Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who’s Defendant Allison Haltom?

Via a paste at Liestoppers you can read the following excerpt from the suit filed yesterday in federal court on behalf of three unindicted members of Duke’s lacrosse team. After reading the excerpt, you may want to know more about Allison Haltom who's not been mentioned much in connection with the Hoax. I provide some information about her after the excerpt and offer commentary.

Here’s the excerpt:

B. The CMT’S Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy

414. On or before March 25, 2006, Defendant Steel directed Defendant Brodhead to create a Crisis Management Team (“CMT”) to manage the University’s actions relating to the investigation of Mangum’s claims.

The original participants in the CMT were Defendants [BOT chair] Steel, [president] Brodhead, [Provost] Lange, [VP] Trask, [VP] Burness, and [VP] Moneta. Defendant Victor J. Dzau (Chancellor for Health Affairs, and President and CEO of Duke University Health Systems, Inc.) was added to the CMT shortly after it became clear that DUHS and Tara Levicy were critical to the State’s case.

Defendant Allison Halton (sic) (the University’s Secretary) was also added to the CMT following its first meeting on March 25, 2006
When people at Duke see University Secretary Haltom’s involved, they usually think “trustee involvement".

Haltom’s retiring at the end of this month after almost 40 years at Duke. Here’s part of a Duke News story on her recent retirement celebration :
. . . At a retirement party for her Tuesday, President Richard H. Brodhead listed her many Duke roles and concluded, “I learned today that you did nursing admissions. What have you not done?". . .
Haltom served under four presidents. As university secretary, she ensured members of the Board of Trustees were kept abreast of university issues and oversaw presidential transitions. In 2001, she took over the duties of university marshal, which include the operations of major university ceremonies such as commencement. ...
This excerpt from a Dec. 10, 2007 Chronicle story on her retirement:
As University secretary, Haltom manages the activities of the Board of Trustees, serves as the University marshal-which oversees major ceremonies like commencement-and has either chaired or served on most hiring committees for the University's senior officials, including the search committee for President Richard Brodhead.

"She makes the trains run on time," said John Burness, senior vice president for government affairs and public relations, whom Haltom considers one of her best friends. "Whoever is the University secretary has the inevitable position of both working for the President and working for the Board.... We're loaded with big thinkers, and if you don't have someone in the group who pays attention to the details, the logistics of managing 40-odd people [on the Board] will not get done."

When she retires, the majority of Haltom's responsibilities will be divided between Richard Riddell, special assistant to the president, who will handle the larger duties dealing with the Board, and Laura Eastwood, the current associate University secretary, who will handle many of the day-to-day communications with Trustees.

"The University is splitting Allison's position into two jobs because they don't believe one person can do it," Burness said. "What happens sometimes is you find really competent people like Allison who can juggle many different responsibilities and end up with them because they are so damn good at it. And then when they leave, you realize that the responsibilities are more than one person can handle.". . .
There’s no word yet on whether Riddell will take Haltom’s place on the CMT or whether Duke will go outside the University for her replacement and select someone like Durham city manager Patrick Baker.

(C’mon, John, get serious.)


Adding Haltom to the CMT suggests Steel and the others knew in March 2006 it would be a long haul and that trustees would rightly have many questions and want to be kept informed as things developed.

Steel, Brodhead, and the others no doubt could and did communicate with certain key trustees. Holtom no doubt was liaison for the rest.

It’s safe to say within the CMT group she was not a decision maker.

But Haltom knows what went on; and she was surely the bearer to the CMT of many suggestions, concerns and questions from trustees and knows how the CMT reacted to them.

You can realize how important Haltom’s inside knowledge can be to helping courts and the public understand what the key Duke decisions makers did when they were outside the public spotlight as well as what the functioning of the BOT was like as the Hoax played out.

Allison Haltom's a name to remember.

Here are the Duke News and Chronicle stories in full.


Anonymous said...

Neither Allison Halton nor Allison Holtom is a name to remember.

JWM said...

Anon @ 4:50,

Great comment.

My error's fixed.

Thanks for your "editing."


Anonymous said...


I would gently admonish you to henceforth refrain from reffering to the case as a "hoax." It is and was a Frame. It was an attempted lynching.

Hoax indicates some sort of 'mistake' or 'joke' or 'error' and waters down the reality of what happened.


Walter Abbott

Anonymous said...


They know.

Duke must be like a sieve with disgruntled employees saving every e-mail and making copies. One little lie in depositions about what was said or written and then...SHAZZAM!!! a copy is pulled out of a brief case and placed before the defendant. "Could you please explain this?"

I think the term Collateral Damage may start to apply.


Ralph Phelan said...

Discovering that the BOT was in on the frame both early and deep is quite significant in making sense of events.4