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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Guide to the Duke 'Group of 88'


  • Timeline of events
  • Motion to Change Venue
  • Who paid for the Listening statement?
  • Bogus departmental endorsements, bogus anonymous quotes?
  • Dowd lawsuit
  • Settlement between Duke and families of 3 indicted men
  • Reactions to Group of 88
  • G88 members pre-Listening Statement remarks
  • Clarifying their position.
  • Rational for Listening Statement
  • More attacks by Duke professors against the lacrosse team
  • Original 'Group of 88' faculty members
  • Concerned Duke Faculty (reorganized 'Group of 89')
  • Listening statement
  • Clarifying statement/Open Letter to Duke Community
  • College editorials criticising the 'Group of 88'
  • KC Johnson articles
Timeline of events:

The 'Group of 88' is a group of eighty-eight Duke University faculty members, who signed and published an advertisement they referred to as the 'Listening Statement,' in the independent Duke University student newspaper, The Chronicle, on April 6, 2006.

The advertisement was entitled, "What Does A Social Disaster Sound Like?" The advertisement was published shortly after the start of the Duke University lacrosse team scandal when three members of the 2006 Duke University's men's lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper and prostitute, Crystal Gail Mangum, during a team party held, on March 13-14, at the residence of three of the team co-captains (David Evans, Dan Flannery, and Matt Zash).

The Listening Statement advertisement is generally considered to be prejudicial to the presumption of innocence regarding rape allegations made against three members of the Duke lacrosse team. It condemned the lacrosse team in the eyes of the world of being implicated in a sexual assault of a "young women."

The listening statement asserted unequivocally that something must have "happened" to the accuser, and that these members of the faculty had committed themselves to "turning up the volume." The advertisement also said "thank you" to the protesters who had participated in potbanging demonstrations (one with a 'Castrate' banner) against the lacrosse team and who were distributing "wanted" posters of the Duke Lacrosse team throughout the community.

The advertisement signaled to Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong that he had the support of a vocal segment of the Duke faculty as he pursued his fabricated indictments against the three innocent lacrosse players. This emboldened Nifong even further.

The Group of 88 was primarily comprised of faculty from the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Group of 88 members were concentrated in the following academic departments:

African & African-American Studies 80%
Women's Studies 72%
Cultural Anthropology 60%
Romance studies 44.8%
Literature 41.7%
English 32.2%
Art & Art History 30.7%,
History 25%.
The Listening Statement and the subsequent statements and actions of the Group of 88 members and their faculty supporters sparked a national controversy.

Shortly after the Listening Statement was published, Duke Chronicle (student newspaper) columnist, Stephen Miller, wrote an article condemning it. The Chronicle, then wrote an editorial saying the Listening Statement was "one example of the instances of radical, inflammatory discourse that obscures what should be our true aim: reasonable discussion."

Supporters of the three accused Duke lacrosse players (David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann) led by Prof. Robert David "KC" Johnson of Brooklyn College and a group called "The Friends of Duke University," were early and frequent critics of the Listening Statement advertisement and the anti-lacrosse actions of the 'Group of 88.'

A broad cross-section of liberal and conservative bloggers, columnists, college and commercial newspaper editorial writers, main stream media pundits and personalities joined in condemning the prejudicial and unethical actions of the Group of 88. Some critics of the Group of 88 started referring to them the as the "Gang of 88," because of their continuing campaign of slanderous and unapologetic attacks upon the reputation and character of all of the student athletes on the Duke men's lacrosse team.

The Listening Statement advertisement was posted on the website of the Duke African & African American Studies Department until its removal on November 10th, 2006, following mounting criticism.

The publication of the advertisement violated an ethical trust that exists between students and faculty in a university environment. The group dispensed with the presumption of innocence regarding their students. They also inflicted harm on their own students.

Members of the 'Group of 88' swatted away all these ethical and moral considerations as they used the scandal to condemned their own students and thereby promote their own personal, pedagogical, or ideological agendas.

The lacrosse supporters have sought an apology or some retraction from the Group of 88 regarding their advertisement. Only one member of the Group of 88, math professor Arlie Petters, has publicly expressed regret about the statement’s impact. Petters said in regard to the Listening Statement: “Whenever something causes undue pain to people, then of course that isn’t something I would want to be a part of.”

Prof KC Johnson reported: "two other (tenured) Group members privately apologized, in writing, to lacrosse families—only to retract those apologies when they signed the “clarifying” letter."

On December 15, 2006 attorneys for the three Duke lacrosse defendants filed a Change of Venue Motion that cited the "Group of 88," their "listening statement," and other statements by various Duke faculty members as harmful to Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann because they "repeatedly condemned the Defendants."

On January 10, 2007, seventeen members of the economics department faculty sent a letter to the Duke Chronicle, student newspaper, expressing their support for the players, and stating in part, "We regret that the Duke faculty is now seen as prejudiced against certain of its own students."

On January 16th, the Group of 88 returned as a reconstituted Group of 89 to publish a defiant statement entitled "An Open Letter to the Duke Community" in which they defended their publication of the Listening Statement. They claimed "a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the rape case."

Media personalities such as Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Dan Abrams have criticized the Group of 88.

Group of 88 members have subsequently issued numerous statements, letters, essays, interviews, and speeches collectively and individually to clarify and defend their position regarding their support of the original "Listening Statement." This body of work to clarify their initial advertisement is varied and contradictory.
Some of the most damning evidence of the "Group of 88" behavior was contained in the Motion to Change Venue, filed on December 15, 2006, by the attorneys for the indicted lacrosse players. It catalogs a list of attacks by the Group of 88 against the Duke lacrosse players. The players were seeking to have the trial moved out of Durham, in part, because their own professors had joined in the lynch mob to get them convicted.

Motion to Change Venue
MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE, filed December 15, 2006, by Attorneys for Collin Finnerty, David Evans & Reade Seligmann.

The Response of Duke University

37. In response to the accuser's claims and the unprecedented media campaign by the State, employees and faculty members of the largest employer in this County -- Duke University -- have repeatedly condemned the Defendants.

38. On March 29, Prof. Houston Baker, a member of the Departments of English and African-American Studies, released a public letter denouncing the "abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us." He stated that "male athletes" were "veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain."

39. Two days later, on March 31, 2006, Prof. William Chafe, a member of the History Department and former dean of the faculty, published a guest column in the Duke Chronicle describing the "events that occurred on Buchanan Boulevard" as "part of a deep and troubling history" in which "sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power. Emmett Till was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1954 for allegedly speaking with too easy familiarity to a white women storekeeper."

40. On April 6, 2006, 88 members of the Duke University faculty endorsed a public statement denouncing the Defendants. The statement asserted unequivocally that something must have "happened" to the accuser, that these members of the faculty had committed themselves to "turning up the volume," and said "thank you" to the protesters who had participated in the protests noted above and who were distributing "wanted" posters of the Duke Lacrosse team throughout the community. The faculty members endorsing this public statement included some of the most well-know members of the Duke faculty and even department heads: three academic departments and thirteen of the university's academic programs formally endorsed the statement. List of individual Names. Professor Peter Wood, another member of the History Department, later claimed in media interviews that the lacrosse players at Duke -- and thus the Defendants -- were "[c]ynical, arrogant, callous, dismissive -- you could say openly hostile." [note: Reade Seligmann took a course entitled "Era of American Revolution," from Prof. Peter Wood. He was awarded an "B' for his work in the course.]

41. Since that time, members of the Duke faculty have written numerous editorials and letters in the Herald Sun, in which they have congratulated the District Attorney for indicting the players, "Don't be too Quick to Toss Lacrosse Case," [by Thomas Crowley] November 12, 2006, claimed that there is "secret racism" underlying the claimed actions of the Defendants, "Secret Racism Underlying Lacrosse Case," [by Grant Farred] October 29, 2006, suggested that the accuser be paid $3 Million for a dismissal of the case, "Pay Off Lacrosse Case," [by Joe Dibona] November 8, 2006. And claimed that "an arrogant sense of victimization and entitlement seems to have replaced any semblance of clear thinking or self reflection in Duke sports circles." "A Grand Show of Arrogance by Duke Athletics," [by Orin Starn] September 15, 2006.

42. The Canon of the Duke University Chapel [Dr. Sam Wells] published an editorial -- based upon a sermon preached in the Chapel -- in which he said facts of this case were the "disturbingly extensive experience of sexual violence, of abiding racism, of crimes rarely reported and perpetrators seldom named, confronted, or convicted, of lives deeply scarred, of hurt and pain long suppressed." "A Time to Talk at Duke," April 9, 2006. He concluded that "[t]he past week has exposed the reality that sexual practices are an area where some male students are accustomed to manipulating, exploiting and terrorizing women all the time -- and that this has been accepted by many as a given."

43. The Website of the Department of Women's Studies at Duke University now features an article written by Prof. Karla Holloway entitled: "Coda: Bodies of Evidence." In it, she wrote, in part:
When things go wrong, when sports teams beget bawdy behavior and debasement of other human beings, the bodies left on the line often have little in common with those enclosed in the protective veneer of the world of college athletics. At Duke University this past spring, the bodies left to the trauma of a campus brought to its knees by members of Duke University's Lacrosse team were African American and women. I use the kneeling metaphor with deliberate intent. It was precisely this demeanor towards women and girls that mattered here. The Lacrosse team's notion of who was in service of whom and the presumption of privilege that their elite sports' performance had earned seemed their entitlement as well to behaving badly and without concern for consequence...

Those injured by this affair, including the student and the other young woman who were invited to dance under false pretenses and then racially (at least) abused, as well as Duke's campus and Durham's communities, are bodies left on the line -- vulnerable to a social review that has been mixed with insensitive ridicule as well as reasoned empathy.
Who paid for the Listening Statement?

Prof. KC Johnson: "According to e-mails from April 2006, the ad was paid for by Duke funds, funneled through the African-American Studies Program. This action violated official Duke policy."

Bogus departmental endorsements, bogus anonymous student quotes?

The departmental endorsements listed at the bottom of the Listening Statement are not legitimate. [...]

Questions were raised about the authenticity of the anonymous student quotes used in the Listening Statement. Professor Wahneema Lubiano, author of the advertisement, had the opportunity and the motive to edit the anonymous student statements to make them sound more compelling.

Dowd lawsuit

Filed January 4, 2007 against Duke University and Prof. Kim Curtis, a Group of 88 member, by former Duke lacrosse player Kyle Dowd. Dowd's suit claims Curtis unfairly gave him a failing grade because he was a member of the lacrosse team.

Settled May 11, 2007:
This lawsuit has been settled through mediation to the mutual satisfaction of Kyle Dowd and his family and Duke University, and without any admission by any party of legal liability. The mediated settlement terms are, of course, confidential.

As reflected on Kyle’s transcript, he has received from Duke University a “P” in the Politics and Literature course he took in his senior year.
Settlement between Duke and families of 3 indicted men

On June 18, 2007, Duke University leaders announced they have reached a settlement with David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann. Writer Stuart Taylor, Jr. believes the confidential scettlement was for $10+ million.

Reactions to the Group of 88:

Duke lacrosse player Kyle Dowd is quoted in the book, It's Not About The Truth, by Pressler-Yaeger, as saying the following about the the Group of 88:
If you look at it, their whole argument is, “We only put that ad out there to start a dialogue about these issues.” The only problem is, you are willing to start dialogue but now you refuse to speak to the media, you refuse to speak to us, you refuse to speak to other professors. So you’ve actually decreased dialogue about these topics, which is in complete contradiction to your original goal.

No matter which way you look at it, they’ve failed.
[former dean and a professor of law at St. John's University School of Law, and a former judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.]
Duke faculty should be shunned by students --Eighty-eight members of the Duke faculty publicly promulgated a dreadful letter, enflaming a premature and prejudicial atmosphere against their own students. Yet, their conduct is largely shielded from accountability. Equally troublesome, their ironically and suddenly protective university masters executed a confidential settlement to further immunize the Duke cabal from civil liability exposure...

G88 members pre-Listening Statement remarks

LieStoppers forum:
Prof Kim Curtis, Gang of 88 - post made by Kim Curtis on Yahoo group "Durham Responds" on Wed Mar 29, 2006 -
question dawning

The self assurance in the statement issued yesterday by the team that
they will be exonerated by the results of the DNA testing makes me
wonder if we've gotten the full story about who was at the house that
night. Were there others present who in fact carried out the rape and
who are being protected by everyone else who was there? How do we
know who was there?
Clarifying the G88 position

The Group of 88 have individually and collectively taken efforts to clarify their position regarding the "Listening Statement" subsequent to the criticism they received.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006: Thinking About This Social Disaster panel discussion

Wahneema Lubiano (AAAS and Literature), Thavolia Glymph (AAAS and History), and Serena Sebring (Sociology)
Rational for Listening Statement:
....the statement’s point person herself, Wahneema Lubiano. In the e-mail that she sent early last April requesting signatories, she was blunt as to the ad’s motivation. The opening sentence: African & African-American Studies is placing an ad in The Chronicle about the lacrosse team incident.KC Johnson
Prof. Alex Rosenberg said, in an October 2006 interview with the NY Sun, he signed the 'Listening Statement,' "because he was concerned with the prevalence of alcohol on campus and bothered by 'affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.' "
More attacks by Duke professors against the lacrosse team

Documented by Chris Halkides / View-From-Wilmington:

If one is in any doubt that some Duke professors shamed their students in wildly inappropriate ways, the Liestoppers board has collected some examples. I will present only a sample:

  • Grant Farred accused the Duke students who registered to vote with the intention of ousting Prosecutor Michael Nifong of racism and naked self-interest. As the case was unraveling, Houston Baker called the lacrosse players a “scummy bunch of white males.” If a Duke professor had called a black fraternity a scummy bunch of black males, I wonder what the public outcry would have been.

  • Karla Holloway rebuked the women’s lacrosse team for wearing armbands in support of the men’s team, whose season had been cancelled (Until Proven Innocent, p. 234).

  • Tim Tyson likened the team to “white supremacists” and said that the spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Street. He also said that Duke students not talking to Sgt. Mark Gottlieb outside the presence of their attorneys “may be illegal” and constituted a “terrible moral miscalculation.”

  • Perhaps most disappointingly Father Vetter and Reverend Wells, both of whom minister to the Duke community, independently gave sanctimonious, guilt-presuming sermons.

  • Most astonishing, though, is Kim Curtis’ interpretation of the players’ confidence that the DNA results would exonerate them. She implied that the lacrosse players knew that someone else had perpetrated a rape and that the players were accomplices by not naming him.
The original 'Group of 88' - who signed the 'listening statement' [see below]

  1. Abe, Stan (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)
  2. Albers, Benjamin (University Writing Program)
  3. Allison, Anne (Cultural Anthropology)
  4. Aravamudan, Srinivas (English)
  5. Baker, Houston A. (English and African & African American Studies)
  6. Baker, Lee (Cultural Anthropology)
  7. Beaule, Christine D. (University Writing Program)
  8. Beckwith, Sarah (English)
  9. Berliner, Paul (Music)
  10. Blackmore, Connie (African &; African American Studies)
  11. Boa, Jessica (Religion & University Writing Program)
  12. Boatwright, Mary T. (Classical Studies)
  13. Boero, Silvia (Romance Studies)
  14. Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo (Sociology)
  15. Brim, Matthew (University Writing Program)
  16. Chafe, William (History)
  17. Ching, Leo (Asian &; African Languages)
  18. Coles, Rom (Political Science)
  19. Cooke, Miriam (Asian & African Languages)
  20. Crichlow, Michaeline (African & African American Studies)
  21. Curtis, Kim (Political Science)
  22. Damasceno, Leslie (Romance Studies)
  23. Davidson, Cathy (English)
  24. Deutsch, Sarah (History)
  25. Dorfman, Ariel (Literature & Latin American Stds.)
  26. Edwards, Laura (History)
  27. Farred, Grant (Literature)
  28. Fellin, Luciana (Romance Studies)
  29. Fulkerson, Mary McClintock (Divinity School)
  30. Gabara, Esther (Romance Studies)
  31. Gavins, Raymond (History)
  32. Greer, Meg (Romance Studies)
  33. Glymph, Thavolia (History)
  34. Hardt, Michael (Literature)
  35. Harris, Joseph (University Writing Program)
  36. Holloway, Karla (English)
  37. Holsey, Bayo (African & African American Studies)
  38. Hovsepian, Mary (Sociology)
  39. James, Sherman (Public Policy)
  40. Kaplan, Alice (Literature)
  41. Khalsa, Keval Kaur (Dance Program)
  42. Khanna, Ranjana (English)
  43. King, Ashley (Romance Studies)
  44. Koonz, Claudia (History)
  45. Lasch, Peter (Art, Art History)
  46. Lee, Dan A. (Math)
  47. Leighten, Pat (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)
  48. Lentricchia, Frank (Literature)
  49. Light, Caroline (Inst. for Crit. U.S. Stds.)
  50. Litle, Marcy (Comparative Area Studies)
  51. Litzinger, Ralph (Cultural Anthropology)
  52. Longino, Michele (Romance Studies)
  53. Lubiano, Wahneema (African & African American Studies and Literature)
  54. Maffitt, Kenneth(History)
  55. Mahn, Jason (University Writing Program)
  56. Makhulu, Anne-Maria (African & African American Studies)
  57. Mason, Lisa (Surgical Unit-2100)
  58. McClain, Paula (Political Science)
  59. Meintjes, Louise (Music)
  60. Mignolo, Walter (Literature and Romance Studies)
  61. Moreiras, Alberto (Romance Studies)
  62. Neal, Mark Anthony (African & African American Studies)
  63. Nelson, Diane (Cultural Anthropology)
  64. Olcott, Jolie (History)
  65. Parades, Liliana (Romance Studies)
  66. Payne, Charles (African & African American Studies and History)
  67. Pierce-Baker, Charlotte (Women’s Studies)
  68. Peebles-Wilkins, Wilma (visiting scholar from Boston Univ.)
  69. Petters, Arlie (Math)
  70. Plesser, Ronen (Physics)
  71. Radway, Jan (Literature)
  72. Rankin, Tom (Center for Documentary Studies)
  73. Rego, Marcia (University Writing Program)
  74. Reisinger, Deborah S. (Romance Studies)
  75. Rosenberg, Alex (Philosophy)
  76. Rudy, Kathy (Women’s Studies)
  77. Schachter, Marc (English)
  78. Shannon, Laurie (English)
  79. Sigal, Pete (History)
  80. Silverblatt, Irene (Cultural Anthropology)
  81. Somerset, Fiona (English)
  82. Stein, Rebecca (Cultural Anthropology)
  83. Thorne, Susan (History)
  84. Viego, Antonio (Literature)
  85. Vilaros, Teresa (Romance Studies)
  86. Wald, Priscilla (English)
  87. Wallace, Maurice (English and African & African American Studies)
  88. Wong, David (Philosophy)
Concerned Duke Faculty [89 members] who signed the “clarifier” [see below]
* asterisk - 62 members of Concerned Duke Faculty, who were in the original "Group of 88"
  1. Stan Abe *
  2. Benjamin Albers *
  3. Anne Allison *
  4. Srinivas Aravamudan *
  5. Lee Baker *
  6. Sarah Beckwith *
  7. Paul Berliner *
  8. Tolly Boatwright *
  9. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva *
  10. Jack Bookman
  11. Matt Brim *
  12. Bill Chafe *
  13. Leo Ching *
  14. Elizabeth Clark
  15. Rom Coles *
  16. Michaeline A. Crichlow *
  17. Kim Curtis *
  18. Roberto Dainotto
  19. Leslie Damasceno *
  20. Ariel Dorfman *
  21. Laura Edwards *
  22. Grant Farred *
  23. Jeffrey Forbes
  24. Mary M. Fulkerson *
  25. Erin Gayton
  26. Jehanne Gheith
  27. Margaret Greer *
  28. Michael Hardt *
  29. Erik Harms
  30. Joe Harris *
  31. Kerry Haynie
  32. Karla Holloway *
  33. Bayo Holsey *
  34. Mary Hovsepian *
  35. Sherman James *
  36. Alice Kaplan *
  37. Keval Khalsa *
  38. Ranjana Khanna *
  39. Fred Klaits
  40. Claudia Koonz *
  41. Robert Korstad
  42. Pedro Lasch *
  43. Caroline Light *
  44. Marcy Litle *
  45. Ralph Litzinger *
  46. Michele Longino *
  47. Wahneema Lubiano *
  48. Anne-Maria Makhulu *
  49. Tamera Marko
  50. Paula McClain *
  51. Louise Meintjes *
  52. Sean Metzger
  53. Walter Mignolo *
  54. Alberto Moreiras *
  55. Cary Moskovitz
  56. Mark Anthony Neal *
  57. David Need
  58. Diane Nelson *
  59. Jocelyn Olcott *
  60. Charles Payne *
  61. Charlie Piot
  62. Ronen Plesser *
  63. Maureen Quilligan
  64. Jan Radway *
  65. Tom Rankin *
  66. Marcia Rego *
  67. William Reichert
  68. Deb Reisinger *
  69. Alex Rosenberg *
  70. Marc Schachter *
  71. Stephanie Sieburth
  72. Laurie Shannon *
  73. Pete Sigal *
  74. Irene Silverblatt *
  75. Joshua Socolar
  76. Kristin Solli
  77. Helen Solterer
  78. Fiona Somerset *
  79. Roxanne Springer
  80. Rebecca Stein *
  81. Kenneth Surin
  82. Susan Thorne *
  83. John Transue
  84. Maurice Wallace *
  85. Priscilla Wald *
  86. Kathryn Whetten
  87. Robyn Wiegman
  88. David Wong *
  89. Tomiko Yoda
The "Listening Statement
Listening StatementWe are listening to our student. We’re also listening to the Durham community, to Duke staff, and to each other. Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster.

But it is a disaster nonetheless.

These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.

. . .We want the absence of terror. But we don’t really know what that means . . . We can’t think. That’s why we’re so silent; we can’t think about what’s on the other side of this. Terror robs you of language and you need language for the healing to begin.

This is not a different experience for us here at DukeUniversity. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists....It’s part of the experience. [Independent, 29 March 2006]

If it turns out that these students are guilty, I want them expelled. But their expulsion will only bring resolution to this case and not the bigger problem. This is much bigger than them and throwing them out will not solve the problem. I want the administration to acknowledge what is going on and how bad it is.

Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night,
and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me.

Everything seems up for grabs--I am only comfortable talking about this event
in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public.
But worse, I wonder now about everything. . . . If something like this happens to
me . . . What would be used against me--my clothing? Where I was?

I was talking to a white woman student who was asking me “Why do people --
and she meant black people -- make race such a big issue?”
They don’t see race. They just don’t see it.

What Does A Social Disaster Sound Like

You go to a party, you get grabbed, you get propositioned, and then you start to question yourself. [Independent, 29 March 2006]

. . . all you heard was "Black students just complain all the time, all you do is complain and self-segregate." And whenever we try to explain why we’re offended, it’s pushed back on us. Just the phrase "self-segregation": the blame is always put on us. [Independent, 29 March 2006]

. . . no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central
to this conversation, how to keep her humanity before us . . . she doesn’t seem
to be visible in this. Not for the university, not for us

I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that’s not so upscale.

And this is what I’m thinking right now – Duke isn’t really responding to this. Not really. And this, what has happened, is a disaster. This is a social disaster.

The students know that the disaster didn’t begin on March 13th and won’t end with what the police say or the court decides. Like all disasters, this one has a history. And what lies beneath what we’re hearing from our students are questions about the future. This ad, printed in the most easily seen venue on campus, is just one way for us to say that we’re hearing what our students are saying. Some of these things were said by a mixed (in every way possible) group of students on Wednesday, March 29th at an African & African American Studies Program forum, some were printed in an issue of the Independent that came out that same day, and some were said to us inside and outside of the classroom. We’re turning up the volume in a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait. To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.

We thank the following departments and programs for signing onto this ad with African & African American Studies: Romance Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences; Franklin Humanities Institute; Critical U.S. Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Classical Studies; Asian & African Languages and Literature; Women’s Studies; Latino/a Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; European Studies; Program in Education; and the Center for Documentary Studies. Because of space limitations, the names of individual faculty and staff who signed on in support may be read at the AAAS website: http://www.duke.edu/web/africanameric/
Clarifying Statement:
An Open Letter to the Duke Community

In the spring of 2006, the Duke community was rocked by terrible news. We heard that a woman hired to perform at a party thrown by our lacrosse team had accused members of the team of raping her. Neighbors, we were told, heard racial epithets called out at the woman as she departed the party. The criminal proceedings and the media frenzy which followed are perhaps beginning to wind down. For us at Duke, the issues raised by the incident, and by our community's responses to it, are not.

In April, a group of Duke faculty members published an advertisement in The Chronicle. The ad, titled "What does a Social Disaster Sound Like?" was mostly a compilation of statements made by Duke students in response to the incident and its immediate aftermath. This ad has figured in many discussions of the event and of the University's response. It has been broadly, and often intentionally, misread. We urge everyone to read the original ad, available at http://listening.nfshost.com/listening.htm. We have. Some of us were among the ad's signers.

The ad has been read as a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case. We understand the ad instead as a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus, an attempt to channel the attention generated by the incident to addressing these. We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence.

As a statement about campus culture, the ad deplores a "Social Disaster," as described in the student statements, which feature racism, segregation, isolation, and sexism as ongoing problems before the scandal broke, exacerbated by the heightened tensions in its immediate aftermath. The disaster is the atmosphere that allows sexism, racism, and sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus. The ad's statement that the problem "won't end with what the police say or the court decides" is as clearly true now as it was then. Whatever its conclusions, the legal process will not resolve these problems.

The ad thanked "the students speaking individually and...the protesters making collective noise." We do not endorse every demonstration that took place at the time. We appreciate the efforts of those who used the attention the incident generated to raise issues of discrimination and violence.

There have been public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these. We think the ad's authors were right to give voice to the students quoted, whose suffering is real. We also acknowledge the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the rape case.

We stand by the claim that issues of race and sexual violence on campus are real, and we join the ad's call to all of us at Duke to do something about this. We hope that the Duke community will emerge from this tragedy as a better place for all of us to live, study, and work.
College editorials criticizing the 'Group of 88'

Ari Rabkin, The Cornell Daily Sun, Jan. 18, 2007:
Dropping the Ball in the Lacrosse Case

Column by Brandon McGinley, The Daily Princetonian, Feb. 9, 2007:
Faculty should stand by its students

Editorial by Andrew Gioia, The Cornell American, Feb. 3, 2007:
Lifestyles of the Rich and White [not currently online?]


List of "Group of 88" who endorsed the "Listenting Statement"

Concerned Faculty - signed the Open Letter to the Duke Community
Open Letter to the Duke Community - ConcernedDukeFaculty.org

Duke Chronicle -- 'Group of 88' related articles:

William Chafe, Guest column, March 31, 2006:
Sex and race

Stephen Miller, April 12, 2006:

Rob Copeland, Nov. 7, 2006:
'Group of 88' faculty hears criticism in wake of lax scandal

Rob Copeland, Nov. 7, 2006:
The Ad in Question

Meg Bourdillon, Jan. 18, 2007
Faculty letter aims to clarify '88' ad
Other media:

Duke Univ., Mar 31 & April 3, 2006
Provost Responds to Faculty Letter Regarding Lacrosse

KC Johnson, June 21, 2007
Due process for the 88

Other related articles:
Hal Crowther, Independent Weekly, June 28, 2006
Sympathy for the Devils?

Eliana Johnson, The NY Sun, Oct. 27, 2006
Brooklyn College Professor's Web Log Defends Duke Players


Thomas Crowley, November 12, 2006
Don't be too Quick to Toss Lacrosse Case

Joe Dibona, November 8, 2006
Pay Off Lacrosse Case

Orin Starn, September 15, 2006:
A Grand Show of Arrogance by Duke Athletics

Some KC Johnson articles about the Group of 88:

April 2006

Duke News
Duke's Campus Culture
The Group of 88 - [First reference to the "Group of 88"] April 23, 2006

May 2006

Duke's Poisoned Campus Culture - May 1, 2006
The Coleman Committee Report--and "Aggressive BodyLanguage" - May 2, 2006
Chafe Chimes In - May 3, 2006
Chafe E-Mail
Paging Atticus Finch?
Duke's Dueling Reports
Farred Clips
Duke's Party Line

June 2006

Comings and Goings at Duke
Coleman Tears Down the Wall
More Group of 88 Hypocrisy

July 2006

Shameless - [Orin Starn and Peter Wood] July 5, 2007
Rosenberg e-mail
Open Letter to Brodhead

August 2006

The Company He Keeps
"The Good Old-Fashioned Way"
Welcome Slate Readers
Times Open Letter
Eyes Wide Shut
Times and the Blogs
More Bad Times
The Times Drops the Ball
More on Procedure
Valuing Procedure
A Duke Feminist Speaks Out
A Tale of Two Men
"Really, Really Well"
Nifong Tarnishes the NAACP
Mobbing Duke Students
Quid Pro Quo?
Vaden Meanders On
The N&O's Rogers: "I'm Not Smart Enough"
Intellectual Thuggery
What Did Nifong Know, and When Did he Know It?
The Soucie Memo
Boasting of Closed-Mindedness
The Brodhead Files

January 2007

New Years' Roundup
FODU: Message to Group of 88
Baker: In His Own Words
The Absence of Self-Reflection
Duke's Economics Department Takes Its Stand
The Dowd Suit
Apologia for a Disaster
The Importance of Economics
Cathy Davidson: In Her Own Words
Dowd and Duke - grade retaliation by Prof. Kim Curtis, Jan. 6, 2007
More Cathy Davidson: In Her Own Words
Sunday Roundup
More Only in Durham
Brodhead's Apologia
Ec in N&O
Conflicting Pressures
Holloway Leaves CCI
Let's Play Telephone - Jan. 16, 2007
The (Rump) Group of 88 Strikes Again
La Shawn on the (Rump) Group of 88
Fact-Checking the (Rump) Group of 88
The Group of 88's Myths and Realities - Jan. 18, 2007
The Chronicle on the CCI
Ten--and More--Questions for the (Rump) Group of 88
Sunday Roundup
Power of the (College) Press
Facile Assumptions

February 2007

The Group of 88's Latest Defense - Feb 13, 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

Duke's New Party Line - June 1, 2007
Sunday Roundup - June 3, 2007
The Group as Great Teachers? - June 8, 2007
Sunday Review - June 10, 2007
Duke and Three Families Settle - June 18, 2007
McClain: Group of 88 Defiant, Despite Settlement - June 20, 2007
Chronicle Op-Ed - June 21, 2007
The Group in Action - June 29, 2007

July 2007

Defending the Indefensible - July 3, 2007
New Duke Position - July 29, 2007
Group Profiles: Maurice Wallace - July 30, 2007

Admin note:

Publish or perish. The above article is a work-in-progress (or Johnsville version of Wikipedia-light). It has been sitting in the "forthcoming" draft folder since February. It is time to get some house cleaning done regarding the Duke lacrosse case/Nifong hoax. Did not want to trash the 'guide,' so it is getting posted. If it is online and people are looking at it, that will provide some motivation to get it cleaned up.

FYI: There was a separate "Group of 88" article at Wikipedia at one time, but it has been erased by the 'PC' editors. The current Wikipedia article about The Duke Lacrosse Scandal has only one small reference to the Group of 88? The Wikipedia entry: "Responses to the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case" has a small blurb about the Group of 88.

If you looked at yesterday's "Link List" you might have noticed the story about how many organizations and companies are editing Wikipedia to put their own spin on history. If you go to the website referenced (http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/) you would learn, for example, that Duke University IP addresses have made hundreds of edits to Wikipedia about the lacrosse case. This Duke editing plus other airbrushing by Wikipedia's politically correct editors has resulted in a distortion of the true role of the Group of 88 and Duke administation in the write up of the lacrosse case at Wikipedia.