Friday, September 28, 2007

Brodhead’s Failed Duke (Post 2)

In Brodhead’s Failed Duke (Post 1) I republished a December 23, 2006 post in which I said President Richard Brodhead had failed Duke and should resign “the sooner the better.” I also said that since December, the case for Brodhead’s resignation has grown stronger and cited instances of his failure not mentioned in the December post.

This second post in the Brodhead’s Failed Duke series contains an excerpt from a post by Washington attorney and Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff, A Perfect Storm of Disgrace.

Mirengoff delivers a devastating indictment of Brodhead, after which I make some comments.

Now Mirengoff:

Brodhead's villainy . . . arguably exceeds that of Houston Baker and the rest of the gang of 88. While, the faculty members were blinded by hatred and a dopey ideology, Brodhead saw things clearly. His actions, like Nifong's, were the result of cynicism and opportunism.

At the outset of his tenure as president of Duke, Brodhead had given Duke's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski a new multi-million dollar deal. Brodhead thus incurred the ire of many faculty members who were jealous of Coach K's deal and the status of athletics on campus that it represented.

When the rape charges arose, Brodhead's options were to appease Duke's leftist faculty or to grant Duke students the presumption of innocence. The faculty made it clear to Brodhead that he could not do both.

At an emergency meeting of the Academic Council on March 30, 2006, Brodhead urged caution and asked faculty to wait for the facts to come out. But the assembled professors, around 10 percent of the arts and sciences faculty, responded with vitriolic attacks against the team.

Knowing that Harvard president Larry Summers had recently lost a faculty no-confidence vote at Harvard, Brodhead made his choice. Shortly after the March 30 meeting with the faculty "lynch mob," Brodhead cancelled the lacrosse season and appointed a “Campus Culture Initiative” to explore issues raised by the case. Three of the four subcommittees were chaired by gang of 88 members. And one of the four student members had sent a nasty and arguably threatening email to the Duke lacrosse coach, a fact known to Brodhead.

Thus, Brodhead "got out of jail" with his faculty by, in effect, throwing overboard three student athletes who faced the possibility of 30 years in jail, along with the rest of the lacrosse team and its coach.
Folks, I don’t know what Brodhead’s motives were but the actions Mirengoff describes are indisputable; and only some of Brodhead's actions and inactions which mark him as a failed President.

What I find even worse than many of the things Brodhead did, are his refusals to do things any decent university president would have considered it his duty to do.

Even now, more than a year after I first learned of them, I still find Brodhead's refusals shocking and disgraceful. For instance, his refusal to meet with the lacrosse parents even as he was meeting with black community leaders and student groups critical of their sons.

What kind of university president refuses to meet with parents when their sons, his students, are named as suspects in a gang rape investigation and are in physical danger as angry “activists” shout threats, incite the community and hoist a “CASTRATE” banner?

The most shocking Brodhead refusals are his refusal last May to say a single word critical of the black racists who first shouted physical threats and then death threats at Reade Seligmann, and his refusal to say any words of support and comfort to Seligmann and his family.

What sort of university president refuses to speak out in response to the terrible events of May 18, 2006?

Anyone reading this post who remembers President Terry Sanford knows Sanford would never have responded to Crystal Mangum, Mike Nifong and many Duke faculty members’ malicious falsehoods as the craven Brodhead has with, we're told, the support of the current trustees.

Brodhead needs to go and the sooner the better.

And Duke needs trustees with the care and judgment to bring the University a new president with the character and leadership Terry Sanford brought to the presidency of Duke University.

Mirengoff’s entire post is here.

Hat tip: Mike Williams


Anonymous said...


Re: Brodhead

Cowards die a thousand deaths....


mamalou said...

At Notre Dame, a frequent student chant is "We Are ND." It's a fact, the students (and naturally alums) are ND and everyone knows it. It's very different from Duke in many ways and I think this may be one of the most significant.

Brodhead, the BOT, and faculty clearly think they are Duke. So far, they seem to be right.

Anonymous said...

With the public remarks of Jay Bilas I'd say President Broadhead is now on the clock. His fate has been sealed and now it's just a matter of when he will go.

He certainly cannot expect anything less after his treatment of Mike Pressler and the falsely accused players.

Anonymous said...

Maybe discovery in a case filed by the balance of the team is the prescription needed.

A bit of bad news exposed, so they could throw all the blame on an administraton being dismissed.