Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's Duke Research for? (Post 1)

(This was posted Saturday)

I recently posted in response to Duke University’s invitation to alumni to subscribe to a new online magazine, Duke Research, which each month will report on various research projects, questions and events of interest to faculty and others, and related matters at Duke. (See Making Duke Research a "must read")

I said I’d be sure to subscribe if Duke Research reported on questions relating to the Duke lacrosse case.

On a Duke Basketball Report forum thread, killerleft commented and linked to my post.

Killerleft said that while he disagreed with me on most topics I write about, he thought the questions I’ve raised (as have many others) are important.

He’s concerned the university has not been more forthcoming about its actions and inactions in the Duke lacrosse case. (See
his post here and my “thank you” post here)

Killerleft's post drew comments, a few of which I want to respond to here. I’ll also be contacting the DBR moderator to discuss how best to share my responses at DBR.

Now, in its entirety and first in order on killerleft’s post thread is the first of the comments I’ll be responding to in the next few days.

From a DBR commenter self-IDing as Allenmurray - - -

There is no more lacrosse forum.

More importantly, I think it a real shame that johninnorthcarolina felt the need to do this. I don't really care how he feels about the lacrosse case - but connecting it to a new Duke Research publication was pretty tangential.

He used a new effort by the University to leap into a topic of his own choosing when the two have no relationship at all. If he wants to write about the lacrosse case - good for him.

But there is no reason to make the incredibly dumb leap that he made between that and a new publication put out by the university.

He could just as easily have begun his blog by saying, "Duke basketball, not for me until . . ." , or "Duke University Blvd.? I'm not driving on that road until . . . "

I wonder whether Allenmurray visited
Duke Research’s Web site before commenting.

Those of you who’ve visited there know it displays prominently on
its home page a picture of the head and shoulders of Rodin's The Thinker beside the link: Duke Research Survey: Tell us what you think.

Among other things, the survey asks readers to share their interests and invites us to offer story topic suggestions. You can view and complete the survey

Duke faculty, staff and students have extremely varied professional interests. People at Duke have discussed and researched topics as diverse as the creation of the gargoyles that adorn the Chapel and factors that heighten students' risk of becoming crime victims.

So what could possibly be wrong with suggesting Duke Research consider critical questions relating to one of the most important, and arguably one of the most disgraceful, series of events in the university’s history?

I can understand why Duke’s trustees, President Brodhead and those who were members in Spring 2006 of “Dick’s senior team” won't answer questions regarding Duke’s actions and inactions in response to events spawned by the lies of Crystal Mangum, and the attempt to use them to frame and send to prison for gang rape and other felonies transparently innocent Duke students.

But I have trouble understanding why any reasonable person would think asking that Duke Research report concerning those questions is “pretty tangential.”

It’s not! It’s spot on!

Duke Research has a monthly feature called
Ask the Expert. Each month a Duke expert is asked 5 questions.

December’s expert is Political Science Professor Paula McCain. She answers questions relating to President-elect Obama’s recent victory, race as a factor in the election, and the future of the Republican Party.

I plan to propose to Duke Research that it occasionally select an expert who would respond to questions relating to the lacrosse case. For example, why no one in a Duke leadership position spoke out on May 18, 2006 when racists shouted physical threats at Reide Seligmann outside the Durham Courthouse, and then again inside the courtroom including shouting death threats at Seligmann in the courtroom?

Allenmurray ends his comment saying I could “just as easily” have begun my post with either of two analogies he offers: "Duke basketball, not for me until . . ." , or "Duke University Blvd.? I'm not driving on that road until . . . "

But I couldn't because Allenmurray’s analogies are absurd.

I would never “just as easily” begin my Duke Research post with “Duke basketball, not for me until …” because I, like you, know the Duke basketball program has no responsibility to discuss, research and report to us regarding the Duke lacrosse case.

But Duke Research? That's a different matter.

As for my using "Duke University Blvd.? I'm not driving on that road until . . . " to begin, I’m sure just about all of you will agree that’s so absurd as to be its own refutation.

As I said at the start of this post, I’ll post again responding to other comments on the DBR killerleft thread.