Thursday, January 18, 2007

Adding Insult to Injury

Rejected for publication by The Chronicle and unable to find an alternate local venue, a group of Duke University Professors posted a joint statement to the web site of local filmaker Rodrigo Dorfman earlier this week. The "Open letter to the Duke community" represents the latest effort to rationalize the infamous "Listening Ad" issued by Duke's Group of 88 in response to the opportunity for agenda advancement presented by the Hoax. Defiantly rejecting countless calls to apologize for the ad, sixty-four members of the original Group of 88 are joined by twenty-six new converts in claiming a mutual motivation for the production and publication of the Listening Ad that has widely been perceived as a rush to judgement against the innocent students victimized by the Hoax. While refusing to repudiate the earlier statement, Duke's professors blame their critics' poor reading comprehension and ulterior motives for the outrage the Ad incited.
An Open Letter to the Duke Community

"In the spring of 2006, the Duke community was rocked by terrible news. We heard that a woman hired to perform at a party thrown by our lacrosse team had accused members of the team of raping her. Neighbors, we were told, heard racial epithets called out at the woman as she departed the party. The criminal proceedings and the media frenzy which followed are perhaps beginning to wind down. For us at Duke, the issues raised by the incident, and by our community's responses to it, are not.
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"In April, a group of Duke faculty members published an advertisement in The Chronicle. The ad, titled "What does a Social Disaster Sound Like?" was mostly a compilation of statements made by Duke students in response to the incident and its immediate aftermath. This ad has figured in many discussions of the event and of the University's response. It has been broadly, and often intentionally, misread. We urge everyone to read the original ad, at http://listening.nfshost.com/listening.htm. We have. Some of us were among the ad's signers.
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"The ad has been read as a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case. We understand the ad instead as a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus, an attempt to channel the attention generated by the incident to addressing these. We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence.
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"As a statement about campus culture, the ad deplores a "Social Disaster," as described in the student statements, which feature racism, segregation, isolation, and sexism as ongoing problems before the scandal broke, exacerbated by the heightened tensions in its immediate aftermath. The disaster is the atmosphere that allows sexism, racism, and sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus. The ad's statement that the problem "won't end with what the police say or the court decides" is as clearly true now as it was then. Whatever its conclusions, the legal process will not resolve these problems.
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"The ad thanked "the students speaking individually and...the protesters making collective noise." We do not endorse every demonstration that took place at the time. We appreciate the efforts of those who used the attention the incident generated to raise issues of discrimination and violence.
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"There have been public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these. We think the ad's authors were right to give voice to the students quoted, whose suffering is real. We also acknowledge the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the rape case.
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"We stand by the claim that issues of race and sexual violence on campus are real, and we join the ad's call to all of us at Duke to do something about this. We hope that the Duke community will emerge from this tragedy as a better place for all of us to live, study, and work."

Not surprisingly, the attempt to revise perceptions following the first of what may be many lawsuits filed by students against the members of the Group of 88 and the university, was woefully unsuccessful.

LieStoppers Forum Members respond to the new statement:

"Part of this is just really sloppy writing. The 'disaster' they talk about is not the alleged rape (which is just a hook for their agenda to hang from) but that's not at all clear. There is also nothing in their statement that addresses the right to a fair trial, and adding in language like 'won’t end with what the police say or the court decides' compounds the problem. Now it could be that these people, who make their living from using language, simply got it wrong. More likely these people, who make their living from using language, were using dog whistle politics.

"The real kicker, that is decisive for the dog whistle theory, is the G88's endorsement of the protests. The protesters were not seeking a solution to the G88's disaster. The protesters were seeking a railroading. Some of the protesters were advocating castration. By endorsing the protesters without endorsing the right to a fair trial, the G88 made themselves a gang of high-sounding pious hypocrites.

"The minimum way for these people to establish their intellectual honesty is a statement that they regret not having affirmed the right to a fair trial when they claimed to be speaking about the alleged rape but were actually speaking about their own agenda. Their new website offers no way to communicate with them or question their actions and motives. I wonder why that is?" Alan, Blooligan

"Lord love a duck.

"If Bill Chafe hadn't been quoted on the subject of this new letter, I'd agree with a number of the early posters in this thread that it would have to be a fake. After all, just like Don Imus told John Kerry, the best advice for the 88 right now as long as they refuse to apologize is just to "stop talking. Please stop talking."

"Stuck on stupid" is right.

"This is now officially a liability nightmare for Duke. The professors that opened them up to substantial legal jeopardy are on record unrepentantly clarifying their hostile position. Kim Curtis's signature on the letter doesn't help things in view of the pending civil action against her. If the signatories had any sense at all, well, they wouldn't have written this letter, which seems to have evaporated again into thin air, but they surely wouldn't have hitched their wagons to Curtis's falling star. As an educator myself, I wouldn't affix my name to a letter with Kim Curtis's signature on it right now if all it did was state that the sun rises in the east each morning. Open myself up to civil suits for fraud and breach of contract, plus an assault on my (lack of) professional integrity? Uh, no thanks. I'll pass.

"(And God help Duke if the civil lawyers can ever establish that the flyers Sam Hummell printed were run off on University copiers. Do you think he really went all the way down to Kinko's and PAID for them himself? After all, you can't put a price on social justice.)" Jack Webb

"First post here.

"Alan's post quoted by others as well is a gem and has inspired me to contribute. As an "inside" outsider I have followed this case from Day 1, felt the affects within my own family and seen first hand a version of the pain this whole thing has caused.

"In addition, as a professional who completed the PhD route and decided not to enter into academia, the G88's foolishness, small-mindedness and agenda-pushing makes me feel sick and confirms why I have avoided university life for so long (15 years post PhD) and counting.

"Alan's comments are right to the heart of the G88 matter and I am thankful for his words. I could not agree more and think the G88 ought to be ashamed of themselves. The original "listening" document was a knee-jerk reaction and an obvious way to push their agenda. They acted like reporters for a trash newspaper and tried to capitalize on an emerging "story." Shame on them.

"Instead of going for the "story" they should have invested their energy working with the University to address what they supposedly "listened" to. I recall the task force that went to study the issue right after the alleged incident. Has that yielded anything? Have any of the G88 participated constructively in this?

"The G88 wanted points for style and decided to publicly let everyone know how enraged they were. They used the protesters, their position and the power of the pen to their own gain. It is indicative of the political cesspools that Universites are these days. I work with senior executives in Fortune 500 companies, and I can tell you that even the worst performing public companies don't hold a candle to the dysfunctional politics that exists in faculties across the country.

"Back to Alan's thoughtful point: I agree that the faculty should state that they regret not having affirmed the players' right to a fair trial. But they should not spend too much time on this. They should quickly turn their minds, mouths and pens to addressing the issues they seem to think are so important. Step 1: Diagnosis. before making any furthers claims about tragedies, they should do as others on this post have suggested. They should test their hypotheses about the scope, size and depth of the issues they are so quick to attach their signatures to. That would be more like real scientific inquiry and responsible University behavior.

"Given their past behavior, I doubt highly that they are capable of this. But it doesn't hurt to ask them to do it. Again, shame on them.

"Thanks everyone for your posts." Concerned Human

Read more responses from LS Forum members

13 comments:

bill anderson said...

I guess this new G80whatever is trying to tell us that Duke University is a living hell. It is full of racism, sexism, and rape (rapism?). Who would want to teach in hell, and who would want to go there?

Of course, the statement also could be full of crap. No, that is not possible. These are Really Smart People, so they must really know the Truth about Duke.

gs said...

Karla Holloway, released the racist hearsay statement at the same time she knew that the new statement was going to be released. The fact that she threw racists fire on the case at the same time the statement was being released shows her state of mind.

Can you picture the lawyer questioning her in a future lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Abraham Lincoln, a very wise man, said "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Anonymous said...

Over at the Skunkworks they lament, what shall we do next? This is not right! Our students can't object in class, who do the public think they are?

We are Professors, we are superior, we are intellectuals, we have PhDs. Our 18-22 year old students don't do this!

Yes, we are not 18-22, we have lived our lives and know the BS coming out of your mouths.

Keep Talking, the hole is just getting deeper.

lm said...

Would like to know what people like Baker, Lubiano, Michaels, Neal etc. think about OTHER cases where brutal sexual violence involving victims/perps of different races is supported by actual evidence. (happy to supply some links for them) Obviously this case, however vaporous, being right under their nose is a terrific opportunity for grandstanding, but what cases involving actual attacks are on their "watchlist"? Is this it? What does it say about the Gang of 88 and the race baiters and the femnazis that this farce is the BEST case they can come up with to rally around? There are plenty of REAL cases out there that deserve outrage.....but of course all of those cases fail to support their agendas and beliefs. Real racial and sexual violence cases occur every day, but the Duke Hoax is a once in a lifetime picture-perfect opportunity to take the only case they can find in recent history that, if it were true, would so perfectly fit the script they would have written themselves. If Houston Baker wants to see some real farm animals, he should stop looking at his students and start reading the news. He could start with the Channon Christian case in his own state.

Gregory said...

Dear Concerned Americans,

I for one am impressed with the Gang of 88, and I think you should be too. I greatly admire their selfishness, am in awe of their lack of empathy, and bow down to their ability to rationalize misdeeds.

Sincerely,


The Ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer

P.S. Gacy just told me they're a bunch of posers! LOL! He was just kidding.

TC aka RRR said...

They are acting as though they won the election last Nov!

I know not how many will be sued, lose their jobs or teaching credentials, but one can hope that most of them do indeed at least get the opportunity to spend some of their money on the legal industry!

But their collective actions pretty well display they know nothing about the legal industry or exactly how far their necks are sticking out of their Duke Shell!

******************

Oh and folks, do not think that Duke has any sort of patent on such staff diversity either, today it's endemic from coast to coast!

Anonymous said...

To the esquires reading this blog -

Are there actionable events by the 88/87 whatevers that could be the target of a class action suit by Duke Students, Alumni, Parents, etc.

How about a 'Class Action'; filed selectively or against all who have perpetrated, participated or furthered this hoax. Such an action could be effective in having the likes of the 88 here at Duke or elsewhere think twice before slandering indiscriminately, betraying and denegrading a prestigious institution and impacting the civil rights of many.

Anonymous said...

Did our diddle darlings get their feelings hurt? Dose big bad bwoggers saying mean things about my baby.
A meaningful subset of the faculty at Duke liked it just fine when they could preach polysyllabic indictments of their own students. It was OK when their students faced real marchers banging pots, real professors holding their real futures on the razor of biased grading. They were just fine when their own students were railroaded by an out of control prosecutor.
These professors though want to be exempt from being attacked and questioned. Racism is racism. We don't condone filth and racism toward the professors and we don't condone filth and racism coming from them either how ever dressed up the presentation.
Let the professors complain when the bloggers are marching through their neighborhoods banging pots and demanding their physical mutilation. Let the professors complain when angry groups are physically present advocating their forced confessions. Let the professors complain when their liberty is at real risk of being seized for their color and economic status.
Until then, let the professors apologize for their role in the rush to judgment. Let the professors apologize for using this case to advance their agenda without a care for the impact on their own students lives.
Instead a significant part of Duke faculty wants to reinterpret and distort history and blame those who call these Hooligans of the Academy to account and to apologize.
The carefully credentialed thugs of the faculty are the ones who have played fast, loose and mean with the facts.

ed said...

Hmmmm.

Actually a specific photocopy can be tied to a specific photocopier. It's been done many times by law enforcement labs such as the one the FBI has.

Basically they analyze the photocopy for any significant traces from the fuser drum, which is what usually ends up putting defects onto a photocopy page. They also look at the glass plate for dirt, smudges, scratches and any other defects that could end up on a photocopy.

So to prove a connection they'd go to each and every photocopier at Duke, take high res images of the glass plates and print blank copies and then do some advanced computerized pattern matching between the reference page, the blank photocopy, and samples of the posters.

The process, aside from those involving glass plates, also applies to laser printers and ink jet printers. Essentially each and every single photocopier, laser printer and ink jet printer is a unique device with individual imperfections from variations in manufacturing and wearing from use.

*shrug* if the lawyers for the inevitable lawsuit go through the process they should be able to tie specific machines to specific copies, at which point I think Duke would be well advised to settle.

Anonymous said...

We think the ad's authors were right to give voice to the students quoted, whose suffering is real. We also acknowledge the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the rape case.

G88 didn't just give voice to students. G88 validated and amplified the views of the students quoted with their "Amen!"

It is also repulsive that the pain the accused players have suffered goes unmentioned. Ultimately, the only tears the new G87 cries are for themselves.

Anonymous said...

The Group of 88 (no, wait 87) have reached a new plateau - I am pleased to say.

They are now hilarious, if not outright silly.

Let's face it - they have garnered more attention than they ever deserved.

- They were only taken seriously by attaching themselves to a serious situation.

-That, obviously, was a mistake as their recent revisionism - like an elephant hiding behind a straw- reveals that they are completely untehtered to reality.

-We're far from out of the woods, but the situation for the 3 players is much improved

Back to reality ! They are loopy fringe proffs who have been allowed a place at Duke for the same reason you buy a handful of "penny stocks", - you never know if one of them might turn into something - so, lets have a few hang around.

Where specific 88's crossed the line, lets let the legal system grind them into the dirt and flesh out where their ilk has left the reservation. It will be brought into the light of day for all to see - and yes, judge.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a great Lacrosse Season for Duke - both the Men and the Women's Programs.

-TW

Anonymous said...

The Duke87 is not suppose to be stupid people, but they made a huge miscalculation when they decided to jump on a mob's band wagon, so far the majority of the sexist and racist mob has run into the shadows, appearing only briefly to throw rocks and mud while claiming their motives were misunderstood… oops, wait! the Duke87 is claiming the same thing!