Sunday, December 23, 2007

BOT Chair Steel Questions

This is a 1, 2, 3 post containing:

1 – a statement Duke BOT chair Robert Steel made on Apr. 7, 2006.

2 – a some facts we all knew on Apr. 7 and some questions they generate in light of what Steel said that day.

3 – a few comments.

Let’s begin ----

From Duke News the full text of BOT chair Robert Steel’s Apr. 7, 2006 statement:

1 - The trustees of Duke University have been in active conversation with President Brodhead and the university’s senior leadership since the outset of the controversy involving the men’s lacrosse team. We appreciate the constancy of President Brodhead’s responsible leadership at a time when the facts are not clear and emotions run high.

President Brodhead has spoken eloquently about the challenges our community faces and the values that must guide us in doing so, in addressing the serious issues that have surfaced as a result of this incident. First and foremost, we await a resolution of the facts surrounding the party of March 13, and join in calling for full cooperation with the police investigation.

As President Brodhead has consistently stated, the crimes alleged are grave and, if verified, will warrant severe punishment from both the criminal justice system and Duke’s student judicial process. Simultaneously, we must protect the rights of students who have maintained their innocence and not been charged with any crime.

As President Brodhead has noted, we need not -- and will not -- wait on the resolution of this case to address broader issues that range from the social culture of our students to difficult questions involving race, class and Duke’s relationships with its Durham neighbors.

We endorse the steps President Brodhead is taking to deal with both the immediate situation and these wider challenges.

The trustees recognize and deeply regret how the current situation has cast a cloud over the many wonderful people who comprise our campus and the larger community of Durham. We are especially grateful to Mayor Bill Bell and Chancellor James Ammons and many others in the Durham community and at Duke for their wise and statesmanlike leadership during this troubled time.

When all of the facts are in, Duke will be judged by how it responded to the challenges before us. The trustees recognize these challenges and pledge our personal and collective support over the coming weeks to ensure that Duke University responds in a manner consistent with the great institution we know it to be.

__________END OF STEEL'S STATEMENT____________________

2 – By Apr. 7 Steel and the rest of us knew about the players’ cooperation with police. Steel and the rest of us also knew their attorneys had approached Nifong offering to provide what they said was exculpatory evidence and to bring the Duke students in for questioning but had been rebuffed by Nifong on both counts.

Steel said nothing about any of that. Why not?

By Apr. 7 Steel and the rest of us knew about the “Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters, both based on the lie that the players hadn’t cooperated with police.

We all knew both posters added to the considerable physical danger the lacrosse players were facing and heightened the danger other Duke students were facing because they could be unintended victims of unstable people stirred to act by the posters.

But in a statement he made clear had the support of his fellow trustees, Steel said nothing critical of the posters’ contents or those circulating them. Or for that matter the 88 Duke faculty mambers who just the day before had thanked them "for not waiting."

Why was that?

What about Steel “calling for full cooperation with the police investigation?”

Did he know of anyone at the time on the lacrosse team or connected with it who wasn’t willing to cooperate so long as their rights were respected and they weren't being set-up as part of a frame-up?

Steel should tell us.

Can you agree with this statement: Steel had to know at the time he made his call “for full cooperation” that it would be helpful to those using the “wall of silence” lie and posters in ways that endangered Duke students?

3 – Final comments:

I’ll be interested to read what you say.

This is my last Duke Hoax post before I join my family for Christmas services and festivities.

I’ll put a few “low intensity” posts up later tonight ( “Low intensity?” They’re easy to do posts. Like posting on a pundit’s claim NYT columnist Paul Krugman is “brilliant.” ) and then JinC will be “closed” for Christmas Eve and Day.

The only important one of the “low intensity” posts will be a full-hearted expression of thanks to our armed forces and their families.

I’ll be back around 10 AM Eastern on Wednesday.

Every good wish for joy and health to you all and those you love


Anonymous said...


"Steel should tell us."

If Bob Steel were to tell us ,as you have suggested, his financial worth would be decimated, as well as the Duke endowment fund.

IMO, he knew and approved of Duke's activities supporting the lacrosse conspiracy. He's "all in" as they say in Vegas.

There were so many lies that were told and laws that were broken it's hard to figure out where to start.

Allison Haltom's deposition seems like it could be critical.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to Jan. 10 and your deconstruction of N&O coverage in the early period of the cold-blooded frame.

Jim in San Diego said...

The new civil complaint lays out in astonishing detail a story of the Duke Administration's participation in several serious crimes directed at their own students. It appears now that the board was supervising the betrayal of their own students all along.

Why? It had to be a matter of choice.

The fact is, Bob Steel is One of Them. Which is odd, since the G88 and their ilk hate him and everything he stands for.

However, we can now conjecture the real reason the Bush Department of Justice declined to investigate the hoax. Bob Steel, a member of the Bush Administration, would be a central target of the investigation.

Selective justice. The McFayden civil suit will be very interesting. Perhaps even a reckoning.

Jim Peterson

RedMountain said...

I agree with Steel's description that this was "a time when the facts are not clear and emotions run high". I recall much debate on many boards as to the extent of the player's cooperation even many months after this time. I am sure they were getting conflicting reports and information about the 'cooperation' issue from various sources including the media, the DA/DPD, and the players as well as their lawyers. I don't believe the 'facts were clear' at this point, it was also before the first DNA results came in and it was after the 'wanted' poster you mentioned and the "Team Silence is Sickening" article I am sure you are going to mention again in you upcoming posts.
I also feel he is referring both to the players cooperation as being important as well as Duke's cooperation. I recall that they had encouraged Pressler to set up a meeting between the players and the police, a meeting that was cancelled at the advice of the players lawyers, with additional advice being given not to say anything more about the case. With all the wild statements that Nifong was making, I don't blame them for this position but I can also see that Duke wanted all the facts out in the open as quickly as possible to get this case resoved in a timely manner. They had also given the investigation over to the DPD rather than the Duke Police with the intention, in my opinion, of avoiding the appearance of favortism. Overall, I think Steel's statement is a call for calm, and avoiding a rush to judgement until the facts were clear.

To jim in san diego,
I like the term you used to describe the new lawsuit-"astonishing detail", I agree, it is astonishing almost to the point of being unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

To redmountain, since I assume your nick refers to a rather exclusive area in Aspen, I'm not surprised by your point of view.

RedMountain said...

To anon @6:37,
RedMountain refers to Rougemont NC (northern Durham County) a small rural community, Red Mountain Rd is the main drag there. Located just north of Bahama (also Durham County) which is also not the Bahama you are thinking of and pronounced Bah-hay-mah by the locals.

Anonymous said...


If Duke had simply turned the case over from DUPD to DPD to "avoid the appearance of favoritism", how do you explain:

(1) the cover-up of DUPD's early role in the investigation? Why not simply be up-front with your intentions?

(2) the willingness to sit quietly as the case was assigned to Sgt. Gottlieb, a known "rogue cop" with a bias against Duke students? Why not demand that the case be investigated by one of the sexual-assualt specialists in the DPD Violent Crimes unit, rather than a cop with an agenda serving in the Property Crimes unit?

(3) why turn over the students confidential information, without even requiring a subpeona, in violation of FERPA? Why then try to cover it up with a bogus process of responding to a subpeona?

(4) why not reveal to the media that Nifong's stated reliance on information from DUMC was false? Why not come to the same conclusion that NC AG Cooper did, that there was NO medical evidence supporting a conclusion of sexual assault.

I suspect that you are a member (perhaps retired) of the Duke faculty, with a bias towards protecting BOT Chair Steel and members of the Duke administration.

You cannot simply believe that Duke decided to passively allow Durham, Nifong and Gottlieb, to attempt a cold-blooded frame of members of the Duke community.

You will have to find some better explanation for the activie participation on Duke's part in advancing the frame.

RedMountain said...

To Anon @8:54,
To your first point, I don't see a cover up on a Duke Police investigation, they had done very little investigating before passing this one over to the DPD. I don't believe that this part of the lawsuit will go anywhere, it is certainly not unusual that a campus police investigation is referred to a city police force that might have more resources to put into it without an appearance of favoring the accused Duke students over a non-Duke accuser.

As to your second point, I certainly dont think they would turn this case over to the DPD and then expect that they would still direct the course of the investigation and who would run it. That would defeat the whole purpose of turning the case over in the first place.

To your third point, this is the Duke cooperation I was referring to in my original post and it was the DA's office that attempted to make the obtaining of that information more admissable. That was over zealous in terms of cooperation in my opinion and a mistake for Duke to do so. Still, the judge ruled properly on not allowing that, in my opinion.

And to your forth point, why do you think that the Duke Administration believed the medical reports from Duke were false? Even today, that has not been decided and is still a matter of debate. This lawsuit may answer that question but to suggest at this early date that they knew this information was false is a real stretch.

As to who I am (or was), what difference does it make? I could post Anon as many of you seem to want to. I prefer to discuss the topic rather than who is doing the discussing or what possible reason or agenda that I or anybody else may have just because an opinion differs from yours.

Anonymous said...


"I am sure they were getting conflicting reports and information "


THe DUPD would have been their primary source of information. Apparently, no confusion there.

"Simultaneously, we must protect the rights of students who have maintained their innocence and not been charged with any crime."

Right. "Is there someone here who can organize a vigilante committee and distribute some wanted posters on every lacrosse player?"


Anonymous said...

Who owns whom?

Does Brodhead own Steel or does Steel own Brodhead.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

I'm sorry, but Red Mountain was the best California burgundy that could be had for $1.50 a gallon. Actually drinkable, it was only undercut pricewise by El Capitan at ninety five cents, though today's high-minded folks would see serving El Cap as a form of torture akin to waterboarding. Red Mountain immediately associates with loud blather, seductions and crude attempts to wrestle music out of a guitar.

And I agree that Mr. Steel's association with the Bush administration may well have shielded Duke from the righteous wrath of the civil rights enforcers in the Justice Department. That, and the fact that in such PC departments, no honky has any civil rights worth defending.

sceptical said...

Good post, but a significant typo:
Steel's statement was in 2006, not 2007.

JWM said...

Dear Sceptical,

Thank you for pointing out the typo.

I've fixed it.

What do I owe a skilled "editor" who works Christmas Eve?


Anonymous said...

to red mountyain.

Please note that the DNA evidence was in by the time Steel made his April 7th 2006 comments. The additional testing from DNAsecurity was not in. That occurred on the tenth. There was no doubt about the DNA reported from the state labs. There were no LAX player DNA present.

Steel and Brodhead had a choice. They could have believed the players or they could have believed the ever changing stories of CGM. They chose the later. They chose, not based on the absence of facts ot the facts were changing all the time. They chose based on emotion running high. As Alleva told's not about the truth anymore. As it may turn out as realted to Duke, it wasnt about the truth. That is Steel's and Brodhead's fault.

Larry B

RedMountain said...

To Larry B,
The results of the initial state crime labe tests were not revealed until the following week, the e-mail was reported in the media just a few days before this statement.

Anonymous said...


"The results of the initial state crime lab tests were not revealed until the following week"

I believe you may be confused. The N&O reported that the SBI DNA results were provided to Mike Nifong on 4/4/06. As a result, Nifong requested a court order for additional DNA samples to be sent to DNA Security for further analysis. These DNA samples were taken on 4/5/06 and sent to DNA Security on 4/6/06. At a minimum, the DPD, the lacrosse players, their defense attorneys and the lab personnel were all aware of these activities. It stretches credibility to believe Bob Steel was not aware of these DNA events until a week or two later.

“Nifong certainly knew by April 4 that the SBI found nothing in the rape kit; that's when agents from the lab updated him in a conference call.”


RedMountain said...

That N&O story was updated in September, and is not the original story that was published. It was later learned that Nifong did indeed know the results of the SBI tests ahead of time but the defense team did not get those results until April 10th (as best as I can recall-many of the old links I had no longer work or as is yours, were modified at a later date). To my best recollection the defense team got a fax late in the day on April 10th with the initial test results and immediately called a news conference that was carried on TV that evening. I don't believe that they knew at the time that Nifong had already met with DNA Security about more testing. Nifong made his 'try this case the old fashioned way' comment on April 11th.

My memory is by no means perfect, I do think the timing of Steel's statement is important from a historical perspective. Pehaps John or someone else has the exact timing of events here.

Red Mountain said...

Just found a link on this blog as to the date I remember being 4/10/06 (that N&O story quoted was 4/16/07 and updated in Sept 2007).

Link provided below:

Interesting that we were discussing a name change then as well.

Anonymous said...

redmountain said...
To Larry B,
The results of the initial state crime labe tests were not revealed until the following week, the e-mail was reported in the media just a few days before this statement.

5:39 AM

Red...please note the following from Durham in wonderland blog.

April 5

.......By April 5, the case was very different than it had been when Sgt. Gottlieb scoured McFadyen’s room.

Nifong learned that the DNA evidence his office had promised would “immediately rule out” any innocent people had, in fact, exonerated all the lacrosse players;
Nifong ordered the Durham Police to construct a lineup that violated their own procedures in multiple ways. In that lineup, the accuser didn’t recognize McFadyen."

By April 5th nifong got the States written DNA report and
more than likely received phone confirmation before April 5th. Nifong did not publicly release the report till April 10th. The close contact between Duke and Durham during this time would strongly suggest that Duke (i.e. steel, et al.) knew the DNA results were negative. Based on this timeline one can understand Steels reluctance to admit his students were innocent when claims of rape were still outstanding. Steel hedged his bet and lost. The facts were very clear by April 5th and before based on the State DNA results.

Although one may argue that Steel did not know the results, his statement suggest otherwise and close examination of timelines would suggest that Duke knew as much as nifong and the DPD at this time.

Larry B

Anonymous said...

As an additional point of emphasis, the following is from the civil suit by McFadden et al.

A. Unbeknownst to the Plaintiffs, the SBI Lab’s DNA Testing Already
Proved Their Innocence
484. When the Plaintiffs’ press statement declaring their innocence was released,
Nifong had already received a preliminary report from the SBI that proved their
innocence. On March 28, 2006, an SBI serologist, Rachel Winn, advised Himan
that she had completed the serology tests on the rape kit items. It was all negative.
There was no semen, blood, or saliva on any of them. As a result, she advised
Himan that the rape kit items will probably not be sent to the DNA section for
further testing.
So nifong and everyone else so confused about this case knew the DNA results long before the April 10th public release by the defense.

Larry B

RedMountain said...

You guys can't be suggesting that Steel knew the DNA results at the time he made this statement. The defense team didn't get it until the 10th.
Maybe Nifong met Steel on a grassy knoll in Durham somewhere and handed him a briefcase filled with the test results.


Anonymous said...


"You guys can't be suggesting that Steel knew the DNA results at the time he made this statement. "

The evidence suggests that's exactly what happened.

I understand the difficulty in believing someone at that level would knowingly destroy individuals to protect Duke and the PC groups. However, it appears Steel had long ago left the reservation.


Anonymous said...

Im not suggesting any such grassy knoll thing. I am suggesting that Steel et al. did know about the initial DNA results, and he more than likely knew that nifong would be doing additional special testing. Duke was not out of the loop. Dont forget, that the nifong DNA security meeting occurred on the 10th also and this is when nifong knew again the DNA was exculpatory. But I am realistic enough to know that Duke did state quite clearly that they were cooperating fully with the DPD and vice versa. If that statement allows you to believe that Steel was naive about what was happening at Duke during a frightful time, then so be it.

Come on now, Duke even had their own police department add addendum to their own official reports. Are you claiming that the higher ups at Duke knew nothing about that? Lets look at the evidence (i.e. the never changing facts), not what some think happened. If, as you claim, Duke knew nothing about what was going on before steels statement, then that is just foolish thinking. The statements Brodhead made long before the 10th of April indicated that Duke knew as much as anyone about what was going on, including the initial statement from their own police that it did not happen, and the statements of the lacrosse players that it did not happen, and the many stories of CMG.

I am sorry but the head of the BOT is not that ignorant about something like the "evidence" before giving his speech about white on black rape allegations by athletes attending Duke university making front page news in the national press. Nope, no grassy knoll meetings.

l b

RedMountain said...

Silly me. Here I was doubting a "hoax". There is obviously an effort going on to rush to judgement without proof to support some really outlandish allegations. Cone on Steel, we know you know.

Must be a Steel curtain of silence going on here.

Gotta love a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...


"There is obviously an effort going on to rush to judgement without proof to support some really outlandish allegations."


The judge's order for new DNA samples to be taken from the lacrosse players and sent to DNA Security was presented on 4/5/06. It became instantly public.


The DPD and DUPD were communicating regularly (including DNA testing).


The DUPD made Brodhead and Steel aware of their communications on a daily basis.


It would seem to me that you are proposing that Bob Steel only received information on the case after reading the local newspapers. That position is not credible.


RedMountain said...

"The judge's order for new DNA samples to be taken from the lacrosse players and sent to DNA Security was presented on 4/5/06. It became instantly public."

Link please?

"The DPD and DUPD were communicating regularly (including DNA testing)."
"The DUPD made Brodhead and Steel aware of their communications on a daily basis."

And you think Nifong, the man that had to be pressured every step of the way to release discovery on this, would just nicely and meekly give Duke 'all' the information he had the moment he knew it?

Anonymous said...


"Link please?"

Judge Stephens order for additional DNA samples to be submitted was dated on 4/5. You may verify that if you wish.

However, that's isn't the point. The real issue is whether Steel decided to throw the lacrosse players under the bus, isn't it?

Question: When did Bob Steel tell Brodhead it would be acceptable for him to meet with the parents of the accused (and later exonerated) Duke lacrosse players?


Anonymous said...

red said.....And you think Nifong, the man that had to be pressured every step of the way to release discovery on this, would just nicely and meekly give Duke 'all' the information he had the moment he knew it?

WOW...hpw things can be misinterpreted. First, I believe that nifong was not the first to get most of the discovery information. Himan got the original State DNA results via phone. There was no other evidence now was there? Duke always claimed that they were cooperating fully. I would assume that means free exchange of "evidence" information between the two cooperating parties, Duke and DPD (i.e. nifong). If there wasn't then why would brodhead say the "facts were always changing" Doesn't that strongly suggest that Duke was being updated and that the information they received was always different from the last update? Maybe not to some, but to me it suggested that Duke was up to date with all the information needed to make some statement, including saying something about the DNA results, or choosing to say nothing about the results. Under the circumstances, it was not Dukes responsibility to make any of the information public. After all Duke said they were not investigating. But they were making statements, and those statements had to be made with information supplied in a timely manner from the DPD, i..e. nifong. I don't think anyone here claimed that if nifong chose to release data he chose to do it only in a public forum and that is how duke got first word of the data. One must accept the premise that Dukes reputation was on the line here and any information not given to Duke (steel and brodhead) would have been extremely detrimental to Duke. Duke just would not have accepted a Durham investigation without being on the inside receiving all the evidence on the case in a timely manner. That would mean just about immediately....lets say a minimum of daily updates.

If Duke did not demand information immediately, then brodhead and steel should be fired for incompetence. That by itself would suggest to just about everyone, they had no interest in the facts of the case and therefore let Duke swing in the wind. I doubt that was even an option.

No red, there is no grassy knoll and nifong, or his designated person, did keep Duke up to date with evidence, or lack of evidence as it turns out. Yep, the only things Duke left swinging in the wind were the LAX team, minus their coach.


RedMountain said...

Ken, you said ""The judge's order for new DNA samples to be taken from the lacrosse players and sent to DNA Security was presented on 4/5/06. It became instantly public."

The reason I asked you for a link is simply because I don't remember the players going back in to give more DNA samples between 4/5 (date of the order) and 4/7 (date of Steel's statement). My reccolection is that the original DNA samples were sent to DNA security. As far as the part about "It became instantly public", I don't remember that being a media topic at that time either. The hot media topic at that time was the revelation of the 'psycho' e-mail, and I believe that was 4/5/07. There were strong (negative) reactions to that and I beleive Steel's statement was prompted by that as much as anything else. I don't see the DNA issue even implied in his statement of 4/7.

To Larry and Ken,
You seem to be implying that Nifong was giving Broadhead and Steel the 'real' scoop on the facts of the case, when he was giving everybody else 'false' information. That would indeed imply a conspiracy on the part of Duke. If they were told that there was no DNA evidence, no medical evidence, that the accuser was not credible and had a history of false rape allegations as well as a history of mental problems and drug problems: then that would indicate that they willingly 'went along' in a conspiracy and a cover up to railroad these players for a crime that did not happen. Why in the world is that more believable than they were getting false and conflicting information from various sources including the DPD, Nifong, defense lawyers, and the press?

Anonymous said...


"The reason I asked you for a link is simply because I don't remember the players going back in to give more DNA samples between 4/5"

In any situation where a court order pertaining to submittal of evidence by the defendants, the defense must be made aware of the order. This is to allow a challenge to the order.

"I don't remember that being a media topic at that time either."

Information from the SBI was transmitted to DPD a week before. If only Nifong knew of the results, I consider it to be private. However, there were numerous parties aware of the negative results. It is inconceivable that Duke was not in the loop at that time.

"I beleive Steel's statement was prompted by that as much as anything else."

I agree. He damned the whole lacrosse team at that point and decided to abandon the three accused players. IMO, he threw in with the radical element of Duke and never waivered in his position to this day.


RedMountain said...

I don't see in Steel's statement that he "damned the whole lacrosse team" or "decided to abandon the three accused players".

However, just by the way you handled my post, I can see you are good at history rewrites. It may be inconceivable to you but the evidence of Robert Steel being part of a conspiracy here is vague and contrived at best. It is a real stretch to imagine a man with the reputation and background such as his being a participant in a hoax. From what I recall he grew up in Durham, attended Durham Public Schools and got his undergraduate degree from Duke. From a business, educational, and public service standpoint this is an exceptional man.

These wild accusations are over-stated, exaggerated, unfounded, and are completely unbelievable.

This is no Nifong. He has the resources and contacts to fight this lawsuit and I expect him to do so.

Anonymous said...


"These wild accusations are over-stated, exaggerated, unfounded, and are completely unbelievable."


I have indicated that Bob Steel was up to date on the events surrounding the legal proceedings against the three Duke lacrosse players. If you consider that to be overstated, exaggerated, unfounded and completely unbelievable, I would recommend that you join the real world.

As to his abandoning three Duke students to the lynch mobs, I need only point to Duke's adminstration's after after the aallegations fell apart.

When did Steel ever apologize or offer to meet with the parents of the lacrosse players to right the wrongs that had been done?

Defend your pal elsewhere. He doesn't pass the smell test here.


RedMountain said...

And that's what this comes down to. The old "smell test". LOL.

That proves your case against Steel "here", as you say.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you are correct. Maybe Bob Steel is an unbiased administrator unafflicted with PC correct thought. Maybe abandoning the lacrosse players was too strong a statement. After all, he said:

"When all of the facts are in, Duke will be judged by how it responded to the challenges before us."

Why not enumerate the things that Bob Steel did when the "facts are in"? I may have missed some of his actions.

Why not start with when he issued his personal apology to the players and their parents for violating the confidentiality of personal information? I may have missed that part.

Or advising players not to talk to their parents? I didn't see that mentioned anywhere.

Here's one that sticks out. Why did Duke promote personnel to leadersdhip positions who slammed the innocent players? Was Bob on vacation at the time?

Perhaps he is senile and didn't know or forgot what happened?

Or maybe, just maybe, he is as corrupt as the rest of the PC extremist crowd.


Anonymous said...

this has nothing to do with duke case. shouldnt we be equally incensed by the collusion between congress,the media and the trainer of clemens.why is this trainer allowed to defame clemens.a doctor would have to have the training,the licensure and amedical record to back up what the trainer saidand what the trainer said he did.