Allison, our in-house expert on all things Duke, has already commented on the amazing statement by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on dismissing the “case” against the former Duke Lacrosse players. The Washington Post has a news story this morning that includes this quote from one of the Lacrosse players:
“It’s been 395 days since this nightmare began, and finally the day has come for closure,” said Evans, who attended Landon School in Bethesda. “It’s painful to remember what we went through in those first days. Its just a testament to all of our character that we never lashed out. . . . To have people in the media relating you to Hitler and other terrible people from history when you have done nothing wrong — that is character to sit there and take that.”
It was a sordid mess from the get-go. But Vincent Carroll points out that the most scandalous behavior wasn’t that of the prosecutor or the rush-to-judgment press, which gleefully forgot the word allegedly in reporting the story. No, the worst behavior was that of the Duke faculty:
“[T]he most astonishing fact, hands down, was and remains the squalid behavior of the community of scholars at Duke itself. For months nearly the entire faculty fell into one of two camps: those who demanded the verdict first and the trial later, and those whose silence enabled their vigilante colleagues to set the tone.
“K.C. Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College, has followed every twist in the Duke scandal on his Durham-in- Wonderland Web site. He chronicles the faculty’s performance as the hysteria mounted.
“‘In late March (2006),’ Johnson writes, ‘Houston Baker, a professor of English and Afro-American Studies, issued a public letter denouncing the ‘abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us’ and demanding the ‘immediate dismissals’ of ‘the team itself and its players.’ A week later, on April 6, 88 members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying ‘thank you’ to campus demonstrators who had distributed a ‘wanted’ poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded the players ‘rapists.’ By contrast, no Duke professor publicly criticized Nifong?s conduct.”
By the way, the new catalogue for St. Martin’s Press lists the book KC is doing in collaboration with Stuart Taylor for September publication. The copy says that that “Until Proven Innocent, Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case” “is a book that is painstakingly accurate about a case that perfectly represents a cultural tendency towards-media-fueled travesties of justice.”
One feels certain that it will also address the matter of the Duke faculty.