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  #1  
Old 05-09-2006, 02:35 PM
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sojustask sojustask is offline
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Duke Failed to See Gravity of Rape Case, Report Says

Duke Failed to See Gravity of Rape Case, Report Says

By KAREN W. ARENSON
Published: May 9, 2006

Duke University officials, from the campus police to the highest administrative levels, failed to grasp the seriousness of an accusation that white lacrosse players raped a black woman at a party in March and did not respond quickly enough, said an outside report released yesterday.

The report, by William G. Bowen, a former president of Princeton University, and Julius Chambers, a former director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., cited "a gap in communications that is extraordinary," noting that the Duke police force had failed to alert administration officials to the racial component of the case.

Two lacrosse players were indicted last month on charges of first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and kidnapping. Their lawyers have said they are not guilty. The district attorney has said he is also gathering evidence to indict a third person.

The report also criticized administration officials as being too heavily influenced by Durham police reports that the woman "kept changing her story and was not credible" and that "this will blow over." The review added that the university should have conducted its own investigation.

It also said that the senior leadership of the university — five white men, an Asian-American man and a white woman — had been "handicapped by its own limited diversity" in responding.

The university president, Richard H. Brodhead, who commissioned the report, said in a telephone news conference that he was grateful for the "candid criticism" and planned to give the report careful attention.

Mr. Brodhead said that he planned to review communications and that all the personnel involved in the case would be assessed in their annual reviews.

The case has generated enormous attention worldwide because of its volatile mix of race, class, alcohol, university athletics, elitism and town-gown relations.

The report applauded Dr. Brodhead's "personal commitment to address all of the issues" and found no effort to cover up the incident or to deceive anyone. But it found problems with how the investigation, involving a student at nearby North Carolina Central University who had been hired to dance at a party for the lacrosse team, had been handled from the beginning.

The two experts said that although the Duke police knew that the woman, who had been taken to the emergency room of Duke University Hospital, is black and that the players she said had assaulted her are white, "information about her race and about racial aspects of the case did not reach key administrators" including Dr. Brodhead until March 24, 10 days after the party.

The report said Dr. Brodhead did not even learn of the problem until he read about it in the student newspaper, almost a week after it occurred.

Dr. Chambers, who was chancellor of North Carolina Central University from 1993 to 2001, said in the news conference that one aspect that most disturbed him was that Duke officials had not looked deeper into the accusations.

"It pointed out the need for being more careful about reviewing complaints when they come from minorities and others," he said. "You don't just discount a complaint because of who made it."

A spokeswoman for the Durham Police Department, Kammie Michael, said the department could not comment because the investigation was continuing.

Paul H. Haagen, a Duke law professor and the chairman of the Duke academic council, said he was puzzled by the suggestion that Duke might have responded differently if people had realized that the woman was black.

"I'm not sure that somehow or other we should have responded differently if it had been a white woman," Professor Haagen said.

Dr. Bowen, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, said in an e-mail message, "If the racial aspect of the situation had been understood early on, that should have sent off alerts re: the potential of the situation to raise or re-raise some deep-seated issues, especially in a community such as Durham."

Dr. Brodhead took issue with parts of the report. He noted, for example, that the reviewers said Duke should have been alert to the potential for more problems when the Durham police asked to search the e-mail records of one player. But, he said, had Duke looked into student e-mail accounts, it "would have been regarded as tampering with the investigation."

Sue Wasiolek, the assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, who was the person notified by the Duke police about the incident late in the day after the party, said that she thought the review was fair and accurate, but that "people reading it should be reminded that it is a look backward." Ms. Wasiolek called that "a much easier way to evaluate actions than when they are happening."

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Old 05-09-2006, 02:37 PM
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Re: Duke Failed to See Gravity of Rape Case, Report Says

I'm perplexed. I can't decide that what they are saying is if the woman had been white and affluent this handling of the situation would have been OK or if Duke would have responded faster or better or what?

Anyone else care to take a guess?

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Old 05-09-2006, 08:05 PM
CountryMom CountryMom is offline
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Re: Duke Failed to See Gravity of Rape Case, Report Says

I think that they are saying it has to be a race issue and is more important than if it was just a white that had been raped by the white players....to me the fact that the race was not known immediately by the administration means that they acted in a fair manner.

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Old 05-09-2006, 08:32 PM
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sojustask sojustask is offline
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Re: Duke Failed to See Gravity of Rape Case, Report Says

Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryMom
I think that they are saying it has to be a race issue and is more important than if it was just a white that had been raped by the white players....to me the fact that the race was not known immediately by the administration means that they acted in a fair manner.
I was kind of thinking that too but couldn't it also mean that had it been a white dancer that it woudn't have warranted any more importance than what it got? Is it open season on white women at Duke now?

It's kind of bizarre because they did suspend the entire LaCrosse team for the rest of the season. Leading one to think this hasn't been the first time some very unacceptable behavior like this has happened.

In a time when Duke was trying to get more black students going to the university it seems that the 10 day delay in informing the administrators has probably seriously hampered that aspect of recruiting.

On the flip side, just thinking that something more would have been done or done faster simply because the rape victim was black isn't reassuring either. That too would have sent out negative messages to the community at large.

What a mess. I still hope that they find the guilty parties and that the guilty parties do some serious time.

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