Sunday, August 26, 2007


Readers Note: This post is the first of a three-post series the title of which states the series' theme.

Today's post includes a post, BRODHEAD'S FAILED, I first published on December 23, 2006.

That's followed by commentary concerning how the post looks to me today and a few words about the two series posts which will follow this one.

Let's begin with last December's BRODHEAD'S FAILED:

Back on March 25 Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, refused to meet with the parents of 46 students under investigation for multiple felonies, including gang rape. He hasn’t met with them since. He’s never said why.

On May 18 racists outside and within the Durham County Courthouse shouted threats, including death threats, at Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann.

Brodhead said nothing then and has said nothing since critical of racists threatening one of his students.

Duke News Service recently confirmed Brodhead’s silence on May 18 and since. But it said I needed to call his office to learn why he’s been silent. Calls to Brodhead’s office in which I identified myself and my purpose have not been returned.

On June 13 the Raleigh News & Observer published a letter from Duke Law School professor James Coleman in which he said Nifong had “undermined public confidence in the case” and should step aside.

For the next six months and nine days Brodhead declined to support Coleman’s request.

Instead, Brodhead urged us all to, like him, do nothing about Nifong’s conduct; and thus enable Nifong to bring David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to trial in Durham where Brodhead said they would have their chance to be “proved innocent.”

Now, a week after a disgraced DNA expert admitted in court he teamed with Nifong to withhold evidence favorable to Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann, Brodhead announced he can support Coleman’s position after all.

What’s more, Brodhead is demanding Nifong “explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.” Excerpt from Duke News Service:

“The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.”
It’s a plus for justice whenever someone goes from silence in the face of Nifong’s travesties to endorsing what Coleman and so many others have asked for.

But excepting that, I’m not cheering Brodhead’s statement. It’s too little, too late and obviously self-serving.

Brodhead’s demand that Nifong “explain to all of us his conduct in this matter” would have been very helpful last spring or even a few weeks before November’s election which Nifong won with less than 50% of the vote.

By speaking out last spring, Brodhead might very well have helped prevent a witch hunt and the massive injustices it’s spawned.

Even if Brodhead had delayed speaking out until October, he might have helped defeat Nifong at the polls. In that case, Nifong would now have just over a week left in office.

Brodhead has often said the job of president of Duke University is a very tough one. He’s right. But there are matters and events that come a Duke president’s way that are very important and not really so tough. Yet Brodhead’s managed to fail at many of them.

What was tough about condemning the "Wanted" and "Vigilante" posters that circulated on campus and in Durham last spring? But Brodhead said nothing. Those posters endangered the lacrosse players most but they also endangered the rest of us.

How tough was it back on May 18 to speak out against the racists attacking Seligmann; or to say supporting words to him and his family? And if for some reason Brodhead didn’t think May 18 was the right day to speak, why hasn’t he spoken since?

What kind of university president remains silent for seven months about events like those of May 18?

Brodhead’s failed Duke and Durham. He needs to move on. The sooner, the better.

Looking back on that post, I wish I'd capitalized "spring." Otherwise, I wouldn't change a word of it.

The post contains fair, accurate descriptions of President Brodhead's actions and inactions which even his supporters don't dispute.

Brodhead's actions and inactions I cite are odious and, of themselves, enough to mark him as a failed president.

But unfortunately for Duke, I can say to you what Dave Barry is known for saying: "Wait! There's more."

The second post in this series will look at some of Brodhead's failures that relate to the Duke Hoax which were known last December but which I didn't discuss in order to hold the post to a reasonable length. For example, his decision to issue on March 29 a full and unconditional apology on behalf of the University to the woman who was at the time identified only as "the first 911 caller."

The third post will look at some of Brodhead's failures since BRODHEAD'S FAILED was published. For example, his failure to state what, if anything, Duke has done to determine whether the person(s) who "pulled" from face photos of white lacrosse players which later appeared on the notorious "Vigilante" poster did so using Duke equipment.

I'm told by tech people that the answer to the question can be easily determined.

But apparently it's not an easy question for Brodhead; or at least it's not one he wants to answer.

I hope you all take a look at the BRODHEAD'S FAILED comment thread. There's a lot of excellent commentary there.

I also hope you're back for the second series post.

And what are your thoughts regarding Brodhead?


Locomotive Breath said...

Brodhead says that for him to have talked to anyone would have been "interfering with the investigation".

JWM said...

Dear LB,

Yes, Brodhead would not want to interfere with an investigation, especially one in which "the facts kept changing."

Still, I think we both agree ...

BTW - I plan to post very soon regarding Piot.

Do you have a tape of his remarks?

Thank you.


Locomotive Breath said...


As far as I know, the only recording that exists is the one made by the AAAS department. They have refused to release it.


Locomotive Breath said...

p.s. One way to keep from learning the "changing facts" is to stick your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la la la la la la la la" which is exactly what Brodhead did to his students.

Anonymous said...

I have no personal facts regarding Brodhead. Like many of us, I am indebted to this blogsite, and others like it, for informing ME. Certainly one cannot trust the MSM to keep on digging for truth. Responsible bloggers are rapidly changing the face of news reporting and analysis.

For that reason, I hope that John, and KC, and Trumphour, and others of their caliber will continue. Truth always needs reliable mouthpieces. God knows that the world of lies and "spin" have plenty of mouthpieces!

Brodhead is such a spin artist. He is not a leader. He is somebody's lackey. He does not seek nor speak truth. He parrots others.

Duke deserves TRUE leadership, nor more of the same of Brodhead.

Brodhead appears to be very
"legacy conscious". I suspect he hopes to hold on to his job at Duke long enough to do something notable that will endear him to historians. My take on that is that it will NEVER happen.

Just like Pilate of old may have done many things in his life, but is remembered for only one... his cowardly deliverance of an innocent man to a lynch mob, so Brodhead will never live down his most notable act... or should I say failure to act.

Brodhead's NUMBER ONE responsibility was to the Duke community, MOST ESPECIALLY the students whose parents had entrusted them to that school for their education and for their opportunity to play on a Championship Lacrosse Team.

Brodhead's cowardice and selfishness (those attibutes are really one and the same) obscured his duty to his students and their families.

He was, and apparently still is, mostly just concerned with himself, his image, and his "legacy".

Too late,Mr. B. Your "image" and "legacy" have been sealed for all history to see and read. If we had a picture dictionary, your face would be right beside the word "coward".

You need to find a NEW job. Somewhere far away from North Carolina. And certainly far away from any respectable university.

What self-respecting Board of Trustees, or alumni would ever welcome Brodhead into their midst, with his track record?

Brohead abandanoned his greatest moral responsibility... his own students, to "wait and see" about the story of a lying hooker. He sold his soul to the history revisionists, the Politically Correct Gang of 88's mob mentality.


I still cannot figure why?????

Did he not weigh choices?

What in the world was his reasoning, privately, at home, alone?

Did it ever occur to him to consider "What if these guys are innocent? What is my proper role if they are innocent, or even if they are guilty?"

Why did he not meet with parents?

More cowardice!

Brodhead could certainly have met with them and expressed his concern and sympathy for their situation without "interferring" with the investigation!

He did not have to make ANY statement of assigning guilt or innocence. He just needed to have supported a search for truth and lent his influence to such a search.

Somewhere, sometime, some astute observer / prober is going to eventually put the links all together.

Two questions: (1) Why... against all reasonable evidence to the contrary, did Nifong persist, when he could only have known that the truth would eventually come out... especially when the DNA results became known?

(2) Why... would an ostensibly intelligent man like Prez Brodhead take a stance that denied students their due process, their rights to privacy ( don't forget their key records!), and even their physical protection on Duke property? Why did he NOT protect them from harrassment in the classrooms and outside?

I understand what happened.

But to this day I cannot understand "WHY?"


Anonymous said...

I may be crazy, but I see no way that the committe that will be reviewing Broadhead's performance can do anything but fire him. What other possible reason could there be for a committee to review Broadhead's performance at this time, and what other result could they possibly achieve? I think the pwoer that be at DU were patiently waiting for things to sort out and were also waiting to put some distance between the events and the firing of Broadhead so the firing could not be perceived and criticized as knee jerk reaction.

Locomotive Breath said...

Someone who has gotten off easily, too easily IMO, is Nan Keohane. I suspect it was during her time as Pres that many of the radicals were hired. I haven't had time, but it would be an interesting study to see who was Pres when the G88 were hired.

Locomotive Breath said...

John, you may have forgotten that I have your email and I have sent email to that address.

JWM said...


Please contact me at my email address.

I can't retrive yours.


Anonymous said...

Brodhead is not a leader. Why did it take brodhead so long to make a decision a few years ago to even consider taking the prez position at Duke. A leader would have jomped at the job. He doubted he could do the job. He was right. He should have stayed at Yale. But nooooo, steel had to try very hard to convince the coward to come to duke and make it ivy league. Sheesh, how selfishness can get out of control 101. By the way, wasnt there a situation similar in principal at yale that brodhead was involved in? Is it still in the courts? He should have learned, but the english teacher just cant take the reponsibility of leadership. brodhead will always need someone telling him what to do.

Anonymous said...

Anyone having even basic analytical abilities and familiarity with the law could have--would have--seen through the frame-up from its onset. Broadhead either is himself a lightweight in the smarts department or he has a staff of nincompoops of the highest (lowest?) order. In either case, he is a disgrace to Duke University. That he is still president shows me the BOT is not any better.

Locomotive Breath said...

I have an aol address. Still good?

Anonymous said...

Back on your original threat and the original Pontius Pilate comparison.


Spineless, gutless, and guilty of character assassination.

" All that is needed for evil to win, is for good men to remain silent"... It's a quiz, Brodhead. Who said it???

Anonymous said...

Correction: Original THREAD ( not threat)

Anonymous said...

Curious about the "Piot" mention, so I "goggled" him. Interesting. Don't know if he is the same guy you have in mind, but his last quote in the Newsweek interview says, in part, " I believe that the media has the power to save more lives than doctors".

Could that also be said about blogs vis a vis MSM?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...


The media certainly has more power to cost more lives from continent to continent than some other agencies. All it takes is publishing a few cartoons from Denmark.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead did eventually meet with the parents, but not until a long time after. I can't remember the date.

Anonymous said...

The LAX parents are a class act in the middle of an island of sewerage. I would LOVE to have been a fly on the wall when the parents met with cowardly brodhead. I do hope they told him what they thought of his betrayal of his responsibilities to their kids. But then, they probably taught their boys not to use those kind of words.