Thursday, April 12, 2007

Steele Praises Brodhead, Reaffirms Decision to Submit to Railroading of Students

In a letter to the Duke Community written on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairman Robert Steele praises President Richard Brodhead while asserting that the decision to defer to Defendant Mike Nifong's twisted version of a justice system was "essential."
Dear Member of the Duke University Community,

I write to you on behalf of the Trustees of Duke University.

Today the North Carolina State Attorney General announced that all remaining charges against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann have been dropped and should never have been brought. This announcement explicitly and unequivocally establishes the innocence of David, Collin and Reade, who with their families have suffered an unimaginable year of accusation and public scrutiny. They deserve our respect for the honorable way they have conducted themselves during this long legal ordeal that ends with their exoneration.

The Attorney General determined that there was no credible evidence to support the charges that were brought, with so many statements of certainty, by the Durham District Attorney last spring. Many have suffered from his actions, these three students and their families most of all. The Attorney General's investigation places responsibility for this miscarriage of justice with the District Attorney, and we now look to the proceedings of the state bar to call him to account before his peers.

Much as we wish that these three young men, their teammates and their families and indeed the whole community of people who love Duke could have been spared the agony of the past year, we believe that it was essential for the University to defer to the criminal justice system. As imperfect and flawed as it may be, it is that process that brings us today to this resolution.

Throughout the past year President Richard Brodhead consulted regularly with the trustees and has had our continuing support. He made considered and thoughtful decisions in a volatile and uncertain situation. Each step of the way, the board agreed with the principles that he established and the actions he took. As we look back and with the benefit of what we now know there is no question that there are some things that might have been done differently. However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board.

In closing, we express our relief for today's outcome and recognize the character that our three students, their teammates and all of their families have shown over the past year. Furthermore, we hope that the resolution of this unfair, divisive and painful episode can serve to unite us all. There is much to learn from the events that we have lived through, and we intend to put this learning to use. Duke is a great university that steps up to challenges and opportunities, and together we will use this moment to make our community stronger.

Robert K. Steel, Chair,
Duke University Board of Trustees


Anonymous said...


they had an obligation to discover the facts themsleves...they didnt listen to the players lawyers and this is TYPICAL LIBERAL CYA...

one always procedes when one takes action on their obligation to investigate the facts...they shot first and they will pay for it

don t. said...

This is pathetic, absolutely pitiful! That the Board would support this feckless stumblebum is incomprehensible..Have they forgotten his "performance" a year ago??? Maybe a few lawsuits will refresh their memories.


Anonymous said...

There is much to learn from the events that we have lived through,
and we intend to put this learning to use.
Robert K. Steel

Here is your first lesson, Bob. Learn it well.

Open your wallet and repeat after me, 'Help yourself.'

1. Repeat.

2. Repeat.

3. Repeat.

Anonymous said...

The Board of Trustees? Standing besides Brodhead? Great! More people to line up against the wall when the revolution comes!

Hope you have your checkbook ready.

Tired said...

I'm not giving another dime until Broadhead and Steel are gone.

Larry Humphrey
E' 83

Svolich, MD '60 said...

However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board.

Then the entire board should do the right thing, and resign.

Anonymous said...

Don't they have anyone there to read these things before they send them out?

Anonymous said...

The trustees and the president sent out the wrong message to the students when they would not even have the gumption to ask tough questions and simply acquiesce to the prosecutor. They're nothing but co-conspirators to this unfortunate event. The least they could do is apologize.

Anonymous said...

"However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board."

...Duh, no kidding. They're all a bunch of schmucks

Anonymous said...

There is no apology in this note from Steel. So, he is the puppet master of Brodhead, also with no apology.

I am ashamed of Duke today, deeply ashamed. Duke must begin a new page with "much to learn" with a simple apology.

This will not fly and the lack of an apology is what will damage Duke's reputation more each passing day. Steel must apologize, not say that "we all learned."

I am sorry, very sorry and I sincerely apologize to the boys on behalf of my alma mater. I hope that they accept my apology, and I wish them the best.

Anonymous said...

Steele is obviously angling
for advantage, and will likely
pursue arbitration. No way
is he planning on letting the
88's misdeeds be on the legal
record against Duke!


Anonymous said...

I find it quite entertaining that some commentators seem to believe that Duke has no civil liability in this matter. The simple truths are:

1) Duke resources (Web Sites, School Grounds, copiers) were employed to promulgate tortuous interference in the contract between the students and the university.

2) It is likely that departmental cash was employed to the same ends, and to slander the students

3) The administration did nothing to reign in the group of 88; effectively endorsing its position in the process.

4) The board of trustees may very well have been negligent in the matter if they took on any investigatory role in the process

Good attorneys will have a field day with Duke in a civil case, Great attorneys will decimate them.

Just the thought of hundreds of depositions of the Duke faculty/staff and prospect of what they would reveal is enough to send chills down the spine of Duke's attorneys.

If Duke could get a complete release of claims by paying the $3M in legal fees, it should do so immediately and get out with its dignity at least partially intact.

Foaming at the mouth said...

Both Brodhead and Steele refer to Dave, Collin and Reade as "OUR STUDENTS"--what gall, what arrogance. Have they forgotten that they expelled them, suspended and gave them the boot? Just ask any of the three if they feel they belong to Duke! Outrageous pandering to cover your arse!

joan foster said...

I wrote this last summer, but here is something to put into the envelope instead of a check to Duke.

Dear Illustrious Grad and wife
We pray your doing well in life

Once more we ask you... send us cash!
(though we despise the privileged class)

We covet what your money buys
We want you in those old school ties.

Build us a building!.. better still
Put AlmaMater in your will!

A Ditty to the Duke 88...Attn. Brodhead:
Though we abhor all you've achieved
We sneer."How easy to deceive..."

Send us your athletes, (but between cohorts
We damn the violence of ALL sports)

We know that we are a breed superior
And those rowdy louts are quite inferior

But we'd never ONCE articulate it.

How much your privileged sons are hated!

We hide our sneers, and sip your wine
Always praying for the time...

When evil may befall your fate
and facing malice, lies and hate

YOU ask support, then turn aghast
When we draw our knives and start to SLASH....!

At 7:27 PM, July 16, 2006, joan foster said...

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is the responsibility of the university to investigate, on its own, legal charges brought against one of its stuents by the prosecutor. What kind of precedent for legal liability would this set? Not to mention the interference with our legal system. Having said that, as evidence mounted that this was a hoax, the university was slow in making a definitive statement--they waited until the rape charges were dropped. In hindsight, they could and should have made that statement earlier and in a stronger form. (although, technically, Brodhead is correct is saying that, from the beginning, he urged people to remember that the players were innocent until proven guilty--he just didn't use strong enough words in his effort to walk the tightrope with the community and the media.)

The administration should have taken steps to contradict the words of the group of 88. A university is limited in its ability to rein its faculty in--it can't restrict free speech. But the Duke administration could have made it clear that it did not support the group of 88's statement, and it should have insisted (and made sure) that all professors treat all students with respect and with a presumption of innocence.

The lacrosse team, while totally innocent of all criminal charges, did, through their past behavior, contribute to an environment in which many outside of the group of 88 were initially willing to believe that the charges might be true. This does not in any way justify anything that happened to them, but it is a lesson that most of us will have to answer in some way for our behavior, and sometimes our reputation enables people to falsely judge us.

jim2 said...

"... our students ..."

Chutzpah on a sickening level!

It's been said that a defining example of chutzpah is a person just convicted of murdering both parents pleading for leniency on the basis of being an orphan.

It seems that Steel and Brodhead have given the world another defining example of chutzpah.

Anonymous said...

The cancelling of the entire lacrosse season and the firing of the coach was wrong and should never have happened. There was no presumption of innocence there. James Coleman has said over and over the behavior of the lacrosse team was no different than any other Duke student. I love Duke University. An apology should happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Larry Humphrey. It's time to withold contributions until Duke takes some corrective actions. Perhaps an organized effort among alums to do so will get their attention. Preferably Richard "Whataver they did was bad enough" Brodhead, John "For What?" Burness and Steele will resign.Sadly this is unlikely.

At a minimum, there needs to be a public apology and some kind of rebuke for the Group of 88.

Steve H.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Mr. Steel, having used his Duke degree and alumnus status to propel himself from Durham to Greenwich and to positions of power in a multitude of organizations, doesn't quite understand the concept of "doing the right thing." Fortunately, I believe that what goes around comes around, and Mr. Steel will one day have to give a defense of his life. I feel sorry for him for being a man so lacking in character.

Anonymous said...

Mr Steele mentions that there was no credible evidence and that is why the AG spoke INNOCENT for these men. Actually, Mr Steele, the AG said there was absolutely NO EVIDENCE, and that is why he said they were innocent. It appears Steele's view, and therefore Duke University, remains such that there is still some evidence, but not very strong evidence, pointing to the men doing something wrong that night. How short sighted and self-serving Mr. Steele.

Foaming at the mouth said...

I can't see from here. Has the "rioting in the streets of Durham" begun yet?

Anonymous said...

Elite universities care only to perpetuate themselves and increase their endowments and increase the "fame" of their faculty. Students are a necessary evil to be taken advantage of (as athletes, as graduate assistants). Duke has shown itself to be a fine example: scapegoated Pressler, failed to support the players and tried to play it "down the middle," to be on the winning side no matter which side "won." An institution whose leaders show total lack of character, total lack of concern for the students, feckless chestbeating.

But, unhappily, they will survive this as there is no oversight no accountability for higher "education."

People will continue to pay for the prestige. There are many other charitable organizations that are more deserving of contributions from caring Duke alumnae/i.

Anonymous said...

Just boilerplate "must move on and learn". And by the way, don't look at the wreckage strewn behind us.

Anonymous said...

"we believe that it was essential for the University to defer to the criminal justice system" Does that Duke should have waited to cancel games and the season until after the case was over?
Didn't Steele say to the media regarding cancelling the season before the facts came in that to paraphrase ' It wasn't fair, it wasn't right but we had to stop those pictures (of the guys practicing)'. In other words it was unfair and wrong but why not pile it on.

He has admitted that the BOT was aware and responsible for the questionable actions of the admin. What will they do with what they learned? Keep renewing the contract of "visiting professors" that engage in grade retaliation? Keep acting as if they have nothing to apoligze for because they had faulty info from Nifong? I hope they learn from the Finnertys, the Evanses, the Seligmanns and Mr. Cooper how to have courage and integrity.

Anonymous said...

The reality is a small cabal of Marxists professors used this for political purposes at Duke.

Brodhead & Steele are frightened to stand up to them for fear of being accused of a witch hunt.

Sorry of funny huh?

Mike Lee said...

And through it all (to this very moment!!) the NC NAACP still has its famous talking points listed on its website.

They include this gem-
"The three defendants they have two mountains to climb. First, they must deflect public attention from their boorish, racist, and illegal behavior by mounting outlandish attacks on the survivor and the D.A. Second, they must deal with a mountain of physical evidence, that is corroborated by, we have reason to believe, accounts of some of the men who were at the party who have cooperated with the police and the D.A. from early on."

I guess it makes no difference what anyone including the state's Attorney General says. The NAACP will continue to tout the mountain of evidence.

Memo to Roy Cooper- the NAACP of NC is calling you a liar on their website to this very moment.

Congratulations NAACP, you've shown your true colors and where you really stand on race relations!

Anonymous said...

I like how he uses our 3 Duke students, no sir they are their parents 3 young men who were railroaded by both the justice system and the liberalism mentality that is spewed all over your campus. You sir owe all of those young men and women on the lacrosse teams an apologym however your moral relativism will prevent you from doing so, you are the sick ones.

mayswilliam said...

Why was my own comment of earlier today deleted? Surely the sentiments I expressed were along the lines of all the others who have submitted comments.

I've supported this blog all along. What gives?

Bill Mays

LieStoppers said...


I've removed only one comment today (an advertisement). Is it possible your comment was under another post?


Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Obviously, the only reason Burness let Steel's dumb statement go out was because Burness couldn't see how stupid it was from behind his three foot stack of pancakes at IHOP.