Today's items - updated:
John F. Burness to Retire, Duke Public Affairs Chief -- Look at what dropped into my inbox
It's been a long time in the making, but I wanted you to know that we are announcing today that I will be retiring at the end of this academic year.
I told President Brodhead when I was renewed a few years ago that I'd give him two more years. Little did I realize that lacrosse would emerge with a half-life that extends seemingly forever.
Since I've been at Duke, I've had perhaps the best and most interesting job in higher education and truly outstanding colleagues to work with. This place has been on a roll and it's been a joy to be in the middle of it. But I'm coming up on my 63rd birthday, and after 17 years of 70+-hour work weeks at Duke-accentuated by the intensity of the saga of the past year-and-a-half-it's surely time for me to slow down and get a new life. I plan to lose weight and do some writing on issues on issues in higher education-not necessarily in that order. Anne and I plan to stay in Durham, and I'm looking forward to continuing to be active in issues that matter to me.
I had a massage this morning, and my masseuse told me she had never seen me
so relaxed. Must be a sign.
John F. Burness
Senior Vice President for Public Affairs
and Government Relations
Press Announcement / Duke University:
Duke Public Affairs Chief John F. Burness to Retire -- John F. Burness, Duke University’s senior vice president for public affairs and government relations since 1991 and the guiding force behind the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership that helped strengthen Duke’s ties with the local community, will retire on June 30, 2008. Campus News/Working at Duke Duke and Durham.
Duke President Richard H. Brodhead has appointed L. Gregory Jones, dean of Duke Divinity School, to chair a 12-person search committee of faculty, trustees, administrators and alumni to identify candidates to succeed Burness.
A member of Duke’s senior leadership team under three Duke presidents (H. Keith H. Brodie, Nannerl O. Keohane and Brodhead), Burness, 62, has guided the university’s interactions with reporters, elected officials, community leaders and others beyond the campus. He has been directly responsible for the university’s offices of news and communications, community affairs, photography and government relations in Washington, Raleigh and Durham, and has served broadly as an advisor to trustees, deans, faculty, student leaders and others across the university. [...]
Ray Gronberg / Herald-Sun [reg. req.]:
Longtime Duke spokesman to retire -- Burness, 62, is Duke's senior vice president for public affairs and governmental relations. He has held the job since 1991. [...]
Monday's announcement came 11 days after former Duke men's lacrosse coach Mike Pressler filed a wrong-termination suit against Duke that alleged the university violated the terms of an out-of-court settlement by allowing Burness and other officials to make derogatory comments about him.
KC Johnson: Update: Burness Retirement
Update: Neal -- In recent weeks, a handful of nooses have appeared on college campuses. Diverse recently asked some African-American Studies professors for their interpretations of this disturbing development. Two Group of 88 members were interviewed.
Mark Anthony ("thugniggaintellectual") Neal:
Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, an associate professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University, argues that some students are strategically placing these hateful objects on campus to gain an academic advantage. "White students know that Black students have a tendency to be distracted by various forms of hate crimes. Those students seeking to gain a competitive edge figure that as long as African-American student are counter-acting hate crimes, they will not be pursing academic endeavors," Neal says.
Jeremy Young / Progressive Historians:
Memo to KC Johnson: Please Get Better Critics -- I've previously defended KC Johnson, the Cliopatria blogger who's been the most persistent online critic (at Durham-in-Wonderland) of the Duke University faculty's role in the lacrosse rape case. That's an uncomfortable position for me to be in, because I consider myself far more moderate on academic issues than Johnson is, and because while I haven't yet read his new book on the case, I expect to disagree rather markedly with its conclusions.
Nevertheless, I find myself once again coming to Johnson's defense in the face of this execrable article by Duke professor Charles Piot. [...]
what readers of Transforming Anthropology were treated to when they opened the most recent issue of that journal. There are plenty of appropriate places where Piot could have published his attack on Johnson -- the front page of HNN, his own faculty page, even a more "newsy" academic publication similar to AHA Perspectives. Instead, he decided to claim the academic high ground by taking the extraordinary step of condemning a blog from the pages of a scholarly journal -- and made a complete fool of himself in the process. [...]
Editorial / The Daily Tar Heel:
On his own -- N.C. right to refuse to defend Nifong or pay legal fees -- Disgraced ex-District Attorney Mike Nifong outraged citizens of North Carolina this month when he asked the state to pay his legal fees for a lawsuit that stemmed from his own gross misconduct of the Duke lacrosse case.
Grayson Kelley, chief deputy attorney general of North Carolina, told Nifong this week that the state will not pay his legal bills or defend him. [...]
In a letter sent Tuesday, Kelley said that under state law, Nifong's numerous ethical violations disqualify him from receiving state aid. The state cannot foot the bill if the employee acted fraudulently, with malice or outside the scope of his official duties.
For the sake of N.C. taxpayers' money, we're glad this is the case. [...]
Durham attorney to step down -- City Attorney Henry Blinder announced his retirement Thursday at a City Council work session. Blinder will step down in February after serving as Durham's city attorney for the past 24 years.
"It is an honor and the highlight of my career to have had the opportunity to serve Durham and its citizens as city attorney," Blinder said in a statement.
Blinder exits his role as the city prepares to face a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by three former Duke lacrosse players who were falsely accused of rape in 2006. Blinder said, however, that the lawsuit did not affect his decision to resign. He added that he will be heavily involved in Durham's response to the suit, which is scheduled to come out in 45 days.
Binder received a standing ovation from City Council members when he announced his retirement. [...]
------Jacob Laksin / City Journal
Dissenter Inside the Tower -- Yale professor Anthony Kronman laments the politicization of the humanities. -- Education's End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, by Anthony T. Kronman (Yale University Press, 320 pages, $18.15 at Amazon)
If there is an upside to the decline of the humanities as a respectable field of study, it is that conservative intellectuals have entertainingly engaged in chronicling their downfall. Books like Allan Bloom’s classic The Closing of the American Mind, Roger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals, and Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education have shaped the outlines of a compelling critique, which runs roughly as follows. In an earlier era, the humanities were devoted to studying the highest achievements of Western civilization. But beginning in the 1960s, with the ascent of political radicals to positions of academic prominence, the humanities lost their way. Today, they cast aside the classics of literature, philosophy, and history to dote on the often exaggerated contributions of minorities, women, and Third World cultures. Exit Aristotle, enter Amiri Baraka.
In Education’s End, Anthony Kronman echoes these familiar concerns. The book is notable less for its originality than for its author’s unusual biography. As a professor in Yale’s Directed Studies program and a self-identified political liberal, Kronman has an advantage over the conservative critics whose arguments he revisits here—bien-pensant academics can’t dismiss him as just another “wingnut” wielding his ideological ax against the Ivory Tower. [...]
A Stinging Critique of Political Correctness, Yale's Anthony Kronman's Book Reviewed
CHAPTER EIGHT: Celebrated Former NYTs Writer/Blogger Found Dead in Durham -- Durham - In a macabre and shocking twist to the Duke Polo Team Bestiality case, former New York Times reporter, blogger, cultural icon and millionaire playboy Duffy “little KfC” Welpingson was found dead in Durham on Tuesday morning. [...]
Welpingson was given the nickname “Lil’ KfC” by right-wing bloggers as they said his pathological fear of the truth made him a corporate paid chicken. [...]
------Letters to Herald-Sun:
Bring on the case
I am tired of people from out of town trying to tell people in Durham what they should do in the lacrosse case. They should wait until it happens in their town.
They want to sue Durham. Then bring them back to Durham, and find out what really went on in that house. If they had not brought the stripper to the house, none of this would have happened.
The people put Bush in the White House. Letter writer R.W. Keifer wants to blame everybody in the U.S. for voting for him.
October 22, 2007----Nifong's on his own
I wish to quote Mike Nifong's comment regarding the state turning down his request for representation in the Duke lacrosse case, "I don't know whey I continue to expect people to do the right thing."
I, too, am wondering why Nifong would think the citizens of Durham County would want to pay for his legal fees? He is no longer an employee of the State of North Carolina or of Durham city or county governments. He and his staff created his destiny regarding this matter.
I agree with the attorney general's office not to represent him in that matter or any other matter. He is like the students and their families -- on his own. They had to get their own attorneys, at their expense, and Nifong should do the same. The citizens of North Carolina and Durham County have suffered enough.
October 22, 2007----Majority voted for him
A letter writer said, "The residents of Durham ... do not deserve to be financially abused. They are not responsible for Nifong's handling of this case," Well, didn't the majority of Durham voters, despite mounting evidence of inappropriate, if not illegal, behavior in office, nevertheless choose to elect Nifong?
In my view, we are accountable not only for our actions, but also for the results of our actions, which makes Durham residents deserving of sharing the consequences of their vote.
Maybe this will serve as a lesson to a) vote and b) vote responsibly, based on facts at hand rather than emotions.
October 22, 2007