Thursday, August 11, 2011

Moneta & Holloway

The contemporary academic majority worships the trinity of race, class, and gender. Class is clearly the third wheel—unsurprisingly given that most tenured professors are well-off financially and secure in employment, and therefore don’t have a personal connection to the preferred ideological viewpoints on the issue.

The competition for primacy between race and gender, however, is less clear-cut. In a matter like the lacrosse case, where the preferred viewpoint on class, race, and gender all dictated a rush to embrace false accuser Crystal Mangum’s wild claims, the result—as we all saw with the Group of 88’s activities—can be vicious. But the rape of Katie Rouse, a white Duke student, by a local black man was met with utter silence from the Group. As I noted at the time, they seemed desperate to avoid making a politically difficult choice.
One Duke administrator, on the other hand, seemed positively eager to demonstrate that when push comes to shove, race trumps even gender. Larry Moneta responded to the attack on Rouse by issuing a statement casting blame on the victim. As he informed a local TV station, according to Liestoppers,"The situation was “part of the reality of collegiate life and of experimentation and some of the consequences of students not necessarily always being in the right place at the right time. This happens around the country. Duke is no different in that respect.”* 

Rouse has filed a federal lawsuit against Duke, claiming that the administration’s actions created for her a hostile educational environment. She took a leave from Duke shortly after the attack, and eventually left the university altogether, though under disputed circumstances. The initial complaint, filed by Bob Ekstrand, and Duke’s response go over the events of the case, but the two documents feature several notable items:

(1) Ekstrand claims that Duke administration never sanctioned the (African-American) fraternity at whose event Rouse was sexually assaulted.

(2) Both sides concede that Duke’s Stephen Bryan e-mailed senior administrators after Rouse was attacked—and highlighted the race of her attacker. In its response, Duke declines to explain what motivated Bryan.

(3) Ekstrand’s complaint alleges—and Duke’s response doesn’t seem to dispute—that Duke maneuvered (a cynical person might say manipulated) its internal procedures in fall 2007 to get Rouse out of the university. Then-dean Diane McKay (who’s now at Princeton) met with Rouse at the time to discuss Rouse’s desire to take some time off, and encouraged Rouse to write an e-mail stating a desire to transfer. Duke then took this e-mail as an indication that Rouse had voluntarily withdrawn from the university, rather than (as Rouse seems to have intended) a desire for additional voluntary leave as she recovered from the rape.

(4) Ekstrand tries to claim that university administrators had a legal obligation to follow the student handbook—a losing argument in light of Judge Beaty’s unfortunate decision in Carrington. Duke makes clear the documents have no legal weight at all, instead asserting “that Duke University published and made available its Undergraduate Student Bulletin and its Community Standards publications.” The bulletin, in short, isn’t worth the paper upon which it’s printed.

(5) Duke claims that deciding in Rouse’s favor would constitute a “denial of due process”(!) to defendants such as Moneta.

(6) One item in Duke’s response raised eyebrows: “Defendants admit that Crystal Mangum is an African-American Durham woman who falsely accused Duke lacrosse team members of rape.” [emphasis added] This admission appears to contradict a key element from the filings of former Duke attorney Jamie Gorelick, whose departure as the university’s lead counsel in the civil suits continues to lack credible explanation. Gorelick’s filings, it’s worth remembering, strongly implied that the judgment of former SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy was correct, and the findings of the AG’s report were wrong.
Duke, therefore, is simultaneously claiming that Mangum’s claims were false and that Levicy’s “medical” findings that corroborated Mangum’s rape claim were true.

During the lacrosse case, English professor (and a Duke. law faculty member who lacks a J.D.) Karla Holloway demonstrated an . . . unusual . . . conception of ethics in the legal arena. Abandoning the academy’s traditional fealty to presumption of innocence, she signed a statement affirming that something “happened” to false accuser Mangum. She then publicly criticized the Duke women’s lacrosse players who did stand up for presumption of innocence. And, after Mike Nifong’s case imploded, she penned a mass e-mail passing along wild sixth-hand gossip designed to make the falsely accused players look bad.
And yet the NIH has invited this same Karla Holloway to participate in a forum on . . . ethics.

Was Larry Moneta unavailable?

*--This section quoted from a Bob Ekstrand filing that he subsequently withdrew; I have modified the post for accuracy.


skwilli said...

You can't make this stuff up. And I suppose you don't really need to. The Case that still "keeps on keeping on" does it for you! My only regret is that I'll be an old, old man when things finally shake out.

gak said...

I honestly wonder if Duke will pay this off or take it to court? On the surface it doesn't seem like much, but in front of a jury, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Duke needs to treat each student the same, and not based on skin color, gender or class. Katie Rouse is a sympathetic plaintiff who, along with the Lacrosse boys, can teach Duke that lesson. Duke will look like a disgusting, prejudicial monolith crushing the young and innocent plaintiffs to any reasonable jury.

Just as Katie Rouse's horribly unfortunate situation served as a counter-point to the Magnum lies -- a photo negative -- the Rouse trial serves a similar purpose. The lies and double-standards are exposed for all to see, leaving Duke with no rational argument.

Duke can hardly argue that they treat everyone equally. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Correction, The contemporary academic majority worships the contemporary academic majority.

Barbara Seville said...

To answer your question, I'm told Moneta was abroad on safari, pursuing water buffalo.

gwallan said...

Duke, therefore, is simultaneously claiming that Mangum’s claims were false and that Levicy’s “medical” findings that corroborated Mangum’s rape claim were true.

In the PC Fantasyland that is Duke one can see two impossible things before breakfast.

They are women. They must be truthful even if those truths conflict.