Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Chronicle Should Be Asking

Would it surprise you to see Duke University's trustees, President Brodhead, his "senior team" and most of Duke's faculty driving vehicles with MoveOn.Duke bumper stickers?

Me neither.

Now what about all the MoveOn.Duke supporters at The Chronicle?

Why are Chronicle staffers so reluctant to report and comment on a series of disturbing and revealing events that are among the most important events in the Univeristy's history?

I thought about those Chronicle questions this morning when I reread a story it published Mar. 27, 2006:“Men's lacrosse team faces rape allegations”

Here are excerpts from The Chronicle story followed by commentary below the star line:

[President]Brodhead released a statement Saturday urging individuals "to cooperate to the fullest with the police inquiry while we wait to learn the truth."

"Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke," Brodhead said. "The criminal allegations against three members of our men's lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties."

( The full text of Brodhead's March 25 statement is here.)

On March 25 Brodhead knew a great deal the public didn't know then. For example, he knew the lacrosse captains had given police on Mar. 16 extraordinary cooperation, including helping them locate students who were at the party, voluntarily submitting to hours of police questioning, signing statements and submitting to rape kit testing at Duke Hospital.

Brodhead also knew each of the 46 players ordered to submit to DNA testing and strip to the waist for lineup photos had the right to appeal the order, but not a single one did; and that all denied the many versions of the accuser’s “story.”

But Brodhead decided to mention none of that in his March 25 statement; and none of it is mentioned in The Chronicle's March 27 story.

When Brodhead read the Raleigh News & Observer's front-page, five column wide “anonymous victim” interview story in the early morning hours of March 25, he knew the N&O's report the players had formed a “wall of solidarity” to stymie the investigation was false.

But Brodhead decided to give the public no hint of that.

Instead he left his students twisting in the wind as hate-filled members of Duke's faculty and student body, together with progressives and activists in Durham, began rallying to the "CASTRATE" banner and circulating "Vigilante" posters.

Of course Brodhead would want to reach for a MoveOn.Duke bumper sticker. And gun the engine, too.

But Chronicle reporters and editors shouldn't be going along with him for the ride.

The Chronicle should be asking Brodhead why on March 25 he didn't mention the extraordinary cooperation the players had already provided police.

Nowhere in The Chronicle's news columns can I find where it asked Brodhead about his decisions not to disclose on March 25 the players' extraordinary cooperation with police.

Why didn't The Chronicle do that? If I'm wrong and it did, I'll quickly publish a correction.

In the meantime, I'll continue asking why it didn't.

Here's something else The Chronicle appears never to have reported on: Brodhead's refusal on March 25 and for months thereafter to meet with the lacrosse parents.

Why hasn't The Chronicle asked President Brodhead about his repeated refusals to meet with the parents of students accused of felony crimes, even as he met repeatedly with people accusing their sons of the crimes?

The answer to that question is an important story the Duke community should know.

Does The Chronicle expect anyone to agree with its editorial endorsing President Brodhead's continuation in office when we don't know the answers to the questions asked here and related questions that bear on Brodhead's forthrightness and judgement?

The entire Mar. 27, 2006 Chronicle story is here.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Brodhead apologize to the two "dancers" almost before the ink was dry on the first police reports?

I can't find the news story but I clearly remember reading it.

Anonymous said...

I think the internet has changed the validity of repeating a lie so often, it becomes the "truth."

No matter how often MoveOn.Duke says, "It's over. Everyone is putting it behind them. Let's move forward." The truth is, you're still asking, other blogs are still watching, asking, reporting. Lawsuits are still pending with possibly more to come.

It's far from over and the internet will never allow it to be swept under the rug, whitewashed or forgotten.

The falsely accused were tainted but ultimately vindicated. Brodhead has been exposed. His conduct was contemptible, continues to this day, and will mark his place in history.

Of course, that's all just my opinion.