Sunday, April 01, 2007

Talking to Regulars & Readers – 4/1/07

(A post in the old web log tradition: notes for those familiar with the material. Don’t look for background information or links in this post.)

Those of you commenting on my letter to DUPD Director Dean containing “Vigilante” poster questions “got” what I tried to do: ask concise and on point questions. You also “get” the institutional context in which a reply, if one is forthcoming, will necessarily be framed.

To readers new to efforts within and outside Duke to obtain more information from the University regarding first, its response to the false witness against the students; and then to their public trashing by media led by the Raleigh N&O, by Nifong, and by many at Duke; and finally to the frame-up which the trashing did so much to enable; please keep in mind when you assess what Dean has said so far and may say in response to the DUPD/“Vigilante” questions that:

President Brodhead has never said word one as to why he refused to meet with the lax parents on Mar. 25 and has refused to meet with them since.

Brodhead’s never explained why he said nothing critical of the “activists” who on March 29 circulated “Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters on campus and made threats against the Duke students.

And, of course, The Chronicle has never urged Brodhead to speak out on those matters or his silence regarding the events of May 18.

One of my goals for today, Sunday, Apr. 1, is to work up a draft letter to vice president for student affairs Moneta concerning “Vigilante” matters.

I’ll begin with a reference to the Mar. 25 meeting with lax parents at which he was the senior Duke administrator present; and at which I’m told a request was made by at least one parent for the removal of the players’ face photos from

I plan to ask Moneta questions concerning what Duke did in response to that parent request, and when Duke began removing the face photos from

Some months back I confirmed with Duke SID Jon Jackson what had been reported in the press (USA Today, 3/29, for instance): Duke removed the photos when it realized the poster creator(s) was actually in the act of pulling the photos, but the poster creator(s) had already gotten 43 of the students’ photos which subsequently appeared on the poster. Duke removed the photos USA Today reported and Jackson confirmed out of concern for the players’ safety.

I didn’t know enough at the time to ask Jackson when Duke removed the photos.

I plan to ask Moneta about that as well as what he and student services have done to learn about the production and distribution of the “Vigilante” poster, and act with regard to any and all who engaged in those activities.

Also, I’ll ask about what student services did in response to “activists” “Vigilante” actions on Mar. 29 described by Lorenz (see latest Dean letter) and others I spoke with on campus on Mar. 30.

I hope to have a final letter posted and on its way to Moneta by Monday morning.

Another goal for later today is to post concerning the N&O’s Mar. 25 story.

( “Not again, John” )

Yes, I’ve posted on that false and malicious story before, but I think my latest post will leave many of you saying, “I’ve thought of that before and wondered why JinC and other haven’t said more about it.”

The short of the post: It was “a big product” involving many at the N&O, not just the reporters, Anne Blythe and Samiha Khanna, who’ve taken most of the heat for what was a fraud story (Khanna especially has taken heat.)

Moving on and responding to some Reader comments concerning people connected to at least the distribution of the “Vigilante” poster.

Thank you for that information.

Each piece of information I receive helps me and will often contribute to a post but sometimes not for many months.

Example: Months ago someone sent me a link to a Guardian article that was basically a slam of the lacrosse players. But the Guardian’s writer sat in the same Durham County Superior courtroom on May 18 with Reade Seligmann, his parents and Seligmann’s attorney, the late Kirk Osborn.

From the Guardian article:

“One of the accused, Reade Seligmann, 20, sat in a suit at a court hearing. From the gallery one onlooker shouted: 'Justice will be served, rapist!' Seligmann largely ignored the taunts, but as he left came the call 'Dead man walking!' and he blanched.”
More than one hate-monger shouted threats at Seligmann that day. Besides others of such ilk in the courtroom that day, they were outside the courthouse shouting threats, including “Justice will be done, Rapist.”

I plan to use the Guardian quote in a letter I’ll write this week to Duke’s Chapel Dean, the Rev. Canon Dr. Sam Wells, concerning his silence last May 18 and, so far as I know, since.

As you’d guess, I plan to urge Wells to speak out; and to do so before the end of the academic year.

Some Duke administrators and a good number of faculty initially told me last May there was no University response then because “it was such a bad time.” They meant the academic year was over, etc., etc. There were assurances something would be said after regular classes resumed in August.

You know how that played out.

My point to Wells: Don’t let the academic year end and the seniors leave Duke without hearing you condemn the racists who shouted threats at a Duke student; and don’t let the year end without you expressing words of solidarity and comfort to Seligmann and his family regarding what they endured.

Moving on ---

In the next few days, I’ll post the final Addison Series post, “Sue who?”

But first you all have to promise something: You’ll believe me when I say when I worked up the title for that post, I didn’t know Dean Sue was a CS board member when the “Wanted” poster was created and distributed.

I’ll post another Talking post tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

" officials removed the team rosters and photos from its website Monday morning for what assistant sports information director Art Chase said were "safety reasons.""

If this article is correct, that Monday was March 27.

Anonymous said...

How do he parents who attended the 25 March 2006 meeting communicate with you?

Anonymous said...

12:15 p.m. 25March 2006 meeting after Georgetown cancellation,the first demand by anyone " remove the roster, face and personel data immediately" . If this had been done, somethings might have transpired differently.

JWM said...

Anon @ 6:44 pm,

Thanks for that lead. It will help when putting my letter to Moneta together.

Anon @ 6:53 pm,

The same ways people communicate with you.

RU by any chance a Troll?

Anon @ 7:00 pm,

You are so right.

Thank you to 2 out of 3 Anons.


Locomotive breath said...


As one of the organizers of the March 29 Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and speak-out at Duke University, I want to clarify that we did not plan, nor do we endorse, the distribution of names and pictures of members of the Duke men's lacrosse team.

AMac said...

I wonder whether there are low- and middle-ranking people in some of the institutions that (inadvertantly or intentionally) enabled the Hoax in the early days who aren't happy with what was done.

They don't feel strongly enough about it to risk losing their jobs, or to volunteer to be viewed by colleagues as "traitors". But not happy.

If nobody asks, they won't speak up.

However, if the right question is asked in the right way, they might be inclined to give a factual answer. They aren't about to personally endorse the hoax or a cover-up.

"Hey--I just told the truth as I see it. What would you expect me to do--lie?!"

Perhaps only depositions will elicit answers from some such people. But maybe not.

Anonymous said...

MacD said...
Where did Gottlieb get team photos to use in the first two line ups?
The DPD had the team photos... was a DPD officer the author of the vigilante poster?

kbp said...

Thanks John!

I'll be watching for your posts, as always!

Also, thanks for pointing me to the April Fools' post @ LS!!! Joan & Baldo make quite a team on work like that.

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance, perhaps you can ask him about the value of allowing the New Black Panther Party to come onto campus such that the boys were told they had to pack and leave their dorms during finals week.