Friday, April 06, 2007

Continued Group of 88 Mysteries

On the one-year anniversary of the Group of 88’s statement, two major mysteries about the ad remain.

  • We now know that the anonymous quotes from alleged Duke students actually came from Wahneema Lubiano’s “notes” of a student gathering;
  • We now know that Lubiano demanded hasty approval—colleagues had between 6 and 48 hours to decide whether to sign—apparently to ensure that the ad came out before DNA tests that could clear the lacrosse players were made public;
  • We now know the context of the “protestors” to which the ad said “thank you for not waiting”—the March 26 potbangers carrying signs saying “castrate,” and the March 29 vigilante activists who blanketed the campus with posters containing 43 of the lacrosse players’ photos.

Still unknown, however:

(1) Who paid for the ad? In 2003, Group of 88 member Anne Allison improperly used departmental funds to pay for an ad denouncing the Bush administration’s foreign policy. She was rebuked for doing so. In April 2006, did Group members use their private funds, or did funding for the ad come out of an official Duke budget? Last spring and summer, I sent four e-mails to then-AAAS chairman Charles Payne asking if his program had paid for the ad; he did not reply.

(2) Under what procedure did the ad obtain a formal endorsement from the following five Duke University departments (Romance Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Asian & African Languages/Literature; Classical Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences) and nine academic programs (Franklin Humanities Institute; Critical U.S. Studies; 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)?

In the five departments listed above, a majority of members did not sign the Group of 88 statement.

  • In Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, 10 of the 12 listed faculty did not sign the statement.
  • In Classical Studies, 10 of the 11 listed faculty did not sign the statement.
  • In Psychology: Social and Health Sciences, zero of the faculty signed the statement.
  • Romance Studies, 15 of the 29 listed faculty members did not sign the statement.
  • In AALL, 8 of the 10 listed faculty did not sign the statement, although one of the 8, Tomiko Yoda, would sign the clarifying statement.

I previously contacted several professors from the five departments above who did not sign the ad, and asked them when and under what procedures their department voted on endorsing the ad. Of those who responded, none recalled a formal departmental vote. It seems remarkable that departments 83%, or 91%, or 100% of whose members did not sign the statement individually would then turn around and endorse the statement as a departmental unit--a far more significant act.

Jim Lindgren also explored this issue at the Volokh Conspiracy, noting that if no departmental vote occurred, only two other options exist:

(1) One or more of the department chairs “so abused their powers that they unilaterally committed their programs officially to a public political position in opposition to a group of Duke students without a full departmental meeting, deliberation, and vote.”

(2) “Could it be that one or more of the approximately 15 departments or programs that supposedly endorsed the letter did not do so? Did the letter writers [in this case, Lubiano, who told espn.com that she coordinated the placing of the ad in the Chronicle] fabricate departmental or programmatic support that did not exist, either intentionally or out of confusion?”

In early January, Group of 88 apologist Cathy Davidson sent around an e-mail in which she conceded, “I have had lawyers look at the original ad and ambiguity of the language could be made, in a court of law, to seem as if we are saying things against the lacrosse team.” What does that statement suggest about entire departments that were listed as formally signing onto the ad?

Academics are supposed to treat procedure seriously. Everything about the Group of 88’s statement, of course, flouted this tradition—rather than endorsing due process and procedural regularity, the Group gleefully joined the rush to judgment. That, from all appearances, some or all of the formal departmental endorsements of the ad occurred outside proper procedures raises even more questions about this most dubious aspect of the Duke response to the case.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer / retired professor: Academics are always so concerned with process and procedure in terms of faculty governance and decision making. At times I used to think that it was more important to do it the right way in terms of process and procedure than getting the right outcome. So I too am really perplexed by the silence of these departments since they seem to have endorsed the ad. Usually faculty would be outraged by such a violation of departmental process and procedure, but not at Duke. It is difficult to convey to non-academics the typical importance of such governance issues to faculty.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

The captured versions of the ad that I have seen all say:

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 & 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.

The writers of the ad claim to want people to quit twisting their words and to be taken at their words. We thus need to take them at their words. The plain meaning of thanking the departments and programs for signing onto an ad is that those department and programs PAID for the ad.

So my view has long been that the 88 gangster took deparment fund, ie Duke funds, ie funds in part given or paid by the Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann families to pay for this ad.

I don't see why anyone would read this any other way. Now maybe there was a typo and they meant to thank "members" of those departments who signed on. But the membership wants to be taken at the meaning of their words. So until they clarrify this you should like I do accept their statement that the above listed departments and programs paid or otherwise sponsored this ad.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone be surprised that Lubiano and her ilk apparently "fudged" the true amount of support that the stupid (and potentially libelous) listening ad received from various departments and programs within Duke. After all, these are the same people who routinely "fudge" their academic credentials by listing on their c.v.'s (for years, in some cases) "forthcoming" publications . . . that somehow never materialize. These seem to be people who are quite comfortable putting their names on misleading (if not outright false) assertions.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to describe how despicable (defined as, "so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation," in case anyone might think word choice was not carefully considered) some of the Group of 88 appear to be.

Retired Lawyer/Professor

Anonymous said...

to non-lawyer/retired professor: Academics are concerned with procedure because the penalties for violating procedure can be severe.

In this situation, the violation of procedure was in support of the "anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-white-male-supremacy" paradigm, and thus immune to any reprecussions.

If administration can be terrorized into overlooking violation of its own rules, then unleash the hounds of war.

Anonymous said...

JLS--

Well, I agree that the plain words of the ad say that the listed departments supported the ad's message--and it's not clear whether or how they actually did so. That is the import of K.C.'s post. But I don't see (speaking as an English composition teacher with a law degree, to the extent that that might matter) how the "plain meaning" of "signing onto" includes "paying for." People sign advocacy advertisements in the newspaper all the time without paying for the ad placement. If the ad said "supporting" you would have a stronger case, though even then there would be an ambiguity.

Not saying the money for the ad didn't come out of department funds--I have no idea where it came from. I'm just saying I don't think the text of the ad states that departments paid for it.

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 10:23

Great comment. Thank You

"Process Is Our Most Important Product"

If you really push that concept there is no end to the mischief that can be pulled off by a small group within the faculty while the other members of the faculty ...are not paying attention.

The fact that they did get away with the Ad in the Chronicle speaks volumes about the lack of executive oversight.

Just like enron.com

GP

Anonymous said...

Does the Chronicle's accounting department keep a record of payments for advertising? Does no one remember how a sizable amount of money to pay for a full-page ad was received? Was the payment made anonymously with cash?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the Duke Chronicle, where the ad ran, hasn't been forthcoming about the name that was on the check paying for it.

K.C., have you asked the Chronicle who paid?

Clearly, the identity of who paid can be discovered in civil defamation suits, which I expect. Prior to that, I wonder whether the Chronicle's student editors believe that some sense of loyalty to paying advertisers requires maintaining confidentiality. After all, they are ignoring a good story in their midst.

wayne fontes said...

On 4/3/06 President Brodhead met with representatives of the Black faculty. Brodhead had already met with the team captains and received a strong denial of the rape charges. He was also aware of CGM's conflicting accounts of the night in question. I assume he conveyed this information to the Black faculty representatives during the 4/3 meeting.

The obvious questions are exactly who did Brodhead meet with and exactly what did he tell them. At this point I'm afraid that the creators of the listening statement already knew that the case was a hoax and that was why they had to rush to publish the Listening statement.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: anon 11:01

Well, I agree that the plain words of the ad say that the listed departments supported the ad's message--and it's not clear whether or how they actually did so. That is the import of K.C.'s post.

And I am saying the ad publically says those departments and programs signed onto, ie PAID, for the ad. We should take the ad at its word on this. If the writers of the ad lied, it is up to the publically named departments and programs to publically disavow that. They want to be taken at their words. Their words claim their departments paid for this ad. The way I see it the ball is in the court of the departments and programs if this is untrue.

But I don't see (speaking as an English composition teacher with a law degree, to the extent that that might matter) how the "plain meaning" of "signing onto" includes "paying for." People sign advocacy advertisements in the newspaper all the time without paying for the ad placement. If the ad said "supporting" you would have a stronger case, though even then there would be an ambiguity.

I am not speaking about the people signing this. The ad claims a list of departments and programs "signed onto" the ad. While composed of people, departments and programs are most certainly NOT people. Departments and programs most certainly CAN NOT sign anything. Departments and programs at universities are not are not usually incorporated and don't have legal standing as people either. That too means they can not "sign on" to anything except in the sense that the leadership provides funding.

So what departments and programs can do is give financial support. I am taking "signing onto" to mean the only thing it logically can mean in this instance. And again it is up to the departments and programs to speak up if the ad writer lied about them financially supporting the ad.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, KC, for showing us again that the emperors have no clothes. Maybe someday some brave academics or administrators will point out the absurdity of what passes for scholarship at their universities. Larry Summers tried with Cornel West but to no avail.

The anonymous nature of the evaluations makes them less valuable as source material, but in this case, they are counters to the anonymous students comments in the listening ad that these professors gave weight to by signing.

I don't see a place for the evaluations in a formal argument, but they are fair game for a blog.

John Bruce said...

"Academics are supposed to treat procedure seriously." KC, I hope this is tongue in cheek.

I would also assume that there is no way you could find out whether the ad was paid for out of departmental funds (a good possible meaning for "signed on to") without a lawsuit and discovery -- but of course, this may yet happen.

AMac said...

A recurring theme of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax is "The Dog That Didn't Bark." This post covers one of the big instances.

Why, one year later, are we reading these questions in a blog put up by a CUNY professor in his spare time?

For all the coverage of the case, there's nobody at the Chronicle of Higher Education or the Duke Chronicle or Newsweek or the N&O who finds these unanswered questions to be worth digging into?

What about Duke's Administration?

What about the departments and programs dragged into this imbroglio (if any)?

Anybody? Bueller?

John in Carolina has an outstanding series that poses questions about the origins of the CrimeStoppers Poster.

And another one about the circumstances of the Vigilante Poster.

I can only conclude that these matters are so trivially insignificant that it wouldn't be worth the trouble to bring them into the public's view. Or something.

hman said...

I have spent a fair amount of time debating gender feminists. I eventually realized that one big problem with "getting anywhere" in a debate with these people was that they are so inclinded to play tricks with word meanings - to the point of just making things up and hope you do not notice. For example, when they wrote that certain departments "signed into" this ad you need to realize that that could have been simply made up out of thin air as a phrase that sounded weighty but means nothing (in the usual sane-world sense of meaning.) If pressed, they might say that the "essence" (as they defined it) of the departments was on-board.
The thing is, it hardly matters to them how empty of substance a phrase might be if it serves their immediate goals and so they will never really understand why you are objecting to it.
As to the quotes from the students: I bet dollars to donuts that they were simply made up. Stories from feminists that seem to confirm their side of things always seem to have two elements. First, they are just too perfect by half and second, they will not let you check it out yourself.

Anonymous said...

KC says: "We now know that Lubiano demanded hasty approval—colleagues had between 6 and 48 hours to decide whether to sign—apparently to ensure that the ad came out before DNA tests that could clear the lacrosse players were made public;"

Where does "apparently to ensure" come from? What's the basis for this assertion?

I am sorry if I missed a prior post on this.

JoeK

Anonymous said...

With regard to the Gang of 88 mysteries, I do not see a complex scenario.

Most have been handed constant doses of largesse and special treatment inside the hermetically sealed bubble of academia.

This cushy environment is what attracts the mediocrity of society---(although, I hasten to add that among this superfluous structure are many serious and brilliant professors who care about their students and passing along something of value)---so lashing out at anyone who questions them is what they do.

While some might wish to build a mystery around this group of essentially worthless urchins, I would suggest that what we see here is merely the equivalent of puffed-up refractory twelve-year-olds.

Remember: Young children are not to be consulted on the question of whether they should take instruction.

All raillery and scorn aside, these very creepy creatures--the Gang of 88--should, likewise, not be consulted on much of anything serious.

Debrah

Anonymous said...

TO JoeK--

What's not to comprehend?

Someone who is supposedly a "professor" should behave with more caution and intelligence when attempting to make statements about someone's guilt.

It does not take any "proof" to see that Lubiano and her low-rent compadres wanted to get the public whipped-up into a frenzy against these "rich white boys from the North".

An intelligent and objective woman in her position would have sat back to get the facts.

Instead, Lubiano quickly assumed a posture which one might suggest is alien to her---that of getting up off her enormous posterior---and went to work with uncommon speed.

Debrah

Anonymous said...

Given the controversy around Holloway's chronicle article yesterday, it seems that is the name of the game. Whip up some frenzy and then step back and see what happens

Bill said...

People are making WAY too much hay over this.

This wouldn’t be the first time that someone said that “everyone agrees with me!” without asking everyone, because that someone knows exactly what's on everyone else mind no matter what they really think.

I would propose that she added that phony endorsement because she indeed HONESTLY THOUGHT that the departments would indeed endorse the letter once they saw it or were otherwise already on the same page with her whether they talked to her or not. After all, she was the bagman for the "True Conscience" of the faculty. How could they NOT endorse it?

And since any one member of a department represents their department when the others aren't around to say "Heck No!," it's true anyway, right? And if they say do "Heck No," it's already in writing and heaven forbid anyone undermine a colleague by setting the ersatz record straight AND by doing so question the Higher Truths of the statement.

That would not be collegial!

Nothing more. Nothing less. No in-the-dark conspiracy or gaggle of fair weather supporters of the 88.

Just one arrogant twit who thinks the world revolves around her.

gak said...

If they are thanking Psychology for signing on then I can only imagine that they made up the supporting list. its the only thing that makes sense to me

bill anderson said...

One way for a tenured professor to be fired is for that professor to engage in some sort of financial fraud. It can be padding an expense account, lying about expenditures, or spending university money on unauthorized personal purchases.

My point is this: Has K.C. raised the question of financial irregularities and unauthorized expenditures? I think he has, and if that is the case, it will be very, very interesting to see how Duke handles it.

A few years ago, a female graduate student accused Houston Baker of sexual assault. The university handled the matter privately and very, very quietly. Contrast the treatment Baker received with the treatment give the lacrosse players, which, in my opinion, gives the players' families a legal opening in their lawsuits.

Has Duke ever fired a professor for financial irregularities? What are the university rules? Will they handle this case differently because of who these professors are, or will Duke take action?

If there are financial irregularities, and Duke refuses to do anything, this provides even more grist for the legal mill.

Thank you, K.C. You have performed yet another important public service!

Bill said...

BillA 1240:

Where do we have a record of HOW the ad was paid for? A single person cutting a personal check, a budget number from a department's "foundation" funds? Those two are the most likely.



Given the logistics of how she got people to sign the letter, I seriously doubt they had time to hand their secretaries the budget numbers for a coordinated *literal* buy-in. From my experience, paying for a single item from multiple pools is a huge pain in the fanny when it can be easily done quickly, efficiently and dare I say in this case, discretely, with one single check or payment order.

Now if she tried to get a department or foundation account to reimburse her private donation after saying all that... Then I think spankies would be in order!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for the group 88 ad. If not for them, you people would have zero zilch and nada to say. Talk about beating a dead horse!
Seems like the 88 did you a favor by giving you this pretense of a reason to keep blathering. Can't believe that a year later you are still trying to find a reason to keep this stuff going. Without them you would be looking for a subject. Well, it seems as if even with them, you are desperate for a subject.
Say thank you 88 times.

bill anderson said...

Thank goodness for the group 88 ad. If not for them, you people would have zero zilch and nada to say. Talk about beating a dead horse!
Seems like the 88 did you a favor by giving you this pretense of a reason to keep blathering. Can't believe that a year later you are still trying to find a reason to keep this stuff going. Without them you would be looking for a subject. Well, it seems as if even with them, you are desperate for a subject.
Say thank you 88 times.

Apr 6, 2007 1:31:00 PM


Now, now, Mikey. How many times have your lawyers told you not to be reading DIW. This won't help your case on Friday the 13th one bit.

Now, stop it, Mikey, and go back to tending the rabbits! Now! Or, go to your room!

hman said...

To 1:31
The infamous ad we are talking about convincingly proved that some very serious problems exist in academia in regard to Professorial ethics.
Do you think there is any reason to believe that this issue is getting better on its own? That if we just "stopped talking about it" it would go away?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Good one, Bill A!

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: hman

"when they wrote that certain departments "signed into" this ad you need to realize that that could have been simply made up out of thin air as a phrase that sounded weighty,...."

re: Bill 12:34

This wouldn’t be the first time that someone said that “everyone agrees with me!” without asking everyone,

I would propose that she added that phony endorsement because she indeed HONESTLY THOUGHT that the departments would indeed endorse the letter .....

And if they say do "Heck No," it's already in writing and heaven forbid anyone undermine a colleague by setting the ersatz record straight AND by doing so question the Higher Truths of the statement.

That would not be collegial!


The departments and programs named certainly could correct the record. They have been accused of "signing on" the ad in the ad. If they did not "sign on" that is take a department vote or spend department money on the ad, they most certainly could as a department say this without lacking collegiality. What is a lack of collegiality for an individual is not for a department or program as a whole.

Again, my view is that it is not ours or Professor Johnson's job in this type of situation to correct the record. The public record is that those departments and programs PAID for this ad. We should believe what the signers of the ad say, the named departments and programs signed on including paying for the ad with Duke funds, the only funds they have, unless these departments and programs correct the record, if it is wrong. The departments and programs know the truth. If they leave this out there, as they have for a year, those of us who don't have access to their budgets or the minutes of department/program meetings should only believe it is true unless we have evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Who wants to bet the money that paid for the ad is also paying for defense of Professor Curtis?

After all, one wanted to castrate the lacrosse players, the other wanted to flunk them. Hate always seeks the same level - why not the same piggy bank?

Bill said...

Anon 1358:

"The departments and programs named certainly could correct the record. They have been accused of "signing on" the ad in the ad. If they did not "sign on" that is take a department vote or spend department money on the ad, they most certainly could as a department say this without lacking collegiality. What is a lack of collegiality for an individual is not for a department or program as a whole."

Should civil actions ensue against Duke for creating a hostile environments, I suspect that the departments that didn't really support the letter will suddenly become transparent for a brief moment.

Till then I suspect that the responsible faculty in the programs in question are rolling their eyes and saying "Kerist, there goes Wahneema again. Let her blow steam and people will know down the road that we weren't officially part of it. Should we openly undercut her now, we could be giving the legislature and David Horozitz types more ammo to cut back broader academic freedom than we would if we just keep our heads down."

Consider also what happens if departments say openly, "Heck no!"

We have seen one example of that: the Economics Department, and their fellow Trinity departments were aghast. Recall the response letter to the Chron that pretty much said that the letter was full of cheek to say that the respondee's department didn't feel the same as Econ (which was not even IN the Econ dept's letter). Afterall, by acting unilaterally, to some degree refuting the 88's Listen-to-Me-Statement, they were being accused in diplo-speak of being "uncollegial" as a department.

There is a social dynamic in universties to appear stick together in the face of external review (that sense of unearned collegiality). Consider as another example the small number of faculty who have come out to explicity criticize the 88, the investigation, etc. Yet even there, one faculty member who has been very clear in his support for the accused students, Gustafason, "felt a need" to edit his blog at one point to remove ammo that could be used to undermine his colleagues and Duke as a whole.

Even when right is on your side, it's hard to be a mature and well-adjusted adult when working in a daycare center full of tenured teenagers. Trust me, I've been there.

Anonymous said...

JLS--
I'm 11:01. I take your point about "signed" versus "signed onto" but I still don't see "signed onto" as clearly indicating that they paid for it--we'll just have to agree to disagree about that.

That said, I agree with you that the clear indication of the language is that those departments took some sort of official action in support of the ad (whether it was payment or an endorsement), and the departments (or their members) might want to clear the record if that assertion is not accurate.

bill anderson said...

Even when right is on your side, it's hard to be a mature and well-adjusted adult when working in a daycare center full of tenured teenagers. Trust me, I've been there.

Apr 6, 2007 2:18:00 PM


Oh, yes, very true. We have seen the "children" at play at Duke, and have watched the "children" running the show. The results have been a bit ugly.

Anonymous said...

Who paid for the libelous ad? Don't worry, this is discoverable once the civil suits against the faculty have been filed. If it was paid for privately, then I pity the misguided faculty; hope he/she has a good personal insurance policy. If paid for with Duke funds, then yet another deep pocket will be wide open.

Bill said...

Also Anon

If Crazy Ned The Wino says that you agree with the messages that he's getting from his dentalwork, do you feel pressed to correct him?

Though it's only a matter of a degree. and what a heck of a degree that is (then again maybe not!), I suspect that many department chairs that didn't really sign in, pay for or otherwise support the ad don't really feel the obligation to correct Professor Moonbat and her Bozo Patrol.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

I'm 11:01. I take your point about "signed" versus "signed onto" but I still don't see "signed onto" as clearly indicating that they paid for it--we'll just have to agree to disagree about that.

As your second paragraph indicates you get, my "view" is more of a strategy than a view. Certainly if you do not show up at court to contest a law suit, then you lose whether you damaged the suer or not. My view is we need not determine whether or not the departments and programs paid for this ad. Based on the language we can view they did and it is up to them to clear this up then, if this impression is wrong.

Thus I have and will not hessitate and I hope more public commentators like Professors Johnson and Anderson will join me in taking the ad at its word. That puts the pressure on the departments and programs to correct this. We should not ask the question of who paid for the ad unless those departments and programs deny they did and turn what for now is an unchallenged certainty into a question.

Anonymous said...

1:31: Agreed; this case is a dead horse - been dead and stinking for over a year now - but it hasn't been beaten yet.

The decomposing LAX charges would have been dismissed long ago (would, in fact, never have been filed)if it weren't for Nifong & Co.'s cynical manipulation of black Durham, and black Durham's acquiescence in that manipulation.

The 88 gansters' and potbangers' outrageous rush to judgment(and their subsequent refusal to admit error) have simply heaped insult onto injury. Yes, they are easy targets, but no less maddening -- and no less culpable -- for their obviousness.

Sick unto death of this case? Blame Nifong, many Durhamites, 88ers, Brodhead, MSM enablers, the AG's office...whoever have kept the disgusting, obscenely DEAD beast propped up. But until these charges are dismissed, it's pretty difficult to criticize those who have cried out, for more than a year, that simple decency requires burying the corpse.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

re: Bill

I suspect that many department chairs that didn't really sign in, pay for or otherwise support the ad don't really feel the obligation to correct Professor Moonbat and her Bozo Patrol.

This takes us back to amac's excellent post that I have neglected until now. If these departments and programs did not pay but don't bother to disavow this it is because Duke does not care. Duke does not consider these people moonbats or the administration would not be standing with them. That is far diffent than not responding to claims by "Ned the crazy wino."

That Duke does not care means the problems revealed at Duke by this case will not be solved. Duke is certainly one of amac's dogs that did not bark in response to the hijacking of some of its students. And as in Sherlock Holmes "the dog that did not bark" indicates the at least partly an inside job.

Anonymous said...

I can understand what Crystal Mangum did. I can understand what Mike Nifong did. I can understand what the potbangers, Wendy Murphy, Georgia Goslee, Cash Michaels, and Ruth Sheehan did.

While I don't condone their actions, I can see why a stripper would cry rape, a dishonest politician would try to get elected at all costs, reporters would sensationalize stories etc.

But the one part of this whole sordid episode that I cannot figure out is why why why why these professors cannot recognize the harm they caused and apologize. They can say they were trying to do something good and just worded their statement poorly. (which is probably true anyway)

It seems so simple to me. You hurt someone, intentionally or not, you say you're sorry. Unless, of course, you don't give a damn about those you harmed.

I also could not agree with amac more:
Why, one year later, are we reading these questions in a blog put up by a CUNY professor in his spare time?

For all the coverage of the case, there's nobody at the Chronicle of Higher Education or the Duke Chronicle or Newsweek or the N&O who finds these unanswered questions to be worth digging into?

What about Duke's Administration?

What about the departments and programs dragged into this imbroglio (if any)?

Anybody? Bueller?

I love the Bueller reference and find it pathetic that stuff like this is uncovered by the work of KC, JinC, and LS as opposed to others.

Anonymous said...

To: Debrah

What's not to comprehend?

Why KC, who in my opinion has put fourth unassailable arguments throughout this debacle, would write "apparently to ensure" without something specific to support it. On rereading his post, he may have been linking the "thank you for not waiting" advertisement phrase to this. I can buy that as sufficient factual support.

You also said: "Someone who is supposedly a "professor" should behave with more caution and intelligence when attempting to make statements about someone's guilt", and I agree with this fully. In a way, the sentiment you express about using caution is the reason I submitted my previous post!

When I read "apparently to ensure", the thought that went through my mind was "whoa, use caution there bud"!!!

Which I think we can agree was something fatally missing from Lubian's actions.

JoeK

gak said...

Anonymous at 3:16 said
They can say they were trying to do something good and just worded their statement poorly. (which is probably true anyway)


There was an article in N&O or H-S or one of those papers where Lee Baker said "We had a long discussion about what the word regret means". These are people who are living behind 60's hippie commune walls and don't realize that they are 30 or 40 years out of date. If Websters dictionary isn't good enough for this kind of thing, then nobody is going to understand them. As for the "ensure" comment, I believe WL gave everybody as little notice as possible to get the reactionaries on board without them thinking about it.


gak

Anonymous said...

JoeK- I can't think of any other reason to rush the "listening ad" other than the fact that the DNA results were due to be released and the time was right for stirring the media frenzy pot. If they were truly trying to address a social problem on the Duke campus (which is what they claim) there was absolutely no reason for it to be rushed. In fact, there were many reasons to take the time and care to ensure the statement said precisely what they wanted it to say and that all faculty named were in full agreement. As it is, they threw together a statement with a bunch of bogus quotes and pressured people to sign it within a matter of hours.
How else can we interpret this mad rush?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: anon 3:16

But the one part of this whole sordid episode that I cannot figure out is why why why why these professors cannot recognize the harm they caused and apologize. They can say they were trying to do something good and just worded their statement poorly. (which is probably true anyway)

They hate their white students. The 88 gangsters are the worst kind of racists. Heck even the old southern racist might have hated blacks but thought more highly of his own house servants. So as your question implies you might think they would hate white people but see some good in their own students. But the far fringe of racists are not like that.

In addition they hate the US. They believe the US was founded on racism, sexism, etc. They believe the US system of government should be radically overhauled. These students are pawns in that. Any harm the 88 gangsters have done to the criminal justice system AND EVEN DUKE ANOTHER RACIST INSTITUTION IN THEIR VIEW is all the better.

But then Duke has a president and a board that would have faculty that would destroy Duke. Such organisms usually go extinct. It will take a number of years, but without reform, it will happen and the 88 gangsters will count it a success.

Anonymous said...

I warn you this is pretty lengthy, but I think the FODU spokesperson said it best.....these professors claimed to want an honest and open dialogue, but have yet to respond in how many months?

Contact:
Jason Trumpbour, Spokesperson
Tel: (443) 834-3666
Email: jtrumpbour.fodu@yahoo.com

Background

On April 6, 2006, a group of 88 Duke University professors published an advertisement in the University newspaper The Chronicle. This ad, entitled “We are listening to our students,” contained several references to the Duke lacrosse case. It made reference to “what happened to this young woman” and stated, “To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.” It contained quotes from students such as “If something like this happens to me . . . What would be used against me--my clothing”? And “no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central to this conversation.”

These professors who became known as the “Group of 88” were widely criticized for prejudging the guilt of members of the men’s lacrosse team and for attempting to advance whatever agenda they had at the expense of these students and their reputations. Their ad was also cited by defense attorneys in their motion for a change in venue as evidence of extremely prejudicial pretrial publicity.

Nine months later, on January 16, 2007, a group containing most of the same members and now calling itself the “Concerned Faculty” posted an open letter on their website defending their original ad. Claiming that the original ad had been “broadly, and often intentionally, misread . . . as rendering a judgment in the case,” the group rejected calls to retract or apologize for it. The complete text of the Concerned Faculty statement as well as a link to their original ad can be found here.

Our Response

One of the group’s members, Ronen Plesser stated, “My personal hope is that this will be the basis for a conversation on campus . . . a conversation that will eventually lead to some understanding.” However, the January 16 open letter begs more questions than it answers about the purposes of the “Listening” ad and the sort of conversation being sought given the peculiar language used to express its points and communicate its premises. The Friends of Duke University thought it appropriate to request further clarification. To that end we have today published an ad in the Chronicle asking a series of questions gathered from comments posted on our website and that of Professor K.C. Johnson’s Durham in Wonderland site.

Friends of Duke University has repeatedly reached out to these faculty members. Our first open letter published on July 19 stated,


As for those who were quick to prejudge the accused, particularly the group of 88 professors who signed an earlier call to action, we look upon them not with malice. Instead, we ask that they now count themselves among those victimized by this spring’s false accusations. We hope that all will realize now that our enemies are not each other, but those who would profit from the unfair denigration of our university and its members.
A few days before the Concerned Faculty posted their letter, we attempted to find common ground with them by asking if they would join the University in calling for due process for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, an issue on which we hoped everyone could agree. All of our overtures have been ignored or rebuffed.

We remain sincere in our efforts to reach out to them. We are dismayed that, not only would they chose to ignore our efforts, but that they would instead respond with a defiant refusal to admit mistake either in judgment or expression and that they would insult the motives and/or intelligence of their critics. We do not begrudge members of the Group of 88/Concerned Faculty their right to call attention to social issues of concern to them. We instead condemn the unfair public vilification of members of the lacrosse team done in the course of expressing their concerns. We conclude our latest ad with an earnest question: “Would you be willing to sign a statement, such as that of the Economics Professors, saying that all students, including lacrosse players and other student-athletes, are welcome in your classes?” A copy of that statement, originally published as a letter to the Chronicle, may be found here.

Friends of Duke University supports academic freedom for both faculty and students. We have no political agenda and have a diverse following representing all sorts of political views and walks of life. What all of us have in common is a deep commitment to ensuring justice for Reade, Collin and David and fair and equitable treatment for the rest of the team and Duke students generally both on campus and off. We hope that Duke University can once again be a place of civility and mutual respect among all of its members.

On the Web:
Our site
Professor KC Johnson’s Durham in Wonderland site

Below is the full text of our ad which was published today in The Chronicle.

Some Things to Consider from the Friends of Duke University

In a recent Duke Chronicle article, Group of 88 member Ronen Plesser maintained that the new statement of a group calling itself “Concerned Duke Faculty” would form a “basis for a conversation on campus . . . a conversation that will eventually lead to some understanding.”

Friends of Duke University endorses this conversation. But we also believe that the basis for one aspect of this conversation—the meaning of the Group of 88’s April 6 ad—needs more clarification. In that light, we would like to offer some questions for the “Concerned Duke Faculty.”

Principles of Due Process



The April 6 ad explicitly thanked “students speaking individually” and “protestors making collective noise” for not waiting. The fundamental question is what was not worthy of being awaited. Time for reason to assist emotion? Time for evidence to be gathered and assessed? Time for a defense to be made? If you were so attuned to due process, why did you fail to mention it in your April 6 ad?


In your recent statement, you stated “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.” Do you or do you not endorse the “potbanging” protest that was widely covered in the media? Could you explain to the University community what criteria you used in the April 6 ad to determine which protests were worthy of your endorsement and which protests merited your disapproval?


In your recent statement, you claim to “stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence.” What, then, should readers of the April 6 ad have inferred from your reference to “what happened to this young woman”? Given that she had accused members of the Duke lacrosse team of rape, isn’t that the obvious inference, carrying with it implied guilt of some members of the lacrosse team?


Do you believe that Mike Nifong acted properly when he went to the grand jury on April 17 to seek indictments against Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty?

Statements of Your Fellow Signatories


Do you agree with the March 31 Chronicle op-ed of your colleague and fellow signatory, Bill Chafe, who suggested that the whites who lynched Emmett Till provided an appropriate historical context through which to interpret the actions of the lacrosse players?


Do you agree with the claim of your colleague and fellow signatory, Karla Holloway, that innocence and guilt have been “assessed through a metric of race and gender. White innocence means black guilt”? If so, which pieces of evidence cited by defenders of the players relate to race and gender?


Your colleague and fellow signatory, Alex Rosenberg, told the New York Sun on October 27 that he signed the ad because he was 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.” Was raising this issue one of the ad’s purposes?

The University and Its Students


Will you document the methodology used to obtain a representative cross section of campus opinion for the “listening” statement?


The April 6 ad contains the following anonymous quote from an alleged Duke student: “Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night, and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me.” Have any of you approached the Duke police force to ask if it has a policy of slowing down when officers see a Black man on campus? Have any of you experienced or observed this phenomenon?


In your recent statement, you criticized those who read the April 6 ad “as rendering a judgment in the case.” That ad quoted an anonymous student, who allegedly said, “no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central to this conversation” another anonymous student allegedly said, “If something like this happens to me . . . what would be used against me—my clothing?” Would you agree that these anonymous students appeared to have rendered a judgment in the case?

Looking Ahead


Given that in your new statement you criticized an atmosphere that allowed “sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus,” would you recommend that female students accepted to the Class of 2011 attend Duke? If so, how could you support their entering an environment that you have publicly described as so dangerous?


Would you be willing to sign a statement, such as that of the Economics Professors, saying that all students, including lacrosse players and other student-athletes, are welcome in your classes?

These questions were gathered from comments made on our website, and on Professor KC Johnson’s website. Friends of Duke University does not endorse anonymous e-mails and does not endorse efforts to threaten or harass members of the lacrosse team, or any other Duke University students. Nor do we endorse efforts to threaten or harass signatories to the original Group of 88 Ad or the “Concerned Faculty” statement. We do, however, believe the public statements by faculty members in both instances raise important questions and we support a dialogue about the questions presented in this ad and elsewhere.

Still waiting.......

Anonymous said...

I am a simple internet user - email - bogs - getting information - travel, etc. The computer guy comes once a year for $90.00 an hour to clean up the Dell and make it work right. I had no idea a person could send an annonymous email and doubt many know how. The folk touting vile, etc emails are lying.

rrhamilton said...

Re. the latest FODU statements (5:07 PM, above):

Many or most of us are long passed viewing the Gang of 88sters as honorable opponents. Yes, if they had taken any of 365 opportunities (365 days since the ad of infamy) to repent, then we could view them as honorable opponents. They have not, thus we can not.

As a lawyer, I sense in the series of questions posed by FODU today that they will be many of the same questions which the attorneys will be asking the Gangsters under oath in a few months or years. They are necessary questions -- necessary to clarify (in the true sense of that term) the states of minds of the various Gang members.

But I was reminded by KC's posting today that one of the most important tasks we have is to ascertain the extent of the rot of anti-white institutional racism at Duke. KC points out that of the "signed on" departments, dozens of members of those departments had NOT signed the "Listening Ad" individually. My question: Have these non-signers ever disavowed their association with the ad?

Bill said...

Anon:

Let me take you back to the second "Listen to me chide you for reading and remembering exactly what we wrote" statement that another Anon posted. (Sheesh I think things would be better if we all at least had a handle, no?)

The rump-88 claimed “stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence."

Now, we know that part of the statement (apart from the rest of the BS) to be so full of poo that it could keep the prairies green from July through April. Members who were active participants in the effort to libel, slander and smear the accused were proud and unrepentant signatories of both statement. Their own words betray them there.

Compare and contrast that to the mock endoresment statement from the first "Listem to Me" statement.

We know that both stretch the credibility detectors to the far reaches of belief into... Crazy Ned's Neighborhood of No-It's-Real-I-Tell-You-Can't-You-Hear-Them?. You have to be either on or off heavy meds or a liberal arts professor (no offense ot KCJ or BillA) to believe it.

So we know the second statement's denial of supporting studnets for not waiting for whatever-it-was-that-was-bad-enough was total garbage (right down to those three little dots which all but proved that that was their original intent). Yet the first statement claiming broad institutional endorsement is to be taken as credible? I don't think so.

Neither howler has been officially challenged by any signatory or departmental representative.

And honestly, If any of the signatories told me that the sky was blue, I wouldn't believe them right now (a sad think since there are physics profs among the signatories). Nor would I right now need to refute them, they are so overdrawn in the credibility department I see no need to "enable" them even if it is to call them out. Even doing that would show that they are important enough for my attention.

As far as the departments being obligated to say something against it the statement refuting their "premeptive" endorsement, I just don't see why they would or even should do it in public until they need to for any civil proceedings. We are, afterall looking at the equivalent of a Model Dysfuncitional Family. To be sure, there is fighting among the children and yelling between naughy children, the Crazy Aunt in the Attic, but you don't always see it around the neighborhood. Methinks it's reasonable to think that there are quite a few emails going around indemnifying departments from their offical support of the statements.

I see your points and amac's points, but I have to politely disagree. I'm not making excuses for the more ethical faculty in Trinity, but I'm not expecting more people to stand from the Duke faculty than already have so I'm not going to wait for it to happen before any court summons occur.

KCJ's explorations have told us what we need to know -- that the Statement's claim have formal departmental support are as phony as we would reasonably surmise given their arrogance and tendency to spread it on thick both explicity and through innuendo. And we also know that the 88's peers in their own departments have no compunction saying so to someone who can be seen as nothing less than the 88's harshest peer-critic.

That tells me a lot there, not only of KCJ's due dilligence but also some of the non-88's desire to get the facts out (they didn't have to respond, after all). I'm willing to take that to the bank.

Cedarford said...

ist poster, an anonymous retired professor, echoes KC's statements. It is good to have these guys telling us how the internal mechanisms of an institution work.

Just as those familiar with Police Departments conclude it is "nearly impossible" that a corporal was making up defamatory statements in a high profile case and delivering them to media and Crimestoppers e-list networks on his own.

So I too am really perplexed by the silence of these departments since they seem to have endorsed the ad. Usually faculty would be outraged by such a violation of departmental process and procedure, but not at Duke. It is difficult to convey to non-academics the typical importance of such governance issues to faculty.

Apr 6, 2007 10:23:00 AM


KC said he has been rebuffed by Department heads on the matter of how 5 departments formally endorsed Prof Wahneema's ad. With no vote...evidently with no Dept Heads outside AAAS deciding on their own..
And who authorized payment of the ad.

Perhaps it was a perception that no one in their right mind at Duke should ever challenge the radicals....let it slide..keep your head down....your career and ability to enjoy collegiality won't suffer with that tactic...

I would think that while a "Letter from KC Johnson" is not the most welcome thing to see in a bunch of Dukie faculty and Administration inboxes - and with the added fear of lawsuits intimidating people - that perhaps a legally vetted response to KC's serious faculty governance questions is now due.

Might I suggest that KC write his questions to provost Lange and say that in context of the book being written, the research, the wide interest in this matter by faculties and administrations at other universities as well as general public:

1. War the ad properly authorized and paid for under existing rules?

2. Was the claimed endorsement of the ad by 5 Departments proper under faculty governance rules, or was it a false claim with consequences to the person who dragged 5 Departments into a position they never took?

3. If it was improper and violated policy and governance matters, usurped authority - why the silence and unresponsiveness to past inquiries?

Bill said...

Pardon all of my typos in that loooong post...

that last part should say that the non-88 faculty have no compunction or unease against talking to KCJ...

So much for my day off.

Georgia Girl said...

I can't comment tonight because I'm busy.

Duke Emeritus Faculty said...

On the famous ad, "How is it procedurally possible for a department to formally endorse a statement..." is not well-posed, since the ad thanked the programs for "signing onto this ad", and did not say "endorse" or even the informal and ambiguous-in-the Duke A&S-context word "sponsor". And I have no idea what "signing onto this ad" might mean.

For Professors Bill A. and KC, private universities are a lot looser about these kinds of matters than public institutions, given the different accountability issues for spending public money. Most if not all department chairs have discretionary budgets that do not need A&S expenditure approval, and certainly not departmental votes, for use, even as the expenditures are coded for accounting purposes.

When a friend needed some extra money for a conference at Duke several years ago, she realized that several speakers were from county A, and simply asked the head of an A-related program for $1500. He gave it to her and my friend named the A-program as a "sponsor", though she could have called it anything or nothing.

When there is a workshop or visiting speaker crossing department lines, the departments concerned are commonly listed as sponsors, as are other units, even while there are no "votes” taken in any unit. It's just that those units in providing something of value were named as sponsors to call attention to the good will someone in that unit offered. If some Power Point assistance by an undergraduate was provided by unit X, there is nothing to prevent the unit from thanking X for its help by saying it was a sponsor.

Lubiano's ambiguous sentence with the “signing onto the ad” is probably best explained by both misapplied enthusiasm and sloppiness. I don’t know her but I doubt that she has ever been an administrator, nor likely has she ever run an accountable budget. Because Duke is relatively small, and new, compared to Stanford, Chicago, and the Ivies, cross-unit activities are very common. There's a lot of such free-lancing at Duke, born from faculty attitudes that are both positively entrepreneurial but negatively which often treat rules and normal procedures as something that only others of less than pure heart should attend to.

Duke Emeritus Faculty

Anonymous said...

As an academic myself, I know that the fecal matter would hit the fan if the head of my dept presumed to endorse any such public statement on behalf of the entire dept without its prior approval (which he would certainly never get). No outrage or backlash by faculty appears to have registered at Duke over this. What is wrong with those people? Why do they have tenure if they are not willing to object to such a brazen assault on collegiality? Something seems to be very wrong there.

MTU'76 said...

Someone told Wahneema that on April 5th Brodhead was going to cancel the lacrosse season and hand out CCI committees to Angry Studies. Wahneema pushed her 'listening statement' through as fast as her lard butt would allow, but it was not not fast enough to get it published on April 5th, instead it came out on April 6th "like a stake through their collective hearts."

And, I know you will be shocked, SHOCKED as I was to learn that Wahneema IS 'Ned the crazy wino.'

Anonymous said...

It is striking how zealous Brodhead was in his open letter to the Duke community a year ago, promising to get to the bottom of the alleged events (which he put in the context of the history of racism, sexism and violence in the US). Now that the worm has turned, there's no apparent interest at all in clearing up all these matters, such as how all these departments came to publicly endorse the ad (among many other things). A flagrant and unashamed double standard. How on earth can Brodhead still have his posterior in that presidential chair? And where on earth are the Duke faculty?! The amazing disappearing faculty!

JWM said...

To Duke Emeritus Faculty,

Thank you for adding to the discussion.

I hope more Duke faculty join it.

You provide a lot of information and make an important point as regards discretion some at Duke who manage budgets have.

That said, a year after a full-page ad appeared claiming individual, departmental and program sponsorship, we still have no accounting of who paid for the ad; where the funds came from; whether or not the funds were authorized for such a purpose; and, as KC has asked, how departments and programs came to be listed in the ad.

I hope KC encourages people like Professor Jim Lindgren and yourself to look further at those questions which many of us are asking.

IMO, Duke should have answered them many months ago.

John in Carolina

Anonymous said...

KC: Could you put up an image of the Group of 88 ad? It's referenced so often but it's hard to actually find a copy on the net.