Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More about Duke’s Allison Haltom

Monday I posted Duke’s Allison Haltom & the trustees.

The short of it: According to a federal court complaint filed by attorney Bob Ekstrand on behalf of three unindicted victims of the Duke/Durham hoax and frame-up attempt, Duke’s recently retired University Secretary, Allison Haltom, was added to Duke’s Crisis Management Team after its initial meeting on Mar. 25, 2006. The post included the following

The decision to add Haltom to the CMT after its initial Mar. 25, 2006 meeting strongly suggests [BOT Chair] Steel knew then Duke was in for "a long haul," and that trustees would rightly have many questions and want to be kept informed as things developed.

I believe Steel, [President] Brodhead, and other senior administrators communicated with certain key trustees. Haltom no doubt was liaison for the rest and very likely for key trustees from time to time.

It’s safe to say within the CMT group, she was not to any great extent a decision-maker. Her role would have been more to communicate between and among trustees and senior administrators.

If you’re not familiar with Monday’s post, please read it before reading further in this post.

Moving on - - -

In response to Monday’s post, this Anon comment was left on its thread:

Haltom represented Durham's Child Care Council in a funding request before the County Commissioners in 1999 :

(name misspelled as "Halton")

And her Duke retirement article notes :

"...her contributions on child care issues in Durham have been honored with several awards."

These are certainly worthy efforts, but I wonder if she might have crossed paths with Cy Gurney at some point?

I responded on the thread:

Thank you so much for your comment and link.

I plan to put them on the main page tomorrow and remind people who Cy Gurney is.

It's extraordinary all the close connections between people very close to Nifong and other Durham framers and leading Duke figures who were his enablers.


For those who might not know, Cy Gurney is the wife of the now disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong.

Gurney’s a regional coordinator for the Guardian Ad Litem program which advocates for abused and neglected children, especially those who come before the courts for various reasons, including foster care placement and review.

The current Durham GAL offices are across the street from the Durham County Courthouse which houses the DA’s offices.

Guerney has more than 20 years experience with the GAL program in Durham.

During those years she’s worked closely with elected officials and “advocates” for causes and organizations, most of which self-identify as supporters of “progressive causes.”

I’ll close with one other example of the many close connections between Duke figures and Durham framers.

In March 2006 when Durham Police Cpl. (now Sgt.) David Addison, the Durham CrimeStoppers coordinator wrote and distributed the text of the CrimesStoppers Wanted poster telling the public a “horrific crime” had been committed at the lacrosse party, the Chair of Durham CrimeStoppers Board of Directors was Duke University Police Director Robert Dean and Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek was a member of the board.

Full disclose: In an email interview Dean stated he only learned of the CS poster after its distribution and after it had been amended to remove the claim of a “horrific crime” as well as the insightful, false descriptions of it Addison included in the original CS poster.

Dean added: “In my experience, [CS posters are] not ordinarily cleared with the Crimestoppers board or the Durham Police Department.” ( For the full text of the interview, see DUPD Director Responds to CS Poster Questions - 3/21/07)

Closing comments:

I often see and hear in media references to how Duke and Durham are “isolated from each other” and how “Duke has walled itself off from the city.”

Those claims are not true as Haltom's leadership in Durham child care issues and Dean's and Wasiolek's leadership of Durham CS illustrate.

The connections between Duke and Durham are many and important; and the university and the city both rightly and energetically work to make that so.

While there's no doubt some at Duke and in Durham did things they ought not to have done during the hoax and frame-up attempt and/or are now doing as part of an ongoing cover-up, we should not let that cast a cloud on those at the university and in the city whose work together has only been for the good of Duke, Durham and those they serve.

With specific reference to the Haltom-Gurney relationship: While it's noteworthy for a number of reasons, including as an example of the many Duke-Durham connections, there is not now even a suggestion it involved anything but two people engaging in the commendable work of helping children and youth in need.

With specific reference to Haltom: She, like other senior Duke administrators, needs to explain what she did as part of Duke's response to the events which grew from the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong.

BOT Chair Robert Steel and President Richard Brodhead in Spring 2006 repeatedly urged everyone to tell what they knew about those events.

They and Duke's senior administrators, Haltom included, ought to do that, too; and it shouldn't take multiple lawsuits to make them to do it.

Thank you, Anon, for your comment.


Anonymous said...

Durham is a small town with the usual small town connectivity. University/college towns tend to be even more incestuous. My guess is that there is more to the Cy Gurney -Allison Haltom connection.

Anonymous said...

Steel was born in Durham, and he was certainly not from a privileged background. It is obvious that he feels a deep seeded need to "protect" Durham from the wealthy, arrogant privileged families and their children who dominate the student body and the alumni. His support of the pseudo-academic departments has guilt as its base as well.It is long past time for both Dick and Bob to move on. Bob did briefly try to simultaneously run Wachovia Corp. It no longer exists because his previous boss on Wall Street, now at Treasury, knew his tendancies toward guilt-based decision making and forced Wachovia's sale to Wells Fargo.

Anonymous said...


Weren't Steel's parents alumni of Duke? If so, then I would think, given his age, that he at the very least came from a comfortable existence. I believe that he felt (and this is being charitable) a need to protect what he considered to be the "brand" of his alma mater - in other words that sport figures should not be the face of Duke (no matter how scholarly they might be). Thus, he could "kill two birds with one stone" - restore the "academic prowess" of Duke and de-emphasize the presence of athletics and at the same time demonstrate to the Durham community that Duke was indeed a place that understood racism and was committed to eliminating it and making amends for past "racist bahavior". I would agree that there is guilt in his support of the pseudo-academic departments - where that originates who can tell?
I would also concur that the honorable thing for both Brodhead and Steel to do would be to resign - but that would assume that they are honorable men - unfortunately, their actions to date show that they are not. Again - this raises the point , where is the BOT and what function are they serving?