Friday, December 29, 2006
The Duke "rape" case is not only an example of prosecutorial misconduct and demagoguery, as Mike notes: it has also been facilitated, to put it gently, by the poisonous "race-gender-class" leftism that prevails among the Duke faculty and administration, as it does on so many campuses. K.C. Johnson, who more than anyone else has fought the good fight against injustice in the case, puts it this way - in a piece posted yesterday at Inside Higher Ed:
Academic debates can sometimes seem trivial, and it’s easy to understand the overwhelming temptation that some Duke professors felt last April to do the politically correct thing and denounce the lacrosse players.
This particular behavior, however, had significant consequences. Less than four weeks after the Group of 88 issued their statement, Nifong [the prosecutor] captured a hotly contested Democratic primary by a mere 883 votes. Given the political and legal fluidity in Durham last spring, it’s hard to imagine Nifong prevailing had 88 Duke professors publicly demanded that he respect their students’ due process rights rather than thanking the protesters who had branded the players guilty.
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 admissions home page promises prospective parents that “teaching is personal,” as the institution’s professors “teach and mentor undergraduates, not only in the classroom.” Students who don’t conform to the race/class/gender worldview, however, seem to receive a different kind of “personal” attention.
I’d like to think that most academics entered the profession eager to work with students; and that most professors would never prioritize advancing their own ideological agenda over protecting their students. Yet I see little reason to believe that [it would have been different] had this incident occurred at another major university. And that makes Duke’s failing a failure of the academy as a whole.
Read the whole thing.
The problem, of course, is not only at "elite" or "major" universities. Lesser colleges and universities are as bad and worse. You find the same ideological monopoly or virtual monopoly, the same bullying style, the same political religion. There would be faculty and administration cheerleaders for a travesty like the Duke prosecution, I'm sorry to say, at plenty of schools. On all too many campuses around the country, "it could (easily) happen here".