"The opening paragraph contains the phrases "we heard" and "we were told." These
are not good ways to begin a document signed by people whose jobs include research. I heard a faculty member gave someone a lower-than-deserved grade. I'm neither planning to take out an ad in the Chronicle (or elsewhere) nor am I planning to write a letter saying it was OK for me or someone else to do it, because I heard something. I heard, "there's gold in them thar' hills," but I am not going to go prospecting and I am certainly not going to sign something attesting to the existence of aurum in the interstices of the substantive materials comprising vertically-advantaged geographic groupings in the distance. Also, I might add, the "media frenzy" was certainly aided by an advertisement, "printed in the most easily seen venue on campus." For what it's worth, I absolutely agree with the last line - "For us at Duke, the issues raised by the incident, and by our community's responses to it, are not [winding down].
"Paragraph 2: "It has been broadly, and often intentionally, misread." I believe that. However, I believe it was intentionally written in a way that leads to many interpretations, too. I am about to discuss particular signatories of the ad and letter; I do so because I have particular disagreements with their statements.
"Dr. Alex Rosenberg, for instance, apparently misread the ad. He signed it, according to...himself...in the New York Sun, because "...he was concerned with the prevalence of alcohol on campus and bothered by 'affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.' " The ad does not speak to drinking, nor to Dr. Rosenberg's apparent opinion of the sexual availability of Duke women. Dr. Rosenberg's statement does speak to Dr. Rosenberg, however.
"Dr. Wahneema Lubiano could not possibly have misread it - indeed, as reported in ESPNU, "Lubiano knew some would see the ad as a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team. But if the black faculty couldn't speak for black students now, could it ever?" Adding heat and no light to the atmosphere of campus does not help students, black or white. The damnable part about the original ad is how important the issues are that are raised, and how tragic it is that 88 people - 88 people who by training and experience should have known better - took a teachable moment and played into the hands of those things that divide us by jumping in early with rhetoric blazing. For some now, the existence of "sexism, racism, and sexual violence" are tied, through the ad and its offspring, to the merits of the case."
If time allows, please read the balance of "I'm Concerned Too."
Friday, January 19, 2007
If you haven't yet had the pleasure, please visit Duke University Professor Michael Gustafson's blog. I've been a frequent visitor to his blog over the past few months and always leave his place a little better off than I was when I arrived. I'm hopeful you will too.
His latest entry is a must read response to the recent open letter from the remants of the Group of 88.