Duke Lacrosse Case: The Latest Outrage

In a nauseating editorial this week in the Raleigh News and Observer, Duke University president Richard Brodhead is depicted as "used to working at elite levels," which allegedly qualified him to receive one of the four 2013  Academic Leadership Awards bestowed by the left-leaning Carnegie Corporation  to "exceptional leaders in higher education."

Yet when Brodhead, who came to Duke in 2004 from Yale, was confronted with an opportunity to demonstrate genuine university leadership, he failed in dramatic style. It was Brodhead in 2006 who threw his own students to the wolves and took the word of a prostitute in the infamous Duke Lacrosse case. In a continuing and mystifying charade, he is lionized by the academic community at large in what appears to be an organized effort to obscure his incompetency and lack of ethics in the affair -- and to create a politically correct verdict against the innocent students involved.  

The scenario reads like this: although the three Lacrosse players ended up victims of a cabal of third rate radical professors, an incompetent and politically motivated prosecutor, and their fellow travelers in the Duke University and Durham, NC community, the bien pensants of the Left have orchestrated the permanent record in order to stain the lacrosse players in the court of public opinion despite their innocence and victimization. To Brodhead and his accomplices, the incident was an example of the ongoing class warfare by rich white males against guiltless minorities they prefer to believe is rampant.

Crystal Mangum, the "stripper" whose word Brodhead believed over his own students, is now serving 14 to  18 years for second degree murder for killing her boyfriend, prosecuted by the same Durham district attorney's office that fabricated evidence against the players. The Durham prosecutors have not continued to cover up their horrible mistakes in the pursuit of the untrue charges against the lacrosse students by going soft on their false accuser.

But Duke University continues to mask over the inexcusable  actions by Richard Brodhead, bringing shame and degradation to the school. Brodhead was never reprimanded, and he certainly was not fired from his $1.8 million a year job. Nor did he have the character or gumption to resign in disgrace. Rather, the Duke board issued statements praising Brodhead while paying out several millions in damages to the boys.

Duke is one of the finest colleges in the country, and especially deserves praise for running off the radical scholars that very nearly ruined  its status during the Stanley Fish era the 1980s and early 1990s.  It is a monumental inconsistency and a moral outrage for Duke to harbor and coddle a fraud like Brodhead and allow him to continue to burnish his reputation under Duke's imprimatur. He is a stain on the university and ought to be a pariah in the realm of societal values.

Oh yes, the newspaper that published the fulsome editorial about the Carnegie recognition -- and praised Brodhead for his support of the humanities and for editing a recent volume of essays on Moby Dick, the great cliché of American literature - is owned by the McClatchy chain. Why has the left-of-center daily continually  conspired in the Brodhead cover-up?  Because the paper got it all wrong and believed the prostitute, performing a hatchet job on the students.  Like Brodhead and his academic coterie, to them the lacrosse players seem to be guilty simply for being white males.

Bernie Reeves is editor and publisher, Raleigh Metro Magazine and the founder of the Raleigh Spy Conference

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