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[K.C. Johnson (guest-blogging), September 18, 2007 at 12:26pm] Trackbacks
The Group of 88

Professors like to think of themselves as aggressive defenders of due process. In theory, the academy exists for the pursuit of truth. And faculty members are, in an ideal world, more inclined to embrace the dispassionate evaluation of evidence than the passions of the mob.

The behavior of activist members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty during the lacrosse case contradicted all of these myths about the academy. And most other professors at Duke elected to remain silent as their extremist colleagues rushed to judgment and refused to reconsider their actions.

In March 2006, less than a week after Crystal Mangum's rape allegation became public, Houston Baker, a professor of English and African-American Studies, penned an open letter demanding the immediate expulsion from Duke of all 46 white players on the lacrosse team. (Several lacrosse players, in fact, hadn't even attended the party.) Baker mocked the "tepid and pious legalism" that resulted in "male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain."

Two days after Baker's missive, the former dean of faculty, History professor William Chafe, published an op-ed in the campus newspaper, the Chronicle. Entitled "Sex and Race," Chafe's op-ed suggested that the whites who kidnapped, beat, and murdered Emmett Till provided the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the behavior of the lacrosse players. In an unintentional commentary on the article's intellectual seriousness, Chafe (a historian of civil rights) misidentified the year for Till's murder, one of the crucial events in the development of the civil rights movement.

Then, on the 6th of April, 88 members of the arts and sciences faculty took to "the most easily seen venue on campus," the Chronicle, to publish a full-page ad filled with guilt-presuming anonymous quotes, allegedly from Duke students. In their own voice, the professors asserted unequivocally that something "happened to this young woman" (Mangum). Following up on protests that had featured a "castrate" banner and the widespread distribution of a "wanted" poster with lacrosse players' photos, the signatories said, "To the protesters making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard." And the ad, paid for by the African-American Studies Program, claimed the endorsement of five academic departments—even though none of the departments had actually voted on the issue.

Months later, when asked about the propriety of the ad, statement author Wahneema Lubiano (a Literature professor and 1987 Ph.D. who has never published a scholarly monograph) unintentionally testified to the groupthink evident in many Duke departments: "In the moment when the ad came out, I did not hear from one colleague that there was something wrong with the ad."

The signatories, who came to be called the Group of 88, were of differing races, genders, departments, seniority, and interaction with the lacrosse players. But they had one thing in common. Disproportionately housed in the humanities and a few social sciences departments, an astonishing 84.1 percent of Group members describe their research interests as related to race, class, or gender (or all three). Some featured research agendas that came across more as parodies than serious scholarship. To take some extreme examples: Kathy Rudy published a scholarly article reminiscing how, when she arrived in Durham, she and fellow radical feminists oriented their activities around "the ideas that women were superior and that a new world could be built on that superiority." Grant Farred's most recent book looked at the controversy over ex-Rockets' coach Jeff Van Gundy's claim a few years back that officials were making too many calls against the team's star center to wildly assert that Rockets player Yao Ming "represents the spectral presence of Chinese capital within America. He is, precisely because of his complicated ideological heritage, the most profound threat to American empire."

For those whose intellectual approach presupposes an American society deeply oppressive on grounds of race, class, and gender, the lacrosse episode was too tempting not to exploit. As Group member Mark Anthony Neal explained two days after Nifong obtained his first indictments, the allegations proved that Duke needed to rework its curriculum in "an innovative and brave" fashion, so as to teach students to behave "in a progressive manner."

The most striking aspect of the faculty's reaction, however, came not in the rush to judgment but in the professors' utter closed-mindedness as Mike Nifong's case collapsed in late 2006. A post later today will discuss the issue.

MDJD2B (mail):
[S]tatement author Wahneema Lubiano (a Literature professor and 1897 Ph.D.

She hasn't published an article in over a century!
9.18.2007 1:30pm
KC Johnson (mail) (www):
Fixed it! Transposed numbers.

That, indeed, would be quite a long time to stay an arctive faculty member . . .
9.18.2007 1:37pm
Litigator:
I like the thrust of your point. Really, I'm not trying to pick on you.

That being said, I find it kind of ironic you criticized somebody for lacking intellectual seriousness, using that they got a date wrong as evidence (without saying how off-- a year? Two? Ten?), then went on to misidentify another date by, oh, ninety years or so.

Of course, both mistakes are trivial. Still, the irony amuses me.
9.18.2007 1:44pm
CDU (mail):
I've known some deadwood professors who seem to have been around at least that long.
9.18.2007 1:45pm
whit:
"Duke needed to rework its curriculum in “an innovative and brave” fashion, so as to teach students to behave “in a progressive manner.”"

which teaches students how not to get falsely accused of rape?
9.18.2007 1:50pm
SenatorX (mail):
Litigator, really? A number swap in a date with minor relevance compared to a key civil rights date for a civil rights historian? Just doesn't seem that ironic to me...

Anyway I ignored this case when it was in the media but I am following these blog posts closely. It's a very interesting (and disturbing) story.
9.18.2007 1:50pm
guest (mail):
I may be in the minority on this, but, having read the Group of 88's statement quite carefully on many occasions, I find the statement to be so vague as to be nearly meaningless. As a result, critics of the Group of 88 tend to project onto the statement meanings that just aren't there in the text. True, the statement does say that "something happened," but by all accounts that's literally true and we don't know what "something" is being claimed. To compensate for that problem and to give the vague text a more concrete meaning that can be criticized, critics of the Group of 88 tend to link it to the "castrate" sign and other, more specific statements.

Do we have earlier drafts of the statement? That would be interesting to see.

KC, your work on this has been outstanding!
9.18.2007 1:51pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
"judgment but in the professors’ utter closed-mindedness"....or perhaps, just their abject ethical cowardice and blinding ignorance.
9.18.2007 1:53pm
Seamus (mail):
In March 2006, less than a week after Crystal Mangum’s rape allegation became public, Houston Baker, a professor of English and African-American Studies, penned an open letter demanding the immediate expulsion from Duke of all 46 white players on the lacrosse team. (Several lacrosse players, in fact, hadn’t even attended the party.) Baker mocked the “tepid and pious legalism” that resulted in “male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain.”

Doesn't Duke's toleration of this kind of intimidation foster, on the basis of the target's race and sex, a pervasively hostile environment, constituing actionable discrimination?
9.18.2007 1:54pm
atty:
I think you should be a permanent blogger. Reading VC can be as frustrating as reading the rest of the legal academy's output. Excellent post! Thanks for sharing it with us. I would add that this kind of double standard should come as no surprise. After all, borking Chemerinsky appears to be an offense without comparison.
9.18.2007 2:04pm
Brian K (mail):
guest, good point.
9.18.2007 2:07pm
Brian K (mail):
guest, good point.
9.18.2007 2:08pm
Mike Keenan:
That link to some quotes from Grant Farred's book is enlightening: “By positioning Yao as the symbolic victim of the American racial phantasmatic and his refusal to name the race or racism, by ‘mediating’ Yao, in Kundera’s sense, Van Gundy makes possible a discussion about the condition of racial politics as it pertains to African-American players in the NBA.” OK. Positioning and mediating. Why'd they fire that genius Van Gundy?
9.18.2007 2:08pm
Happyshooter:
I disagree with your premise regarding profs.

In the modern U a grad student tries to get good grades and a few classes to teach. He knows that no speech but far left speech is acceptable and will act accordingly.

Later a non-tenure position, and far left speech is required.

At last, master of speaking 'move-on' positions, he gets tenure and begins the long slog to a chair by espousing, your guessed it, far left views.

Never does truth or fairness or scientific inquiry enter into it.

The U is a place for far left views and ideas, any other view must be attacked and supressed.
9.18.2007 2:12pm
Spitzer:
It is striking that the professors involved are largely those who, like so many of their graduate school peers who want to take the most direct route to tenure, focus on theory rather than (as with their more plodding colleagues) empirical research. Theory is considered to be a good career move in graduate school, in part because it has so much cache among hiring panels, but excessive study of theory in lieu of empirical research makes one extremely vulnerable to mountebanks peddling snake oil. It reflects the sorry state of today's humanities/social sciences Ivory Tower that theory is held in such high regard (and, conversely, empirical work in such low regard) that we have a generation of professors desperately wedded to their pet theories (which are too often dopplegangers of particular German or French theorists of the early-mid 20th century) but simply untrained in the art and science of empirical research and actually testing theories.

Still, it is shocking how closely this Duke episode resembles the Tawana Brawley incident.
9.18.2007 2:13pm
KC Johnson (mail) (www):
There were earlier drafts of the statement, but none have been made public. (I know only that they exist--I've never seen them.) They would likely have come out had Duke not settled with the falsely accused players--the origins and effects of the Group statement was one item on the table in that possible suit.

On the ad's vagueness, the issue here is context. (1) How often, in the normal run of things, do 88 profs and (allegedly) five academic departments and ten more programs issue full-page ads "in the most easily seen venue on campus"?

(2) Several of the student quotes clearly presumed guilt; and the protests that I mentioned in the post received widespread coverage locally. Readers of the ad, therefore, had an obvious reference point.

(3) On the something "happened" point, 12.51 is correct: indeed, months later, signatory Karla Holloway said that maybe the signatories meant "drunkenness" happened to Mangum. So that's why 88 profs took out a full page ad?!

Finally, to Lit., my apologies again for the typo, but I'm not sure it's comparable to one of the nation's leading historians of civil rights getting the year of Emmett Till's murder wrong in an op-ed published amidst national media attention to an event on his campus. (Chafe said it occurred in 1954, it was actually 1955.) Somehow, I don't think many VC readers presumed that I was saying Lubiano had been on the faculty since 1897 . . .
9.18.2007 2:15pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Did the Baker letter exclude some LAX players who were not White? Or were all members of the team White, and the letter called for the expulsion of all team members?
9.18.2007 2:18pm
whit:
"Doesn't Duke's toleration of this kind of intimidation foster, on the basis of the target's race and sex, a pervasively hostile environment, constituing actionable discrimination"

it's not discrimination when it's white men. just like white men can be racists, but black men and women can't

because the former have "power" and "privilege" and the latter don't

or so the leftists say
9.18.2007 2:22pm
Nifonged:
There was one black player on the team. You can read the letter in the link above and Peter Lange's response to it.
9.18.2007 2:24pm
whit:
the largely unsung heroes of this incident was the DUKE women's LAX team

on the whole, they supported their male counterparts, and the pressure on them was IMMENSE to be with the 'sisterhood' and come out and attack the men's lacrosse team

sites such as feministing, dem underground, etc. were full of people spewing vile towards them as "traitors to women" (or wimmin) for daring to presume innocence, and believing the charges unlikely
9.18.2007 2:29pm
Nifonged:
"sites such as feministing, dem underground, etc. were full of people spewing vile towards them as "traitors to women""

You don't even need to go as far as the wingnut sources to show the contempt for the women's lacrosse team.

Harvey Araton of the NYT and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN mercilessly berated them, and Michael McCann on the sports law blog referred to them as simpletons.
9.18.2007 2:35pm
wfjag:
"The most striking aspect of the faculty’s reaction, however, came not in the rush to judgment but in the professors’ utter closed-mindedness as Mike Nifong’s case collapsed in late 2006."

Perhaps, Professor Johnson, that the "Gang of 88" do not wish to be accused of a "lack of collegiality, a subject that you are well familiar with, and may wish to explain to the readers of this blog in detail.
9.18.2007 2:44pm
guest (mail):

On the ad's vagueness, the issue here is context. (1) How often, in the normal run of things, do 88 profs and (allegedly) five academic departments and ten more programs issue full-page ads "in the most easily seen venue on campus"?



Academics and even students sign letters all the time, although admittedly the facts here were unique.


(2) Several of the student quotes clearly presumed guilt; and the protests that I mentioned in the post received widespread coverage locally. Readers of the ad, therefore, had an obvious reference point.


Once again, meaning is being supplied by selection of speech outside the text. By my reckoning, there is one student quote implicity incompatible with innocence (begins with "I can't help but think . . . ") There is another student quote that yields a natural reading of assuming the truth of the allegation (beginning with "Everything seems up for grabs . . .")

At the same time, there are express statements premised on "if" the allegations are true. One is from a student ("if it turns out . . . "). The profesors say "regardless of the results of the investigation . . . " and then reference everyday racism and sexism. To me, that statement is compatible with "even if the investigation doesn't support the allegation, we need to discuss everyday racism and sexism." They echo that point in the bottom when they reference the issues they want addressed regardless of how the police and courts come out on the allegations.


(3) On the something "happened" point, 12.51 is correct: indeed, months later, signatory Karla Holloway said that maybe the signatories meant "drunkenness" happened to Mangum. So that's why 88 profs took out a full page ad?!


Once again, you point to context outside the text. Isn't it true that by all accounts, there was drunkeness, and hired strippers, and cross words back and forth between the dancer and the attendees? (I'm not claiming that such behavior is criminal! And I'm not getting on a high horse either.) In other words, even by the account offered by the lacrosse players, something happened that no one is particularly proud of. You concede that, right?
9.18.2007 2:46pm
Jason F:
The relevant portion of Prof. Baker's letter reads as follows:


Surely the answer to the question must come in the form of immediate dismissals of those principally responsible for the horrors of this spring moment at Duke. Coaches of the lacrosse team, the team itself and its players, and any other agents who silenced or lied about the real nature of events at 610 Buchanan on the evening of March 13, 2006. A day that, not even in a clichéd sense, will, indeed, always live in infamy for this university.


I think Prof. Baker's letter is reprehensible as written and I'm not sure why there's a need to recharacterize it as "demanding the immediate expulsion from Duke of all 46 white players on the lacrosse team" when he, in fact, demands the immediate expulsion from Duke of all 47 players on the lacrosse team.
9.18.2007 2:48pm
Nifonged:
Jason F. raises a good point about that specific passage in Baker's letter, but reading the full text shows that Baker referred to "white" or "whiteness" 11 times. It would be a reasonable conclusion that his scorn was towards the "white" players, regardless of his lack of inclusion in that specific passage.

Can one imagine a faculty member writing a letter referring to "black" perjoratively 11 times?
9.18.2007 2:53pm
whit:
and of course, the media had no problem splashing the face(s) of the accused in this case.

any pictures been published of mangum on the front pages of these same magazines?

of course not.
9.18.2007 2:59pm
guest (mail):
I don't want to belabor this point about the vagueness of the Group of 88's statement, but I forgot to add in my last post that in light of the super-charged atmosphere, I find it revealing that they took pains not to assert expressly or implicitly that the allegations were true. That is to their credit.

To their discredit, nowhere did they expressly reserve judgment on the truth of the allegation (e.g., "let's see what the facts show," or "innocent until proven guilty" or "it's important that the courts treat everyone fairly").

Their decision to carefull avoid both those statements yielded a statement onto which many people are projecting more concrete meanings than can be sustained, imho.

For the big picture, this was a travesty of justice. The fact that the accuseds' proposed settlement would include procedural fairness for future criminal defendants speaks volumes about their character.
9.18.2007 3:07pm
James Kabala (mail):
"Kathy Rudy published a scholarly article reminiscing how, when she arrived in Durham, she and fellow radical feminists oriented their activities around 'the ideas that women were superior and that a new world could be built on that superiority.'"

Maybe Sally Field should consider an academic career!
9.18.2007 3:15pm
Al (mail):
Guest,

The vagueness of the Gang of 88 statement is certainly a relevant issue. However, you ignore, among other things, both the context of the statement (as Johnson points out above) as well as what was, to me at least, the most damning part of the statement: the explicit thanking of the potbangers and other protestors for "making noise and not waiting."
9.18.2007 3:29pm
newt:
Guest,

I read it differently. You can point out the literal text and read it literally, but the message that came across was loud and clear. Everything was properly couched to let the professors off the hook, "just in case" but most normal people read the Group of 88 letter to be a fairly strong indictment. You can play semantics, and you're right.

But the message under the text comes across loud and clear to me. People aren't projecting, people are reacting to the what seems to be well-couched intent.

Now, I'm going to add my own inference: I would think that a group of people, likely to be well versed in public speaking, know exactly how to create perception and intent while being careful of accusations. Having done quite a bit of public speaking on economics and technology issues, I know that I can safely create a message and perception that garner me no trouble as I couch my message in certain terms that I can always use to get me off the hook.
9.18.2007 3:30pm
LTEC (mail) (www):
1) It makes little sense to complain that one these people doesn't publish enough (or at all), when those that do publish write such utter crap.

2) Speaking of utter crap, there was no ambiguity -- intended or understood at the time -- in the Group letter. The intent was and is clear if one reads the whole thing rather than trying to reinterpret isolated tidbits out of context; the context includes the earlier "castrate" demonstrations, Baker's letter, Chafe's statement, and previous such Group statements (or their lack). With everyone screaming about rape, it is absurd to say that the "something" that happened was drunkenness or double-dipping.
9.18.2007 3:34pm
j.nc:
The draftees of the ad are high level professors at a major university - representing areas of study that one would expect to hold a certain expertise in written communication. IMHO they failed miserably in writing a coherent message that could be understood for what they actually intended to say or mean. For pete's sake - these are high level academics - get it right please.

Unless they purposely aimed to be vague. But I’m not sure I can give them that much credit.

D+ at best. See me after class.
9.18.2007 3:42pm
another guest:
To his credit, KC links to an image of the G88 statement, and I folks to read it for themselves and decide if it can honestly be described as a page "filled with guilt-presuming anonymous quotes" (my emphasis).

The point of the statement--and most of the quotes--wasn't to comment on the specifics of the case, but to direct attention to what the signatories and some students believed were larger problems of racism and sexism on the Duke campus. As I read it, those statements are not only vague but traffic in an overwrought sense of victimhood that itself ought to be examined rather than uncritically encouraged. And given the furor over the charges, it certainly would have been a good time for the professors to call for measured and considerate discussion and not rhetorical bomb throwing.

All that said, it's still a grossly unfair and tendentious reading of the statement to associate it with the "Castrate" banner at one of the protests--even though KC doesn't seem to be able to mention the one without reflexively mentioning the other.
9.18.2007 3:51pm
Nifonged:
another guest, who do you think the faculty members were referring to with this passage:

"To the students speaking individually and the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard."

I wasn't in Durham at the time, but the protest I recall was the one at the house where the castrate banner was quite conspicuous. Kim Curtis (one of the gang of 88) was there, and perhaps other signatories were present as well.

I'm also perplexed about the "waiting" reference, but that's another matter altogether.
9.18.2007 4:08pm
abu hamza:
"guest" has on 2 posts insisted that "something happened" which is the same as the people who concluded "something must have happened" in this case. But that's not right at all. NOTHING happened. There was no crime or assault at all. And that's why the state attorney general made the very unusual pronouncement that 'these boys are INNOCENT' because it wasn't just a case of well somehting happened, but the evidence is just too scarce to convict. it was a case of nothing happening. It was just a whole lotta nothin and these players were totally innocent. wow those scholars look absolutely terrible in KC's post. especially that jackass who wrote the open letter. How can any one take him seriously. And what a devastating blow to "african American studies" and "women's studies" and "gender studies" etc. that 80+% of the signatories to the group of 88 were from those touchy-feely-worthless fields of study.
9.18.2007 4:11pm
Perseus (mail):
In theory, the academy exists for the pursuit of truth. And faculty members are, in an ideal world, more inclined to embrace the dispassionate evaluation of evidence than the passions of the mob. The behavior of activist members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty during the lacrosse case contradicted all of these myths about the academy.

No doubt the Gang of 88 would point out that "the pursuit of truth" and the "the dispassionate evaluation of evidence" is racist, sexist, elitist discourse that serves to reinforce the patriarchal, Eurocentric, hegemonic power structure. And the attempt to discredit these faculty members by showing how they supposedly failed to live up to those patriarchal, Eurocentric constructs exemplifies how the voices of those who strive to empower oppressed groups are systematically marginalized.
9.18.2007 4:13pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
guest,

Yes, this is a quite common situation with these racial arguments. People often try to make their point without literally saying anything that might be too controversial so they can cover their ass if necessary. However, there are well established conversational implicatures that let us fill in what they mean from their failure to repudiate this interpretation. These are smart college professors who knew damn well how people would interpret their statement so the fact that they made the statement anyway suggests they at least don't disapprove of those obvious interpretations.

I don't think we ought to allow the group of 88 to get away with not being blamed for the implications of their statement anymore than they would let a racist get away with out being blamed for the implications of their statement.

I mean whenever you hear a white guy talk about how he doesn't have anything against blacks he just thinks that each race needs to keep to itself or one of the other common covers for racism do you just interpret them as saying what they literally mean? Do you think anyone in the group of 88 would?

---

As an aside I'm not convinced the people in some of these disciplines deserve to be called scholars. My distinct impression is that in much of the identity based disciplines (gender studies, african american studies, etc..) the standards are less about some objective notion of the truth and more about advancing a particular point of view. In other words they often publish what are more like political policy papers than serious academic research. I could be wrong but that's been my impression.
9.18.2007 4:20pm
Dan Weber (www):
What other protests were happening on campus?

I mean this as an honest question.
9.18.2007 4:21pm
Anon. Lib.:
Professor Johnson,
I agree with the sentiment that particular Duke faculty members were wrong to have rushed to judgment in this case. However, your comment regarding Professor Lubiano's productivity does not appear to be true. Professor Lubiano's CV, which is available on her faculty page (the link is on her faculty page below), lists 25 published articles (by my count) as well as numerous lectures, book projects, and other works. I have no idea of the merit of these articles but they seem to exist. Is your position that her CV is fictitious? Are you employing a narrow definition of "scholarly monograph?"

http://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/WomensStudies/faculty/wah
9.18.2007 4:22pm
Steven Horwitz (mail) (www):
Scholarly monograph = book for KC.
9.18.2007 4:28pm
another guest:
Nifonged - Whom do I think the G88 professors were referring to?

Well, since the advertisement quotes a bunch of student statements, it seems like those students--and the sentiments they express-would be the place to start.
9.18.2007 4:28pm
bittern (mail):

Theory is considered to be a good career move in graduate school, in part because it has so much cache among hiring panels, but excessive study of theory in lieu of empirical research makes one extremely vulnerable to mountebanks peddling snake oil. It reflects the sorry state of today's humanities/social sciences Ivory Tower that theory is held in such high regard (and, conversely, empirical work in such low regard) that we have a generation of professors desperately wedded to their pet theories (which are too often dopplegangers of particular German or French theorists of the early-mid 20th century) but simply untrained in the art and science of empirical research and actually testing theories.

It's "cachet."
9.18.2007 4:32pm
AntonK (mail):
Dear Anon. Lib @ 3:22

He refers to the common meaning of monograph, which is a book-length work.
9.18.2007 4:40pm
Nifonged:
Another guest are you just ignoring the other part of the thanking, namely the reference, "and the protestors making collective noise"?

As an aside, I call BS that all of the quotes on the ad are legitimate quotes from students, the majority of them don't have a cite yet contain quite a bit of detail.
9.18.2007 4:41pm
j.nc:
Anon. Lib.:

Notice she was an editor and "contributor" to one book. The other two books listed are "forthcoming" (not published) and have been "forthcoming" for many years as KC has pointed out on his blog here.

I think "Scholarly monograph" is explained thereabouts too.
9.18.2007 4:42pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
From the context of the professors' statement: These students [who know themselves to be objects of sexism and racism] are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and themselves. Unless these profs specialize in non-sequiturs, they stated in that ad that Crystal was the object of white male racism and sexism, just as their students are.
9.18.2007 4:51pm
catullus (mail):
Perseus: You have great potential to achieve tenure and a chair in one of Duke's superb haumanties departments. Truly insightful.
9.18.2007 4:53pm
Pliny, the Elder (mail):
"And faculty members are, in an ideal world, more inclined to embrace the dispassionate evaluation of evidence than the passions of the mob"

What evidence is there for this assertion? It reminds me of the part of Russo's Straight Man where one faculty member says "We're all reasonable people" and the Chair responds something like "When has that ever been true in this Department?"

With the POSSIBLE exceptions of in law and philosophy, I have seen no evidence at any of the four universities I at which I have studied, nor at the three at which I have taught, that this is true outside of the natural sciences and engineering.

It is not that faculty members are evil, it is that they are no different than any other folks and equally driven by passion and prejudice. In an ideal world, every person would dispassionately evaluate evidence!
9.18.2007 4:55pm
Jaime non-Lawyer:
I just love the phrase "deploy hate speech." It gives me this image of a lacrosse player in his secret lair, hair slicked back, gently stroking his Persian cat, barking orders to his minions, "Deploy the hate speech! Bwahhahaha."
9.18.2007 5:05pm
-RD:
I agree with TruePath. While this may be a blog for lawyers accustomed to parsing language, the G88 statement must be read in the context of the events happening at the time. Only an attorney (like myself) or a self-deluding signor would interpret that statement in a manner other than a judgment of the men's lacrosse team. And it was gas on the fire at the time.

That being said, it would have been merely an error in judgment (again giving the signors the benefit of context at the time), had they followed up with a retraction or some sort of acknowledgement of the error. They didn't (and haven't).

In my view, hiding behind plausible deniability, and the failure to issue a mea culpa, is more than an error in judgment, it is an indication of character. This may be compared to Prof. Baldwin's more classy reaction, when he was attacked for using the phrase "tarred and feathered" in his rejection of the so-called listening statement. When some G88 defender (in my opinion, disingenuously) claimed the phrase was racist, Prof Baldwin politely apologized to anybody that might have been inadvertently offended.
9.18.2007 5:12pm
whit:
and of course calling for the castration of the LAX players is not "hate speech".

again, because they have "power" and "privilege"
9.18.2007 5:21pm
another guest:
Nifonged - No, I'm not ignoring the part of the statement thanking the protesters, which is why I referred above to the "furor" over the case, and why I faulted the G88 for not calling for more reasoned and deliberate discussion at such an inflammatory time.

But that's the point--I think there are plenty of valid criticisms of the G88 statement that can be made without resorting to a tendentious reading of it. And I think it's tendentious to associate the G88 with the "Castrate" sign without acknowledging the student statements that are actually quoted in the ad, and without acknowledging that the G88's purpose was to address what they perceived as problems of racism and sexism on the Duke campus.
9.18.2007 5:22pm
r78:

And most other professors at Duke elected to remain silent as their extremist colleagues rushed to judgment and refused to reconsider their actions.

So what, in your opinion, would be the appropriate course of action for the "other professors" at Duke to have followed?

Should they have also taken out a full page ad? Would a 1/2 page ad have been enough.

What if you were an "other professor" who didn't follow the news very closely (perhaps you were teaching instead). Would you, nonetheless, be obligated to get yourself up to speed and decide whether you should sign onto the "anti-88" ad.

Or should you take out an ad that said, "I really don't know anything about this case. The allegations sound troubling but I don't know if any of it is true and I don't necessarily think that people should take out newspaper ads advocating positions on pending criminal cases unless they are very familiar with the facts." Would that be okay?
9.18.2007 5:49pm
r78:
Oh, and by the way, I note none of your posts thusfar have discussed the ongoing slaughter in Darfur?

Does that mean that you agree with what is happening?
9.18.2007 5:50pm
Nifonged:
Fair enough, but I still think you're giving the gang's motive too much leeway, as I mentioned above the majority of the quoted statements didn't have cites (in other words, they could have just been made up for purposes of the statement) and although I didn't attend Duke for either undergrad or law, from my experiences at similarly ranked (for whatever that's worth) institutions that share the same student demographics, these places aren't exactly hotbeds of racism and sexism.

It takes a fairly generous attitude to assume that the purpose was addressing perceived racism/sexism issues generally (unless the "perception" is steeped in their own biases). A more cynical person would rather see it as an attempt by academics in departments that have stakes in race/gender studies to validate their own existence.
9.18.2007 5:53pm
Releasee? (mail):
KC: Did the settlement agreements signed by Duke and the players require the players to release faculty members? If so, it would be great to learn about how such a requirement came to be. After all, if the faculty members were convinced of their position, there would surely be no need for releases.
9.18.2007 5:55pm
KC Johnson (mail) (www):
To the 4.55:

Yes--this was an extraordinary aspect of Duke's settlement with the players: the settlement released all members of the Group of 88 (plus a handful of other Duke profs who had publicly criticized the players), but only for statements they made before the signing of the settlement (June 18). To my knowledge, not one member of the Group of 88 has made any statement about the lacrosse case since the signing of that settlement.

On the question of whether there were other protests at Duke during the run-up to the Group's ad: yes. The castrate protest occurred on the 26th. There were campus protests on the 27th and 28th on the campus quad, in which students signed petitions denouncing the lacrosse team and demanding that the guilty come forward. Then, on the 29th, the "wanted" posters were distributed. These protests all received extensive coverage in the campus and local media. The ad's origin was on the 29th, and it was circulated until April 3, when submitted for final publication.
9.18.2007 6:10pm
r78:

Yes--this was an extraordinary aspect of Duke's settlement with the players: the settlement released all members of the Group of 88

Are you a lawyer who practices litigation?

If so, you would know that releases are typically over-inclusive and overbroad because the parties want to insure that they never had to deal with the matter again.

Had the release NOT included the gang of 88, then each of them would have potentially been subject to suit and, since they were arguably acting in the course and scope of their employment, Duke may have been required to defend each and every one of those suits.
9.18.2007 6:23pm
R. Richard Schweitzer (mail):
Perhaps Duke, led by a Progressive faculty will start into a decline of another sort.
9.18.2007 6:25pm
WonkoTheSane (mail):
Has there been follow-up from Baker, publicly, about his "open letter"? Standing behind it, apologizing for it, recanting it? Or has he just been silent on the issue.
9.18.2007 6:51pm
New Pseudonym (mail):
Please, I publicly call on all of you to wait until all the facts are in before deciding whether "guest" and "another guest" have stopped beating their wives.
9.18.2007 7:28pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So what, in your opinion, would be the appropriate course of action for the "other professors" at Duke to have followed?"

Seventeen economics professors at Duke figured it out.
9.18.2007 7:50pm
Anon. Lib.:
"Monograph" is not a synonym for "book." Monographs are often essays or articles --- which can be included in collections. To cite Webster's, it is "a learned detailed thoroughly documented treatise covering exhaustively a small area of a field of learning." And Webster's defines "treatise" as "a writing (as a book or article) that treats a subject." Its simply not true that Professor Lubiano has not published any "scholarly monographs" simply because she not published any books. And it is untrue to claim that she has produced no scholarly monographs when she has, in fact, published articles that are monographs within the ordinary meaning of that term.
9.18.2007 8:28pm
j.nc:
Anon. Lib.:

I believe you are 100% correct about the definition of monograph in a general sense - in terms of a general usage. Now, "scholarly monograph" in the usage of expected output on the level of a PhD – college professor - expected to "publish" may have a different sense when it comes to books -and at least, articles.

For example, how seriously as an academic journal (is that the correct term?), in the community, is the publication taken in which the article appears? Is it an academic journal, general interest, or niche only specific publication (examples – think of others)? An academic styled (and peer accepted) journal would have the weight and validation.

Is the article open for peer review (though some are skeptical about how valid peer review is in some fields –what it really amounts to)

Is the article “accepted” for publication after being refereed (juried) or was the article published simply because it was submitted/requested. Some publications are no more than fanzines, others like Nature, or Science (to pick a few more broadly known examples from the sciences) require articles to undergo first a screening by the editor, followed by peer review before being accepted for publication.

I, many of us, could write some deep article on some learned subject (or even less then learned subject) in some trade journal, university publication, or maybe even Reader’s Digest (examples – think of others) but that does not mean it necessarily qualifies as a "scholarly monograph”? No.

I make no comment or judgment on the publications/magazines listed in this professor’s CV. Just trying to provide examples of what I always understood the term, "scholarly monograph” to mean based on my science, biology, &engineering academic and professional background, college professors and research scientists in my family, etc. The humanities may have – what I would have to say – looser standards… but hope that is not the case for the sake of the typical expectation of what "scholarly monograph” means.

Maybe someone versed in the non-science realm of publishing in this sense can chime in.
9.19.2007 1:35am
neurodoc:
I don't think I have agreed with a single thing r78 has had to say about this matter, but I must concur in this point about the release(s). Arguably, if the lawyers representing Duke did not obtain releases that covered the Gang of 88, or at least tried to cover them, they would have been professionally negligent, since that would be a reasonable expection of them. And much as plaintiffs might like more than just the money they will be paid, they usually take the money, accept the confidentiality requirement, and forego the opportunities they might otherwise have had to rub the defendant(s)'s nose(s) in it publically.

Too bad this didn't go forward so that discovery could have brought to light more, and it would be great if details of the settlements were to leak.
9.19.2007 2:41am
Lee David (mail):
A real question, from a non lawyer. Does the release agreement preclude any of the gang of 88 from publishing an apology. To my way of thinking, if there is no prohibition, the lack of any public statement from these people after the revelation of the facts, would cause me to presume such a severe lack of character on their part that I would deem them unworthy any respect and deserving of derision from every quarter.
9.19.2007 4:56am