Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Duke’s lax conduct: “appallingly unique” or “the usual … business?”

The following comment by AMac was posted in response to Why did the Duke trustees enable the frame-up attempt?

It’s slightly off topic. I don’t agree with some of the things AMac says. I want to discuss them as well as some other things he says with which I agree or about which I’ve thought and wondered for almost three years now.

But I’m not getting into any of that now because things at JinC will slow down starting tomorrow, Christmas Eve, until after the New Year so I would rather wait until 2009 to engage many of the important issues, questions and conclusions AMac offers.

But I want to put his comment before you for your consideration and response now as you wish with the knowledge I’ll be revisiting it in 2009 along, I hope, with many of you.

I thank AMac for his comment.

Now Amac’s comment - - -

For those of us lacking a Duke connection, here's a more general concern: Is the conduct of this institution's Board of Trustees appallingly unique, or is it a consequence of the usual course of business?

If presented with a similar set of circumstances, would other BOTs have performed more honorably or more capably?

We can't know the answer, but I'll state the most reasonable guess: No.

Shivers accompanied by "There but for the Grace of God go I" ought to be the common reaction of university trustees upon reading "Until Proven Innocent" and the like.

Two thoughts as to why:

First, the initial reactions to Nifong's and the DPD's campaign by the N&O, the potbangers, the Group of 88, and Pres. Brodhead defined the narrative for the BOT as much as for the media as a whole. It's very difficult for humans to admit "I've been wrong, so I'm repudiating my actions to this point." This is especially true for those in the public eye--and for those such as Trustee Robert Steele who hold themselves in high esteem.

Second, some stories are intrinsically more credible than others, and the Lacrosse Gang Rapists account had the ring of authenticity from the very beginning.

As the edges began fraying, it morphed naturally into an essential truth, details notwithstanding. Fake but accurate.

Partly this ground was prepared by the rowdy conduct of the team over the years--Charlotte Simmons.

Yet it is apparent (to all except many Leftists) that the lion's share of this travesty was enabled by our society's widespread and reflexive genuflection to the idol of political correctness.

For the Trustees who came to the case with prior Belief or even merely Acceptance, listening to the Listeners was the natural place to start. (Obviously, I am using that word in the same toxic manner that the Listeners themselves do.)

It would have taken unusual insight and strength of character for a Duke Trustee to have deviated from the road that Brodhead and Steele reflexively began to travel.

None did, in those critical weeks and months before "lawyering up" became the order of the day.

Sadly, few of their peers at other institutions would have, either.


Anonymous said...

One can only hope that those who populate other BOT's are of a higher moral fiber than those who are members of Duke University's. However, having served as a member of a board of an exclusive high school a number of years ago and who was voted off said board when I brought up (along with two other members) incontrovertible proof that the Dean of Discipline and the Principal were engaging in verbal harassment of students and employees I don't have much faith in BOTs. Only after a threat of a lawsuit was the principal removed (actually he was kicked upstairs to serve as a spokesman for the religious organization that helped to fund the school). I have little faith that BOT members are willing to do anything when push comes to shove.

Anonymous said...

On another note - a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy, safe, and healthy New Year. I enjoy reading your postings as well as those of the many who respond to your site.

Catherine Schildknecht (cks)