Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fridays with Kristin

Over the past few weeks, TGIF has taken on additional significance. No longer does Friday only hail the start of the weekend. Now, we have begun to look forward to Fridays because Kristin Butler’s “With all deliberate speed” column makes its weekly appearance in The Chronicle. With remarkable courage, diligent research, and a straightforward approach, Ms. Butler, a Duke University junior, shoots from the hip and speaks from the heart. While we see “professionals” like Bob Ashley and John Stevenson meekly kowtowing to DA Nifong, this brave young woman stands tall while taking on the District Attorney and the University’s administration.

In her latest article, "Tyranny of the minority", Ms. Butler again demonstrates her earnest willingness to speak truth by calling out the apathy of her fellow students.
“There are many, many reasons to be depressed about last week's election. But one, in particular, stands out: not many of us voted.

"According to preliminary data from the Board of Elections, turnout in Durham's precinct 5-which serves students from West and Central campuses-was the second lowest in the county, with just 18 percent of registered voters casting ballots. In precinct 2, which encompasses East Campus, the turnout was only 23 percent. Just as surprisingly, the lowest turnout of all was in the precinct serving NCCU's campus, where only 182 of 2,028 registered voters-that's just 9 percent!-cast their ballots...The message is plenty clear: We students are not participating in Durham's political determinations. Which begs the question: why the hell not?
"I confess that if concern for our classmates and the integrity of Durham's legal system weren't enough to get more of us to the polls last week, then I don't know what would be. What I do know is this: We should be ashamed of our historically low level of engagement in Durham elections, and we should all hope that the hard lessons of the past eight months will disabuse us of that habit in the future.”

Yesterday’s column follows last week’s “Time to Speak Up”, and the previous week’s “Nifong? Not fine by me.” These prior efforts represent two of the strongest additions to the discussion of the Hoax, its hijacker, District Attorney Mike Nifong and some of his apologists.

“I was shocked and dismayed by the outcome of that election. It's hard to imagine what-if anything-49 percent of Durham residents were thinking when they voted for District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has disgraced this community before a national audience. But even as we acknowledge Nifong's electoral victory, Duke students should continue to reject the ignorant, counterfactual and deeply offensive logic embraced by many of his proponents.

"To see what I mean, consider this statement from Harris Johnson, a Nifong supporter and longtime Durham resident: "[Nifong's victory] just goes to show that justice can't be bought by a bunch of rich white boys from New York… no matter how much money you have, Durham is owned by its citizens."

Surprisingly, Duke's own Associate Professor of Literature Grant Farred advanced a similar argument in his Oct. 27 letter to the Herald-Sun. Citing many students' decision to register to vote locally this fall, Farred wrote: "Duke students are notorious in their disconnect from the 'black' city of Durham…. The plan here is not to act in Durham or for the general good of Durham, but to act against the non-Duke Durham community." Farred concludes that "the goal of these new, expedient and transient members of Durham's political community is to repair the damage done to historic white male privilege by voting against" Mike Nifong. Both of these arguments boil down to the same insinuation: that Duke students aren't "real" Durham residents, and we have no place in this town's political determinations.

"Well, Professor Farred and Mr. Johnson, I have news for you: We are very much citizens of this community, and one electoral defeat will not keep us from continuing to demand our rights as such. Let's face the facts. We spend at least 70 percent of each of our four college years in Durham, and during that time we're subject to the same local laws, taxes and responsibilities as everyone else. What's more, fully 15 percent of undergraduates and the vast majority of graduate and professional students actually live in Durham neighborhoods, paying rent to Durham landlords and living alongside long-term residents. A boon to the local economy, all 12,085 Duke students spent approximately $92.5 million here during the 2005-2006 school year-and that's a conservative estimate. It's not even possible to calculate the number of community service hours Duke students devote to Durham each year; suffice it to say that the number is safely in the tens of thousands. Still, we do know that Duke students, while studying at a university the tuition and fees of which nearly exceed Durham's average yearly income, nonetheless managed to donate 80,000 of their own dollars to this community in 2005. So let's not avoid the important question any longer: Are these not the "badges and incidents" of citizenship? How much longer will Durham residents continue to disregard our participation in the residential, economic and civic activities of this community, all of which predated our recent claim to political enfranchisement?”

“In 239 days, Mike Nifong has sullied his 27-year career with the Durham District Attorney's office. During that time, Nifong has been roundly criticized for procedural and ethical violations…If the past seven months have taught us anything at all, it's this: Mike Nifong is not fit to be our district attorney…His highly unethical and unprofessional conduct is as serious as it is systematic; prominent among Nifong's most egregious acts is his refusal to consider exculpatory evidence, even as he misrepresented the facts of the case to media outlets…And as we all found out last week, Nifong has never spoken-not once!-to the alleged victim about the events of that night; still, he had no reservations about telling Bill O'Reilly that "there is not a doubt in my mind that [the alleged victim] was raped and assaulted at this location" and announcing to Dan Abrams that "I am convinced that there was a rape, yes sir."…This brings us to an important point: It was Mike Nifong's mouth-at least as much as Durham's racial or socioeconomic tensions-that blew this case out of proportion…While giving more than 50 interviews in the first days of the investigation, Nifong called the players "hooligans," wondered aloud "why one would need an attorney if one had not done anything and was not charged," and denounced their "blue wall of silence" to the press…Despite the fact that such grandstanding is clearly in violation of prosecutors' ethical code, Nifong continued to claim that the students' "daddies could buy them expensive lawyers" and that they knew the right people, while even questioning their "manhood."…This arrogant, self-serving commentary is chief among the reasons why I will be voting against Mike Nifong on Tuesday.”

In previous columns, Ms. Butler has taken on the University’s admission policies as influenced by the Office of Development, Duke's judicial philosophy as enforced by the Office of Judicial Affairs and the Undergraduate Judicial Board, and even the apparent hypocrisy of Rev. Sam Wells, Dean of the Chapel.

Kristin Bultler on Duke’s admission policies:

Regardless of how much cash is generated, development preferences offend our most basic notions of equality and fairness. Indeed, these students have enjoyed every advantage, from access to the best prep schools to personal SAT tutors and beyond. Why, then, should what former admissions officer Rachel Toor described as "the weakest part of our applicant pool" be given "places that could easily have been filled by regular kids?" Truly, this is the most anti-egalitarian and anti-meritocratic policy I have ever encountered in all my time at Duke.

"Cissy Bunn, who is the mother of Maude Bunn, Trinity '05, offered the following observation: "Did my normal child take the place of somebody who could really make a difference in the world? Sure, yes, to an extent. But there are so many things you can lose sleep over. I'm happy for me and my child."

"Caroline Diemar, Trinity '03, noted that "everyone has something that got them into Duke. I didn't have athletics, I didn't have race, I wasn't the artistic person, I didn't play an instrument, I wasn't in student government.... Networking is how you go about everything."

Yes, Caroline, you're absolutely right: Each and every one of us is here because an admissions officer saw that special "something" in our file. Of course, I was under the impression that this "something" was related to intellectual achievement, creative talent or perhaps a personal accomplishment. Now I know better. Nevertheless, the task before this University is clear: we must find a way to reconcile our need for donations with our meritocratic values. The first step is to stop pandering to the rich and their children."

“Sept. 13, an existing policy was clarified: Students' off-campus conduct will definitely be investigated and punished by on-campus authorities. Before administrators get too ahead of themselves, I wish they would consider one thing about our judicial process: It. Doesn't. Work.

Indeed, although academic infractions are down sharply since the implementation of the Duke Community Standard, non-academic violations-particularly those involving alcohol-have skyrocketed during the past 10 years. In its current state, Duke's judicial philosophy is wholly unsuited to reduce alarming levels of binge drinking and
out-of-control partying; simply expanding the jurisdiction of the Office of Judicial Affairs is not an answer.

This is primarily because our Undergraduate Judicial Board is more akin to a clandestine military tribunal than a legitimate judicial body. The Board's membership is secret, the regulations it enforces are subject to change without notice and its agenda is set by administrative fiat, proudly unbound by our student-ratified constitution. Indeed, Stephen Bryan, associate dean of students and director of judicial affairs, told The Chronicle that "[Duke students] are contractually owned by Duke University."

“We've heard so much during the past six months about the so-called "culture of crassness" at Duke. More specifically, undergraduates have been assigned what Rev. Sam Wells, Dean of the Chapel, called a "subculture of reckless 'entitlement,' sexual acquisitiveness and aggressive arrogance."

"Of course, these social tensions are hardly unique to this University. Without a doubt, our struggle has become public in light of the lacrosse scandal. But we don't get off that easily. After all, it's Duke-and not any other top-10 institution-that consistently ranks among the top colleges with "Little Race/Class Interaction" and where "Town/Gown Relations Are Strained" in surveys like those conducted by the Princeton Review. What, then, is it about this place that fosters the culture of I Am Charlotte Simmons and Rolling Stone's lacrosstitutes?

"And why is the notorious debauchery and bacchanalia concentrated among a minority of students? The answer is that these problems are systematic-and not cultural-in origin. Indeed, this intractable "culture of crassness" is situated directly atop the friction between the academic and non-academic missions of this University. Encapsulating this struggle is the current discussion regarding differential admissions policies, especially Duke's acknowledged preference for the children of wealthy non-alumni. Clearly, all universities need money to operate, and this approach has proven an effective way to solicit large donations. But by reinforcing the privilege already enjoyed by wealthy, almost universally white students, this policy (which is compounded by legacy and athletic preferences) virtually guarantees the presence of smoldering racial and socio-economic resentments on campus. Add administrators' passive-aggressive approach to housing and alcohol policies to this mix, and we uncover the ugly truth: Although our much-cited "campus culture problem" belongs to students, it was born of policy shortcomings entirely outside of our control.”

You can find each of Kristin Butler’s columns here: The Chronicle: Kristin Butler
Philip Wood


Anonymous said...

Kristin Butler for interim President of Duke University! How would that do for power to the people? She is running circles around the p.c. conniver, Broadhead, who has shown the University the community, and the nation that he is a hollow man, unfit to lead. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

Well, now we know we have two people awake at Duke, Prof Coleman and Duke Student Kristin Butler.

It's a start!

Anonymous said...

to: 1207

Wasn't there another Duke faculty (maybe a Chemist) member a month or two ago who wrote a statement that should increase your list above to 3? He was castigated for using the phrase "tar and feather".

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Anonymous said...

To 4:04

Just back from Iraq- have not followed the Duke Case for awhile. I am trying to catch up. I was puzzled by your responce. From what I have read so far, the case is a total hoax, not the way in sounded in April when I left.
I have read about the flawed line up, incompetent DPD and DA, lack of DNA, alibis, polygrashs, etc.
What have I missed to confirm your comments?
Sounds to me Precious is a drug infested tramp!

Please send me to websites to confirm your reporting.


Anonymous said...

Why do you insist on getting off three accused rapist. They have been charged with first-degree rape which means it was planned. The ones that want this case dismissed are all racist because you know the truth but just can't accept it. As for myself, I want to know what happened that night. A court will decide the truth. If they are innocent, the truth will come out, if they're not, the truth will come out about that also. I happen to believe in our justice system. Our system of justice works.

bill anderson said...

I think that you already said that they committed rape. So, you are not interested in the truth, only a conviction. Please quit laying out crap. There is no evidence, Nifong lied time and again, the accuser was pole dancing at a time when she claimed to be badly injured, and literally none of her stories checked out.

Remember when Nifong declared that DNA would demonstrate who was guilty and who was innocent? Well, the black community (led by Victoria Peterson) declared that the DNA was negative because some people at Duke University Hospital tampered with it. So, if you don't believe that DNA matters, then you are not going to be convinced with anything else.

So, please, please, please do not give us this "a trial might prove the Duke 3 to be innocent." You would not believe it if the accuser herself admitted on the stand that the entire thing was a lie. Anyway, trials do not "prove" people innocent. At a trial, the onus is upon the prosecutor to prove "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." The representatives of the black community in Durham already have declared that any exculpatory evidence is false and always can be explained away by conspiracy theories.

And please do not lay out this crap that anyone who thinks the Duke 3 are innocent thinks so out of racism. If there is racism in this case, it is against the Duke 3. I have followed it from the beginning, and I know a hoax when I see it.

Furthermore, when I mentioned on one blog that my two adopted sons were black, immediately a black person from Durham wrote that I must have adopted them out of a racist frenzy or something like that.

Let's face it, you would not believe in the innocence of the Duke 3 for any reason, so don't try to put one over on the rest of us. Please save me the cynicism, please.

And since you already have declared that DNA evidence means nothing, I would invite you to go to the Innocence Project website, which shows a number of black males who have been exonerated of their wrongful rape convictions with DNA evidence, and if you wish to be consistent, email that site and tell them that DNA is one big lie, and that all of those men are guilty. Please, by all means be consistent here, instead of being your racist self.

I really am sick of these "the Duke 3 are guilty because a Sister Survivor accused them." Guess what, people. "Sister Survivors" did IDs on those people, too. Go to that webpage and then try to convince everyone that DNA really is a lie. And if you cannot do that, then don't send any more of your jackassery on this post.

If DNA does not exonerate white males, then it does not exonerate black males, either. So, please, go to the webpage and email them and tell them that you know the truth. Please.

Anonymous said...

To 4:04 and 7:30:

Well said Bill Anderson. Yes, it was my belief and understanding Nifong must prove guilt, not the Duke Three proving they did not commit a rape.

Back to 4:04 and 7:30- I am black and not a racist.

As the old saying goes- A grand Jury can indict a ham sandwhich.

What discovery showed a possible rape? I have spent days catching up- have not found one iota of evidense. Sounds like the chick belongs in Bellevue!

Response please.


Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 7:30:

I can accuse you of rape very easily also. Does that mean you committed the crime? I guess it does in your book!

Better watch your back... the ladies will be after you.

Men- directly to jail, ladies pass Go and collect $200.

bill anderson said...

Well said, SandTentMD.

Man, here it is 11:45 on Saturday night, and I still am doing this.

I appreciate your comments. When this is over, I am going to aim some of my guns at what I see as wrongful convictions against others, including blacks. There is no justification -- none -- for railroading innocent people regardless of race.

William Blackstone once wrote, "It is better for 20 guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted." Once upon a time, people believed it.

Now we hear that whole thing turned on its head. After the O.J. verdict, people were saying that the jury system should be abolished, and it should be easier for prosecutors to gain convictions (as though it were not easy enough already).

Well, I will say it outright; O.J. Simpson was entitled to an aggressive defense, and whether or or he "got away with murder" is irrelevant. He had good representation and his attorneys did what I would want my attorneys to do if I were in the dock: aggressively present my case to a jury.

My anger is not directed against those who might be guilty but are acquitted; it is directed at those who wrongfully prosecute and convict innocent people. Blackstone might be out of fashion in our modern, deconstructionist age, but I still hold the man in the highest esteem.

Instead of Blackstone, today we get Nifong. Backward evolution.

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Anonymous said...


Gotcha...DNA testing from National Geographic shows I am African decent, but then again, from what I have read, DNA and genetic testing is not accurate.
Perhaps, since I educated myself, went to college, have served my country, and tried to make an honest life for myself, I am not considered your kind. I am not high on the black and Mexican entitlement theories. I always felt I could prove by abilites on my own.
Some people will alwyas be stuck in a whole.
No sense communicating with you. I was being fair giving you the opportunity to defend your words about this case. You can't - you go on about racism.
Tired of wasting time.


Bill Anderson said...

The point I raise regarding my children is that when people say I am defending the Duke 3 out of racism, then they have to say also that I hate my own children. That is not showboating, and I sure as heck did not spend my life savings for the adoptions in order to showboat anything.

Now, some of the posters hate whites just like white racists hate blacks, and base all of their hateful comments on race. I realize that at least some of the people making comments on this page operate according to that thinking, and I can do nothing about that.

Furthermore, there also are some blacks and whites who relish the idea of people they don't like being wrongfully convicted. That simply is evil, but I also realize that there are people who enjoy practicing evil, and I can do nothing about that, either.

If there were something other than the accuser's accounts, I would be more inclined to believe her. However, when one looks at the evidence in its totality, and when one sees that a number of other "truths" about this investigation have proven to be untrue, then I draw the conclusion she is lying.

If the negative DNA tests for the Duke 3 mean nothing, are people then going to say that the DNA tests that have exonerated a number of black males wrongly convicted of rape also invalid? Should the Innocence Project shut down its operations and go away?

What I see a number of people in Durham saying is that even though the accuser's story does not match up with the rest of the evidence, they will assume that ALL of the exculpatory evidence has come about through various conspiracies, while the accuser's story is the ONLY thing that can be believed.

I think we have to understand that if the jury were to convict SOLELY on the testimony of the accuser and ignore all of the other evidence, and such a conviction were to stand up on appeal, then a large number of black males in this country are going to be in danger of being wrongfully convicted of rape charges, too.

If that is what the people of Durham want, then remember that there are going to be consequences for innocent people in the future. Talk to anyone who has been wrongfully accused -- black or white -- and they will tell you it is a terrifying and confusing experience. If that is what you wish to promote, then God help you.

bill anderson said...

I also need to address the comments by 7:30 PM that "our justice system works." Given that this country has one-fourth of the world's prisoners and has the single largest prison population of any country on earth, I think we need to take a harder look at what we are doing.

Go to the webpage of the Innocence Project, or read Bill Moushey's 1998 series in the Pittsburgh paper, and then try to tell me or anyone else that "our system works." No, our system is "supposed to work," but only if we do what is right, jurors are willing to look at evidence, and prosecutors are ethical.

In this "winning is everything" era, the power rests with the prosecutors, and even when they are shown to be dishonest, they are not punished. Look at the conduct of David Hoke and Debra Graves in the Alan Gell case. Look at the conduct of Nancy Lamb in the Little Rascals case.

Has anyone of these three prosecutors even paid a small price? Gell was on death row and could have been executed, yet NOTHING happened to Hoke and Graves. Hoke today is the number two man in the NC court system and clerks for the chief justice of the NC Supreme Court.

Just think, the state of North Carolina has a corrupt and dishonest prosecutor literally helping to write legal opinions that affect the lives of countless people.

So, please do not tell me that "the system works." It is a system of the prosector, by the prosecutor, and for the prosecutor. Yeah, it "works" all right; it works for the prosecutors, who are immune to any legal sanctions.

AMac said...

To the Nifong-supporting Anonymous author of multiple comments on this thread:

I've posed a set of questions to commenters such as you at K.C. Johnson's website, most recently in "Counselor Crowley Hangs His Shingle", at 5:04pm.

But I have yet to read a reply, much less one that is consistent and logical.

I'd be interested in your thoughts, if you care to share them.


Anonymous, you seem sincere, so thanks for commenting. Although your perspective is not widely shared here, clearly a plurality of voters in Durham more-or-less agree with you.

Here are some things I wonder if you could respond to, if you are so inclined:

(1) Liestoppers' posters and most of the site's readers are clear about what happened the night of 3/13--or more exactly, what didn't happen: no felonies and for that matter no misdemeanors. Pro-Due-Process bloggers (Liestoppers, Anderson, Johnson, and others) have extensively sourced the evidence behind the reasons why so many people have come to believe this. What do you think happened that night? What's the evidence? Can you link to it? (Fair warning: every other pro-Nifong commenter has flunked these evidence and links tests.)

(2) If one member of a group (say, a sports team) has done something obnoxious (say, make noise, drink in public, or respond to an epithet with an epithet), do you think that other members of that group should be charged with a felony (say, rape)? If your answer is "yes," should they be convicted? If "yes," should convictions stand even if the accused have ironclad alibis proving they were somewhere else?

(3) If you answered "yes" to one of #2's questions, which other groups in society should also be denied Due Process--or do "white collegiate lacrosse players who I dislike" stand alone? In your view, who should be empowered to decide when Social Justice considerations must trump criminal justice procedures?

gc said...

I'm not going to bother going back to check the time of the posting but the poster than said William Anderson is showboating his children is really disgusting. You have sunk to a new low.

People create families in different ways. To bring a stranger into your home and love and raise them no differently that the one that are your own flesh and blood is great gift. He merely was trying to show he has no racist bias.

I have no doubt that Bill Anderson and his wife (?) think of these two boys as their children, not as their 'adopted children'.

Anonymous said...,0,4078352.story?coll=ny-longisland-homepage

"Strangers had come to love him."

joan foster said...

Bill Anderson and his wife stand as examples to all of us...of people who live their lives in a way that makes a real difference to others. His interest and dedication to justice in this case are an extension of that.

Anonymous said...

To those who beleive Precious and firmly want the Duke Three to be found guilty (regardless of evidence proving a crime DID NOT occur):

What would you say if Precious finally admits to lying? Would you swallow your pride and admit you were wrong?
Or would they still be guilty because they are white, intelligent, from wealthy families, athletic, goodlooking ,and have every quality most people envy?

I find it very sad people "want" them to be found guitly regardless of the circumstances. Perhaps these boys have these qualities because their parents worked hard and achieved success! If anything, I admire their parents!

TombZ said...

I have read many, many more racist posts from Nifong's fans than defenders of the Duke 3.

Apparently there is great joy among the community of Nifong supporters at the prospect of a hanging (figuratively speaking).

You are a sad crew -- consumed by hate and manipulated by the Durham system.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Wood,

I've been unable to find an email address to forward my personal thanks, so I thought the comments field would be the next best thing.

Please know that I spend "Everyday with Liestoppers," and that I was delighted beyond belief to see this post.

Your kind words have warmed my heart and cheered my spirit, and I thank you very much for the vote of confidence!

-Kristin Butler

bill anderson said...

Joan, GC, and other supporters,

Thanks for your kind words. I know people can take my comments as showboating, but all I am trying to say is that I am not making my decisions in this case on the basis of race, but rather the evidence. My record demonstrates that I have stood up for people wrongfully accused, both black and white.

Unfortunately, there is a segment of Durham's population -- both black and white -- that believed at first that they HAD these guys, and now they are angry that perhaps the "evidence" was a lie. Thus, they explain everything away with conspiracy theories, and that includes Mike "It Only Took Five Minutes" Nifong.

In a court of law, the prosecution is not permitted to present conspiracy theories, and the jury is not permitted to accept conspiracy theories on behalf of the prosecution. Yet, if this case is tried in Durham, we are likely to have a conviction based on conspiracy theories. Thus, in the end, even the jury would consist of lawbreakers.

That is why I will argue vociferously for dismissal of all charges, or at least a change of venue. The people of Durham have spoken, and the message they say is that a Durham jury would not be willing to look at any evidence.

I realize this angers many readers, but I would ask them this question: Would any of you who are so clamoring for a trial to be held in Durham be willing to face the kind of jury you are advocating? What if you were charged with a crime? Would you want the prosecution to be presenting conspiracy theories against you?

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with you. First and foremost, the case should be thrown out because of the improper line up,without a line up- no identification. Secondly, all evidense shows no assult/rape occured.
I would not trust my life with a jury in a town of such hated. If a jury were fair and open to forensic findings , that would be one thing. But with people such as Chan Hall, PJ, etc.our justice system will fail.
I do have to admit, if it were not for the seriousness of the crime, the court case would be the best entertainment ever. Precious and Nifong would really put on some show.I would love to see the defense shred dear Precious to pieces!
I hope this ordeal is over as soon as possible for the Duke Three, their families, and other team members.
I applaud the efforts of the Duke Three supporters!

Anonymous said...

How can this thing still be rolling on? What about those of us who do not have the kind of money needed to defend ourselves or even post bond.I am sure Nifong is still shocked they did not plead out - remember Geraldo " they will be racing each other to the police station to plead" Wrong again Geraldo and of course no apology from him to the public or guys.