Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dean McClain

[Update, Saturday, 5.57pm: And, in a further aspect of the annals of non-accountability: Duke has just extended Richard Brodhead's contract for five years. In a statement, the trustees praised Brodhead's "inspired leadership." The statement speaks for itself.]

As noted many times before, a major theme of this blog has been the utter lack of accountability for the faculty members and academic administrators whose behavior in the lacrosse case failed to meet even the minimal ethical standards that a world-class university should expect of its faculty. Duke provided yet another reminder of the pattern earlier this week, when it named Group of 88'er Paula McClain--yes, that Paula McClain--as dean of the university's Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education.

In announcing yet the latest Group member to receive a promotion, President Brodhead hailed McClain as an "outstanding university citizen." And he singled out for particular praise "her concern for the well-being of individual students."

That's a very interesting description of McClain, who in 2006-7 displayed an utter indifference to the well-being of dozens of Duke students.
  • In April 2006, she signed a statement that prejudged a criminal case against Duke students, affirming that something "happened" to false accuser Crystal Mangum, and that she would continue to protest the issue regardless of what the police or court decided.
  • The next month, in an interview with, McClain rationalized Nifong's pre-primary publicity crusade (which ultimately contributed to his disbarment), absurdly claiming, “Whether what he’s done has made it more political? . . . This would have been political, regardless.”
  • In summer 2006, McClain (apparently expressing "her concern for the well-being of individual students") issued a one-word response--"No"--when a DIW reader asked her whether she'd be willing to issue a statement on behalf of the falsely accused students, even to the extent to demanding that they receive fair treatment by Nifong.
  • A few months later, in perhaps  another expression of "her concern for the well-being of individual students,"  this time for Duke student-athletes, McClain termed herself "aghast" at a common-sense proposal to improve coordination between professors and coaches. She also openly mocked a sophomoric spoof of the proposal.  As Sports Law Blog tartly observed at the time “Apparently, Professor McClain--who is co-director of Duke's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences--believes that in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse scandal, the University needs to distance itself from its sports teams, rather than embrace them."
  • In 2007, in what  was perhaps another expression of "her concern for the well-being of individual students," McClain responded with defiance to the legal settlement between Duke and the falsely accused players--a settlement in which Duke shielded the faculty from any lawsuits filed by the falsely accused students.
This is the record of Duke's new graduate dean, an "outstanding university citizen" who has demonstrated "her concern for the well-being of individual students."

I'm sure McClain's appointment has nothing to do with Brodhead's recent remarks in which he profoundly apologized for not appointing more women and/or minorities to upper-level administrative posts--even as he, a white male, refused to resign to allow the Duke trustees to appoint a female or minority president.


Anonymous said...

Is McClain a Communist?

Anonymous said...

Duke is a Durham-class university. Perhaps the best in Durham, maybe.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Duke jumps the shark. What a sewer.

Anonymous said...

Does she have high cheekbones? Cause if she does, she deserved the promotion regardless of her empty head.

Old Coot

Anonymous said...

There is no way Brodhead will be let go as long as the LaCrosse cases are still pending.

Anonymous said...

Well said......the best school in durham. At least it's a little ahead of NCCU

Anonymous said...

Is Brodhead a Communist?

Anonymous said...

That's me ripping up any fundraising letter I get from Duke. Gotta spend my hard-earned Wall St dollars elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ditto Anonymous at 9:45....makes it so much easier when the Annual Fund students call. I've told them repeatedly no more money from me until Brodhead's gone. Guess I'll give my money to Texas A&M where my son will graduate next year. Didn't let him or my older son even apply to Duke. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

"...said BoT chair Richard Wagoner, Jr..."

How fitting the announcement should come from a man who's flaccid, selfish occupancy of the executive suite resulted in the bankruptcy of one of the greatest industrial entities the US and the world have ever known.

Shame on Duke, shame on dick for ever showing his face again.

Anonymous said...

Do what i do every year....send em 88 pennies and tell em to shove , uh, spend them in dark places

Grist said...

More on Brodhead's disgusting shenanigans can be read at

Anonymous said...

88 dirty old pennies, sent to the wingnuts at Duke...for the fifth year in a row. that's my contribution.

Anonymous said...

I think the key is when I saw a Duke grad all overjoyed when Duke issued its statements in the light of Prop 1 (banning gay marriage). It seems as though, in their world, espousing correct liberal beliefs is the highest form of academic achievement. Conversely, critical analysis is either treason, or signs of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

"McClain will also prioritize diversifying the Graduate School’s student body. She aims to help departments within the school identify qualified students from underrepresented groups for admission."

Decoded, this means that McClain will be pushing more of the very same race/gender/class policies that caused the lacrosse hoax.

"In the past, McClain has been criticized for her involvement with the 'Group of 88'—University professors who signed a controversial advertisement printed in The Chronicle following the 2006 lacrosse scandal. McClain’s involvement in the controversy did not cross a 'threshold of concern,'" said the chair of the search committee.

If aiding and abetting the attempted frame of innocent college students does not cross the "threshold of concern," it would be interesting to discover what does.

Duke Prof

jim2 said...

KC -

Have you any views on the proposed legislation referenced in the article below?

Here is an excerpt:


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a close friend and political ally of Stevens’s, has introduced a measure in an attempt to prevent a case like his from being mishandled in the future.

Her bill, which has garnered the support of Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), would require prosecutors to face penalties from a judge if they did not share evidence with the defense.


kcjohnson9 said...

To DukeProf:

Exactly what I would expect from Dean McClain--a clear message that in the future student body, diversity will take priority over a neutral evaluation of quality.

To jim2:

The idea behind the legislation sounds excellent to me--especially in light of recent SupCt decisions that have bent over backwards to protect prosecutors on such issues.

To the 7.16:

I didn't see the particular statement. That said, the goal in searches is always to draw the most talented applicant pool; given the amendment's extraordinary breadth, gay or lesbian profs would have to be fools to want to move to North Carolina now, meaning NC schools are unlikely to get the best possible applicant pools until the amendment is repealed. The matter is more important for public universities, of course, since the wording of the amendment almost certainly requires the elimination of any insurance benefits for partners of gay or lesbian profs.