In a statement he read yesterday, Duke University’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, failed to explain why he hasn't criticized “activists” who circulated, within sight of his office windows “Vigilante” posters targeting white students.
Brodhead also failed once again to say anything critical of black racists who shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann or to explain to Seligmann, his family and the Duke/Durham community why he hasn't.
But for the first time Brodhead said he was sorry he hadn't met with lacrosse parents eighteen months ago and been more supportive of their sons.
Brodhead’s “I’m sorry” contains a huge element of “Spare me,” but I’ll leave that for another post.
Today I want to offer my answer to a question folks have been asking: Why did Brodhead make his statement now?
In a word: Homecoming
Duke's Homecoming will be held October 11th through the 14th.
Alums will attend the usual "meet and greet" socials and panels on subjects of current interest. There'll be tours of new physical facilities; and parties and dances in the evenings.
Friday, October 12th, at 5 p. m. the Alumni Association is sponsoring a reception which DAA says “celebrates alumni who have been invited to participate in the Volunteer Leadership sessions." ( those are the alums who lead the class fundraising campaigns. – JinC )
There’ll also be at least one event at which alums will have a chance to listen to Brodhead deliver some “State of the University” remarks and then ask a few questions.
Brodhead and the trustees know there’s strong and growing disgust, even anger, among alums over the University's "throw the students under the bus" response to the falsehoods of Nifong, the Raleigh N&O and many Duke faculty.
With Homecoming in mind, let’s look at a portion of Brodhead’s statement yesterday that so far has received very little press attention :
My colleagues in the Duke administration are going over all our procedures to see what we can learn from our experience.It’s obvious, isn’t it?
But these are complex questions, and they aren’t ones Duke can or should hope to solve on its own.
To work through these difficulties and see that their lessons are learned not only here but around the country, we will be hosting a national conference of educators, lawyers and student affairs leaders to discuss best practices in this important field.
All those embarrassing and probing questions alums might ask can now be finessed.
"He's apologized, you know."
“Yes, that concerns me too. But are we sure the students were told not to tell their parents? In any case, some of Dick’s top people are taking a hard look at that. I’m going to wait to hear what they say. Can I freshen your drink? ”
And Brodhead himself:
“Gee, yes, Reade Seligmann. Of course, of course.Message to President Brodhead and the trustees: Most of us understand.
Let me tell you something that just happened before I came over here.
Joe Alleva and I were talking in my office; and Joe said there was so much he really, really wanted to say about Reade Seligmann and everything else.
But he wouldn’t do that right now for fear that anything he said might be seen as trying to influence the outcomes of the national conference on best practices Duke will be hosting.
And I must tell you I think we’d all be wise to follow Joe’s lead. I know I’m going to."
Closing comment: A hat tip to citizen journalist KBP for prodding me to write this post. Also, my thanks go to him as well for his incisive commentary throughout the Hoax and the encouragement he’s given others who care about Duke and justice.