Thursday, January 25, 2007

Only Race Matters: A Duke Woman Speaks About A Disturbing Aspect of the University’s Response to the Lacrosse Scandal

I am a woman who graduated with an English degree from Duke in the late 1990s. My all-time favorite course was Professor Laurie Shannon’s thought-provoking Shakespeare class. I was heartbroken to learn that Professor Shannon signed both the Group of 88’s “listening” ad and the Concerned Duke Faculty’s non-apology.
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I remember my English department having some unusual quirks when I was there, including a finalist in a search for department head who researched pornography and a prolific romance novelist. These quirks always seemed harmless and predictable eccentricities of academia. However, with many of the English Department’s members still “Concerned” and major publications shooting down it’s postmodern metanarratives, I’m now openly embarrassed.
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I love my alma matter, which, I’ll be honest, shows the most during basketball season. While at Duke, I dated a fellow student who I later married. We now have a young daughter. Watching my daughter play over my laptop as I write this, I can’t begin to express the extreme sadness I felt reading Shadee Malaklou in the Duke Chronicle say, “what's stupefying is why the women of Harvard, Yale and (presumably) Duke have chosen the traditional role of mother.”
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How depressing that someone would not only feel this way but take the time to express this sentiment to others in the pages of the student newspaper. I don’t suppose that Shadee--or the professors who have apparently validated her bizarre views--much care what I think. Not only do I now stay home to take care of my daughter, but I was in a “core four” sorority while at Duke. Shockingly, my sorority on occasion hired strippers and we even drank beer while we watched them. This now appears to be enough to be disowned by the University. However, last I checked I’m still getting solicitation requests for the Duke Annual Fund, so I’m going to go ahead and give my perspective anyway.
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When I first heard the rape allegations, I was appalled but mostly confused. The facts of the night, as suggested by D.A. Mike Nifong, didn’t seem logical. Moreover, I couldn’t believe that the lawyers would say their clients didn’t engage in any sexual activity instead of preserving a consent defense following the lead of Kobe Bryant. As the facts of the case have fallen apart and the obvious fraud has been exposed for what it is, more attention has been directed in recent weeks to Duke’s response as an institution.
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Looking back over the history of this hoax, it seems to me that women’s voices and perspectives are being overwhelmed and ignored. More importantly, the fact that women stood up early and often to denounce the hoax and support the principles of justice is conveniently being cast aside. When a woman is asked for her opinion on television, that woman is often not only uninformed but a caricature of an anti-men feminist. For example, recently, Wheelock College professor Gail Dines made a fool of herself on CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now” and in a shrill follow-up blog entry complaining about the appearance. Angry that she received less airtime than promised and that her fellow panelists were beneath her, Dines directs most of her ire towards the producers who told her that they only wanted to focus on racial issues and purposely did not want to discuss gender.
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While I greatly disagree with Dines on almost everything about both the world and the Duke lacrosse case, I must admit that she did stumble on an important point. Why is a national story of alleged sexual assault treated as a racial issue rather than a gender issue? Why did Duke treat it this way? Why does Duke continue to treat it this way? Do the answers to these questions give some insight into why when I visit the website of the Duke Women’s Center I am greeted by a picture of Shadee (choosing motherhood is “stupefying”) instead of the many heroic women who have fought for justice in the lacrosse case, starting with women’s lacrosse coach Kerstin Kimel (a successful athlete and herself a mother of two young children)?
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Bowen-Chambers-Woman as a Footnote Report
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If you are a woman, you likely know someone who has been sexually assaulted. I do. While many disagree about the “prevalence” of sexual violence and whether it is more common on college campuses than elsewhere, no one can deny its presence and its horror.
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Why then, with respect to the lacrosse case, weren’t women’s views consulted and actively sought when it appeared there was a sliver of a chance the allegations might have some merit? It seems to me that women have the most to lose if the University fosters this supposed “atmosphere that allows sexism, racism, and sexual violence to be so prevalent on campus” that the “Concerned Faculty” identified.
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It also seems to me that women have the most to lose if a dramatic rape allegation turns out to be transparently false. Who will believe future real victims? Given this, what is the explanation for not seeking out a woman for the committee that investigated the University’s response to the allegations?
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One might have thought that a scholar of sexual assault law and an expert in University polices with respect to campus incidents would have been a good choice. Instead, the University chose collegiate sports critic William G. Bowen, former president of Princeton University, and Julius Chambers, a reputable African American defender of affirmative action policies and former chancellor of North Carolina Central University. These choices clearly reflected the fact that the University viewed the allegations as involving (i) white athletes and (ii) African Americans.
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What about women?
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A footnote on the first page states that Bowen and Chambers “took the liberty” of adding a Dr. Ramdath, an African American female, to the committee, as an apparent afterthought. Shouldn’t the Women’s Center be screaming about what belatedly adding a woman to the committee and noting that in a footnote says about the University’s concerns? This appears particularly ironic given the statement in the Bowen-Chamber-Woman as a Footnote report that

“Any number of people with whom we spoke commented on how much better it would have been if a wider array of life histories and perspectives had been brought to bear on what were sensitive and highly charged issues. We agree, and we know that President Brodhead agrees.”

What does it say about Duke’s priorities and sensitivities that this statement would be made in a report issued by two men commenting about the University’s response to allegations of sexual assault? I think it says that even before the allegations were an obvious fraud (if there ever was such a time), Duke’s administration, faculty members, and the media have never been interested in gender issues and have instead been overly concerned with race and taking shots at universally evil “white males.” In the process, incredible insults to women have been overlooked and incredible instances of courage have been ignored. The following is a discussion of various instances demonstrating this disturbing pattern.
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Duke women's lacrosse players, from left, Katie Chrest, Caroline Cryer, Michelle Menser, Leigh Jester, and Carolyn Davis celebrate a goal earlier this season. MSNBC

The Duke Women’s Lacrosse Team
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Last spring, one of the only groups that stood up against a tirade of prejudices were the members of the Duke Women’s Lacrosse team, led by their courageous coach, Kerstin Kimel. While the rest of the world was condemning the Men’s Lacrosse team as guilty, Coach Kimel was actively supporting the students and her players' choice to show their support by wearing wristbands with the numbers of the indicted players. Rather than highlight the fortitude and commitment to the truth of these accomplished female athletes, the media rained criticism down in the most sexist and dismissive ways. Some examples:
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“I never believed the day would come when we’d see an educational institution so flagrantly stupid, so selfish, so conspicuously aloof. Evidently it’s Duke, supposedly one of America’s more honorable institutions of higher learning.”

“And what lesson has the women's team taken? They apparently have learned that pack behavior is a good thing. They are speaking as one, and are proclaiming the entire men's team, as one, to be innocent. Team unity trumps all.”
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“By making such a public stand of unity before the facts come out, by saying so clearly that the accused is a liar, the women of Duke's lacrosse team won't make it any easier for other women to step forward. I can only hope that none of them will ever be in such a position -- where they may be a victim, want to step forward, but sense ultimately that it just isn't worth it.”

“These are stupid, spoiled little girls. It smacks of high school. Maybe one day when they’ll read about one of their friends who was raped. Then they’ll rethink this.” said Kathy Redmond (founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes).

Redmond goes on to say, “More than any other sport, there’s this mentality with women lacrosse players of, ‘We’re as tough as the men.’ It’s almost like a competition. It’s like they try to carry themselves with a masculine edge. They want to be looked at as being just as good as the men, yet they still look to the men for validation."

“They were athletes themselves, as well as "true fans." In a moment that called on more action than I had will for, I wanted to write to them to ask if they might, instead, consider writing the word "justice" onto their gear, a word whose connotations run deeper than the team-inspired and morally slender protestations of loyalty that brought the ethic from the field of play onto the field of legal and cultural and gendered battle as well.”

Amazingly, in face of all of this unsupportable ridicule, Coach Kimel told reporters after the women lost in the semi-finals:

“Any attention we got for the wristbands paled in comparison to having the media staked outside of our practice and the girls' dorms. Of watching your friends be arrested; watching your fellow students not support fellow students; watching professors not support students." Comcast

Did Duke professors choose to support these female students dismissed as “little girls” in the press? Was calling collegiate women “little girls” a social disaster? Apparently not. Has anyone come forward now that the women’s lacrosse team was obviously correct to acknowledge their heroic courage and apologize for the response they received? Such an apology was glaringly missing from Stephen A. Smith’s almost mea culpa written in December.
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When I was in college people thought that Title IX and the rise of women’s athletics was important to produce women of the caliber of these lacrosse players and dispel patronizing attitudes that female students were “little girls” incapable of expressing reasoned opinions and taking positions on public issues. Where are those Title IX defenders now? Hasn’t the honorable conduct of the women’s lacrosse team proved their point? Why not say so?
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Rolling Stone’s “Sex and Scandal at Duke”
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Instead of highlighting the courage of the women’s lacrosse team, the media brought us Rolling Stone’s pop culture critique of Duke’s campus as half “The Devil Wears Prada” and half “Girls Gone Wild.” The transparently stupid article by Janet Reitman furthered the media firestorm that Duke was chock full of “drunk,” “horny” women whose lives consist of studying while on the treadmill and finding hot guys to hook up with. You see, it wasn’t intelligence, intuition, or courage that caused these women to support the men’s lacrosse team. It was, instead, the fact that they were sex crazed, stupid, and ignorant. (Someday, someone will have to explain to me how this qualifies as a “feminist” perspective.) Reitman completely exaggerated the Duke social scene by following several “core four” sorority girls who happen to support the lacrosse players and, therefore, according to Reitman, have subverted their feminist predecessors in order to emulate Britney Spears.
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Personally, I still don’t understand how “laxers,” who make up 0.01175% of Duke undergraduates could that big of an influence on the social scene. I think I remember one from my time at Duke and recall far more Duke women jokingly lusting after the assistant men’s basketball coach Quinn Snyder than any lacrosse player. That’s right, everybody, basketball, not lacrosse, is the sport that dominates the social scene on Duke’s campus. Reitman, however, writes about the lacrosse team:

“It’s something that frustrates and often baffles other young men, particularly those who’ve had girlfriends stolen by these guys.”

Okay, even if every lacrosse player stole at least one girl (an absurd suggestion), that makes only 47 frustrated men, hardly a social predicament.
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I agree with the excellent comment that was left at the Rolling Stone comments section by Duke Sorority Girl 04:

“This by no means constitutes a set of social norms as portrayed in the article. I attended Duke on financial aid and loans and thank the Lord that I had the chance to do so. To see it represented in the public spotlight in such a negative and inaccurate way is very painful and makes me wonder why so many people are going to such great lengths to portray the student body as foolish, rich, white, superficial, sexually promiscuous and shallowly insecure. I have tried not to take it personally but the attacks on duke students as a whole are so rampant and so untrue that I feel as though lies are being told in the national media about me and my classmates. I take that very personally.”

Did any faculty members express similar views? In fairness, women’s center director Donna Lisker penned a thoughtful article describing her contact with Janet Reitman and the deficiencies in the Rolling Stone piece.

“I spent two hours with the Rolling Stone reporter when she was on campus. I agreed with her that some undergraduate women lead social lives that seem incompatible with their intelligence and ambition. We talked about why that happens, about how pleasing male peers becomes more important than staying true to one’s self. I talked about patriarchy, about effortless perfection, about the insidious nature of female socialization. I also told her – over and over and over again – that the social scene she was witnessing represented just one subculture at Duke, and that many Duke students would find it as unfamiliar as she did. Unfortunately, the reporter did not include that context in her article, which made it a one-sided piece, an incomplete and inaccurate portrayal of Duke.”

Reading this I wasn’t sure whether Lisker would assert that Duke Sorority Girl ’04 above and I live lives incompatible with our intelligence, but I appreciated the effort to more fully describe campus culture. Given Lisker’s comments about Reitman’s poorly researched, misleading article, shouldn’t there have been many other “concern faculty” members outraged at the cheap shots taken at female students and the gross irresponsibility of the press?
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DSED Slammed by Grant Farred and Hindered by Duke Administration
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Duke Students for Ethical Durham (DSED), a student group composed primarily of women, was a valiant group dedicated to helping Duke students register to vote in order to elect a district attorney who was actually fair and just. Its two spokespersons, juniors Emily Wygod and Christiane Regelbrugge, were beyond-their-years sharp when discussing their group on Fox’s “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren. In addition, members of DSED bravely stood their ground with Mike Nifong by purposely not shaking hands with him.
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However, Professor Grant Farred (Group of 88 and Concerned Duke Faculty member) wrote to the Heard-Sun and belittled this activism. Farred criticized DSED’s efforts and stated:

“By transferring their registration from other places, by enfranchising themselves in Durham, these students’ only intention is to oust District Attorney Mike Nifong. This selective intervention amounts to nothing so much as the deliberate act of closing ranks against Durham. What Duke students becoming Durham citizens does is displace the problem of racism from the lacrosse team and the university to Durham’s political system.”

One might have thought that the problem with Durham’s political system was a corrupt and unethical District Attorney making a mockery of the justice system and one might have thought that faculty members would have applauded Duke women for becoming politically active in their community to respond to this problem. Even more disturbing is that administrators and security officials actually prevented DSED from distributing voter registration materials in a parking lot outside the homecoming football game Sept. 30.

This event disturbs me on many levels. Did the Duke administration dislike the eyesore of students expressing their right to vote? Or, did they not like that DSED might register voters who would vote against Mike Nifong? Maybe instead they just wanted to stop the image these commendable young women doing more on behalf of their fellow students than the administration and faculty combined.

Alex Rosenberg’s Interpretation of the “Listening Ad”

The Group of 88 have offered a variety of interesting and at times bizarre explanations for the “listening ad.” This past week, Professor Lee Baker mumbled on the O’Reilly factor, “We presumed innocence…At least I did.” I still find it bizarre that faculty members believe signing the ad looks better if they thought the players were innocent. Even more bizarre, however, are the sexist and nonsensical explanations from philosophy oracle Alex Rosenberg. Here, I will have to defer to the comments of Professor Michael Gustafson, who described Rosenberg’s statement the best.

Gustafson writes:

"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."

I’m as baffled as Gustafson about Rosenberg’s answer. I’m also insulted as a former female student. Does he really see his female students as objects that provide as much sexual satisfaction as male students want? Perhaps Dr. Rosenberg should turn off “Animal House” (or something worse) and actually meet some Duke women.

Even if he was joking, I wonder if this professor has ever googled the word “coed.” The first site to appear is a porn site called “Coed Chicks” and, needless to say there are plenty of XXXs throughout the rest. Therefore, when this obvious insult is thrown down, where are the feminists and other faculty members running to the defense of their students?

We Want Apologies (Just Not For Women)

Apologies, retractions and explanations have certainly been demanded by the faculty for other reasons, race being the primary hot-button. One example is the immediate reprimand of Professor Baldwin, after he wrote an excellent guest column in The Chronicle and used the common phrase “tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail” when he voiced his feelings toward faculty members who publicly denounced the lacrosse team.

The very next day, Women’s Studies Professor Robyn Wiegman wrote a letter to the editor reprimanding Baldwin’s use of the term “tarred and feathered” due to the fact that it’s the “language of lynching.” Not surprisingly, Wiegman did not give any facts or basis for her determination because it seems to have been formed in her own head. My own internet search failed to connect these terms, and wikipedia’s definition shows only colonial and frontier roots.

Perhaps Wiegman should spend more time thinking about how to help Duke women and less time inventing new ways to be racially sensitive. Unfortunately, I’m rather doubtful, as I see Wiegman has joined the Concerned Duke Faculty, after previously not signing the Group of 88 ‘Listening Ad.’ Perhaps she felt like she was missing out on something.

Women, You’re Just Not PC Enough To Praise

Regardless if these faculty members had the basis to ask for an apology, why do the slights against female students of Duke go unanswered? No professor wrote to support the Women’s Lacrosse team after they were vilified by the media. No faculty members sent letters to the editor of “Rolling Stone” to say that their depiction of Duke women was exaggerated and unfair. The Duke administration never apologized for their reprehensible actions to DSED (only sending noted truthteller John Burness to write a letter to the Chronicle claiming it was a misunderstanding). And no colleague confronted Professor Rosenberg for his insult of female students.

Even today, I find no articles or statements by Duke faculty members, including those “experts” in women’s issues, about the accomplishments and class shown by Duke female students during this ordeal. This makes me sad, as I am extremely proud to be associated by Duke affiliation with the Kerstin Kimels, Emily Wygods, Christiane Regelbrugges, and Kristin Butlers of the world. When people put “Duke” and “women” in a sentence, I want them to think of these heroes, not the dismissive insults and cartoonish views of Rolling Stone, Shadee Malaklou, Robyn Wiegman, and the rest of the English and Women’s Studies Departments.

Who do you think I want my daughter to grow up to be? Or is that a question only a “stupid, spoiled, little girl” would ask?

Meadow

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meadow,
Something tells me that your lucky little girl is going to grow up to be a fine person.
Thank you for the fine work!
QuadDog

Anonymous said...

Extremely well written and thoughtful piece. I applaud you.

Yes... where were the Duke faculty and administration?

Kerstin Kimel is a hero. She had the courage to speak the truth, when many found it more convenient to adopt the lie, simply because to do so advanced their idealogical agendas.

Finally... as we approach Mother's Day, I salute my Mom, and my wife, a mother of three. They are heroes all, to me.

Anonymous said...

1.The women's lacrosse team deserved the media drubbing. They supported the men of the lacrosse team without knowing the facts. If the party was so innocent,why weren't they partying with the male lax team? Answer: the female team knew not to be over there drinking with them as it was unsafe. Hypocrites! I am glad they lost that game; that was their karmic payback for not supporting a female victim of a crime.

2.The Rolling Stone article was very similar to the Tom Wolfe book and he spent a lot of time at Duke researching it. How do you account for the similarities? Also, in Wolfe's book he portrayed the LAX players as drunken sexual predators. Coincidence?

3. the professor were entitled to their opinion. What do you expect them to do--applaud because some players are alleged to have attacked and racially abused some black Durham girls? Some of these professors are experts in race relations and gender studies and they were going to comment on this happening in their own backyard

4.Tarring and feathering was done in lynchings in the colonial era. Slavery existed in the colonial era and the frontier as well so the penalties for slaves was also in existance and lynching with the variation of tarring and feathering was one of those punishments. Everything is not on goggle. Maybe you need to pick up a Black history book and you need to review the chapters on slave codes, punishments and lynchings; I can assure you tarring and feathering are in there.

gc said...

Meadow,

What a wonderful, insightful, thoughtful article. Thank you for sharing it. Your daughter is a lucky, little girl.

Anonymous said...

8:40 What?!

libertewoods said...

Meadow

what's your response to 8:40's comment: "1.The women's lacrosse team deserved the media drubbing. They supported the men of the lacrosse team without knowing the facts."?

bill anderson said...

The post by 8:40 truly is pathetic, and I would not be surprised if it came from a Duke faculty member. Tarring and feathering was done to people of all races, and it was a mechanism by which people were shamed, not killed. (The person who wrote it must be a history professor, since I already have seen that Duke history professors don't know history very well.)

This was a very powerful piece of writing, and it spoke to the heart of the issue. And I think that what the female lacrosse players did was very brave and very honorable, unlike what we have seen from a large number of "adults" at Duke in positions of influence and authority.

Does the writer know why the female lacrosse players were not at the party? If not, then don't tell us something that you don't know.

Anonymous said...

8:40 AM

Your anger is blinding.

It must be humiliating to have been so wrong in this case. Particularly for a person who, I imagine, views themself as highly intelligent, and nuanced. Now, you know you must question yourself when your biases and preconceived stereotypes again cloud your judgment... with blinding anger.

For all you others... continue on, good-hearted people. The truth will prevail, and send the haters away, in shame.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant analysis. Why can't we have more people like this Duke alumna on Faculty? My daughter at UVA will be reading this with several friends. (And 8:40 sounds like one of the muddle headed mediocre Marxist faculty criticized here.) sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

Meadow,

This a beautiful, powerful and inspiring piece of writing. You have managed to cut right to the heart of the matter.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Meadow, do not be conflicted by your choice to be a stay at home mom. Do not let the fact that you have a $160K plus education and you're the one rearing your child instead of a day care worker bother you. You are in fact engaged in the most noble of professions, a loving parent.

I sense a need for validation in your letter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The security and love your child feels by having you as her side is all the validation you need. Your child and our society will be better off as a result of your committment.

I have met scores of women in the work place who spout the feminist mantra, but deep down inside would much rather be home with their childern. They are the ones who are and rightly so conflicted by their choices. They are the ones weeping that they missed their child's first steps or the ones later making excuses for the child's bad behavior. The list goes on and on.

Be of good cheer Meadow, revel in your golden opportunity to make your own choice, spoil your daughter with love and pity those women who've bought a pig in a poke.

Anonymous said...

Meadow ,
This piece is seminal for all of the women at Duke in its courage to use the facts as we must to deconnstruct the false agency and construct the new meta narrative for the reader . You learned well from these professors who now see the fruits of their work come against them . They should be at once gratified and frightened as the worm turns .

Indeed, you lead the way for writers who must now step up and demonstrate that the post structuralist process of creating a new meta narrative reality is a an Ocamm 's Razor with two edges for cutting to the Heart of the matter .

The reeal feminism as I have taught my daughter is not found in the confidence of the Gang but in the competrence of the individual who can lead that Gang through courage in Heart and Head . Your professors are heartless cowards in comparison

Bravo !

madder than a hornet said...

Mr Steel,
I hope you have someone honest who monitors the blogs. The Burness factory of spin doesn't count.

The best course and hope for Duke to regain prestige is a clean sweep of the Duke Administration.

To 8:40, you gave me a LOL with the description of Durham "girls", seems like you need a dictionary

Anonymous said...

8:40

The women's lacrosse players didn't support the men before all the facts were known. They knew the players well and they had spoken at length with them. They knew the facts of the case better than the press, better than Nifong and better than the gang of 88. They were speaking based on first-hand knowledge, unlike you.

Anonymous said...

Meadow: Very well written. Who is Shadee, BTW, to tell another female what they should or should not do with their lives? I commend you on pointing out this hypocricy.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reaffirming what we already know about Duke's female students and alumni. They are honorable, loyal, and seek and respect the truth. Hopefully one day we can say the same about the faculty.

libertewoods said...

8:40:

To standby and support your friends and fellow students who have been accused of a serious crime before the facts are in seems a good thing to do, especially since we presume innocence until guilt is proved. There is a world of difference between these actions and those who would presume guilt before the facts are established. If the women's Lacrosse team had picketed the accuser and hurled slurs and insults at her and accused her of lying, then their actions would have been no different than those, who in their minds, had convicted the players of rape before the facts were known.

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:40

Nifong said the DNA would "conclusively" clear the innocence. The DNA did. He ignored it. What other fact would a thinking person need to know. P.S., the State Bar thinks the same thing.

And, moreover, dear 8:40, I am a Duke alum as are other members of my family and virtually every one agrees with the sentiment in this article. We don't care what you think.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant article, Meadow, thank you. From an old mom to a young mom, the only real and lasting legacy that I will leave behind, when my days are done, is my imprint upon the characters of my two daughters and one son. That is my take on immortality.
Texas Mom

Anonymous said...

From the 8:40:
"Some of these professors are experts in race relations and gender studies...."

Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

8:40 said: Some of these professors are experts in race relations and gender studies…

What have those experts contributed to the dialog? Not healing, but an increase in rancor and divisiveness. Their rush to judgement is a natural outgrowth of an ethical blindspot.

When you can only see young men and women as components of a class/gender/racial struggle you stop seeing them as people. And if you can't appreciate the humanity of these young men and women, then you won't care about the very real consequences of this injustice about their lives.

Chitprabha said...

Being a mother is such a lowly job that a college education is wasted in doing it? Thanks very much Shadee (or whoever) -- for showing your true opinion of those who will be the next generation...

anotherfac said...

This essay is a powerful statement and thoughtful rebuttal to much previous nonsense. Thank you for writing it. It is a worthy companion to the statements of the strong women who created Duke, from Mary Duke until the present moment.

Anonymous said...

What a great article! I was so impressed by your skill in writing it. Duke's real product is you.

Time to dump the 88 and the hatred towards our culture as expressed in 8:40.

Guess what? The Women's Lacrosse was right! It was a false accusation and a Hoax. So when you were out making wild claims and warning of a institutional racism it was over an incident that didn't happen!

Now that's institutional stupidity! That's Duke's real problem! The 88!

Anonymous said...

Meadow -

Thanks from a Duke alum and a Duke Mom....I have been involved in Duke life for decades now... as a student close to 30 years ago...as an active alum...and now as a Duke Mom. I have been heartbroken with the mischaracterizations of a place I love so much. We need more people speaking out like you to set the record straight.

BTW...hope you are a Pi Phi...

Anonymous said...

Meadow-

What an exceptional piece of writing.

I emailed Prof Rosenberg to make the same point you did about his comments regarding Duke's female students and their sexual availability. His response was not that he was joking, or misquoted, but something to the effect of "if you don't want to take my word for it, read this" and linked to the Rolling Stone article.

Thank you for expressing so effectively the thoughts shared by so many of your fellow alumni - both men and women.

Ralph Phelan said...

"last I checked I’m still getting solicitation requests for the Duke Annual Fund"

Please, please tell them that you're sending your donation to the falsely accused's legal defense fund. Encourage any other alumni you know to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Dear Meadow,
Please send your open letter to the Chronicle newspaper as a letter to the editor.

I think it will open some eyes if it is published.

Current Duke Mom of a daughter, Class of 2010

Anonymous said...

Meadow,

Beautiful!!!

RockyMountainMan said...

Dear Meadow,

Thank you for your heartfelt and thoughtful article. Please allow me to presume to answer some of the questions therein:

1. "Why then, with respect to the lacrosse case, weren’t women’s views consulted and actively sought when it appeared there was a sliver of a chance the allegations might have some merit?"

There was never a time when the allegations had any merit. There were over 40 witnesses to the events that evening. Three proactively went to police to set the story straight. The rest kept silent since it was clear anyone could be singled out the lynch-mob mentality that ensued. Had there been any merit to the allegations, someone would have come forward early on out of conscience if not out of self-interest.

In addition, the falsely alleged act was claimed to have taken place in the bathroom of a depression era bungalow. A space that could not possibly have physically accomodated the fanatastic story told by the accuser.

No one with the good sense that God gave to a flat rock could have ever taken such a story seriously.

2. "Given this, what is the explanation for not seeking out a woman for the committee that investigated the University’s response to the allegations?"

Most so-called experts in women's issues are the "caricature of an anti-men feminist" which you refered to derisively. As much as I would like to think there weren't any on the committee due to the decline of such demagogues. I'm afraid that isn't the case. It's more likely that misandric attitudes have been so well ingrained into campus professionals that there is no longer a perceived need to include anyone specializing in that particular bigotry.

3. "Who do you think I want my daughter to grow up to be?"

They want her to grow up to be a "caricature of an anti-men feminist". Read the anonymous post @ 8:40a.m. That is what they want her to become.

Anonymous said...

As the mother of a female Duke student, this is one of the best pieces I have read on this case. Thank you Meadow for making me feel proud that my daughter walks on the same campus you once walked. When and if necessary, my daughter will have intelligent things to say to the rest of the world, like you did today.

Thank you,
Duke Parent

Anonymous said...

Wow - well thought out and written article. Thanks for showing what women are all about. I am seventy now - raised the children, had the career and enjoying retirement. One day those children grow up, go to college and start their own lives. There is lots of time for a career, but not lots of time to raise your children. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, Meadow. I hope that you seek to have it published outside the blogs. Don't get me wrong, I love the blogs, but I just want more people to have access to it and read it.

Anonymous said...

A great piece of writing and an apparently great woman as author.

Texas Professor

Anonymous said...

Meadow - Excellent. Thank you.

You bring up some excellent questions that the Women's Studies, AAAS departments and, Duke as a whole, need to respond to.

I, agree with other commenters here... your piece should be submitted for publication outside of the blogosphere (?) -- it deserves a much wider audience.

jmoo

Anonymous said...

One thought: This was a superb commentary.

A Duke Dad said...

Superb! It definitely should be published. My first choice: The Duke Alumni magazine. But I won't hold my breath!

Anonymous said...

Meadow,

Thank you! Well said. Your daughter and husband are quite fortunate.

Anonymous said...

a ray of light peeps out of the darkness...

This is by far the best synopsis I have seen for understanding the true social issues and proper, informed reactions to those issues. Duke still has a lot to answer for.

My memories of Duke women are the challenging minds and their discontent with stupidity. Yes, the Kimels and Butlers are what Duke produces.

Add Meadow.

PS: I hope this makes the Chronicle.

Anonymous said...

Meadow - An excellent point of view, wonderfully written. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent essay, Meadow. Please, please send it to the Duke Chronicle and to the alumni magazine. Too bad you'll probably have to shorten it considerably anyway, but by no means should it become a short letter. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My daughter, one of the wonderful young women of Duke mentioned in your article will be coming home this evening. I assure you that your beautifully written and thought provoking article will be on her nightstand.

bill anderson said...

Meadow,

As I re-read your piece, I am struck that it was heartfelt. That the young women on the lacrosse team could stick by their friends is testament to their loyalty -- and condemnation to so many others at Duke.

One reason for the "campus initiatives" was that the radicals on the faculty did not like the idea of Duke helping to produce the Meadows and the Kimels and Butlers. They WANT Duke to produce the Shadees, who have no sense of right and wrong and have nothing to offer the world.

You have shown class, and I for one appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the above posters--your essay needs to be published.

God Bless you and your family.

ChanceArmy

Anonymous said...

AMEN. This is a well written article with much greater clarity and substance than anything produced by the G88/87. Thank goodness this woman's abilities were not damaged by irresposible faculty. Duke 00 mom

Anonymous said...

IMHO, women were well represented in the debate, just not the kind of women you want. The kind of women that took the spotlight were the anti male feminist caricature you talked about (I'll refer to them as rad-fems for this point on for lack of a better term). It looks to me that a lot of women (and men) did not speak up on the subject for fear of retaliation and redicule from these rad-fems.

Like it or not, these rad-fems academics (e.g. group 88,87 types) types are the ones that speaks for women now (not always but to a large degree). We've all let this happen over the years and now we are paying the price. Keep in mind this is not new, these women were there when I was in University 20yrs ago, but had not solidified their power base to the extent they have today.

I still remember the first time I was called a rapist! It was my first year of university and I was at a party with friends and a girl (woman) call me and my friends rapist because as she told us, any act of intercourse between a man and a woman is rape. I remember being baffle by what she said (especially since I was still a virgin :), but one of my friends explained to us that this is something that was being thought in women's study class. I remember thinking that this woman was just an isolated wacko and did not think much about it (even if a similar event occurred a few yrs later, this time it was a woman with a button about violence against women that said the same thing to me, I was the only guy in a group of 4 women in an acting class, and as you can guess no women came to my rescue here, they did not say anything to support her, but just kind of looked away and ignored the incident).

The problem now is that these wackos are in position of trust and power and have become the dominant women in the educational, political, and media fields. We've let it happened by saying things like not all feminist are man hating feminist, only a few nuts are that way. Well guess what, my last statement might be true, but the prevalence of these few nuts in position of powers makes it that this is now becoming more and more the voice of women. since you are a mother with young kids, I am not sure how political you are, but these rad-fems in academics, politics, and media, devote a large part of their time fighting for their own agenda. In fact, the average woman will often follow the agenda because it is pro women and will not think much about it when they run into radicals because like most people they will see that these radicals are not in the majority and will think that they are not important. The problem here is that these rad-fems do not need to be in the majority to represent the majority which is what is happening. Just think about what all these women that support the Vagina Monologues! It does seem like an empowering, trendy cool things to do but at the same time most women do not realize that they are in fact supporting the rad-fems who put up V-days across campuses and want to bring it in high shools. (I leave it to you to google up V day and vagina monologues and see where it leads you)

Yes, unfortunately, we did not hear a lot from the average women but we heard a lot of women. The small vocal group we heard about are the self appointed speakers for women and will remain to be until people recognize that we are not talking just a few nuts and wakos here, we are talking about a well organized network of radical feminist that have strategically position themselves in positions of power.

Anonymous said...

Meadow,

You are my Hero - Bravo and Booyah !!

I secretly hope you are a Chi Omega - as my daughter is, Class of 07' at William and Mary. I assure you as a Lax player AND a clear headed young woman - she fully supported the Duke womens team's decision to wear the arm bands.

While I am unclear of the details - perhaps you are. I was told the original bands had "Innocent" on one side and the 3 falsely accused players jersey numbers on the other. Is it true that the Athletic Director bowed to pressure from the Group of 88 and Brodhead's office and required that the team remove the word "Innocent" from the bands before their Nationally televised Title game ??

If so, just gives one more reason for you and all other Duke Alumni to ignore the monthly solicitations for your money and send those donations to the Players Legal defense fund, which is reportly WAY WAY behind the $240,000 PER MONTH these brave families are borrowing to defend their good names.

Thank you for your excellent article.


Father of Womans Lax Player , Spokane WA.

Anonymous said...

8:40 - I hear slaves got bitten by dogs in the days of slavery as well. Thus, under your novel logic, anyone who says anything about dog bites must also be referring to slaves getting bitten by dogs. At least anyone with whom you disagree in a debate.

Thank you for an absurd commentary that serves to highlight my thanks for attending a Jesuit school.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Many thanks from a fellow Duke alum. I also happen to be the proud parent of a current member of the women's lacrosse team. Your essay most properly accords the coach and team all due credit for the courageous stance they took right from the start of this disaster.
Your clear thinking writing also proves to any rational observer that, to the G88/87, the rape hoax merely presented a timely opportunity to capitalize on the misfortunes of the accused in order to advance and advertise their political orthodoxy. The signers of the listening ad and its follow-up have been shown to be shallow minded, unconcerned and uncaring for their students, and lacking both the integrity and courage to admit to their wrong-headed rush to judgment.
DU75

Anonymous said...

I think "racially insensitive" should instead be "racially sensitive".

"it’s postmodern" should be "its postmodern"

"her players choice" should be "her players' choice"

=====

spellcheck finds lots of problems with the quotes, but I find [sic] annoying so please don't do that :-)

Anonymous said...

I think "get a life" should be amended to "get a life Robyn Wiegman."

If you get the point "Professor."

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this heartfelt account. I am a Duke grad, father of two daughters, one of whom is a current Duke student. I hope my daughters can be as clear thinking as you. The denigration of Duke women by those with agendas is mind-boggling. Please publish this in the Chronicle or Duke Magazine--Buddy

don t. said...

8:40
One of the best reasons for reinstitution of tarring and feathering I have yet seen.

Trinity60

Anonymous said...

2:36... your point?

RockyMountainMan said...

If it was my article, I'd really appreciate the grammatical corrections. Especially if I was being encouraged to submit it for publication.

Anonymous said...

Meadow,

We're a household of Duke grads and are blessed with a HS daughter who may apply to Duke this fall.

There is so much to ponder in your thought provoking piece, so I'll just respond to one. It's incredible that there is supposedly serious discussion about women's post college career choices in the 21st century that imply that highly qualified women must choose a nose-to the-grindstone job in order to validate their college degree. Speaking as a successful male working in the corporate world, I've never chosen nor pursued a CEO position, and feel like I haven't given anything up by taking an alternative path that doesn't require 80 hour weeks.. Most job creation in the US (profit, and not for profit)occurs in smaller organizations with flatter hierarchies, thus the idea that one must choose between career and family simply isn't the case in these organizations. Most folks simply don't aspire to careers lacking work life balance. With roughly 50 years available to allocate between a career and family it's a fallacious concept that a Duke or Ivy female grad is wasting their degree to choose to be a mother first.

Enjoy your turn at motherhood, and if you later choose to pursue a career with a paycheck, we'll be fortunate to have you join us.

Anonymous said...

I think 2:36 is just being a bit of a dick. I am sure 2:36 always has perfect prose!

Anonymous said...

I am particularly glad you brought up the Duke administration's banning of women trying to register voters. That had never happened before, however difficult the circumstances, and is no small matter. It was and is truly embarassing.

In all respects, a wonderful article. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One of the best posts ever! Thanks Meadow.

Anonymous said...

Meadow

Please publish your outstanding essay as a full page ad in the Duke Chronicle. It's not too expensive. Let us know how and we will help pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Meadow, I heartily join the thanks and appreciation expressed in these responses. I'm proud you're a fellow Duke alum, and would like to add that the intellingence, thoughtfulness and sense that shine forth in your writing reflect my recollections of my women classmates at Duke. I'll be happy to join 8:36 in chipping in to pay for the Chronicle ad if necessary, but if I were on the Chronicle's editiorial board I'd be begging you for permission to publish it! Great job, and many thanks. Bob Hyde, Duke '67

A proud Dukie female hooligan said...

There will be no apology, no admission of wrong-thinking, no acknowlegement of the TRUTH by anybody in the G88. When facts don't fit, facts get ignored. I agree 100% with Meadow. We all need to speak out with our checkbooks!

Anonymous said...

Someone named Rod Allison from Detroit posted this on the DIW website. I thought it was worth repeating:

Think back to last spring and the maelstorm of liberal press condemnation of the men's lacrosse players, and the larger culture that they felt these players represented.

At that time, the women's lacrosse team's statement in support of their classmates was a lonely and defiant one. And, not suprisingly, they were attacked with sexist stereotypes and insults.

How should one thank Coach Kimmell and her players for what has turned out to be a prescient and courageous stand?

How about if donors who regularly contrubute to Duke University earmarked this years contribution to the Women's Lacrosse Team?

Jennifer said...

Meadow,
We have much in common--I am also a female Duke alum of the 90s, an English major, a mother. I was also confounded when the allegations first came out--I knew immediately that something was wrong with the story. Like you, I was disappointed with those of the Group of 88 members who had been favorite professors of mine, and I was also confused by the Rolling Stone article. The Duke represented in that article was completely unrecognizable to me and to all of my alumni friends.

Thanks for telling our side of the story here, it's a perspective that has gone entirely ignored.

Jennifer
Trinity '92

Anonymous said...

I blogged twice about this at Volokh.com:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_01_28-2007_02_03.shtml#1170135133

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_01_28-2007_02_03.shtml#1170131166

Jim lindgren

Howard said...

After reading the output of the Women's Studies Department at Duke, I'm thinking that homosexuality ain't all that bad.

Thanx.

Anonymous said...

Well - written article. With regards to staying at home with your kids, ignore the plaintive bleats from the academic ivory tower. I got the same thing when I got my PhD and decided to go into business.

Why is it that the Women's Studies departments nationwide are the first people to condemn and devalue full-time parenting by women?

Sad, pathetic and bigoted.

Stick to your guns!

Anonymous said...

An excellent article! Thank you for showing me that not everyone has lost their mind that's associated with Duke

Anonymous said...

Susan B Anthony and her gang would be so proud of Womens Lacrosse and you, For those who faught and continue the good fight for equality, you are heroines. Jackie Kennedy said "Raising your children is the hardest thing a woman can do. There is always time for a career. As an empty nester, once the kids go to College, it is never the same again.

Anonymous said...

8:40 am (#3 response to this post)

Reflecting on your arguments 1 thru 4, the only thing I can surmise is A.) you were not fortuneate enough to get a Duke education as did Meadow,or B.) Your Duke education was in the AAS department. What postmodernist, un-critical, reverse racism claptrap arguments! Learn how to include all factors in your analyses if you want to be an intellectual. Meadow exercises her intellect so much better than you do and she's "just a housewife."

Meadow, my daughter gets this "what are you doing?" stuff from many of her Syracuse U. sisters too. But, my grandkids are happy to have her at home, and so is her husband. You do a darn good rant, darlin'. I wish I could write as well as you do. I hope to see more of your input.

George