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Monday, June 5, 2006

Duke Reinstates Lacrosse Team

Duke University president Richard Brodhead reinstating men's lacrosse team The Newsday story from Friday was confirmed today as the Duke University men's lacrosse team has been reinstated to play next fall. ESPN reported:

"I am, I know, taking a risk in reinstating men's lacrosse," Brodhead said in a statement. "The reinstatement is inevitably probationary."

Brodhead said he didn't decide to reinstate the team until this weekend, after all remaining players agreed to a mission statement that emphasizes academics, tolerance and a code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits underage drinking, university officials said.

"[If] we did not allow these players the chance to take responsibility for creating a new history for their sport at Duke, we would be denying another very fundamental value: the belief in the possibility of learning from experience, the belief in education itself."
The most interesting part of Brodhead's statement is the part where he says:
"In the end … none of us know for certain what did or did not happen at the March 13 party," he said. "This much is certain — rape is an abomination, and if the allegations in the indictments are proven true, these students will deserve severe punishment for a heinous act.

"If, however, it is determined that the allegations are false, then these students themselves will have been the victims of a serious injustice, one that will deserve its own stern condemnation," Brodhead said. "For now we must continue to take the matter seriously and suspend final judgement toward an uncertainty that only the courts can resolve."
This is clearly a change in tone from the Duke administration since their hasty abandonment of the entire lacrosse team in April.

Note the unbalanced set of outcomes: "stern condemnation" for false allegations versus "severe punishment" for allegations proven true. Do the scales of justice seem a wee bit distorted?

Brodhead also released, "A Letter to the Duke Community"-
Since I wrote last, three members of the men’s lacrosse team have been indicted on felony charges arising from the March 13 party. The students proclaim their innocence on all the counts. As you probably know, initial reports circulated through the media advanced the case against the students; more recent reports have made the case in their favor. But none of us has direct access to the criminal investigation, and until the full evidence is presented, none of us can know with certainty what did or did not happen.

As I have said, it’s essential that we allow the criminal justice system to run its course, and that we wait for the truth to be established before we reach final judgment. In the meanwhile, we need to remember that the American legal system is based on the principle of the presumption of innocence.
Duke reinstates lacrosse team under watchful eye [espn.com, June 5, 2006]
Duke Reinstates Lacrosse Team [ABC News, June 5, 2006]
Duke and Men's Lacrosse [duke.edu]
Full Duke Lacrosse News Conference Video [wral.com, June 5, 2006]

Biography of interim coach Kevin Cassese [duke.edu]

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