April 12 2007
One News Now: Campus activist says Duke officials, prosecutor had agenda
Prosecutors have dropped all charges against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a black stripper at a team party in March 2006. The 28-year-old accuser initially said she was gang-raped and beaten by three white men at a party thrown by the team. But, in a news conference Wednesday, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the men "innocent" of the charges.
Cooper's office took over the case in January after the State Bar Association charged Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong with ethics violations. Alison Kasic, campus director for the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), says Nifong and the "guilty until proven innocent crowd at Duke" should be eating crow.
"I think the sad part of this is that if this happened on any other campus, you'd probably get a similar reaction. This isn't a campus climate that's specific to Duke," she said. "I think you have a lot of college administrators and professors around the country who are just kind of pushing their own political agenda, regardless of what the facts actually say in these cases."
According to Kasic, "a disturbingly large majority within the Duke administration and faculty laid the lacrosse team out to dry from day one of the investigation." And she believes the anger and vitriol directed at the three players was completely unjustified.
"It does get to a larger problem within higher education of sort of political agendas and everyone trying to push their own agendas ... at the expense of their students," the IWF spokeswoman said. "They're willing to kind of sacrifice them in order to promote a bigger message about sexism and racism, and I think that's just horribly inappropriate."
Kasic says Nifong, who faces disbarment for withholding exculpatory evidence, should be "severely punished" for "playing politics with the law."