Thursday, April 12, 2007

Duke Lacrosse Players Exonerated

So I receive an email this morning from the chair of the Duke University Board of Trustees:
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
Thus speaks the stiff, rigid, correct, suit-and-tie'd, soulless university functionary.

It's been obvious for a long, long time now that this was a trumped-up case, and I've been pretty well disgusted at the behavior of many of those involved. Including that sociopathic District Attorney Nifong: I hope they throw the book at him. Including Duke President Dick Brodhead (what an appropriate name), who as the case proceeded was always a swaying weathervane in the breeze. Including some of the Duke faculty and their politically correct hangers-on, who have given new meaning to the phrase "rush to judgment."

As a Duke alumnus (Ph.D., Dec. 1991), I've been pretty well disgusted with the way Duke University and its assorted flunkies have conducted themselves throughout this case.

Though the absolute low point for me came not too far into the proceedings last year, when late one evening I received a phone call from a pollster. Ordinarily I don't bother with telephone polls, but seeing as this one had to do with Duke, I went along with it. Poll ran 15 or 20 minutes, endless questions, all having to do with the breaking Duke lacrosse case, and the burden of the entire poll being, more or less: Given what you've heard about this case, would you as a Duke alumnus now be less likely to make donations to Duke University?

Right. The world is tumbling down around their shoulders; either a heinous crime has been committed, or else three innocent young men have been framed; and the main concern of Duke University is whether enraged alumni might shut off the vital flow of $$$.

As a Duke alumnus, I cannot begin to convey just how disgusted I am with Duke University and the self-serving flash-mob opportunistic way they've conducted themselves over the past year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What fascinates me is the phrasing ... "However, anyone critical of President Brodhead should be similarly critical of the entire board." I don't think they mean for me to think "EXACTLY" when I read that.

And I'm amazed at them "deferring to the legal system" like the students had actually been convicted instead of just charged. I suspect (hope) this comes back to bite them. Hard. As an example of how NOT to handle a high-profile situation.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 2:58:00 PM  

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