Saturday, October 14, 2006

Duke’s Chapel Dean responds.

I recently posted, “Duke lacrosse: A letter to the Chapel Dean.”

I wrote the Dean of Duke University’s Chapel, Revd. Canon Dr. Sam Wells, after reading remarks attributed to him by the Durham Herald Sun which said, for example:

The Rev. Canon Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel and one of [five panelists from Duke’s Campus Cultural Initiative committee], said he believes the university is in the third of three chapters.

The first chapter, Wells said, ran from the 1920s to the late 1950s, with the world -- as seen by Duke -- run by a particular class, race and religious tradition and summed up in one word: "Privilege."
I asked Dean Wells whether he had actually made the remarks the H-S attributed to him and explained why I hoped he hadn’t. I told the Dean I’d post in full his response.

Dean Wells responded promptly. I sent him a brief email to clarify his response. Again, Dean Wells responded promptly.

Below are Dean Wells’ initial response, my clarification email, and the Dean’s response to it.

At the end of this post I make a few brief comments.
_________________________________

Dean Wells’ response to my letter:

Dear johnincarolina

I think I can give you a little reassurance about my remarks on September 29. I suggested that there is a dominant narrative at an institution like Duke which is seldom articulated but widely accepted.

The narrative is that in chapter one institutions of this kind were largely characterized by a certain class, race and gender segment of the population; this era is often now described as the era of privilege. Chapter two, so the story goes, was the era when the so-called excluded groups forced their entry into the citadel. We now appear to be in an era that one might call chapter three: but the most evidently rival groups seem to take their models from one or other of the two previous eras, either wishing for a restoration of order, dignity and duty, or wishing for the remembered clarity of the civil rights period. The Duke Spring in some ways felt like a clash of these two forms of nostalgia.

I assumed that I had told the story in such a way that it was obvious I regarded the story as wholly inadequate. The flaws in it are too many to mention (as you point out), but one example is that religion is often assumed to be the preserve of chapter one, whereas in fact African Americans tend to among the most visibly religious groups and the story places them squarely in chapter two.

While I don't subscribe to this story (and so for the Herald-Sun to say I "believed" it was not correct) I do find it helpful to narrate this story in settings such as the one last Friday because, as I say, it is widely assumed, and its articulation not only makes it available for critique (which you provide) but I sense helps to identify part of what was "going on" on this campus last spring. The danger is that articulating (or quoting) a story can lead to the misunderstanding that one endorses such a story, as seems to have happened in this case.

Such is the nature of agreeing to appear on hastily arranged panels on controversial topics in informal settings where the media are nonetheless present. It is a risk I encounter quite frequently: hence my reluctance to take steps to correct misunderstandings, except when, as now, specifically provoked to do so.

I regret also that you found my remarks last April unhelpful. I tried hard to make no judgement on the case itself, but to accept that sexual violence was an important issue, and to outline what a theological response to it might look like.

You may remember that my remarks coincided with Sexual Assault Awareness Week on the campus here. Such remarks are likewise subject to misunderstanding, particularly when every public statement is taken simply to be 'for' or 'against' selected individuals or issues. There can be a difference in emphasis between people who are trying to engage with what has been going on over the last few months (hence my use of the term 'the Duke Spring') and those like yourself whose concern is, understandably, focused on the lacrosse case itself and those most likely to be hurt by it.

What is in fact a difference of emphasis can appear to be a difference in conviction, as your rather polemical blog portrays.

With best wishes

Sam Wells

The Revd Canon Dr Sam Wells
Dean of the Chapel and
Research Professor of Christian Ethics

PS Lest there be any future misunderstanding, I am not in the habit of maintaining correspondence with anonymous writers, so I shall not be responding to any further dialogue on this issue.
________________________________

My email seeking clarification:


Thank you, Dean Wells, for your response. I'm happy to publish it in full.

That said, I trust you'll understand the following query is meant only to inform JinC readers and others regarding whether or not you inadvertently left something very important out of your response.

I refer, you may have already guessed, to your failure to say whether, as the Herald Sun reported, you used the term "nostalgia fest" when referring to people questioning what some Duke leaders did and didn't do when the hoaxer made her false witness, and others enabled her false witness and the witch hunt that followed.

As a "nostalgia fest” memory jog, Dean Wells, I asked in my email whether you were referring to people questioning what, if anything, President Brodhead said or did when racists on May 18 repeatedly shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann.

To put the matter simply: Did you use the term "nostalgia fest;" and if you did, what do you mean by it?

Sincerely,

John
_______________________________________

Dean Wells’ response to my email seeking clarification:

Dear John

As I think I said in my earlier message, I think part of the misunderstanding here is that you are considering the precise history and details of the so-called lacrosse case, where as I (in the spirit of the campus culture initiative, which was the subject under discussion at the panel 10 days ago) was referring to the wider discussion taking place on campus last spring, and to some extent still continuing.

It is unfortunate that , on the one hand, some of those who regard the accusations leading to the arrests as illegitimate seem to infer from that that the wider campus discussion is also illegitimate; it is also unfortunate that, on the other hand, those who sense that the wider campus discussion is timely assume (or are assumed to assume) a particular view on the likely outcome of and justification for this case. Hence my exasperation when you seem to take comments about the wider discussion to be the expression of a view on the precise case. We are simply talking about different things - albeit related ones.

I consider myself one who senses the wider campus discussion is timely but who feels unqualified to make a judgement on the details of the case. That does not stop me seeking to hold to certain principles, among them the presumption of innocence unless guilt is proven, and the withholding of judgement on a social group despite the emotive nature of alleged behavior of one or two members of that group.

My remarks at the cci panel could be broadly summarized as 'it is time to plan for the future rather than dwell on the past'. The term 'nostalgia fest' referred to the temptation to use these circumstances as a way of rehashing arguments about the twentieth century history of the South. It was not an observation on particularly regrettable moments in this sorry episode. I find it hard to understand how a sympathetic reading of even the newspaper article might be drawn to interpret it that way.

Of course the history of the South is important but these turbulent circumstances are perhaps not the best time to agree upon it. Unfortunately the reporting (and thus your comments) highlighted the illustrations I gave of the shortcomings of dwelling on the past, rather than the encouragement to plan for the future.

Sincerely

Sam Wells

The Revd Canon Dr Sam Wells
Dean of the Chapel and
Research Professor of Christian Ethics
____________________________________________

Folks,

There are some things Dean Wells says with which I disagree or which I question. There are important things he didn’t say that I wish he had. I’ll return to those matters another day.

Today, I want this post to be what I promised Dean Wells it would be: A publication in full of his response to my letter.

I plan to send Dean Wells an email thanking him for his response. I'll include a link to this post.

Your comments are welcome.

John

22 comments:

straightarrow said...

What was that, meal?

Anonymous said...

When exact time, place, form, and event won’t spin the story your way, come up with a “narrative.” In others words, make up a nonsensical story to justify your position.

Duke needs a house cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Duke is house cleaning. It's called "sweeping it under the rug"

Joe T. said...

Another "blah blah blah" Reverend. "Religious" leaders have been amongst the worst potbangers in this disgraceful case, and now won't take account for it. (Sorry for such a lowbrow response, but....ALL kinds of us are following this case).

Anonymous said...

JIC, how do you communicate with this guy? After reading his e-mails to you, I haven’t a clue as to what he is trying to say there.

Anonymous said...

Here is what the good reverend is saying. The fate of three innocent human beings means nothing to him compared to his need to pontificate in a fashionable way on the trendy social issues of the moment. Jesus wept.

Anonymous said...

As a graduate of Duke University, I find the comments of the Revd. Wells to be disgraceful. He should be asked to resign his position.

In the fondly remembered days of my youth, during what the Revd. Wells describes as his "second chapter", a religious leader at Duke would have been expected, along with other University leaders, to speak out in the defense of basic civil liberties and due process for the accused. That the Revd. Wells has chosen to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the outrageous examples of prosecutorial misconduct in the railroading of the lacrosse players, students of Duke University all, is emblematic of the rot and weakness set in amongst the current leadership at Duke.

Revd. Wells.... you should be ashamed of yourself, and resign your position, immediately.

Anonymous said...

Southern scalawags and northern carpetbaggers manipulating the local black population so they can increase their wealth and power at the expense of the local white population.

Nostalgia fest indeed!

DukeEgr93 said...

John-
I am afraid that some of your anonymous correspondents are becoming incredibly shrill in their replies. I don't understand how Revd Canon Wells was trying to "spin the story" o in the absence of such spin, making up a nonsense story. I don't see how the Revd Canon Wells is sweeping the very real tensions that the events this Spring caused on and off campus under the rug. I did not see Revd Canon Wells banging any pots. I do not see him pontificating in a fashionable way, and certainly I see nothing to be ashamed of.

I see instead that Revd Canon Wells sees that there are many parts to this story. And with respect to *CAMPUS CULTURE* which was, after all, the topic of discussion for the panel, the events of last Spring demonstrated some aspects of CAMPUS CULTURE that need changing.

If we have a campus culture that is completely accepting of the idea that the leaders of a varsity athletic team would hold an all-day drink fest, including ordering two strippers while using an assumed name and indeed team affiliation and while including specific requests for ethnicity (Asian and Hispanic, IIRC), does no one here see where that might be a problem with campus culture. As alumni are calling for the "good old days," and these are alumni from the 60s and 70s, does no one here see where that kind of "nostalgia fest" might be taken as exclusionary from those who, by race or even gender, would not have been able to participate in those good old days?

I think Revd Canon Wells captured it well with the line: "Hence my exasperation when you seem to take comments about the wider discussion to be the expression of a view on the precise case." Apparently, his choosing to focus on campus culture during a campus culture initiative panel is "turn[ing] a blind eye and a deaf ear to the outrageous examples of prosecutorial misconduct in the railroading of the lacrosse players..." I suppose the fact that I spend my entire 75 minute class period actually talking about computational methods in engineering rather than the fact that DA Nifong has systematically committed injustices that have devastated the lives of three people and their families as well as caused greater community division just so he could get elected means I am blind to it as well?

Regarding privilege - John, in your letter, you included:
"Most students in the “Privilege” period arrived at Duke carrying a few suitcases. Compare that to the loaded SUVs and U-Hauls today.

Before, during and after the Depression many Duke students couldn’t afford the cost of going home for Thanksgiving. There are people still alive in Durham who took some of those students into their homes at Thanksgiving."

That is certainly true. But I think what Revd Canon Wells was referring to is this - none of those students arriving at Duke were black. One can be poor and have privilege, folks.

You also wrote “Do you really believe that university students from the 20s to the 50s– at least the overwhelming majority of them – who overcame the Great Depression, wars, Nazism, and Communism, and who witnessed in every part to the world sectarian violence and multiple genocides as well as the growth and spread of terrorism – saw or now see the world as “run by a particular class, race and religious tradition?””

At the time, was “the world” *not* run by upper-class, white, Christian males? Even in this age, there are still positions of power and influence where a new holder of said position can be referred to as “the first black…” or “the first Muslim…” or “the first female…” Surely you are not saying that Duke in the 20s-50s was a place where people were allowed in purely on the content of their character and academic abilities rather than, at least in part, the color of their skin?

For Revd Canon Wells’ “second chapter,” there is nothing that says people from the “first chapter” were uninvolved, or unimportant, as “the so-called excluded groups forced their entry into the citadel.” Surely, though, you don’t disagree that these groups had to force their way in? Just as surely, Revd Canon Wells’ indicated that the clarity of that era – the sure knowledge that black students, and female students, and others previously not allowed at institutions like Duke should be allowed into said institutions – is much harder to come by in *this* third chapter. Waxing nostalgic for Chapter II means indicting the lacrosse players purely because they are primarily white men, several of whom coming from affluent backgrounds, who paid for the services of non-white women. And that is precisely the kind of response that your readers, rightly, have combated with respect to the “potbangers.”

Michael

Anonymous said...

To Michael: You refuse to get it. The reverend canon Wells, and not a bunch of bloggers, should have been leading the charge in April that something was amiss. Justice and truth first and foremost, said one of those Greeks back in the day. Aren't you frightened that the entire structural leaders of this community-- religious, political, media, and police are refusing to stand up and right this wrong? Wells should havebeen, in the tradition of the 60's, one of the leaders in mounting a challenge to this railroading. He had his chance. Instead he is talking about a "wider discussion", "campus culture". Hogwash. There is a real live case of injustice playing out in front of us, but you, Michael, as does Wells, seem to be disconnected. All day drink fest, hiring ethnic specific strippers....this justifies destroying the lives of 3 innocent people? Wells' refusal to focus on this real live case, and instead talking gibberish about the 1920's, is a smokescreen, revealing his lack of courage. He would have been a disappointment in the 60's also.

DukeEgr93 said...

"All day drink fest, hiring ethnic specific strippers....this justifies destroying the lives of 3 innocent people?" No. I never said it did. I never implied it did.

You apparently refuse to get that I and others like me can BOTH have anger towards and act upon the misdeeds of the district attorney and his minions AND have anger towards and act upon the misdeeds of members of the student body.

You refuse to get that steps must be taken to secure the civil rights of the three men falsely accused of rape AND steps must be taken to make Duke a better place to work, live, and study.

Beyond that, having an anonymous blogger call me 'disconnected' is...interesting, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Back in my college/law school days the academic fad of the moment was the Frankfurt school, Jurgen Habermas, Max Horkheimer, etc. Before that, there was existentialism and after that, structuralism.

Blathering on about "narratives" is no doubt part of the acamedic fad of the current moment, whatever it may be called. Let me assure Michael, however, that 99% of human beings do not talk that way and would consider "pontificating" a fair description of people who do.

Morever, in a sermon delivered April 2 and publicized in the newspapers, Wells made references to "last week's" revelations about "terrorizing women," etc. -- all spelled out on the Durham in Wonderland blog this morning.

For Wells to deny now that those were a reference to the specific situation is a good deal less than honest. How do you suppose the families of the falsely accused young men understood the comments?

I say again, Jesus wept.

JWM said...

Dear Michael,

You say: “If we have a campus culture that is completely accepting of the idea that the leaders of a varsity athletic team would hold an all-day drink fest, including ordering two strippers while using an assumed name and indeed team affiliation and while including specific requests for ethnicity (Asian and Hispanic, IIRC), does no one here see where that might be a problem with campus culture.”

Who is "completely accepting" of the party? Most of us wish Duke had cracked down on such parties long ago. It's important the university start doing that now.

Framing students for felonies, including gang-rape is also an important matter.

So is a university President’s announcing he’s met with the lacrosse captains and is urging everyone to cooperate with police; but not mentioning the extensive, voluntary cooperation tth captains told the President they provided police.

So too is a university President and its faculty remaining silent as racist threats, including death threats, are hurled at one of its students.

Surely those are matters that ought to concern people looking at the Duke’s Campus Culture, particularly the Dean of Duke’s Chapel.

Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a refutation of those who remain silent in the face of individual acts of racism and a challenge to us to condemn individual racist acts and work to eliminate them from our society.

I hope you were concerned that Dean Wells said nothing in his response regarding the threats hurled at Reade Seligmann. I mentioned them to him in both my post and follow-up email.

Do you know of anything Dean Wells said on May 18 or thereafter specifically addressing those racists’ threats or reaching out to support Reade Seligmann?

The answers to the questions above tell us a lot about Duke’s Campus Culture.

Final point: You object to what “a blogger” said. As far as I know, the person is a commenter, not a blogger.

Please be careful. We bloggers get blamed for so much we don’t do.

John

DukeEgr93 said...

John - here's the thing about your letters to Revd Canon Wells - in the same way you took him to task for not specifically answering questions in your letter, I could do the same for your not specifically answering mine to you. You selectively chose to respond to only those aspects of what I wrote that, to you, indicate that I have an incomplete or narrow focus on this.

What I am trying to say is that it is precisely that narrow beam that is killing the legitimacy of many calling for the head of Michael Nifong. I will, therefore, try to reply to each and every part of what you wrote, because as I have mentioned to you publicly and through private e-mails, I do respect what you are doing even if I am not in total agreement with you on every point.

Wit respect to: “Who is "completely accepting" of the party?” The same silence of which Revd Canon Wells and President Brodhead is accused seems, to me, to be in play here. The “boys will be boys” argument

”Framing students for felonies, including gang-rape is also an important matter.” Absolutely; nothing I have said indicates that I believe otherwise. Everything that I have said, hopefully, indicates just how important a matter I believe it to be *in addition to* other institutional and community matters. The false accusations of rape, the unjust handling of the case, and the media’s destructive misrepresentations are parts of the presence of real evil. I hope that clears up any misperceptions of how I feel about the case and its importance.

”So is a university President’s announcing he’s met with the lacrosse captains and is urging everyone to cooperate with police; but not mentioning the extensive, voluntary cooperation tth captains told the President they provided police.

So too is a university President and its faculty remaining silent as racist threats, including death threats, are hurled at one of its students.” Absolutely. And those and other aspects of the official university response to the allegations must be examined closely. Certainly, I was appalled when no response came from either Duke or NCCU when Chan Hall made his statement about convicting the lacrosse players regardless of their guilt. And I was infuriated when Victoria Peterson said that if the NBPP was not welcome on Duke’s campus then Richard Brodhead is not welcome in Durham, as if she were indeed the spokesperson for the city. My brain quickly fired off a note to her, “Newsflash – the people of Durham has rejected extending you the right to represent them every time you have stood for office.”

”Surely those are matters that ought to concern people looking at the Duke’s Campus Culture, particularly the Dean of Duke’s Chapel.” To quibble, particularly with respect to who else? I would think that the University Counsel, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Chief of Police would be most involved with those specific aspects. I think the aspects of campus culture that would particularly concern the Dean of the Chapel would center on things spiritual, though naturally he should care about the above instances as well.

”Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a refutation of those who remain silent in the face of individual acts of racism and a challenge to us to condemn individual racist acts and work to eliminate them from our society.” Indeed. My concern is that not all the acts of racism in all this have come from one side. I believe the DA has employed racist behavior in his manipulation of the black community, and I believe that racial prejudice has come into play in automatically believing the “rich white” lacrosse players guilty. But I also think this case has brought to light other aspects of racism on campus that need to be addressed. Do I think there are “pockets of white supremacy” on campus as one of our grandstanding divinity school students suggested? Absolutely not. Have I seen and heard racist behavior of student on student and staff on student and staff on staff? Absolutely. And *not* always with a white student, or a male student, or a Christian student being the racist. Part of equal rights, I suppose, is that people have the right to be equally stupid, and I have seen that stupidity played out in may different flavors.

”I hope you were concerned that Dean Wells said nothing in his response regarding the threats hurled at Reade Seligmann. I mentioned them to him in both my post and follow-up email.”

You must remember, Dean Wells, the righteous “pot bangers,” “community outrage,” “our President” who 'couldn't meet with their parents, “their sickening silence,” “faculty demands and the ‘listening statement,’” your own “naming [the] silences” sermon delivered the same Sunday the N&O published and distrubuted onver 200,000 “vigilante” posters targeting the lacrosse players , “Justice will be done, Rapist,” and “Dead man walking.”
And
Is it anything like asking President Brodhead what he said on or after May 18 when racists shouted “Justice will be done, Rapist” at a Duke student, Reade Seligmann, as he walked to the Durham County Courthouse.

And if I ask what you said publicly on or after May 18 about the racist's death threats shouted in the courtroom at Seligmann, “Dead man walking,” am I part of a “nostalgia fest?”
And in letter 2:
As a "nostalgia fest” memory jog, Dean Wells, I asked in my email whether you were referring to people questioning what, if anything, President Brodhead said or did when racists on May 18 repeatedly shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann.
Absolutely – just as I was angry and dismayed that neither Brodhead nor Burness nor Trask nor Moneta (nor Ammons nor Bell nor Nifong nor any of the defense attorneys, to extend the list) said anything.

”Do you know of anything Dean Wells said on May 18 or thereafter specifically addressing those racists’ threats or reaching out to support Reade Seligmann?” I do not. Sermons are only available online through April as far as I can tell, and I am not a Chapel-goer.

”The answers to the questions above tell us a lot about Duke’s Campus Culture.” Not sure about “a lot” since the answers have to do with one or two people and not the campus itself…

As for the last part - fine. Replace that with
"Beyond that, having an anonymous commentator on a blog call me 'disconnected' is...interesting, to say the least. " I stand by my connection to Duke and more importantly, my connection with its students. I take pride in the fact that I have the opportunity to teach every undergraduate engineer that comes through here, and I take as my responsibility staying informed about their lives and their issues. I have taken steps within my (decidedly small) sphere of influence to make sure my students – and particularly my students who are athletes given the tenor of some of the debate around here – are welcome and appreciated and I have called for those who are higher placed with larger…spheres…to do the same.

In the meantime, I am awaiting the 60 Minutes story as I hope it will be a catalyst for other news outlets to do the kind of investigation and reporting that you and other have championed over at the N&O and H-S since the beginning.

Michael

Joe T. said...

Michael communicates ideas more clearly than the Reverend. (Maybe he should replace him). Anyway, I think the Reverend has an obligation to point out clearly and succinctly to the common people that the evidence indicates three men have almost certainly been falsely accused of a crime (since we have three lives at stake here). THEN he can go into his lofty academic theological mode.

straightarrow said...

My original question in the very first comment was a reference to the mealymouthed Rev.

Most of us don't expect our clergymen to be divine, but we do prefer they be honest and principled. Michael is evidently not one bothered by lack of positive attributes in supposed spiritual leaders.

Or he has aligned with the racists, classists and the power grabbing dishonorable politicos.

That's just my guess. Its possible he's just a joiner and wants to be on the side he thinks will win.

JWM said...

Dear Joe T,

You left a comment earlier in which you described it as "low brow" or something like that.

To me it seemed toughtful and on point.

I don't know what you mean by "low brow." Some of the sharpest commenters here say they don't have all that much formal education.

That doesn't surprise me. Lincoln had about 6 weeks of schooling, Truman was a high school grad, and Churcill did not graduate from a university. He graduated Sandhurst which in his time was an 18 month training school for officers (ride, shoot, plan defences, learn commands)and not like our miliatary academies a four year degree granting place.

Michael,

Your latest comment deserves a very considered response.

I want to give it that.

Unfortunately, I can't do it now.

I promise to return to some of what you say in a comment here by mid-week.

I think you'll also see some of what you say addressed on the main page when I start responding to Dean Wells.

John

Joe T. said...

Thanks very much for your response to me, John. No, I certainly never had the opportunity for an education like that of the Duke guys (nor their money, nor their daily sustenance, nor their loving parents....thus I consider the position of a few that "Those three boys' lives are ruined even if they're acquitted!" a little overdramatic, considering some of the suffering I've survived and witnessed others endure). But I hope I have enough logic to recognize false accusations, and moral concern to defend ANYONE I think is falsely accused and vilified by certain hateful segments of society.

sweetmick said...

To Michael. The Campus Culture that needs changing is not about students having drinking parties during a school break...nor of hiring strippers. Big Deal. College Drinking has gone on since colleges were built, and hiring strippers from escort services has been a booming business for years. At least they didn't go to a strip joint for their party, where they would have broken the law with some underage drinking. Of course the Campus Culture problem has everything to do with a powerful radicalized portion of the faculty, spewing a venomous hatred of upper middle class, hardworking, hardplaying, high achieving white students. The anger and resentment expressed by Peter Wood, Holloway, Lubiano, etc. is shocking in its stridency. This is the real issue. Why do they dislike so intensely the students they are entrusted to teach and develop into proud Duke graduates? Nothing about the LAX-3 case has anything to do with race, class, gender or privilege. As Seligman said on 60 minutes, there is nothing that night that he would do differently, because he did nothing wrong. He went to a team party, he found it boring, and he left.

DukeEgr93 said...

"Nothing about the LAX-3 case has anything to do with race, class, gender or privilege."

Well, certainly from one standpoint I am sure you will agree that it does - if these weren't middle- to upper-class white students and if it weren't a black woman do you think the DA would be using this case the way that he did?

I also have to say that I have worked with Peter Wood, and while I have not worked with the other two professors (though I work with the spouse of one of them)saying that he and the others "dislike so intensely the students they are entrusted to teach" is a mischaracterization of what they are saying. I do not agree with them with respect to student athletes in general, but there are real academic and cultural issues in play that are, interestingly enough, orthogonal. One problem is underprepared students - clearly not a problem the lacrosse team has. The Coleman report certainly demonstrates that, and the team is justifiably proud of their academic as well as athletic attainments.
The other problem is the collection of petty misdeeds that some teams collect, and of that the lacrosse team is principally guilty.

"Big Deal." Well, not in the scope of this case at this time - the big deal is prosecutorial misconduct resulting in a media frenzy that has caused three young men and their families and friends to go through hell and back.

However - there are some lurking "big deals" that should be dealt with too. *Not* in any way that they excuse the prosecutorial misconduct or any unfair, capricious behavior on the part of the administration, the press, and the judicial system on the players. BUT, neither does that set of faults mean that other serious issues should be swept away as well.

"College Drinking has gone on since colleges were built, and hiring strippers from escort services has been a booming business for years. At least they didn't go to a strip joint for their party, where they would have broken the law with some underage drinking." And you are saying that the team captains distributing alcohol to minors is *not* breaking the law? I also have to say that "at least" arguments generally don't carry much weight. Nor do "it's always been that way" arguments. Heaven forbid Dr. Wood thinks that having students *not* show up to his class hungover might just make for a better collegiate experience for everyone.
Was it fair for him to assume it was a lacrosse player who wrote his negative course review? ABSOLUTELY NOT and colleagues have called him on that, even if there has been no publicity about it. But it is right to say he dislikes the students he is teaching? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

so everyone that works for a living and pays taxes is prevelaged ?? and those who live off dole,sleep around,make children they cant feed are the ones one shoul look out for?? after one limits oneself to a child or two,works 60 hours a week,does community service and donates blood.
weired, this brainwashing.i listened to the dean once and was charmed.now i see him splitting hair much like the poe.either one is supportive or one is not. either there is justice for all orr only th"underprevelaged"
mind bending
if you work for a living you should be prosecuted by teachers,preachers and judges
try selling it again dean.We need another spin

Anonymous said...

sorry,i meant to say pope in case you didnt already fill in the gap.all these wonderful agenda driven role models.we are back to"it depends what the definition of is is"