Duke leaders discuss 'toll' of lacrosse case
BY WILLIAM F. WEST, The Herald-Sun
September 29, 2006 11:09 pm
DURHAM -- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..."
The chairman of Duke University's Academic Council, Paul Haagen, cited Charles Dickens' classic, "A Tale of Two Cities," at a Board of Trustees meeting Friday, when referencing Duke's national academic eminence and the trying times resulting from the Duke lacrosse rape case.
While saying that the university remains "the envy of American higher education," Haagen also addressed the lacrosse scenario.
"There is no question that, for some in our community, this experience has taken its toll. The ties that bind have become a little frayed in places, and in others a little too binding," Haagen said.
Three 2005-06 players -- David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann -- deny committing rape, kidnapping and sexual offense against a dancer in connection with charges surrounding events at an off-campus lacrosse team party March 13 in Durham.
Haagen told trustees there will be demands for greater accountability.
They may come from government, the press and public and "predictably will challenge some of our established ways of doing things, both those that are merely comfortable and traditional, and those that go to core values," he said, citing freedom in scholarship and teaching.
Some of them, Haagen warned, will be poorly conceived and others won't be real demands for accountability, "but just the latest round of 'gotcha journalism' or political opportunism."
Duke student government president Elliott Wolf told the trustees that, as undergraduates, the most painful part has been discussing their wonderful experiences at the university with others, yet witnessing the talk inevitably shifting to the lacrosse story.
"We have decided the best course of action is not to directly respond to allegations associated with the lacrosse team and further associate the word 'Duke' with the word 'lacrosse,'" he said.
Earlier Friday, five panelists from a Campus Cultural Initiative committee formed in the aftermath of the allegations discussed whether Duke should continue "steady as she goes" or make changes.
The Rev. Canon Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel and one of the panelists, said he believes the university is in the third of three chapters.
The first chapter, Wells said, ran from the 1920s to the late 1950s, with the world -- as seen by Duke -- run by a particular class, race and religious tradition and summed up in one word: "Privilege."
The second chapter, Wells said, was the 1960s, with the bastion being broken down by those who had been "wrongly" excluded in the previous chapter.
"We're in chapter three," he said. "And what I felt was probably going on in the spring was a bit of nostalgia from some groups from chapter one, when you knew what rules the were and everything was well with the world."
Combined with that, Wells said, was "a bit of nostalgia" from chapter two, when protest was the form of exchange and there was a sense of accomplishment by minorities.
"The difficulty, I think, is if we're in chapter three, where do we go from here?" he said.
The more specific questions, Wells said, are whether to replay or get into a "nostalgia fest" about the first two chapters or try and find a new language, new goals and a new identity.
"To me, this is a wonderful opportunity, not just for this campus, but for all who look to Duke as either an example or as a fellow partner in a conversation," he said.
Duke President Richard Brodhead announced the Campus Cultural Initiative in April. He anticipates seeing a preliminary report by December, with a final document expected by the spring.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-774370.html
NAACP race widens to two
By Emily Coakley, The Herald-Sun
September 29, 2006 8:17 pm
DURHAM -- The Rev. Duane L. Hoskins announced Friday that he plans to run for president of the NAACP Durham branch.
"I had been planning to do this for several years," Hoskins said Friday. "Now more than ever we need some changes."
Earlier this month the Rev. Charles D. Smith, who has served as the branch's president for two years, said he would not seek another term after the current one ends in December.
One of Hoskins' priorities is to have the NAACP serve as a link between residents and agencies. With housing, education and health particularly, local agencies and entities are available to help, but people don't often know about them, he said.
With education, he'd like to see more programs that are alternatives to school suspensions, more continuing education and more people have access to earning their GEDs.
Hoskins has lived in Durham since 1982 and is working on a master's degree in divinity at Apex School of Theology.
He is an associate minister at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, and was an associate minister at Christian Home United Church of Christ in Apex.
He is involved in a number of organizations, including the Religious and Human Affairs Committee at the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, and the Durham Capital Improvement Board.
After three Duke University lacrosse players were accused of raping a N.C. Central University student at an off-campus party earlier this year, Hoskins said he formed a coalition of students from the two universities and Durham Technical Community College.
"All the parties are cooperative and willing to build and rebuild relationships," Hoskins said, adding that he doesn't think people have noticed that willingness.
A Unity Fest planned for this fall is an example of that coalition's work, he said.
So far, two people have announced plans to run for president of the NAACP branch.
Fred Foster Jr., political chairman for the Durham branch, stated his intentions earlier this month.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-774357.html
Nifong is the one who has shown disrespect
I must respond to Kim Brummell's letter of Sept. 23. She said, "some lacrosse supporters have the nerve to say DA Mike Nifong is dividing the community."
I am not a lacrosse supporter, but I support fairness. If Brummell believes District Attorney Mike Nifong is not dividing Durham, then obviously, she doesn't get out much. She also referred to the players' "disrespectful behavior."
Why is it wrong for the young men to show disrespect, but it's all right for Nifong?
Most of the times I have seen him on TV, he is laughing. It's no joke or laughing matter to ruin young men's lives in the manner he has, apparently for his political gain. It would serve him well, to conduct himself with dignity, as his predecessor Jim Hardin did.
When Hardin was prosecuting Michael Peterson, he treated him and his attorneys with respect. He may have laughed behind the scenes, I have no way of knowing if he did or did not, but he didn't when the cameras were on him. The crimes these young men are charged with in no way meet the sadistic murder of Michael Peterson's wife. Yet, Peterson was treated respectfully.
The sad part about this is, unless either Lewis Cheek or Steve Monks change their Election Day plans, the votes of people like me will be divided between the two men, thus keeping Nifong as DA.
September 30, 2006
"Duke student government president Elliott Wolf told the trustees that, as undergraduates, the most painful part has been discussing their wonderful experiences at the university with others, yet witnessing the talk inevitably shifting to the lacrosse story."
"We have decided the best course of action is not to directly respond to allegations associated with the lacrosse team and further associate the word 'Duke' with the word 'lacrosse,'" he said."
Duke used to like to be associated with the word 'lacrosse'. They had a championship team. They still had one, until they dismissed the coach and scattered the players.
Now they don't want to be associated with justice, the innocence of their students, or the defense of their students' rights against a legal lynching. And they use this as an excuse--that they are trying to disassociate the university's good name from the scandal in the public mind; so for the sake of that higher goal they won't respond to anything about the hoax.
Haagen's and Wells' hand-wringing are based on the premise that a crime actually occurred on March 13/March 14 at 610 Buchanan. The basis for their pontificating disappears entirely if, as I do, you believe the evils that actually transpired was an ambitious, sociopathic DA run amok and a FA contributing to a hoax, a gross miscarriage of justice and the vicious character assasinations on 3 young men.
An eqully valid interpretation of the events would lead to a very different Chapter 3 of Wells magnus opus, one that details how liberal guilt and political correctness led Brodhead, many Duke professors and Durham LE to reject any notion of the keystone of our jurisprudence - "innocent until proven guilty" - and to sacrifice the futures and lives of three young students.
The crying shame is that when these three students are legally acquitted, Brodhead, Nifong et al are unlikely to be held to account for their various abuses, cowardice, ethical lapses and, in case of the DA, actual criminal activities.