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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Duke Case — Sept. 18, 2007

Today's items - updated:

KC Johnson / The Volokh Conspiracy (guest blogging):
The Group of 88's Effects [see comments] -- While the Group of 88 led a faculty rush to judgment against the lacrosse team, the most striking aspect of the Duke faculty’s reaction to the lacrosse case came in the professors’ utter closed-mindedness as Mike Nifong’s case collapsed in late 2006. [...]

While the Group members’ positions might have been divorced from reality, they had a chilling effect on campus discourse. For nearly six months, as an extraordinarily high-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct involving their own students unfolded before their very eyes, not one member of the Duke arts and sciences faculty publicly criticized Nifong’s behavior. The first who did so, Chemistry professor Steven Baldwin, also blasted the Group of 88 for betraying their responsibilities as professors. The response? The next day, the director of Duke’s women’s studies program accused Baldwin of using the “language of lynching,” while the co-director of Duke’s Center for Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender sent Baldwin an e-mail implying that they should settle their differences through violence. [...]

KC Johnson / The Volokh Conspiracy (guest blogging):
The Group of 88 [see comments] -- Professors like to think of themselves as aggressive defenders of due process. In theory, the academy exists for the pursuit of truth. And faculty members are, in an ideal world, more inclined to embrace the dispassionate evaluation of evidence than the passions of the mob.

The behavior of activist members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty during the lacrosse case contradicted all of these myths about the academy. And most other professors at Duke elected to remain silent as their extremist colleagues rushed to judgment and refused to reconsider their actions. [...]
Kristin Butler / Duke Chronicle:
Is $30 million too much? -- News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders doesn't think Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans deserve a $30-million settlement from Durham.

The way Saunders sees it, "a fish sandwich, a Yoo-hoo and a one-way Greyhound bus ticket" would cover the "inconvenience" the "Blue Demon 3" suffered while waiting "for the magistrate to finish lunch so daddykins could post bail." On this point, Saunders feels so strongly that "if the city settles and pays an exorbitant amount without a fight" he's going to "go down to city hall and slap somebody." [...]

returning to whether $30 million is reasonable, I'll repeat what I said last week: I hope the families get every penny. If attorneys can establish that players' civil rights were violated-and clearly I believe Scheck and Sullivan can-then they have a right to damages. There is, of course, no magic to the $30-million figure, but after taxes, attorneys' fees and other expenses, $10 million per family does not seem unreasonable in light of the financial and emotional toll this case has taken. [...]
KC Johnson: Butler, Again
Xander Schachtel / Duke Chronicle:
WSJ drops Fuqua to 13 in ranking -- Duke beat the University of Southern California by five.

No, not on the field, but in the Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive annual rankings of master of business administration programs released Monday. [...]
John in Carolina:
LieStoppers blog:
Professor KC Johnson at Duke University -- Video of Presentation
William L. Anderson book review / LewRockwell.com:
Dishonesty, Dishonor, and Duke: Now in a Bookstore Near You -- Much of the book deals with the Duke faculty members, the infamous "G88," that gave the green light to Nifong that he could go after the lacrosse players. And it was not just the radical faculty members who joined in the chorus of condemnation. The "Triangle" area of North Carolina, with its close proximities of universities, is notorious for its political radicalism, and the hard-left protest machinery that is eternally well-oiled kicked into gear. This was the "perfect case," and just because the facts did not add up – and the DNA tests came back completely negative – did not discourage these radicals from their morally-satisfying protests and accusations. Even if the truth was otherwise, they did not want to hear it.

The Duke campus exploded with protests led by faculty, radical students, and employees like "sustainability coordinator" Sam Hummel, who coordinated much of the attack machinery. Not only did the protesters openly call for the "castration" of the lacrosse players, but they effectively succeeded in driving many of them away from the university altogether, with some athletes having to sleep in their cars, endure death threats, and generally live in fear because police and prosecutors were lying and faculty, administration, and staff at Duke chose to believe the lies, despite the fact that they were obviously outlandish.

Johnson and Taylor are especially disdainful of Duke’s administration and its weak-kneed president, Richard Brodhead. They lay out just how craven the university administration really was, beginning "don’t tell your parents" meeting that the administration scheduled with the players and the police – the players supposedly "represented" by a lawyer who had been disciplined more than once by the state bar. (When parents did hear of the meeting to be scheduled, they immediately demanded that their sons have competent legal representation, and the meeting was cancelled.)

There is much more to dislike from the Duke administration, and Johnson and Taylor lay out in detail the dishonest way in which Brodhead and his top administrators carried out their activities. While giving lip service to "due process," [...]
Michael Gaynor / RenewAmerica.us
Nifonging another Michael Gaynor -- "Cousin Mike,

"No less than 5 assistant DAs appeared before the judge as they smiled and he gleefully laughed while accepting my lawyer's agreement to an ACD [adjournment in contemplation of dismissal]. At least I was able to remain silent.

"The judge had fun making jokes about paying for the would be jurors' bus trip to court. Then he said the ACD is acceptable without any order of protection stating the case will be dismissed and sealed in 6 months.

"Humiliation. Not fighting back to defend myself. I am damaged. I am bitter.

"I will get over this day. But, I will never be able to forget.

"I was wrongfully abused for doing a great job. [...]
Barry Saunders / News & Observer:
Go easy on claims of racism -- The telephone confrontation that led to my first job in radio as a teenager went like this. I called up Bob Perkins, deejay and owner of station WLWL-AM in Rockingham, ready for a fight.
ME: How come y'all don't play more black records?

HIM: (Pause) All of our records are black.

(For that to be funny, you have to be old enough to know that music used to come from round, black vinyl discs that were called records.)

We both laughed, and he, apparently impressed that I had a sense of humor about something as serious as race, invited me to the station for a chat.

That encounter came to mind recently after some N&O readers lambasted us over a back-to-school fashion spread that appeared to feature seven white girls and no other ethnicities. Turned out that one was a Latina, but people itching for a scrap were already frothing.

The same racial overreaction that made me call the radio station and prompted a dozen or so people to call or write the newspaper over the fashion spread was repeated recently after a white dude wrote in, questioning why all the people whose photographs accompanied a story on drunken drivers who drove again immediately after leaving jail were white.

He blamed this "deliberate" exclusion on, of course, the "liberal" media. [...]
KC Johnson:
Top 32 Countdown, I -- I thought it might be worthwhile to recall the most outrageous quotes of the case. The countdown will culminate on Friday. Today’s post features #32 through #25 [...]

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