A few instances of . . . curious . . . commentary over the last couple of weeks: two items prompted by the settlement of the Carrington suit; the third by continued debate over the OCR mandate for colleges to lower due-process protections for students accused of sexual assault on campus.
To the extent this narrative took hold, it’s a development fueled by misplaced initial media coverage, followed by the conscious efforts of Duke’s own “activist” faculty (beginning early on, with William Chafe) to transform the event into a character assault on the lacrosse players to avoid accountability for their own rush to judgment. But this “historicizing,” to use the Chronicle’s word, is of little interest to the current editors. Instead, they worry that Brodhead has been too “shy” in commenting about matters related to campus culture.
Luzer appeared uninterested in exploring whether Crowther’s (and Indy’s) seeming ignorance of Nifong’s ethical misdeeds or the criminal case’s non-existent basis rendered less-than-credible their cultural analysis of the case. Indeed, Luzer’s post offered no hint of why, of the hundreds of pieces on the case, he chose Crowther’s as the single analysis from which to quote. Did Luzer find persuasive Crowther’s claim, in the same column, that those who criticized Nifong’s ethical misdeeds needed to “catch a glimpse of your inner racist in the mirror”? Does Luzer agree with Crowther’s characterization, in the same column, of the lacrosse players as “subhuman”? If not, why did he find Crowther credible as a source for cultural analysis of the case?
I e-mailed Luzer to ask if he, in fact, had any evidence that Mangum “got into an argument with several lacrosse players,” and noted that the players were deemed innocent, rather than “found” not guilty. He replied that he didn’t have evidence of his former claim, and ignored the latter point, but was willing to edit his post to eliminate the reference to a Mangum argument. The new post, however, did not indicate anywhere that a correction had occurred. That Luzer initially presented events at the party in an inaccurate fashion that rendered Mangum’s tall tale at least somewhat more credible, by inventing an argument involving her that never occurred, readers of non-cached versions of the Washington Monthly will remain ignorant.