Saturday, October 07, 2006

Duke Alumni site hacked?

I’m a Duke Alumni Association member who wants to think the best of DAA.

That’s why I’m trying to believe hackers broke into DAA’s website and defaced it, leaving behind statements meant to embarrass DAA officers and staff.

The defacement statements will surely concern, even anger, most Duke alums.

Below are a few examples of what I hope are defacement statements I found at DAA’s site at 8 a.m. EDT, Oct. 7.

First, from the DAA’s “Lacrosse Responses: A Few Key Points” page which begins:

Questions about the Duke lacrosse incident range from details about the criminal case (about which Duke has no inside expertise) to issues involving the university's response and programs. Many of these questions are addressed below, prefaced by a few key points
And what’s the DAA’s first key point? It’s this :
Academics come first at Duke, although many Duke students also excel in athletics, science, the arts, community service and other fields.
“Academics come first at Duke, although many Duke students also excel in athletics, science, the arts….”

Can you believe such a foolish statement?

Everyone knows the sciences and arts are a major part of academics at Duke. Only a hacker would have made such a foolish statement the DAA’s first “key point,” right?

And just in case you’re an English speaking visitor from Planet Neptune who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a link to Duke’s Arts & Sciences Faculty website.

Now let’s look at the second key point at DAA’s website:
The issues raised by the lacrosse event are not unique to Duke. They are societal and widespread on college campuses, and Duke is addressing them honestly.
That second key point claiming “issues raised by the lacrosse event are not unique to Duke” is as foolish as the first key point.

Not unique?

What other university president besides Duke’s Richard H. Brodhead has refused to meet with parents of a large group of his students who were just court ordered to submit to DNA testing and mug shot photos for which they had to strip to their waists and extend their arms; with the court order being part of a police investigation into allegations the students engaged in multiple felonies, including gang-rape, that supposedly occurred at a house owned by the president’s university?

Brodhead’s refusal to meet with parents in such circumstances is surely unique.

On May 18 Duke student Reade Seligmann walked to the Durham County Courthouse amidst repeated threats shouted by members of a racist hate group and others. ( “Justice will be done, Rapist.”)

After Seligmann entered the courtroom and for some minutes before the judge entered it, Seligmann was again repeatedly threatened, with the threats this time including explicit death threats. (“Dead man walking.”)

Does anyone, including DAA officers and staffers, know of a single university president since the Civil Rights Movement who, in similar circumstances, said nothing either condemning the racists or supporting his university's student?

Brodhead’s silence is unique. It's shameful, too.

Just as unique as Brodhead’s silence is the silence of Duke’s Arts & Sciences Faculty regarding the May 18 assaults.

Can anyone think of another American university faculty in the post Civil Rights era that’s been silent in the face of such vicious and widely publicized racism and threats directed at one of its students?

The Faculty’s silence is unique. And it too is shameful.

Further down the DAA page are statements much worse than the ones I’ve mentioned.

Can you believe, for example, there are statements at DAA's website that make it appear DAA has no objection to Nifong's Travesty, which calls for placing three Duke students on trial for gang-rape based on statements by a self-contradictory hoaxer, ID identifications with “no wrong answers,” and Sgt. Gottlieb’s 32 page typed, single space “notes” filled with investigative details Gottlieb recalled months after the events thanks to his unbelievable memory?

President Brodhead is a steadfast and very prominent supporter of Nifong's Travesty. However, the overwhelming majority of Duke alums I’ve heard from despise Nifong's Travesty. They support The Coleman Solution presented in June by Duke Law School Professor James Coleman who believes:
Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement. This is the only way to restore some degree of public confidence in the handling of the case. Up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case.
As much as I wish the DAA statements, especially those which appear to reject of The Coleman Solution in favor of the Brodhead endorsed Nifong Plan, are hackers’ defacements, there are many very informed people who insist they’re not.

One of those people is historian and blogger KC Johnson. As far as Johnson’s concerned, none of the DAA statements are defacements.

Johnson says they accurately convey what DAA officers and staffers believe. What’s more, he provides extensive evidence to support his claim in two posts: "Justify or Retract" and "In Denial."

Johnson’s posts are “must reads” for anyone who cares about both justice for the Duke students and the greater good of Duke University.

How do we decide whether KC is right or whether, as I’d like to believe, the statements are hackers’ defacements?

DAA officers and staffers are the best people to settle the matter.

Suppose we try for this. KC often visits JinC. I’m sure he’ll read this post. So I’m leaving him a message.

Message to KC Johnson: Are you OK with my sending emails to DAA Executive Director Sterly Wilder and GAA officers and directors asking them to settle the matter between us?

I’ll include in the email brief summaries of our respective positions as well as links to your post and this one. I’ll offer to publish in full at JinC the DAA’s organization response as well as any responses from individual officers and directors.

I also plan to encourage Executive Director Wilder and the officers and directors to respond to particular parts of your posts on the comment threads of those posts.

What do you think? I’m open to other suggestions.



When I hear from KC, I’ll post his response on the main page with a title something like “DAA: Hack victim or foolish promoter?”


Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason why the Duke faculty have not been speaking out in support of the LAX players is because they agree with Brodhead that this is not an appropriate thing for Duke faculty and administrators to do.

Anonymous said...

your post lacks structure, you must be a hacker!