KC Johnson thoroughly demolishes an attempt to rewrite history. No surprise the rewriter is a member of the Group of 88.
One additional point. Professor Cathy Davidson writes that:
The ad said that we faculty were listening to the anguish of students who felt demeaned by racist and sexist remarks swirling around in the media and on the campus quad in the aftermath of what happened on March 13 in the lacrosse house.As KC points out, this is a crock because Evan, Finnerty, and Seligmann weren't being defended at all because they had not been named as suspects. Further, there were very few defending the lacrosse team in public and many who were vilifying them. Here's is the open letter Professor Houston Baker (now at Vanderbilt) wrote on 29 March. Does this sound balanced and nuanced? Does it express even minimal doubt that the lacrosse players are guilty?
The insults, at that time, were rampant. It was as if defending David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann necessitated reverting to pernicious stereotypes about African-Americans, especially poor black women.
But there is a clear urgency about the erosion of any felt sense of confidence or safety for the rest of us who live and work at Duke University. The lacrosse team - 15 of whom have faced misdemeanor charges for drunken misbehavior in the past three years - may well feel they can claim innocence and sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness. But where is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again? And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys? Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives. There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.
Duke University's higher administration has engaged in precisely such a tepid and pious legalism with respect to the disaster of recent days: the actual harm to the body, soul, mind, and spirit of black women who were in the company of Duke University lacrosse team members as far as any of us know. All of Duke athletics has now been drawn into the seamy domains of Colorado football and other college and university blind-eying of male athletes, veritably given license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech, and feel proud of themselves in the bargain.