Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pick the Duke Prof

Let’s play another round of Pick the Prof

On March 29, 2006 Duke’s president Richard Brodhead, issued a full, written and unqualified apology to the woman the public then knew only as “the first 911 caller,” but whom Durham Police had known since the night of the lacrosse party was Kim Roberts, the other “exotic dancer” at the party.

That same day “community activists,” in collaboration with some at Duke, circulated the notorious “Vigilante” poster which targeted the white male lacrosse players who rightfully feared for their safety.

Also on March 29 two letters appeared on campus. One was written by the holder of an endowed faculty chair; the other by a Trinity ‘08 undergraduate.

Can you pick which of the two items below was written by the Duke prof?

Item 1 is an excerpt from a letter distributed on campus as an open letter. Item 2 appears here as it was published in The Chronicle.

Item 1 -----

[Where] is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again? And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys?

Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives. There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.
Item 2 ----
I am appalled at the Durham community and the Duke community's response to the rape allegations.

I thought that we lived in a society where suspects are innocent until proven guilty? That is clearly not the case. No one has been convicted of a crime, yet already we are having candlelight vigils and banging pots and pans.

My question to the community is this:

Are you going to go up to each member of the lacrosse team and apologize if it is proven that these allegations are totally unfounded?

I think that everyone needs take a step back and ask him- or herself, if you were the one being accused of rape, would you want to be treated like a criminal-even if you hadn't done anything wrong?

Yesterday I heard one student say to another that "this is an alleged rape." The other replied, "Oh, I know it happened."

This is exactly the type of attitude that perpetuates the idea that it no longer matters what you are convicted of-it matters what you are accused of. Similarly, no one knows all the facts; there are rumors circulating, some of which are surely untrue.

As students, we need to just let the authorities, the criminal justice system and ultimately a jury of our peers decide guilt and innocence.

A black female student today said that if this had been a black male and a white female it would have been "guilty until proven innocent." If you believe that is unfair, why would you sit around and do the exact same thing to the lacrosse players?

I won't sit here and pretend to think that the lacrosse team is entirely a stand-up bunch of guys, but I'm also not ready to burn them at the stake.

And I don't think anyone else should be, either.
You all picked the prof, didn’t you? Item 1.

Sure, it was Houston Baker, who was subsequently recruited away from Duke by Vanderbilt University.

And do you know what?

President Brodhead and the trustees didn’t have the decency to adopt a resolution thanking Vandy.

The Chronicle letter was written by Ned Samuelson.

At a time when many were as hateful and mendacious as Houston Baker, Ned Samuelson kept his head. He remembered the values and principles which should guide Americans in circumstances such as those occurring on March 29, 2006. And he reminded the rest of us.

Thank you, Ned Samuelson.


Anonymous said...

Thanks John

I had only been following the case about 4 days when Ned wrote that and had never read it before.

His message is so easy to follow.