Friday, August 24, 2007

Duke Law & Annual Giving

Duke University has yet to respond to Duke alum Ed Rickards' letter to the Durham Herald Sun ( See posts here and here).

Rickards was skeptical of annual giving numbers Duke released for the fiscal year ending 6/30/07. He said Duke’s report “must be examined carefully in light of the pressing need of President Richard Brodhead and his administration to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.”

Rickards asked a number of specific questions and provided information that cast the numbers in a much less favorable light than Duke had.

Richards, who holds both undergrad and law degrees from Duke, wrote a fine letter which you can read here.

I was certain Duke would follow its usual practice of responding to a letter as serious and thoughtful as Rickards’

But two weeks have passed with no response from Duke. Let’s hope the letter’s about finished and will soon appear in the H-S.

In the meantime, referring to annual giving Rickards said: “the Law School [fell] ominously short of objective.”

I searched the annual fund site but I couldn’t find any numbers specific to the Law School and the 06/07 fy.

But I don’t have any trouble thinking of reasons why Duke Law grads might have held back some on their 06/07 annual giving.

The Brodhead administration and the trustees handling of the Duke Hoax bothered most alums; and I would think it would have especially bothered alums who were attorneys.

Duke Law alums were better trained than most other alums to recognize last Spring that Nifong’s public statements, including his ridicule of students for following the advice of their counsels and his asking why they’d need attorneys if they were innocent, constituted breaches of professional ethics.

Law alums may very well have spotted the huge holes in the case more quickly than most other alums.

Given Nifong ethical breaches and the huge holes in the case, Law alums must have wondered why President Brodhead kept telling the students to cooperate while saying not one word critical of Nifong.

It's not hard to guess what Law alums who “argue the facts” for their clients thought when Brodhead told Ed Bradley “the facts kept changing?”

Brodhead told the Friends of Duke University he was looking forward to the students being put on trial where they’d have a chance to be “proved innocent.”

What Duke Law alum wouldn’t gag on that?

Well, there are a few of my thoughts. What about yours?

Message to Duke: The letter, please. Rickards and H-S readers deserve a response. And it's in the University’s long-term interest to provide one.


Anonymous said...

Duke wont respond to the letter. They dont have to. But Duke, i.e. brodhead the english teacher, is in a catch 22 now. They need to brag about how well they bring in money in order to get alumni to give again this coming year. But if Brodhead goes on the road to talk to groups and individuals, he may get those exact same inquiries. How does he handle that? He cant.

brodheads only solution is to send out others who can claim they dont know the specifics of the annual giving.

brodhead really needs to take serious the situation he has put Duke in. I believe he is thinking more about his own legacy being in trouble rather than Duke's once great reputation. I would probably stick a wad of bubble gum on his nose in the Duke hall of painted pics for presidents. lol lol lol

I suppose Duke's 88 think the recent no. 8 ranking was due to their metanarative's over the past year???!!! rofl

locomotive breath said...

Loyalty to Duke, expressed by continued giving, is not loyalty to Brodhead. If my friend has cancer I want the cancer cut out. I don't want to kill the cancer by starving my friend and killing him too.

Anonymous said...

Now may be a good time to let Duke BOT member Dan Blue know what you think of Brodhead's performance as Duke's president. Dan Blue has just been assigned the chair of a committee which will review Brodhead's performance. This is a good opportunity to voice your opinions on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Giving money is more than just giving $. It is symbolic of support. It is one of the only voices we have, because it is one of the only voices THEY recognize. As an alum, I sent my "opportunity to give" envelope back with the comment "Call me when Brodhead is gone".

Duke's Board of Trustees needs to act. Swiftly.

The checks and balances within my beloved university would never work in govenment, or any credible large business.

The wolfs are in charge of the hen house.

To "Locomotive Breath"... your analogy doesn't work. If your friend had cancer and was not getting proper treatment, I would expect you to implore him to go to another treatment center!

That is exactly what MANY LOYAL Duke Alums doing. It breaks my heart to tell my own child that I would NOT support her going to Duke for graduate study, because her interests would lead her straight into the hornet's nest of the Gang of 88. And my daughter, who can smell a sham a mile away, would be crosswise with the likes of them from day one. So much for education.

Duke HAS cancer. It cannot TREAT cancer, until radical steps are taken to cure it.

There will be no response to any requests for letters or explanations from Duke. What are they going to say? It's too late to say they were wrong. And I would bet that their OWN lawyers are advising them to NOT ADMIT anything... after all, somebody down the line may end up writing the Duke version of the now infamous narrative "IF I Did It"

Giving/ NON-giving is the ONLY way that we can starve the cancer. Feeding it just keeps growing it.

Hopefully, if there is a big enough loss of income, some of those rats who call themselves teachers in the "HUEMANITIES" deparments will find themselves being cut from the budget because they don't have enough victim-students to fill their classes and justify their existence.

The selfishness of Brohead and the BOT astounds me. They would rather take Duke University down the ratings, and down the financial hole than to clean up their act, move on, and let REAL healing happen.

It is all about a lack of accountability. Whoever set up the structure was no Thomas Jefferson, that's for sure.

But then, who has ever known the legislators to vote themselves a salary cut? And who has ever known of people in power to wilfully and honestly step down for the good of their constituents.

It will take MUCH moral and financial persuasion to move the guilty off the chess board.

Some courageous faculty and students need to step up and join the angry alums and demand the changes.

Are there any who really have that much guts, who care more for the future than the do about their own present comfort???


Anonymous said...

please 'scuse spelling errors in last post... including "Brohead".

Got in too big a hurry.

I went to Duke back when you were supposed to pay attention to such details.


Anonymous said...

Who is Dan Blue and how do you make your thoughts known to him?

Anonymous said...

Loco B - Considering Dukes current resources, witholding giving for a year or two would be more of a statement than starvation. Perhaps just the surgery needed to remove the cancer.

locomotive breath said...

Well all analogies fail at some point. Granted, most of us are incapable of "starving the patient". But the people who stop giving as a symbolic protest will not have an impact unless Duke starts reporting how many alums are giving rather than the aggregate amount. Count on that not happening.

But to follow the analogy anyway, the only doctors who can remove the cancer are the ones that put it there in the first place. And just to illustrate my point...

Duke's admissions still strong

Published: May 25, 2006 12:30 AM
Modified: May 25, 2006 07:20 AM

Jane Stancill, Staff Writer

Even after weeks of relentless media coverage of the Duke men's lacrosse scandal, the university has managed to enroll the most competitive class on record for the fall -- though the percentage of students who accepted Duke's offer dropped a bit, according to a status report on admissions.


Dan Blue, a Duke trustee from Raleigh, said most people he has talked to are taking a sane approach to judging Duke in the aftermath of the lacrosse situation.

"Duke is going to move on," he said. "That's the nature of a great institution."

It's only two months after and already Dan Blue is ready to "move on". What are the odds that Brodhead's performance in the lax case will be anything but an unremarkable footnote in his overall evaluation.

Anonymous said...

John, I can't find a way to get an email to you. I'm a radio host looking to interview you about bloggers as fact-checkers for the mainstream media. If you can send me an email at I would appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Brodhead is being reviewed by Duke. They want to assess how his first 3 years have gone.

Anonymous said...

Duke's press release on the Brodhead review says the deadline for comments is Nov 1.

"Comments may be sent electronically to or, or by regular mail to: Presidential Review Committee; Duke University; Daniel T. Blue, Jr., Chair; P.O. Box 91627; Raleigh, NC 27675'

The Blue committee will report to the Trustees; however they will not have any role in the actual decision on whether to extend Brodhead's five year contract, now starting its 4th year.

Anonymous said...

John - I have asked for a breakdown school by school of giving to the Alumni Annual Fund. I asked for goals and actual receipts.

I have been told this information is not available because the audit is not done. So let's understand this -- we can see the grand total, which Duke initially put out in a news release intended to buttress President Brodhead, but we cannot see the underlying data and components because they are not yet audited!!


Anonymous said...

I also asked for some information from Duke Development, namely a breakout by source( alumni, parents, foundations, corporations etc.) of the $ 380 million received for the year ended 6/30/07. Such a breakout was included in Duke Development's 2006 annual report. I was told that this information would not be available until the 2007 annual report was issued later this fall.

I also asked what portion of the $ 75 million pledged by The Duke Endowment for Duke's financial aid initiative was recognized in the year ended 6/30/07.I asked for similar information on the $ 25 million pledged by the Gates Foundation in Feb., 2007. I also asked for the amounts contributed by the 5 largest single donors for the years ended 6/30/07 and 6/30/06. I was told, in a rather abrupt and condescending manner, that Duke would not provide this information. Duke's reluctance to provide any of this information, most of which will eventually become publicly available in various 990 filings, seems to indicate an attempt by Duke to obscure certain issues in its fund raising numbers

I asked, and was told that no contributions related to the Duke Singapore graduate medical school were recognized in Duke's fund raising numbers.

WFN,a Duke parent

Anonymous said...

What is the deadline for filing 990s?

Anonymous said...

And when are the 990s available to the public?

Anonymous said...

The deadline for filing a 990 is the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the fiscal year. Organizations can file for an automatic three month extension as well as additional extensions.

Duke's fiscal year ends 6/30. If we assume that they file for the automatic 3 month extension, then the 990 filing for the year ended 6/30/07 would be due on 2/15/08.

The Duke Endowment and Gates Foundation fiscal years end 12/31. Assuming the 3 month extension, the filings for their years ended 12/31/07 will be due on 8/15/08.

I'm not sure exactly when the filings are first available to the public but there probably is a considerable lag from the filing date.

990 filings are available through Guidestar, a comprehensive data base of information on non profits. The most recent Duke 990 filing available on Guidestar is for the year ended 6/30/05. The most recent filings available for The Duke Endowment and the Gates Foundation are for the year ended 12/31/05.

WFN, a Duke parent

Anonymous said...

I like the cancer analogy, but in real-life terms, I'm not going to stop donating to Duke. I'm just holding my check until Brodhead's gone.

And I think they're not answering the inquiries because they're running behind...Burness hasn't answered either of my emails from months ago!

Duke '74

Anonymous said...

I received a response ( from Duke Development) that said they would not provide the information based on Duke's policies, not that they did not have the time to respond. I don't think they are necessarily running behind but they may be running a bit scared.

WFN, a Duke parent

Anonymous said...

According to information on the annual fund site ( with links to law) law alumni contributions to the annual fund were $2,044,000 for the fiscal year ended 6/30/07. Duke's communication announcing the results states that law contributions exceeded $ 2 million for the second straight year. There is no mention of comparisons to the fiscal year ended 6/30/06 or to the goal for the fiscal year ended 6/30/07.

In fact ,fiscal 2007 contributions were about 5% less than fiscal 2006 ($2,156,000)and about 11% less than the fiscal 2007 goal($2,300,000).

These results are particularrly disappointing given the big push by Duke in fiscal 2007 which included two significant initiatives( Financial Aid and Duke Engage.)