Sunday, May 10, 2009

Duke’s Chronicle Gets A Journalism Lesson

Yesterday the Allen-building-friendly Chronicle published a look back at happenings during the 2005/6 academic year when this Sunday’s graduating class were freshman. It included the following about what The Chronicle called the “lacrosse scandal:”

The spring semester was a tumultuous one as students returned from Spring Break to allegations that members of the men's lacrosse team raped a black exotic dancer at a party held at 610 North Buchanan Blvd.-an off-campus property rented by three of the team's captains.

The national media descended on campus, casting the scandal as a "perfect storm" of race, class and gender issues. The cancellation of the team's season, resignation of head coach Mike Pressler and indictment of two sophomore players-a third was indicted after his May graduation-intensified the spotlight on Duke.

Numerous panels, forums and protests were held in response to the charges and the issues they brought to the surface.

As the school year wound down, the rape case remained unresolved but the issues it brought to the forefront-including town-gown relations and campus culture-would continue to be discussed and dissected. The party where the alleged rape occurred, some critics claimed, was just one example of an off-campus social scene that had spiraled (sic) out of control.
TC’s look back at the “lacrosse scandal” must have pleased President Brodhead, BOT Chair Steel, Duke’s faculty group of 88 and others who enabled the frame-up attempt and are now working to maintain the cover-up. TC’s look back is all they want remembered as Duke “moves on.”

But some readers were not pleased. Excerpts from the first four comments on the thread

Sally Fogarty - - -

There are members of the mens'lacrosse team who were freshmen four years ago and now graduating seniors. For them, the "Duke lacrosse scandal" brought much more to the forefront than "town gown relations and campus culture."

As freshmen, their Coach was fired; their season cancelled; their complete support system dismantled.

They had to leave campus every weekend because of threats of drive by shootings and the threats of the Black Panthers. They were harassed by fellow students and humiliated by professors.

Posters with their pictures hung all over campus accusing them as rapists or those who supported rapists. Other schools which had heavily recruited them would not reconsider them because they were "radioactive."

They had to endure the constant fear that they might be the next one arrested while they suffered tremendously for their friends and teammates, Colin and Reade, and for their coach whom they loved and respected, Mike Pressler.

Critics charge that this was "just one example of an off campus social scene that had spiraled out of control." What about a dishonest, corrupt prosecutor who spiraled out of control and an administration that did nothing to help and support innocent students?

These former freshmen who are now seniors at the very least deserve a line in your article that states that there was no rape; there should have been no scandal; and that the whole thing was handled horrendously. (bold added)

Sponge comments - - -

Beware, Sally Fogarty -

There are some at Duke, perhaps among the faculty or administration, who will declare you, for having expressed these thoughts, a "lax lunatic".

The Wanderer - - -


After exotic dancer Crystal Mangum falsely claimed that she was raped during a lacrosse team party, 610 North Buchanan Blvd. became a national media symbol of the case and Duke's town-gown issues

Without realizing it, The Chronicle chose a photo that displays the sickness that was Duke.

In the absence of any evidence of the guilt of the accused, and much evidence of innocence, providing ample reason to withhold a rush to judgment -

To BELIEVE HER - required that some engaged in a RACIST rush to judgment, simply because the false accuser was black, and the falsely accused were white.

To BELIEVE HER - would require that some engaged in a SEXIST rush to judgment, simply because the false accuser was a woman, and the falsely accused were men.

To BELIEVE HER - would requre that some engaged in a CLASSIST rush to judgment, simply because the false accuser was seen as a member of the "disadvantaged", while the falsely accused were seen as "privileged".

And yet, is there any evidence that, at Duke, there has been any process of reflection, that the rush to judgment was fundamental;y grounded in ugly RACISM, SEXISM and CLASSISM?

To date, the only person to have acknowledged publicly that her personal, deep-seated biases made her an easy dupe to Nifong's deceptions... is the N&O columnist, Ruth Sheehan.

From the Duke faculty G88 and offending members of the Duke administration, whose transgressions were far worse than Ms. Sheehan's... not one word of apology, or self-reflection.

WE BELIEVE HER! - there is a sickness there, that has been masked over, and not cured, assuring that it is only a matter of time, before it is seen again.

Blue mountain notes - - -

. . . an emphasis in the article on those "critics" and "neighborhood activists" who saw a social scene "out of control".

Where were our Trinity Park "neighborhood activists" in condemning a rogue Durham District Attorney and rogue members of the Durham Police Department who were clearly "out of control?"

And to what extent did the acquiescence by "neighborhood activists", and the Duke administration, to a separate and unequal harsh treatment of Duke students lead the disgraced Durham DA into believing he could get away with a transparent, bald-faced attempted framing of innocent Duke students?

If there was a LESSON LEARNED by Duke students, it was that they could not trust the (in)justice system in Durham, nor could they count on the Duke administration to stand up against injustice, if the accused, by birth, failed to belong to a politically protected race, class or gender. (bold added)

Folks, I hope next year’s TC editors, reporters and editorial board members read the comments excerpted here.


Anonymous said...

For the administration and those pc faculty members at Duke there is a need to continue to believe that at the very least "something" happened - how else can they justify the response that they undertook at the time and the stand that they continue to maintain today. To do anything else would result in the firing of Brodhead and his administrative team, censure of the faculty memebrs of the Gang of 88, and a close look at the Duke School of Law which has maintained a policy of do nothingness while the civil liberties of three Duke students (and other Duke laxers as well) were disregarded by those very professionals with whom the law students would someday work with.
The choice of the picture of the house with the sign speaks volumes as far as the message that the powers that be at Duke want to heav out in the public domain.
All that one can say is"Shame, for shame - has Duke no shame."

Anonymous said...

Great post but will TC learn anything?

I doubt it.

Duke '85