Thursday, April 12, 2007

Duke’s faculty gets an “F”

I often talk with Duke A&S and Trinity faculty. Most of them are quite upset about what’s happened the past year since Chrystal Mangum made her false witness which so many of them embraced.

What upsets most of them, including some senior faculty I’ve spoken with yesterday and today, is not the grossly unjust treatment David Evans, Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and their families have received from Duke, DA Nifong and certain Durham Police officers.

No, it the criticism they’ve received from alums, parents, some pundits, and even, many report, from academics at other colleges and universities. Most faculty believe the criticisms are unfair. In the words of one: “They outrage us even as we try to stay calm.”

Well, in that case I’ve some advice for the faculty: Don’t read today’s Rocky Mountain News editorial by editorial page editor Vincent Carroll. If you do, you’re likely to go from mere outrage to irreversible apoplexy.

For the rest of you Carroll begins:

The most remarkable fact about the Duke lacrosse fiasco is not that it took nearly a year for obviously flimsy charges to be dropped against the players….

Nor is it the fact that District Attorney Mike Nifong would so crudely exploit stereotypes of well-to-do white male athletes in order to entice black votes in a re-election campaign. …

The most remarkable feature of this legal debacle isn’t even the cheerleading for the prosecution that could be found in such major media as The New York Times….

No, the most astonishing fact, hands down, was and remains the squalid behavior of the community of scholars at Duke itself.

For months nearly the entire faculty fell into one of two camps: those who demanded the verdict first and the trial later, and those whose silence enabled their vigilante colleagues to set the tone.
Carroll goes on to cite KC Johnson:
“In late March (2006),” Johnson writes, “Houston Baker, a professor of English and Afro-American Studies, issued a public letter denouncing the ‘abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us’ and demanding the ‘immediate dismissals’ of ‘the team itself and its players.’

A week later, on April 6, 88 members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying ‘thank you’ to campus demonstrators who had distributed a ‘wanted’ poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded the players ‘rapists.’ By contrast, no Duke professor publicly criticized Nifong’s conduct.” …
Carroll notes a “few Duke professors did acquit themselves well or eventually locate some semblance of a spine.”He ends with this:
But for the most part the faculty either supported the branding of three athletes as racists and rapists, didn’t care enough about their plight to speak out, or were cowed into suppressing any call of conscience.

Would those athletes, facing a similarly dubious claim of rape, have fared any better at America’s other elite universities? The idealist yearns to answer yes. The realist, sad to say, knows better.
Carroll’s editorial is here.

I hope Duke faculty who see this post will comment on the thread.

I also hope academics at other institutions will weigh in.

I think Carroll’s assessment of Duke’s faculty is fact-based and on the money.

How about you?

Hat tip: Mike Williams


Anonymous said...

Poetic justice (in addition to a lawsuit) would be a poster of the 88 shamed "professors" pasted all over campus.

Mike in Nevada

Anonymous said...


Nice idea. Are there pictures of the 88? Is there a poster of them? Easy enough to post some around campus.

AMac said...

Wesleyan University History prof "Tenured Radical" recently blogged about the Duke case as it relates to the Imus "ho" scandal. I've asked her to consider sharing her thoughts here.

HumboldtBlue said...


Add Howard Kurtz to your list, as well as Jemele Hill's column at At least Hill had the guts and the honesty to say "I'm sorry."

Tenured Radical said...

The only thoughts I can share with you is that I think you all should be happy that what you hoped was true actually was: that the crimes that had been alleged did not hold up, and that people who were falsely accused of rape were not convicted of it. I never had an opnion either way: what I was writing about was media representation, not the facts of the case.

But I also think the emphasis on "innocence" ought not to blind you to what many people at Duke are concerned about: a campus culture where drunkenness and crude sex play (such as hiring a stripper for a team party) makes the campus more dangerous for everybody. This is part of the "truth:" that these young men were misidentified as criminals because they did things that are not typical of law-abiding people, and that hte lacrosee team itself had a long history of disregarding other people's rules so that they could have fun. Were these young men felons? No. Did they do things which, had they not done them, would not have gotten them in this fix? Yes. It's not the same thing as saying they deserved it, but it is part of the truth.

And btw, while there are clearly there are some of you who are interested in questions of justice (although it wold be good to extend this to all people who have been victims of overreaching prosecutors -- black people, and white men accused as pedophiles, for example, who are also often "innocent") some of the people you drew to your cause are out-and-out bigots, and you ought to do a better job of policing them yourselves. Threateniing faculty who are also standing up for what they believe is undemocratic and wrong.

Good bye,


HumboldtBlue said...

"some of the people you drew to your cause are out-and-out bigots,"

As opposed to the out and out bigots who took to the streets with their pots and pans and their castrate banners. Oh yes, it's the bloggers' fault again. What absurd intellectual dishonesty.

And JinC, add Neal Boortz to your list as well, his thoughts on J. Jackson are quite illuminating.

Anonymous said...

Well now you have done it-TR looks like she is taking her dolls and going home. TR does she think she is Teddy?
Seriously John, what is it about this case that makes us supporters get "crazy" when the uninformed cast stones upon the case and enter into the debate?
What ever happened at that golf thing that Starn hosted;
Words can not express how thankful I and others are at you contribution to ending the hoax.

Anonymous said...

What is Conn. Westlyn students paying for this kind of thinking? "and not only that - you got bigots who need policing on your site!!!! " These people are good for a laugh.

ptolemy said...

I am a faculty member and can attest that the editorial is aboslutely right-on. Ironically, the higher the status of the university or college, the worse the faculty behavior will be in a case like this. This is because the philosophy of postmoderism and its accompanying tool for anaylsis called "deconstruction" are the most entrenced in the highest reaches of academia, and in addition it is the "top" scholars who are the most estranged from the students they are changed with teaching.

Don't expect any apology from any of the "88" or adminstrators who persecuted the lacrosse players and don't expect that any of them will suffer any negative consequences for their outrageous actions. In contrast, Nifong will be disbarred at the very least and will likely spend time in prison for his illegal activities.

AMac said...

"Tenured Radical" joined this conversation at my suggestion, and I thank her for doing so. Given our fundamental disagreements, it is perhaps notable that I share certain of her concerns. As I wrote at Patterico's blog in December (comment #83 and comment #15), I would be plenty exercised if my son spent time at college attending a stripper party. Crass is one label for such behavior.

That said (and as this audience well knows), T.R. offers an inaccurate and jaundiced sense of what Duke's investigations (e.g. the Coleman report) revealed about the totality of the evidence concerning the conduct and character of the members of lacrosse team.

As to bigots: I will agree with T.R. to the extent of lamenting that some of them have taken "my side" of the argument on the Hoax. Clearly, other stripes of bigot favor T.R.'s stance. How they are to be "policed" is a contentious question--but not one that speaks to the fundamental merits of either position.

Anonymous said...

I am a faculty member in Texas; and unfortunately, there are far too many folks like tenured radical and the Gang of 88 throughout academia. I certainly agree that Carroll’s assessment of Duke’s faculty is fact-based and on the money. People like Broadhead, as idiot president, and Wiliam Chafe, as the former Arts and Sciences Dean and an all-around bigot, have made the Duke faculty a caricature of overzealous political correctness and qualifications-be-damned affirmative action; but there are plenty race/gender/class-obsessed, left-wing bigots on many campuses.

Anonymous said...

You say that the faculty is "likely to go from mere outrage to irreversible apoplexy" upon reading the article.

Is that supposed to be a bad thing?


Anonymous said...

Dear Tenured Radical, Couldn't they just have put the Lacrosse team on "double secret probation?" Seriously, you sound like Dean Wormer (Animal House). Most of those "Radical Professors" spent more than a few weekends burning a "doobie" or attending keggers. NOW, though, with PC BS, kids can't DO that stuff. Gimme a break.

Al said...

>>some of the people you drew to your cause are out-and-out bigots, and you ought to do a better job of policing them yourselves.

Tenured Radical:

Can you name even ONE "out-and-out bigot" who was a vocal supporter of the Duke 3? Off the top of my head, I could name more than a dozen potbangers, Gang of 88'ers, NBPP leaders, "community activists" and other pro-Hoaxers who were "out-and-out bigots." Seems like the biggest need for the policing of hate-mongers lies in your neighborhood.


Joe Bingham said...

I never had an opnion either way: what I was writing about was media representation, not the facts of the case.

This statement by Tenured Radical is false. I invite skeptics to read her post on the Imus case. She explicitly states that it is beyond question that the dancer was physically assaulted and refers to the female lacrosse team as "twits." Tenured Radical is free to be a bigot; she's tenured. She's not free to rewrite her own history, just as she's not free to rewrite the history of the Duke case.

Anonymous said...

Tenured radical is so confident of her position, that she has turned off new comments on her home blog.

"This is part of the "truth:" that these young men were misidentified as criminals because they did things that are not typical of law-abiding people..."
you only have to state the argument to see how ridiculous it is.

Anonymous said...

Tenured Radical, your specious attempt to deflect the guilt of the Group of 88 to underage drinkers on campus is almost reprehensible. No one disputes the fact that the indiscretions of the LAX players was the proximate cause of their troubles. Drinking on college campuses probably occurs on every campus in America. We call them indiscretions of youth.

You and your ilk, on the other hand, do not have that excuse. We hold you to a higher standard. You are supposed to be intelligent, educated, rational adults.

The whole world witnessed a rush to judgment, not only by Michael Nifong, but also by the MSM and the Group of 88. To try now to recharacterize the actions of the Group of 88 as an indictment of underage drinking is patently dishonest. You know it, and we know that you know.

The “Thank You for not Waiting” statement was wrong. The participation in and support of the potbangers’ demonstration was wrong. The pasting of the posters of the LAX players around campus was wrong. The grade discrimination against an LAX player was wrong. And, as was so poignantly emphasized in the press conference yesterday, the silence of the rest of the faculty as these events were unfolding was nothing short of cowardice.

You and the Herald Sun could have stopped this thirteen month travesty of justice. But, you either lacked the moral courage or moved to take advantage of the travesty for your own misguided agendas.

Your group may be populated with members of Mensa. You may have some of the most educated of people in the world. However, you lack the moral courage to simply say you were wrong and apologize.

IMHO, though you be geniuses but lack the moral courage to apologize, you are nothing. Until the Group of 88 issues an apology and stops trying to justify its actions, it deserves all of the expressions of ire and distain that it is receiving. Until then, stop caterwauling and take your medicine.

Mike in Nevada

Joe Bingham said...

Heh my question is whether the Rutgers players are teetotalers. I think drinking and hiring a stripper are both wrong, but to say we can't call the lax players "innocent" after they're cleared of rape... (which is, btw, what TR said, although she thinks they were guilty of assault).

AMac said...

Please recall that "Tenured Radical" is not on the faculty of Duke, but Wesleyan University. AFAIK, she had not commented on the Duke Hoax prior to this week.

My own opinion is that the falsely maligned Duke students had reason to expect more nearly correct behavior from Duke's faculty. What makes the behavior of professors from the home university particularly reprehensible is their breach of the student-teacher relationship. While Hard Left academicians from other institutions have contributed ignorant, fact-challenged, and even mean-spirited commentary, their conduct strikes me as less important.

It is also true that T.R. made a point of entering this "lion's den" to comment, when she was under no obligation to do so. That puts her quite far ahead of those of her peers who stay within their comfort zones and slip dissenting blog comments down the Memory Hole.

straightarrow said...

I think I mentioned in an earlier comment on another thread that these people think their only mistake was misreading their chance to advance their hateful, racist, classist agenda.

They feel no remorse for their errors and will never admit their total failures of morality.

There isn't a damn thing radical about Tenured Radical. She is just a common garden variety hypocrite. No radicalism in that. Every group has its members who are too ineffectual to make their way inside the rules of decorum, morality and ethics. No, not radical at all. Deceit and dishonesty are far too common to be considered radical.

John said...

For tenured Radical...
I appreciate your comments here and the way that you express yourself. I would like to suggest that the group of 88 at Duke also contains some racists and bigots that faculties and administrations have a responsibility to police as well.
Just because they are faculty, they don't get a pass when they express views that are bigoted and racist. Just because they are faculty, they don't get to give students they disagree with bad grades with immunity.
In fact, because they are faculty they should be held to a higher standard of integrity, honesty and accountability. Who is policing them? Where is the accountability for them?

Anonymous said...

How could you even suggest these folks are members of Mensa? The best writer of the lot was Dines. This is the good news - these aging hippies are getting as old as dirt and will be out of the scene sometime soon. They are not giving up without a fight - they are irrevelant. Talk about bigots -just NBBP leader on Fox - why does this guy have a platform? Links into a 2002 site concerning KC 0 Can we invite her to the book signing? She obviously thinks she is Somebody when she is a Nobody.

Anonymous said...

"Policing them youself" I always knew they were Stalinist. Teddy - did the Belin wall fall?

Anonymous said...

Reading the thank you comments to TR, is like watching the panel on MSMBC look at Gooslee like she really had something worthwhile to say.

john said...

Where can I find a list of the names of the sorry Duke88. This list should be in repeated in front of every blog thread to remind people of those who will send innocent kids to jail for their agenda. Their despicable behavior should follow them on the web for the next 30 years too and be at the top of every search of their name.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see john in carolina asking for the views of academics at Duke.

Steel, the chairman of the Duke Board of Trustees, made clear in a message on the Duke web site that BOT are in total agreement with Brodhead's motivations and actions. In fact, he uses an even stronger form of words:
"However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board."

I think you would have to be blind to miss the implications of that statement for staff who are employed by the Board of Trustees at Duke.


annon said...


They need to be summarily fired for bringing disgrace to Duke University.

Abe, Stan (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)
Albers, Benjamin (University Writing Program)
Allison, Anne (Cultural Anthropology)
Aravamudan, Srinivas (English)
Baker, Houston (English and AAAS)
Baker, Lee (Cultural Anthropology)
Beckwith, Sarah (English)
Berliner, Paul (Music)
Christina Beaule (University Writing Program)
Blackmore, Connie (AAAS)
Jessica Boa (Religion & University Writing Program)
Boatwright, Mary T. (Classical Studies)
Boero, Silvia (Romance Studies)
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo (Sociology)
Brim, Matthew (University Writing Program)
Chafe, William (History)
Ching, Leo (Asian & African Languages and Literatures)
Coles, Rom (Political Science)
Cooke, Miriam (Asian & African Languages and Literatures)
Crichlow, Michaeline (AAAS)
Curtis, Kim (Political Science)
Damasceno, Leslie (Romance Studies)
Davidson, Cathy (English)
Deutsch, Sally (History)
Dorfman, Ariel (Literature & Latin American Stds.)
Edwards, Laura (History)
Farred, Grant (Literature)
Fellini, Luciana (Romance Studies)
Fulkerson, Mary McClintock (Divinity School)
Gabara, Esther (Romance Studies)
Gavins, Raymond (History)
Greer, Meg (Romance Studies)
Glymph, Thavolia (History)
Hardt, Michael (Literature)
Harris, Joseph (University Writing Program)
Holloway, Karla (English)
Holsey, Bayo (AAAS)
Hovsepian, Mary (Sociology)
James, Sherman (Public Policy)
Kaplan, Alice (Literature)
Khalsa, Keval Kaur (Dance Program)
Khanna, Ranjana (English)
King, Ashley (Romance Studies)
Koonz, Claudia (History)
Lasch, Peter (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies & Latino/a Studies)
Lee, Dan A. (Math)
Leighten, Pat (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)
Lentricchia, Frank (Literature)
Light, Caroline (Inst. for Crit. U.S. Stds.)
Litle, Marcy (Comparative Area Studies)
Litzinger, Ralph (Cultural Anthropology)
Longino, Michele (Romance Studies)
Lubiano, Wahneema (AAAS and Literature)
Maffitt, Kenneth(History)
Mahn, Jason (University Writing Program)
Makhulu, Anne-Maria (AAAS)
Mason, Lisa (Surgical Unit-2100)
McClain, Paula (Political Science)
Meintjes, Louise (Music)
Mignolo, Walter (Literature and Romance Studies)
Moreiras, Alberto (Romance Studies)
Neal, Mark Anthony (AAAS)
Nelson, Diane (Cultural Anthropology)
Olcott, Jolie (History)
Parades, Liliana (Romance Studies)
Payne, Charles (AAAS and History)
Pierce-Baker, Charlotte (Women's Studies)
Pebles-Wilkins, Wilma
Petters, Arlie (Math)
Plesser, Ronen (Physics)
Radway, Jan (Literature)
Rankin, Tom (Center for Documentary Studies)
Rego, Marcia (University Writing Program)
Reisinger, Deborah S. (Romance Studies)
Rosenberg, Alex (Philosophy)
Rudy, Kathy (Women's Studies)
Schachter, Marc (English)
Shannon, Laurie (English)
Sigal, Pete (History)
Silverblatt, Irene (Cultural Anthropology)
Somerset, Fiona (English)
Stein, Rebecca (Cultural Anthropology)
Thorne, Susan (History)
Viego, Antonio (Literature)
Vilaros, Teresa (Romance Studies)
Wald, Priscilla (English)
Wallace, Maurice (English and AAAS)
Wong, David (Philosophy)

Joe T. said...

Great, J in C. As usual.

Anonymous said...

Tenured Radical, it appears that I have incorrectly included you in the Group of 88 based on assumptions that I made about your post and your call name, “Tenured Radical”. I will therefore do what I accuse the Group of 88 of not having the moral courage to do. Please forgive me for my mistake and accept my apology. I was wrong.

Mike in Nevada

Joe T. said...

Don't you just love these phonies who are now so critical of the idea of men hiring a stripper? They've all turned into little Jerry Falwells. Or they try to paint it as some kind of sexual-exploitation thing (do they want strippers to NOT get work?) If they were genuinely upset about that line of business (instead of it just being an excuse to "get" those Duke guys) they'd be protesting outside the club CGM worked at, following her off to every one of her appointments, etc.

Joe Bingham said...

John and others,

I don't ask that you share my disdain for TR. However, I suggest you read the comments and emails that were sent to her (and x-posted on her blog) and her response, in which she wrote off all her critics as neo-confederates; she went on to refer to KC Johnson as a "conservative zealot" on another blog. She has not taken a reasoned approach to the discussion, and has refused to engage anyone she could not write off as a racist.

958pm: There is an irony in your "naming" the 88 in an anonymous post. TR is a bigot, but at least she signs her name.

Joe T. said...

Could you imagine that tenured radical character trying to make it in the world outside of Wesleyan, where you can't just make up lies about people and then, when called on it, "pack up your dolls and go home?" (thanks anon 4:29) The more I learn about these types the more relieved I am I was never smart enough to go to college.

Anonymous said...

After the written attacks on the Group of 88 began, they pulled their “listening” statement from the Chronicle and began to deny the essence of its content. However, the beauty and horror of the Web is that once an item is out there it becomes immortal.

The Hate 88 are now denying that their statement represented a presumption of guilt.

However, consider the following excerpt from the ad. “They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster. But it is a disaster nonetheless. These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.” What did happen to to "this young woman"? Is the presumption of guilt here not palpable?

Moreover, the following statement is both inflammatory and inciting. “We’re turning up the volume in a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait. To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.”

Being asked to wait for what? Evidence of guilt? Due process?

“And to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting.” Yes, let’s all get our pots and pans and our signs of 'CASTRATE' and go out and put the fear of death in these rapists”.

The resulting protests were grossly irresponsible. The participation of some of the faculty in the protests that followed is well known. The risk of violence to the LAX students which could have resulted from these irresponsible statements is obvious.

Now, after the word “INNOCENT” has been pronounced by the AG, rather that face up to their wrongdoing and apologize, these spineless worms (is "spineless worm" reduntant?) try to slither away in silence, denying that any of it happened. Perhaps, like Crystal Gail Mangum, they are beginning to believe their own lies.

Mike in Nevada

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Tenured Radical's spoiled sulk that she's going to take her dolls and go home really burns me. But what cools me down is the realization that the Gang of 88 can't crawl off with her because they already ARE 'home'. And pretty soon the crib bars of their little play pen will be rattling from Reade, Colin and Dave's lawyers banging on them with subpoenas for discovery.

Ohhh, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the lawyers hear the Gang of 88 defend itself under oath. That will be a REAL 'listening statement'! ;>)

Joe T. said...

So right, Carolyn. The 88 types think they can espouse all kinds of hatred and then shrug it off because of their "privilege" of living in an atmosphere of malleable ideas, high flying philosophies, vague theories, being above mere mundane mortals. When the hard rules of a court of law contain them, where hard cold reality rules, they won't be able to squirm away.

Ken said...

The only meaningful reform would be to eliminate academic tenure. Its only use is to protect those like Ward Churchill, TR and the lynchmob of 88 from evaluation of their value. So long as tenure exists, the bigots and haters are safe.

Let academics compete like everyone else, outlaw tenure.

Foaming at the mouth said...

An untuned piano will wreck the most splendid Bach performance, overpowering an entire orcestra and the discordance will make the audience flee in pain. A piano has 88 keys. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

I agree completely that Duke's
"Group of 88" gets an "F'. The rest of the faculty get an "I" or "Incomplete" for their failure to take any stand at all. What's that quote?

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

The few members of the Duke faculty that stood up for due process are true heroes in my mind. The rest are cowards. Duke should demand better.

Anonymous said...

The HATE 88 should have the name of Dr. Arlie Peters withdrawn. He, and he alone, recanted of his original position.

Unluckily, that would make it the "hate 87" which just doesn't have that certain cache. sigh

Anonymous said...

Cooper said that CGM should not be prosecuted because she, in her own mind, believes it happened. We all know what that means.

Now we and others can say that the G88 and all the other tenured radicals should also not be prosecuted because they, in their own minds, believe something happened. We all know what that means too.

how similar are these hoaxers and story tellers?

Anonymous said...

Posters on this and other blogs have talked about the fact that the 88 have stood out as haters in this sorry hoax. And, the 88 make an issue of hatred directed at the subsets of the population they think are uniquely worthy of concern (and some of this hatred actually exists).

Overall, though, I have to say that the 88 and their kind are the worst haters.

Nazis or KKKers are haters but they are uneducated losers. Their hatred stems from the fact that they lack education. Their hatred stems from intellectual poverty and deprivation.

On the other hand, Leftist haters tend to be some of the most educated Americans and often boast advanced degrees from the most pretigious universities in the country. For them, they become haters (or their pre-existing hatred is nutured) through expensive and exquisite educations that should be helping them become moral, open-minded, democratic leaders with something to offer society.

The bottom line is while no hater has a valid excuse, the haters who have been privileged to get the best educations have the least excuse.