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Monday, April 9, 2007

Duke/Nifong/Cooper+86 days Hoax

Updated - today's items:

"Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness."
— Anthony J. D'Angelo

John F. Burness — senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke Univ.Steven Marcus, Newsday:
Duke looks within for solutions — Whatever the state attorney general says and whenever he says it, do not expect Duke University to give the lacrosse players named in last spring's scandal any commendations from the university.

Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Garden City's Collin Finnerty were indicated on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense after a female dancer claimed she was assaulted at a team party. The rape charge was dropped by District Attorney Mike Nifong, who himself is under investigation for ethics violations. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is reviewing the remaining charges. Finnerty has taken classes at Hofstra and volunteers as a coach at Chaminade.

None of the three have attempted to return to Duke, where as one administrator said, they are "no choirboys," regardless of the outcome of the legal matters. Duke has been humbled, knocked down a peg on the prestigious scale of universities, admits John Burness, a former Stony Brook University official and current senior vice president and media point man at Duke throughout the sordid episode...

Even if all charges are dropped against the three players, Burness believes other legal hurdles exist for the university. "We're expecting that there's probably going to be civil suits from folks trying to get money out of us, that comes with the turf."

Burness said there is a segment of the population that has asked him if Duke will apologize to the players if their legal problems disappear. "I said," Burness replied, "for what?"
LS forum: Burness will NOT apologize!
FreeRepublic: Duke looks within for solutions

KC Johnson: Responding to Marcus
Topix/Newsday: Duke looks within for solutions

KC Johnson: Channeling Selena Roberts
LieStoppers blog: Apologize? What a difference a day makes... - Burness quotes from yesterday and today.
Michael Gustafson: A Bad Read

Prof. KC Johnson (left) at Duke forumRob Copeland, Duke Chronicle:
Writers prep first round of lax books — For nearly 12 months, the blogs have torn apart the Duke lacrosse case from top to bottom.

And that conversation is quickly moving from the Internet to bookstores worldwide, with at least two books being written about the scandal slated to be released in the coming months.

Former men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler joined forces with Sports Illustrated's Don Yaeger on a project and blogger KC Johnson is collaborating on a book with Stuart Taylor, a reporter and columnist for National Journal Magazine.

"For a long time I have been outraged by a certain type of media sensationalism, particularly politically correct sensationalism," said Taylor, whose book is titled "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case."

"This book will try to persuade readers to have the same opinions we do," Taylor added...
comment: Hopefully, KC Johnson's publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, will soon release a better photo of him for their book promotion. He should wear that new bowtie he bought for the Brodhead 'conversation' last month.

KC Johnson comments on his book: Since a few people have asked, I had two motives in doing the book:

The first was the same as the blog: my belief that the lacrosse case was not only a horrific injustice, but one that illustrated broader problems within the academy and the law (and, as I've discovered in recent months, the media). To the extent that the book can reach parents, or alumni, or legislators who haven't read the blog, the book will have served a good purpose.

Second, as a commenter above noted, I've spent a lot of time on the blog (521 posts and somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000 words). As the case grew more complex, I had to delay work on my latest book (a survey history of the Cold War); having a publication related to the case allowed me to do so. I'm happy to see a few people expect the book to make a lot of money; I'm dubious on that front. And Sam Tate's point is well-taken: I believe that the book will be of high quality. The publication date is based on the premise that the charges will be dismissed soon.

Finally, as to the impact of the blogs on the case: the best example, to me, is the aftermath of the August NYT article. This piece gave the appearance of neutrality but was in fact heavily biased in Nifong's favor. The extent of the bias, though, was apparent only to people who knew the case well. Within hours of its appearance, two brilliant posts went up (one at Liestoppers, one at Crystal Mess) that tore the article to shreds. Several other blogs soon followed suit; within a few days, this viewpoint had crossed over into the mainstream media among people who didn't know the case as well. So an event that might have shifted public perception back in Nifong's direction instead had little or no lasting impact.

KC Johnson:
Nifong on DNA and the Case — As the case moves toward its expected conclusion, I thought it might be useful to recall some of the more glaring Nifong contradictions...

Murphy Predicts Riots in the Streets — Appearing on FOX News yesterday, rabid Hoax proponent Wendy Murphy predicted "riots in the streets" of Durham if the charges against the victims of Durham County D.A. Mike Nifong’s hijacked Hoax are dropped, as anticipated. Ostensibly, Murphy was there to discuss the allegations against three University of Minnesota football players, arrested Friday on suspicion of raping an 18-year-old woman. Quickly, however, her segment turned into another bitter assault on the demonstrably innocent victims of the Hoax...
LS forum: WENDY MURPHY PREDICTS RIOTS, IF the charges are dropped.

Lindsay White, column, Duke Chronicle:
Show me the money — The dwindling prestige and fading sparkle could be the paranoia of a student body obsessed with perfection. We see headlines and hear gossip every day that seem calculated to undermine our confidence in ourselves and our university. But there could be some truth to the fear that Duke is no longer the universal currency that it used to be, the automatic leg-up.

So, much like a spoiled kid who has gotten an eagerly anticipated toy for Christmas only to find that it breaks without much use the next day, students get angry. We point fingers, with relative ease, at whoever we suppose to be responsible. Richard Brodhead, Larry Moneta, Joe Alleva. All fair game. Because maybe, if we make enough noise, these guys will stop doing whatever it is they're doing wrong and restore Duke to its rightful place in the hierarchy of it's-in-the-name colleges. It seems that these figureheads are the gatekeepers to what makes Duke great, what makes it Duke, and they're not letting us in. The prestige that so many of us were banking on when we scraped our way in here, and now feel entitled to, is being chipped away at, and we just want to find someone to blame...
Eric Ferreri, News & Observer:
Duke rethinking dorms that divideSome call residence assignments for selective living groups unfair — In the Wayne Manor section of Duke's Wannamaker dorm, garbage cans are stuffed with empty cases of Busch Light beer. Rooms with lofted beds, couches and flat-screen TVs burst with people when the residents throw a bash.

Just a short walk away in a quiet section of Edens dorm, each resident's name and hometown is posted on the door, summer-camp style. The strains of one of the three pianos often waft about, and a commons room is festooned with multicolored streamers, balloons and Christmas lights.

The 42 residents of Wayne Manor -- an all-male social group similar to a fraternity -- appear to have little in common with the nine students in Eden's Arts Theme House, which is smaller, co-ed and less likely to host an all-campus party. But these groups -- and 22 others recognized by Duke -- have a common cause: Their ways of life are targeted for extinction.

The "selective living groups" are students with similar interests who, with the university's help, establish communities by living together in blocks of dorm rooms. These groups have certain perks. They can rent a grill from the university for a cookout, for example, or get a couple hundred dollars for a group activity.

Most important, according to the recently released Campus Culture Initiative report, they dictate the campus social scene by virtue of the turf they inhabit.

"Access to real estate means setting the rules of social engagement, and the university must face the fact that residential space, and control of it, continues to be experienced as gendered and alternative unfriendly because of the ways it favors certain groups," the report states...

Vigilante Sam LieStoppers:
Where you heading Sam? — Former Duke University Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Sam Hummel and the Vigilante Poster.
comment: This is the same vigilante poster that USA Today photographed for their story: "Rape allegations cast pall at Duke." We have looked at this photo dozens of times and just thought the person in the background happened to be passing by when the photo was taken. The super sleuthes at LieStoppers have ID'd "Vigilante Sam" next to his vigilante poster.

LieStoppers has started a 2nd blog, "Page Two by LieStoppers," to bring attention to other injustices, such as the Eric Volz "Nifonging"/framing in Nicaragua. That case also needs the help of all concerned citizens.

Forum topics of note:
LS: 3 MN Gophers football players jailed in rape
LS: This Day in the Hoax, One year ago today 4/9/2006

TalkLeft: "...as Chan said..." — This thread is dedicated to what Chan Hall has said, when he said it, and whether or not his statements reflect the student body of NCCU.

John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Forum to dispel revolving door myth — Stung by widespread public perceptions that Durham has a revolving-door court system that sends criminals back onto the streets before the ink dries on their arrest papers, judicial officials have scheduled a first-of-a-kind educational forum for April 24.

Two judges, a magistrate, the district attorney, a bail bondsman and others will field questions from the public in an attempt to prove they have community safety at heart and are not in the business of coddling robbers, rapists and murderers.

The forum will be from 7-9 p.m. at Rogers-Herr Middle School at 911 Cornwallis Road.

Court officials hope it will be a two-way street in terms of information sharing...
KC Johnson: The Man with No Name

John in Carolina:
Duke Players Talk (Part 1) — I want to highlight and comment on a few parts of Carrington and Schoeffel’s story...

very disturbing example of the harassment, defamation and endangerment the lacrosse players were subjected to at Duke last Spring, and still face from unstable and hateful elements on campus the “Brodhead team” has failed to condemn and where necessary, discipline...

Was Covington recognized, harassed and defamed by students incited by the “Vigilante” poster and Professor Houston Baker’s racist letter condemning the players, demanding their expulsion, and mocking their Constitutional rights?

Why did some Duke faculty and others at the University we had a right to expect would know better praise and thank students such as the ones who surrounded Covington and any and all persons who produced and circulate the “Vigilante” poster?...
John in Carolina: Quiet at The Johnsville News
comment: Thanks John. Maybe this injustice will end soon so we can all enjoy spring!

KC Johnson:
The Durham Police: Re-Accreditation? — The Durham Police Department—nationally known for seeming to violate every standard in the book—is up for re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The assessment team: Broward County (FL) Sheriff Roy Liddicott; Independence (MO) Bureau Commander (ret.) Raymond Rast; and Knoxville (TN) Lt. Shawna Williams.

This team will be in Durham from April 21 through April 25. According to an announcement from CALEA, the assessment will “examine all aspects of the Durham Police Department’s policy and procedures, management, operations and support services”; re-accreditation would be “a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.” Given CALEA’s own standards, it would be hard to imagine how the organization could grant re-accreditation based on the performance we’ve seen over the past year...
LS: Accrediting the Durham Police

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