Thursday, December 27, 2007

Duke's Exemplary Friends

With the year coming to an end, I want to express the appreciation I feel, and I'm sure many of you feel, for the outstanding leadership and services Jason Trumpbour and the Friends of Duke University provided throughout the struggle to defeat the attempted framing of three Duke students; and for what they continue to do to help the Duke Hoax victims secure some measure of justice for the crimes and falsehoods they've endured, and to hold their malfactors and enablers to account through public exposure, and where warrented, civil and criminal punishments.

FODU's fist public action was an open letter addressed to Duke's President Brodhead and the Board of Trustees which FODU placed as a full-page ad in the July 19, 2006 Chronicle. That same day I posted concerning the letter and FODU An exemplary service to Duke and the community.

An exemplary friend tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

Beginning with their public letter FODU's been an exemplary friend to Duke and all those seeking to understand and counter the travesties and crimes which began with Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong's lies.

You'll see that as you read An exemplary service to Duke and the community.

That’s what the Friends of Duke University provided today with a full-page ad in The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper. Historian and blogger KC Johnson tells us :

Today's Duke Chronicle features an open letter to President Richard Brodhead and Duke's Board of Trustees. Sponsored by Friends of Duke University, a grassroots organization, the letter urges the Brodhead administration to do more to speak up for Duke students, in part by "formally demand[ing] that Mr. Nifong immediately correct, to the extent now possible, the grave errors that he has committed to date."

The letter also notes that beyond acknowledging bad conduct by the lacrosse team, as he has repeatedly done, Brodhead needs to "call attention to the larger, more positive, context the [Coleman] committee found” about the team.

In general, the letter advocates a more robust response by Duke to the crisis, asking the institution to use its formal, but especially informal, powers on behalf of both itself and its students.
KC says a lot more in an excellent post that's a must read. Those of you who disdain faculty foolishness and exploitation clothed as concern for students will love KC's Swiftian evisceration of Duke's faculty's Group of 88.

The Friends make clear they don’t condone the partying that occurred the night of Mar. 13/14. They want necessary reforms which recognize that “many of the team’s problems exist within the larger Duke community.” [And on most other campuses. – JinC]

People who love Duke and others who just value fairness will cheer the Friends’ vigorous, fact-based refutation of the “elitist Duke,” “walled off from the community,” “indifferent to Durham’s poor” slimes that have been hurled by the worst of media reporters and “talking heads,” and even by some Duke faculty. [Yes, the Group of 88 and the academic departments and programs that endorsed the 88’s exploitive “listening statement.” Others, too. - JinC ]

Whatever the letter’s ultimate impact, it’s already accomplished two very important things:

1) It provides Duke students with a much needed statement of the facts and issues of fairness, judgment, justice and community life the Duke lacrosse case has raised.

2) By confronting President Brodhead with facts, injustices and the sliming of the university; and by asking that he speak out and in other ways act, the letter places Brodhead in a position where he must take a stand or lose a very great deal of credibility.

Back on Mar. 29, within a few hours of listening to the tape of a 911 call, Brodhead issued a written, unqualified, public apology to the caller without knowing whether all, some or none of what the caller said was true.

Brodhead’s decision to apologize to the caller, who we later learned was the “second dancer,” is very much on the minds of Dukies and everyone else who’s watched the unraveling of what's really the Duke lacrosse hoax.

People will be thinking about how and why Brodhead decided to make an apology as they now assess his response to the Friends’ letter.

Advice to President Brodhead: Press releases and committee formations won’t be enough. You’re going to be judged against the standard you set for yourself and the university on Mar. 29.

Something for JinC readers: The Chronicle issue in which today’s letter appears is called the “mailer issue.” That’s because it’s a special edition that’s mailed to about 18, 000 addresses, including those of the students and their families. The issue is meant to be a “Welcome to the start of the new school year.”

Message to Friends of Duke University: Well done! A lot of us have been looking for something like what you put out there today.

Full disclosure: KC Johnson noted that he’s a strong supporter of Friends of Duke University; also that they’ve often linked to his posts. The same is true with me.

Also, because some people now expect such disclosure: I’m a Duke alum, and feel I'm fortunate to be one.

That said, I’m no different than millions of Americans outraged by the injustices of “Justice in Durham;” by biased and inflammatory media reporting, especially that of the Raleigh News & Observer; and by a university response which, with a handful of admirable exceptions, has been troubling to say the least.

I’m very glad so many people who’ve never set foot on Duke’s campus or visited Durham care about the case.

It’s great to be “shoulder to shoulder” with such people. I think every Dukie feels that way except the 88 and others like them.

Folks, you're welcome to add your own apprecaition to FODU.



Anonymous said...

Thank you Jason Trumpbour and all the officers of the FODU. You provided an outstanding leadership in this very unfortunate case. A very special thank you to the moderator who managed the web site professionally. I am so proud to be the member of your organization and once again many thanks for giving us the chance to defend Dave, Reade, and Collin. Have a great 2008.

Duke07 Mom

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Duke07 Mom and add my heartful thanks to Jason and FODU. You are certainly among the heroes in this saga. --Bob Hyde, Duke '67

kbp said...

Thanks John

"I’m very glad so many people who’ve never set foot on Duke’s campus or visited Durham care about the case."

I'm hoping the civil complaints show the reasons ALL should care! What took place in the case should concern all in this nation.

Add my thanks to Jason for what he has done.

FODU said...

Dear John,

Thank you for your kind words. Your work on the lacrosse case has been nothing but inspirational to many of us. Have a happy New Year!