Several members of the Duke faculty have posted an open letter to the Duke community, available online here.  You’ll note that some of these professors also signed on to an ad last spring that appeared in the Duke Chronicle, which among other things alleged a ‘social disaster’ at Duke and thanked students who were protesting against the lacrosse team.

Reading their letter, I was reminded of K.C. Johnson’s excellent article from Inside Higher Ed from a few weeks back, which featured this assessment of the professors’ behavior:

“The behavior we’ve seen from Duke’s faculty — the frantic rush to judgment coupled with a refusal to reconsider — was all too predictable. The Group of 88’s statement was fully consistent with basic ideas about race, class, and gender prevalent on most elite campuses today. Reconsidering their actions of last spring would have forced the Group of 88, and sympathetic colleagues, to reconsider some of the intellectual assumptions upon which the statement was based.

“Duke’s Gustafson recently reflected on what his colleagues had done:

“‘We have removed any safeguards we’ve learned against stereotyping, against judging people by the color of their skin or the (perceived) content of their wallet, against acting on hearsay and innuendo and misdirection and falsehoods. We have formed a dark blue wall of institutional silence; we have closed Pandora’s box now that all the evils have made it into the universe; we have transformed students from individual men to archetypes — to ‘perfect offenders’ and ‘hooligans’ — and refused to keep their personhood as a central component of all this. We have taken Reade, and Collin, and Dave, and posterized them into ‘White Male Athlete Privilege,’ and we have sought to punish that accordingly.'”