Monday, November 05, 2007

What's Really Behind Brodhead

Today's Chronicle carries a news report under University Editor Chelsea Allison’s byline: Prez's Yale tenure may offer glimpse into Duke's future.

Allison begins:

A long-time champion of undergraduate education, with the lacrosse scandal nearly behind him and the retirements of three top administrators in front of him, President Richard Brodhead now has an opportunity to shift his focus toward his own initiatives. And after spending 40 years in New Haven, Conn., he may begin by modeling it on what he knows.

Brodhead's third term as dean of Yale College began July 1, 2003, barely five months before he was appointed the ninth president of Duke.

He graduated from Yale in 1968 and received his doctorate in English in 1972 before joining the faculty of the Ivy League institution. He was named dean of Yale College in 1993, a post that combines aspects of Duke's provost and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences positions.

The deanship surveys all of Yale's 5,200 undergraduate students and acts as the head of faculty, reporting to both the provost and the president, Brodhead said.

"The interest of the job was that it drew everything together," he said. "I was generally regarded by faculty as the leader of the faculty. And [to] students... I spoke on behalf of their education."

Many said he was considered wildly popular by both students and administrators, in part because he knew the college so well.

"He inspired students and faculty alike with his sensitive, perceptive and brilliant speeches," Richard Levin, president of Yale University, wrote in an e-mail. "He was beloved for his easy and friendly rapport with students. And he was deeply respected by the faculty for his wisdom and good judgment."[…]
Allison’s entire article is here.


Allison’s article reads more like an uncritical tribute than a serious news story.

She fails to mention Brodhead’s now an extremely divisive figure. Or that his divisiveness will impact his leadership in all areas of University life, including undergraduate education.

While providing kudos from Yale, Allison says nothing about Brodhead’s refusal to explain his treatment of undergraduates during the Hoax crisis.

Brodhead’s treatment of many undergraduates and others in response to pressures from Nifong, DPD and many faculty was such that the University’s already been forced to settle five law suits.

Duke conditioned the settlements on the parties receiving them agreeing not to disclose anything about Brodhead’s actions which were considerations in the settlements.

There’s more I could say, but you get the idea.

You can also read the following which is a slightly tweaked version of a comment I left here on the thread of Allison’s article.

No doubt President Brodhead and "Dick's senior team" appreciate University Editor Allison's tribute, especially her claim that what she calls "the lacrosse scandal" is now "almost behind him."

But Brodhead and his "team," including the trustees, know what's more properly called the Duke Hoax is not "almost behind" him or the University.

Having already settled five suits resulting from its bungled and disgusting response to Crystal Mangum's and Mike Nifong's lies, Duke's leadership is now bracing for still more suits.

I’m told they won’t have to stay braced much longer.

There’s more.

The three former Duke students most victimized by the attempted frame-up and cover-up that continues to this day have brought suit against Nifong and others, including certain DPD officers and their supervisors.

Many of those named as defendants in the suits worked very closely with top Duke administrators on many matters that some law professors and other legal experts say likely involved criminal actions by some of the participants.

Regardless of what they say publicly or in “off the record” backgrounders with Chronicle staff, the trustees, Brodhead and others with offices in the Allen Building know this: What's really behind Brodhead is a great deal of critical information he and his "team" have withheld from the Duke community and the general public.

But it won't be easy for Brodhead and others to withhold that information when deposed during the discovery phase of the civil suits.

And it will be next to impossible for them to withhold the information if, as some think likely, the U. S. Justice Department launches an investigation into possible criminal violations of the rights of Duke students and others during the Hoax.

"Until Proven Innocent" co-author Stuart Taylor, one of the most respected legal journalists in America, recently said he expects the Hoax case to get “uglier” as we learn more about it.

He’s right. And it will also get “Dukier.”

The surest sign it will get “Dukier” is the University’s more than year-long silence in response to questions it could easily answer if it didn’t fear the consequences of doing so.

Questions for Editor Allison: Has The Chronicle ever reported why neither President Brodhead, nor any trustee, nor any member of “Dick’s senior team,” and no senior faculty member spoke out when racists threatened Reade Seligmann outside and within the Durham County Courthouse on May 18, 2006?

Why were they silent? Why have they said nothing about their silence since?

Has The Chronicle ever asked President Brodhead on the record why he refused to meet with the lacrosse parents last Spring? If you did, what was his answer? If not, why not?

Has The Chronicle ever asked Brodhead on the record why he said nothing when “activists” circulated within sight of his office windows “Vigilante” posters targeting 43 white Duke students?

If you have, what was his answer? If you haven’t, why not?

Has The Chronicle ever told readers who care about fair treatment of students and transparency how to "move on" when so many critical questions are unanswered and so many troubling actions unexplained?

Thank you for reading this.

John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


"Questions for Editor Allison"

Good questions. And, as usual, they will be met with silence.


Mamalou said...

It is truly sad but the direction and quality of the Chronicle has been altered. It was apparent this summer when the messageboard was shut down ostensibly because they were short staffed in the summer. It has never been reinstated, obviously the powers that be decided it was not to their advantage.

I'm sure some are pleased the Chronicle has become more like the MSM.

Anonymous said...

Why were faculty members who are known to have discriminated against the lacrosse students not publically repremanded and instead, some were actually promoted?