Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Duke Chronicle’s Tolerance For A Double Standard

Yesterday’s Chronicle carried a story headlined: “Giles bench vandalized, community responds”

TC’s story began - -

Residents of Giles Residence Hall said Monday that an unknown individual or group spray-painted the letters F and A before their bench's phrase, "G-Spot," late Saturday night, forming a homophobic epithet.

"The staff of the Center for [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Life is saddened and outraged by such a public display of disrespect and negatively targeted at many members of the campus community," LGBT Director Janie Long wrote in an e-mail to the LGBT community Monday evening.

As of Monday evening, the bench was also plastered with fliers countering the vandalism, highlighting the phrase "We Don't Tolerate Hate," surrounded by point words such as "bigotry," "ignorance" and "offensive."

A staff member on East Campus reported the vandalism to the administration Monday, at which point a police report was filed, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said.

"Expressions of intolerance outrage me," he said. "If on a college campus we can't expect civility, respect and acknowledgement(sic) of differences, then where can we?" …

The rest of TC’s story’s here.

Today’s TC editorial is headed: "Giles vandalism intolerable"

I want to share some of TC’s editorial with you here, after which I’ve pasted in a comment I left on the editorial’s thread.

TC’s editorial began - - -

On Tuesday The Chronicle reported a disturbing case of vandalism on East Campus that was directed against the LGBT community. A phrase that can be considered nothing less than hate speech was reportedly scrawled on the Giles Dormitory bench late Saturday night and has now been on display for several days. . . .

Our collective indifference to this act shows something severely jaded about the Duke community. ...

The entire editorial's here.

Folks, I’m not sure what TC means by Duke’s “collective indifference.” Duke administrators have spoken out including Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta who called it a "crime"; students have been told there’s counseling available to them; DUPD says its actively investigating the incident; and, of course, TC has spoken out expressing its outrage at what it said was "nothing less than hate speech.” .

Now my comment from the thread:

I regret that, as reported in The Chronicle yesterday, some unknown person or persons painted the letters “F” and “A” before the "G-spot" Giles has painted on its dorm bench.

TC notes: "What's more, the vandalism has remained intact and undisturbed for days, aside from some fliers taped to the bench beside it."

Why is that? It would take only a little time to paint over the offending letters or repaint entirely the G-spot sign.

TC should tell readers why that hasn't been done.

I hope TC will also tell readers why it's never editorialized criticizing those who three years ago and just a short walk from Giles waved CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE banners and in other heinous ways threatened a group of Duke students.

The actions of that hate-filled crowd deserve condemnation from every decent member of the Duke community.

It's especially important we do that given that so many in the crowd were members of the Duke community; and that other Duke community members not at the threatening hate-fest later engaged in equally reprehensible actions.

Why has TC never condemned those actions and the actions of those on campus who shouted "rapist" at innocent Duke students?

Those students had been falsely accused in what was a literally unbelievable hoax which gave rise to a witch hunt and a frame-up attempt to send three innocent Duke lacrosse player to prison for gang rape.

Why has TC never spoken out condemning the unconscionable treatment those students received from so many at Duke?

Why didn't TC speak out against those who circulated VIGILANTE posters on campus and the black hate-group members who shouted threats, including death threats, at then Duke sophomore Reade Seligmann at the Durham Courthouse on May 18, 2006?

In terms of its editorial silence on all those matters, TC has been hand-in-hand with President Brodhead, the trustees and almost all senior faculty.

What considerations have led successive TC editorial boards to avoid asking Brodhead, the trustees, and faculty members to explain their silence?

I strongly agree with this from today's editorial: " is always important to call a wrong a wrong, and the Duke community should recognize that this offensive act is inappropriate and intolerable on a college campus."

And I wonder, as the editorial board members agreed to publish those words, whether they gave any thought or discussion to TC's silences in response to the offensive acts, some including immediate physical endangerment, directed at Duke students on the 2006 Men's lacrosse team?

Perhaps someday the board members will tell us.

It’s a reasonable question.

John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


"It’s a reasonable question."

The answer to your question is really quite simple.

They are cowards.


Anonymous said...

It's known as "selective outrage." Lacrosse players are not equal to gay, lesbian, etc. people, so "progressive" thinkers need only express outrage when favored classes are insulted. It's quite simple, really.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is this - there are those, in the Duke pantheon, who matter and there are those who do not. If you are white, a male, and an athlete, you are a member of a subhuman species. Therefore, anything that happens to you you deserve and if possible, any action or supposed action that impacts or claims to impact one of the select must have been done by the subhumans - white, male, and athlete. It is so much better, in the Duke mindset, if the trifecta can be established. (Of course, the fourth element is rich - so that class can be an issue as well).
It will not surprise me to see that there will be intimations that the incident is somehow the work of members of this subhuman species.

Anonymous said...

John, don't hold your breath waiting for an answer to your question. You know silence is golden at Duke.

Anonymous said...

It's part cowardice because a lot of people at The Chronicle are afraid of offending Brodhead and the faculty who signed the "listening statement."

It's also "selective ourrage" because they only look out for their friends. The Chronicle is a toy for them and their friends.

What really bothers a lot of us and why most students don't take The Chronicle seriously is that, for the most part, the editors and editorial board members are thinking about their grad school aps and first jobs. They need strong recommendations from administrators and faculty. They know they'll get them only if they're "good boys and girls."

Duke '08

Anonymous said...

do people smoke cigarettes while using the bench? Maybe this was referring to this practice.

Anonymous said...

JinC - Another head's up. In today's WSJ, Dan Abrams has a column in which he talks about the presumption of innocence on the part of reporters - an intersting take. In his essay, he makes reference to the Duke lacrosse case in which he states:
"early in the investigation of the Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape in 2006, some of the very same people who suggested that the presumption of innocence be applied in all aspects of society demanded that action be taken immediately against the students. THe case is now regularly cited as an example of how important it is to presume all defendants innocent in the media as well. But that misses the point. Those of us who examined the evidence, even superficially, quickly realized the case was flimsy at best. THe lesson there was not about the presumptions but about the need to critically evaluate facts."

I think that Abrams is being too generous in his praise of his colleagues. There were many who "claimed to have examined all the facts" - Nancy Grace, Wendy Murphy, Selena Roberts, etc. - yet they were the cheerleaders in calling for the heads of RCD. THe reason why the civil suits are still ongoing is because inthe minds of many, they are guilty "of something" as Mike Nifong himself still maintained (as well as his supporters and the Gang of 88) at his trial.