[Coleman] defended the University's handling of the case in this sense--that if the University had been vigorously proclaiming the students innocence, that it would have been impossible for Cooper to proclaim the players "innocent." [Coleman] described Cooper as not terribly courageous, but that the result--INNOCENT--was extraordinary, that it never happens. His theory is that had Duke been active, that exoneration would have been attributed to Duke's influence, and Cooper would only have been able to dismiss for "lack of evidence."A. Peter Alan:
Having said that, he did criticize several actions that Duke took. I'll try to summarize in no particular order:
1. Ryan MacFayden's suspension was wrong. Apparently his e-mail was one of a series which, if read together, would indicate that it was not a threat.
2. Mike Pressler's firing was wrong. He pointed out that Pressler sat two seniors for last year's championship game, and that he made them wear civvies instead of uniforms that day. He called that a commendable action.
3. The University was correct to cancel the season. There was a real danger of violence had the games been played, and it might have been impossible to protect the players and fans.
4. The Group of 88 had/have the right to express their views, but they should also be responsible for them, and they have not been.
5. He actually was more concerned about the treatment of players in class, in which he stated that several (many) instructors abused their position to harass the players. I think he is referring to situations of making the players sit on one side of the room, criticizing them in front of the class, etc. And he criticized the University for not correcting this situation as soon as possible.
6. We may be disappointed that students drink and hire strippers, but it is a fact of life on college campuses everywhere, not a condition unique to the Duke lacrosse team.
7. He mentioned the Kyle Dowd case, but made no comments about the continuation of Kim Curtis on the faculty.
8. He reiterated the findings of his report that the team had the best (?) GPA of any athletic team, that their disciplinary record was not noticeably worse than that of the student body at large.
9. When asked if the University should reimburse the students for their ordeal he smilingly said he was sure the University's lawyers and the student's lawyers were discussing this right now.
10. While it would have been inappropriate to declare the innocence of the students, Duke knew they had cooperated with the police, had given uncounseled statements to the police (a fact that horrified him, but which was further indication of innocence to him). They should have put out a press release limited to the fact that the players had cooperated with the police, and had done so originally without counsel, and that they had all given DNA willingly even though they likely could have appealed the order. Such a statement would have set the record straight without prejudging the case.
11. He defended Chancellor Ammons and Mayor Bell, saying they tried to quiet tempers, and that had they acted differently the situation could have become even more inflamed.
12. Said the University should have been more supportive of the students during the ordeal last spring.
I am glad I heard his explanation of his defense of the University. If you take his defense in conjunction with his caveats, it is clear that his defense is very narrow, and is aimed solely at the legal issues. This was not clear to me from previous reporting. If you look at all the things he said were done wrong, most of us would agree with him. As a result, his defense is quite narrow and limited.
My strongest take-away impression was item 9, and I think Coleman's statement was a little stronger than buddy reported. I think Coleman said that he had heard that discussions were taking place between Duke and the 3 indicted players.Dukex4:
Regarding the 88, Coleman encouraged the audience to read the "listening" ad if they had not. I think his implication is that it's not so bad for the the 88 members who don't have words or deeds beyond the ad. He also said that more time should pass before judging them as a group and consideration of any sanctions. Judging by groans around the room, I don't think he was convincing on this, or in his support for Brodhead.
He opened his remarks by saying that one of the bright spots of a miserable year was how the students on the team (all of them) handled themselves – we should be “proud” of them.
As to questions from the audience, I was prepared to ask a question Blog Hooligan had posed, specifically:
1. Would it have been influencing the judicial process if the Duke administration had publicly tried to dispel the myth that the lacrosse players had cooperated with police on March 16th, and that the 3 Duke captains had offered to take a lie detector test and had willingly given DNA samples?
I did not need to ask it as Coleman addressed it specifically, as reported by Buddy. I felt he was very blunt on this – he said the allegation of the wall of silence was bogus and that “someone [from Duke] should have stood up and said so.” People at “Duke knew it was a lie, the Durham PD knew it was a lie – only the reporters reporting it didn’t know it was a lie. “