related to the LAX events and , more pointedly, about that "Weenie", Dickie Brodhead who masquerades as Duke's President. I do not recall talking points about Dicki's ineptitude.

The 12:34 PM's points are, as they say in the South, "dead in the red". It is difficult to imagine what quiteria are used by Duke's Board of Trustees to justify Brodhead's continuing employment.

A quick review of Dickie Brodhead's status as either an asset or a liability for Duke. On the liability side are the dollars spent on the multiple settlements(both known and unknown), the ridiculously large legal fees to multiple firms, the refusal of liability insurers to cover some of Duke's costs in rthe LAX matter, the vast reduction in alumni and corporate giving, the incalculable loss of potential students/families and the negative reputation Duke now wears. This sum must be nearing, if not exceding $1 billion.

And on the asset side of the equation would be...let me see...ZERO. Duke seems to continue to exist in spite rather than because of Brodhead.

He is an embarrassment, and Duke will never return to a position of respect as long as Brodhead is its President.

Anonymous said...

Is Broadhead a Communist?

Anonymous said...

This past weekend 23-25 October, was parents weekend 2009, and the Development Department, through the parents of classes 2010,2011,2012, and 2013, had their fund raiser meeting in the Hotel Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on Saturday Morning 24 October. As they were given their canned marching orders, they were emphatically directed to call on their list of potential Duke donors(all current and past Duke families), that there are no CURRENT lawsuits against the University. Would anyone like to find out that their donations are going to fund the injustices promugated on a group of " innocent athletes from March 2006"
As we all know the mouthpiece of the university John Burness retired within the last year and a half, his replacement was chatting with a group of Duke basketball aficionados, and referred to the 47 lacrosse parents of 2006 as the Terrorist Lacrosse Parents, will this University ever realise thier errors and cease and decist?

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted that The FERPA doctrine was broken in March 2006 and the University in May 2006 advised the lacrosse families that to avoid the information being passed to the district attorney/Durham police, we had to file in Superior Court of North Carolina. This writer in doing so, incurred a legal fee for just this one occurance of about $ 10,000. Most of the 47 families are not the " White Rich Priveledged people that Rolling Stone, or the NY Times or the rest of the main stream media has labeled this group of Duke athletes. This legal fee was at the time felt by all the parents, necessary to preserve the student-athletes privacy, when in effect the Duke Trustees approved the federal law ( FERPA ) violation 2 months before!

sceptical said...

Duke Police Sgt. Smith gives [Durham PD Sgt. Mark]Gottlieb pictures of lacrosse players, a team roster, and the Duke Police report at 9:30 a.m.

Gottlieb and Himan discuss with Duke police arrangements for the team members to voluntarily meet with Durham police and give statements, photographs and DNA. Himan calls Pressler to set up an appointment for March 22 for a mass interrogation.

Duke Police Invs. Smith and Stostensberg improperly turn over FERPA-protected key card information of the whereabouts of team members on March 13 and 14 to Gottlieb.

Duke Deputy General Counsel Kate Hendricks sends Nifong a letter offering to assist him in interviewing Duke administrators whom the lacrosse players had confidentially given information about the incident.

The “Listening Statement” is issued by 88 Duke faculty who come to be known as the “Group of 88.” The statement appears as an ad in the Chronicle. The ad is signed by 15 Duke departments and programs.

Duke women’s lacrosse coach Kirstin Kimmel warns Brodhead about in-class harassment being faced by lacrosse players; he discounts her concerns.

Brodhead declines to review exculpatory evidence offered by defense attorneys for the players.

Brodhead meets with NAACP officials including Rev. William Barber.

Duke Board of Trustees President Robert Steel issues a statement:
“The trustees of Duke University have been in active conversation with President Brodhead and the university’s senior leadership since the outset of the controversy involving the men’s lacrosse team. We appreciate the constancy of President Brodhead’s responsible leadership at a time when the facts are not clear and emotions run high…”

Phony e-mail is sent through Breck Archer’s Duke e-mail account stating he was going to poice tomorrow to tell them all he knows.

Gottlieb and Himan meet with Duke Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek and Kate Hendricks the Duke deputy counsel.

Gottlieb and Himan get access to Duke dorms from the Duke Police in attempt to question team members about who was at party. They spend 75 minutes at Edens improperly trying to interview lacrosse players, although they did not have a warrant and knew the players were already represented by counsel.

City Manager Baker defends Durham PD questioning of lacrosse players already represented by counsel in Duke dorms on April 13, calling it a “knock and talk.” He confirms Duke Police knew about it in advance.

Brodhead speaks to the Durham Chamber of Commerce and mentions the lacrosse incident. “If they didn’t do it, whatever they did was bad enough.”

Anonymous said...

To the 8:34:

I had a similar experience with Burness' successor. Although he did not call them "Terrorist Lacrosse parents," the hatred from the Duke Administration toward the players and their families was palpable. To this day, every Duke Administrator I came across will swear that everything was the players' fault and they were innocent victims of the lacrosse players wildness. In fact, there is sympathy for Nifong because they view him as a victim of the lacrosse players' parents fincnial abilities and manipulations. and It was obvious that they still do not have the first clue why they looked like idiots at best, conniving liars at worst, durig hte lacrosse debacle. Hiring GOrelick ensured that Duke would engage in scorched earth policy -- that is, after all, how she built her career.

I have not ocntributed to Duke since it became obvious in 2006 that the allegations were a fraud and Duke "leadership" acted dishonorably and cowardly. The only thing they understand is money, and nothing will change until the spigot stops.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said at 4:38 PM...
Is Broadhead a Communist?

Five O'Clock Charlie (ok, 4:38 today) has asked this question with the same misspelling dozens of times over the last two years. He has to be a Duke professor. Probably teaches "The Epistomology of Das Cantspelatal". Check the Campus Culture Initiative's proposed syllabus for more information. I'm sure it's in there.


Anonymous said...

The Group of 88 were my professors. I majored in Literature, took two classes from Farred, and was raped at Duke. I will not contribute a dime until there is a public apology for the group's statements.

Anonymous said...

There is a bumper sticker (home made) on my car that reads "Proud Duke Hooligan" above lacrosse sticks. I guess now I ought to put one on the other side of the car that reads, "Annoying Lacrosse Terrorist"...

Anonymous said...

I must email our lawyers asap and inform them that the new public relations director at Duke has referred to us as "terrorists." In this day and age, that is a dangerous term to be throwing around. Since much of the suit revolves around slander and discrimination, I am sure the lawyers will be interested in hearing the comment and opinion of the new director.

Anonymous said...

Time for another book! "After Innocence." A scorching review of Duke as a defendant. I'll buy!

skwilli said...

I had ceased giving money to my University because of policies I abhor. I have resumed now, only if the monies go to the track team fund. (Some see this as a cop-out the University will be able to manipulate to their own advantage however.) Wouldn't it be great if it was possible to give only to the Lacrosse team fund at Duke?

Anonymous said...

"about how the annual fund could not be spent on legal fees"

Utter nonsense. Money is fungible. And university money is protean.

From one on "the inside," thank you all for your principled protests. Please keep up the "Dukies against donating" until the University is deloused. I can attest to the fact that slowly, ever so slowly, it is having an affect.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

KC, I thought this might interest you, if you were not already aware of it:

"Another example is the Duke Lacrosse case, where the prosecutor was later jailed for misconduct for pressing a baseless interracial rape case against innocent Lacrosse players. DNA evidence proved the players were innocent, and North Carolina’s attorney general admitted that they were in fact innocent. But the New York Times’ Duff Wilson claimed that a substantial 'body of evidence' pointed to the defendants’ guilt.

"CBS News legal 'analyst' Andrew Cohen repeatedly denounced the Duke Lacrosse players, calling for the gagging of their attorneys. At a time when few journalists dared question the rape claim for fear of being seen as politically incorrect, Cohen absurdly claimed that the media had rushed to the 'defense' of the players and that 'there is no balanced coverage in the Duke case. There is just one defense-themed story after another.' He demanded for prosecutor Mike Nifong 'the privilege of seeing the case unfold at trial' against the players, rather than dropping the prosecution."

In this story about Gang of 88-style media members who falsify legal issues to conform to a Leftwing worldview, your blog is cited three times.


Anonymous said...

When they called me for my donation (which has been MIA for the past few years), I told them I'd write a fairly large check the day Brodhead resigns and explained why. I guess they didn't have a talking point for that. She just said thanks.

Anonymous said...

At present the Board of Trustees is basically a self-perpetuating body. Reform won't likely come from within.

The original oversight of Duke was supposed to be vested in the alumni and the Methodist church. This oversight needs to be restored.

Currently members of the BOT are chosen by the present BOT (usually just the Executive Committee, at that), and then ratified by the alumni and the church (in rubber stamp procedures).

Let's change that, and be more in keeping with the original Duke foundation documents (and the original grantor's intentions).

Both the church and the alumni should submit lists of candidates to the BOT (which has to approve candidates); and then the BOT will select candidates from among those.

If there are not enough approved, then the process can be repeated.

(Or, a panel chosen by the church and/or the alumni can select candidates).

Alumni voters should boycott any candidate who is not previously recommended by one of these two groups.

In that way, it will be the alumni and the church who select the BOT, not the BOT which selects its own replacements.

This 'change' can be made, there are no legal barriers in the way.
The alumni and the church can take back (or resume) their proper oversight.

Hopefully these proposals may be put forward to the next Methodist church Conferences, as well as to the alumni.


No Justice, No Peace said...

Be careful what you wish for...

I would caution those who agree to begin donating once Brodhead is gone to be reserve judgement before giving.

One could make the case that Duke is likely to hire someone worse.

No Justice, No Peace said...

How to Apologize Like a Man

"Even when you haven’t been caught.

Be sincere.


Take complete responsibility.

Pledge better behavior in the future.

Prove your contrition with your actions."

Duke gets a "O".

Anonymous said...

Wow - very interesting comments and responses by the donors. Broadhead needs to resign or the trustees need to remove him. It is time to move forward. Duke Prof - thanks for your insight.

Anonymous said...

To the 2:18 pm

Though I appreciate your contempt for the actions of Duke, I must say that you are quite wrong about the Trustee's potential for legal liability.

First, it is doubtful whether the Trustees of Duke receive fees. I have been on the boards of three different non-profits and never received a dime in fees. At best, you get your travel expenses paid for serving on a non-profit's board, and usually not that. Consequently, in my state at least, an unpaid director of a non-profit can be sued only for gross negligence, a high standard. Submitting a request for summary judgment is not going to be construed even as negligence, nor is relying on counsel's advice on the best possible defenses.

Second, even paid directors have a very strong defense against suit, namely the business judgment rule. Directors are expected to make a reasonable judgment based on the facts and expert advice available to them WHEN THEY MAKE THEIR DECISION. They are not required to make judgments that turn out well in the future because the future is unknowable. That is, hindsight is out of bounds.

Finally, it is wildly unlikely that a suit against the trustees will succeed. They are undoubtedly well covered by D&O coverage, which usually covers expenses of defense plus damages. Admittedly, such coverage usually does not extend to criminal acts or breaches of fiduciary duty. (Directors of banks are subject to a somewhat more restricted coverage.)Because no one has even suggested that the trustees of Duke, however foolish they have been, personally acted criminally or profited personally, I simply do not see that they are going to be sued for criminal acts or breach of fiduciary duty.(I'll let the lawyers expound Iqbal, but that too is going to eliminate a lot of nuisance suits against boards.)

The real charge against the trustees is that they continue to trust the administration's judgment with respect to the lacrosse hoax case when the administration's judgment has been shown to be consistently unreliable. The real job of a board is to give unbiased advice to management and to sack management when it demonstrates incompetence.


Anonymous said...

I have a similar story. I was 4 years into a 5 year pledge in 2008 and had been very conflicted about breaking a "promise." But, after events in the spring of that year that affected my own son at Duke I just could not give another dime in good conscience. When I got the call asking for my money I tried to calmly explain that because of the lacrosse fiasco and further Durham police misconduct (IMO) that affected my son and caused us to have to hire an attorney, etc. I just could not give any more.

I could hear tap tap tapping on a computer keyboard on the other end of the line when I started airing my complaints and disgust with my own alma mater and at first thought that she was typing up my complaints for the record. But, I quickly realized she had just pulled up the talking points to try to counter my criticisms. I told her "yes" I knew Brodhead had "apologized" but she could stop trying to refute or satisfy my grievances because I was very well informed on all the issues. Nothing the university did was admirable and no sufficient amends had been made.

I had a hard time keeping my composure especially when talking about what had happened to my own son in his last semester. She claimed not to even be aware of the events from a few months prior even though it was well publicized. I told her the worst part to me was that not only was my son's Duke experience negative (and I felt guilty having been the one to introduce him to the school in the first place), but my own previously strong allegiance to and affection for the school had been destroyed.

The woman acted somewhat sympathetic with my
complaints, took me off the solicitation list for a period of 3(?) years, and wrote me a nice handwritten note after the conversation.

Sorry for the long post (my first).

Anonymous said...

To parents of kids going to college, beware and do your homework about the college your kids chose. Ask lots of questions.
Between reading about the Duke Lacrosse case and incidents and "requirements" my kids had to take at college, higher education just amazes me. It seems you really have to search for the programs that match your student and teachers that really care about students and learning. I think (hope) that the economy may result in some changes. I was in a CE course yesterday and the teacher is a professor at a University, a fairly large and well known one. He was traveling and teaching this week while his students "take midterms" which is fine, but then he added, It gets me away from the university and all the "why didn't I get an A questions from today's "entitled students" I was quite surprised and saddened by that comment. One would think he would want all his students to EARN A's, it means they learned the material and were able to apply it (this is a professional field where competence is critical) and be some what of a reflection on his teaching skills. There are plenty of kids out there paying for their own educations and plenty of parents doing the same. I think my child is "entitled" to the education we are paying for and is entitled to a quality teacher. (especially at the dollars per credit we pay) Maybe with time this economy will force the weeding out of some of the teachers that are not there for the students education and move the rest off into private research somewhere. Maybe the universities will re-focus on their primary purpose ie students or at least clarify their purpose and let students go elsewhere if it doesn't suit them. My education started out in a small town elementary school where teachers cared and lessons were learned, not so much fluff, but the basics, maybe I am just too old fashioned and the basics don't matter anymore. Anyway, to those still looking and deciding about college choices, the right program and teachers are much more important than what alma mater it is. And to all those hard working professors out there that care about our children and their education, thanks, it does not always go unnoticed!

Anonymous said...

For the reasons why I will never give Duke money, I'd check off two boxes: Duke LAX Hoax and PSM Meeting.

Anonymous said...

Re: 9.37

"Though I appreciate your contempt for the actions of Duke, I must say that you are quite wrong about the Trustee's potential for legal liability."

But remember, the trustees are alleged in the current suits to have known that the players were innocent, but to have accepted Chairman's Steel's supposed advice to force them to trial and convictions anyway (as something that would be in the best interest of Duke's PR).

"The real charge against the trustees is that they continue to trust the administration's judgment with respect to the lacrosse hoax case when the administration's judgment has been shown to be consistently unreliable."

That's for sure...

Anonymous said...

After 11 months of avoiding the parents, Brodhead & Steel agreed to meet with the lacrosse families, 25 February in the Dave Thomas Center on the Duke Campus before The University of Denver/Duke men's lacrosse game. The parents group that was able to attend, was given about 12 hours notice, after futile attempts for more than 11 months by the parents and the attorneys representing the indicted and unindicted players. Robert King Steel, Chmn of the Bd of Trustees, Duke University, stated emphatically the onus for anything that happened past, present and future in regard to the lacrosse incident, should be directed to the Board of Trustees, as that group was responsible for everything that had been or will be related to the incident. He then took a few questions, did not answer anything, terminated the session, and has since commented," he knows something happened in that house that night to CGM".

Jim said...

Jesse Jackson speaks about Duke Lacrosse Case, equates money with justice.

From today's (Greensboro) News and Record, in an interview with opinion editor, Allen Johnson, Jackson was asked his thoughts on a number of topics, including:

"On the Duke University lacrosse team case, and rape allegations by a stripper who Jackson originally supported before the N.C. attorney general intervened, investigated and ordered all charges against the accused players dropped:

“The good news is those boys’ parents paid to get the proper legal representation and get them vindicated. So often, young black youth and youth who are poor, don’t have legal protection. That’s why you have 2.3 million Americans in prison,” he said.

Gary Packwood said...

JeffM 10/29/09 9:37 AM...said

...Second, even paid directors have a very strong defense against suit, namely the business judgment rule. Directors are expected to make a reasonable judgment based on the facts and expert advice available to them WHEN THEY MAKE THEIR DECISION.
That's confusing for me for two reasons. First, Duke University is not a business organization and as such does not have directors but instead has trustees. All of the Duke University IRS 990's are available on the Web for anyone who wants to read and study.

Also, I was not aware that the minutes of the meetings of the trustees or their executive committee concerning their decision(s) about the lacrosse rape hoax were available to study.

Additionally, during 2006, Duke publications were filled with stories about the campus rape culture which should have prompted the trustees who were physicians to 'drill-down' into that fiction before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set up a mobile STD clinic on campus.

Those discussion should be in the trustee meeting minutes, I would think.

Isn't this all part of the discovery process?

Anonymous said...

We as a group(class action law suit) are waiting for Judge Beatty( federal court) to rule on the collective dismissal motions, then the discovery process will begin, that is if the Trustees can afford it to begin, individually as well as a group. The minutes of the Executive Committee, which is the determining body of the Board of Trustees, looked to Roy Bostock,T 62( Chrmn of Yahoo ) to advise the six of them, and all the information is confidential. The interesting part of the discovery could show the apology and funding the Trustees provided CGM back in June 2006, for fear, according to a conversation between David Gergen(Trustee) and J Cheshire(attorney for David Evans), of a law suit by CGM against Duke University.

Anonymous said...

Re 3:59 PM

You wrote:

"But remember, the trustees are alleged in the current suits to have known that the players were innocent, but to have accepted Chairman's Steel's supposed advice to force them to trial and convictions anyway (as something that would be in the best interest of Duke's PR)."

The comment that I was responding to asserted in part that it was a breach of fiduciary duty for the trustees to let Duke pay for their defense. If directors or trustess had to pay personally for their defense in any claim made against them for serving on a board, no one with any sense or money would ever serve on a board. For this very reason, institutions provide for defending directors or trusteees through D&O insurance, which covers their cost of defense if the institution is unable or unwilling to cover that cost.

I do not remember all the allegations made in the various suits. My recollection is that the trustees were not personally sued. But my memory may be faulty, and yours may be correct. Perhaps it was alleged that the trustees personally had actual or constructive knowledge of the innocence of those falsely charged and failed to take actions that they were contractually obligated to perform in light of that knowledge.

Even if the trustees are being sued on such grounds, it does not follow that it is wrongful for them to assert defenses. For example, they could argue that they did not have such knowledge or that, whatever their knowledge, they did not direct or approve any interference with the contractual or statutory rights due the suing students. One would think that readers of this blog would understand the difference between an allegation and a verdict. Obviously, if the trustees truly did what you think was alleged, they ARE probably personally liable for damages because it reaches the gross negligence standard. But that assumes what is yet to be proven, namely that the trustees did what you think was alleged. Everyone is entitled to a trial on the merits.

In any case, I do not remember those allegations having been made so this whole discussion may be moot. You and I agree on the more fundamental point: the trustees continue to support policies and personnel that have been repeatedly wrong with respect to the hoax.


Having been a trustee of a private school, I can assure you that the business judgment rule applies to trustees of non-profits as well as directors of profit-seeking institutions. Indeed, as I tried to point out, in some states such as PA, the rule protecting unpaid trustees of non-profits is stronger than that protecting paid directors of profit seeking institutions.

Your second ground for confusion confuses me. I do not think I said I had reviewed the minutes of the Duke trustees' meetings. If I implied that I had, I apologize because I have not. Having, however, reviewed minutes of three non-profits and two profit making institutions for many years, such minutes usually have a record of those present, the topics discussed, and the formal resolutions passed. They do not, in my experience, usually contain detailed rationales for those resolutions. If there is a rationale, it usually an attached submission of facts and reasoning by management on which a director or a trustee is entitled to relay unless it is patently unreasonable. To prove a violation of the business judgment rule, the plaintiffs have to show that no reasonable person, knowing what the actual person did know or should reasonably have known, would have made the judgment actually made. It is by design a strong defense.

I suspect people are confusing the liability of Duke, which must answer as the superior for the actions of its agents operating within the scope of their authority or apparent authority, and the liability of the trustees personally. Duke Medical is responsible for Levicy; that does not mean the trustees are. Duke itself is, I strongly suspect, in a very bad way in this case because of the actions of its agents. Those actions do not generally flow back to the trustees.


QA said...

Anonymous said @ 10/31/09 7:38 PM:

"... The interesting part of the discovery could show the apology and funding the Trustees provided CGM back in June 2006, for fear, according to a conversation between David Gergen(Trustee) and J Cheshire(attorney for David Evans), of a law suit by CGM against Duke University."

If such apology and funding actually were provided to CGM by the Duke Trustees the ramifications are of major significance.

Unfortunately the real intent of such actions could be turned around to argue corroboration of Duke's defence that it also was deceived by GGM and Nifong et al.

Cat's Eye Private Investigations said...

Is it just me, or is this way more complicated than it really needs to be??