Saturday, November 17, 2007

DSED Department of Attributions/Clarifications/Corrections/Proper MLA citations: Errata

[message from Ken Larrey regarding his argument in the New Right Review. The online version contains at least one significant mistake that somehow arose in the editing process, but I believe that mistake was corrected in the print version, though the online version has yet to be updated. As written in the online version, the editor made a modification that has me stating that first amendment rights do not apply to faculty members, which was news to me]

One of the problems when submitting articles for fact-checking, editing, and review to someone who already knows a great deal about the relevant facts is that though both of us may understand what I mean, it may not be clear to others. Especially in an argumentative piece like this one that requires interpretations of fact on the part of the author, that can be a problem.

Precision and accuracy are important, even for irrelevant matters. There were a couple of corrections that I would like to make to my argument in the New Right Review, and you may judge their importance.

1) "what Brodhead termed the 'Good Neighbor Policy'"
According to KC Johnson, the "Good Neighbor Policy" was a nickname among administrators for the described policy or approach. However, we do not actually have Brodhead on record using that term.

2) “it was Duke that collaborated with police and [Alcohol Law Enforcement] to illegally raid student off campus houses without warrants—well in excess of 100 instances"
There were well in excess of 100 citations thrown out by judges because of the lack of warrants. However, as written, 100 instances seems to refer to "raid[s]," which was not the intent. Though this was not Elliott's objection (and actually he overlooked that too), this would nevertheless qualify as sloppy writing.

Also, in the context of the entire paragraph the meaning is much clearer [this is where knowledge of the facts can get in the way], but the argument is that Duke collaborated with the Durham Police in developing and/or approving the policies that led to this sort of police behavior that was abusive of Duke students. No, I was not trying to convince anyone that Dean Bryan went running around with Mark Gottleib threatening to deport people and dragging half asleep college students down stairs. I had taken that assumption for hilarious as the idea might be.

3) "so that Judicial Affairs could subject them to Duke justice"
Here is what I perceive to be the only mistake of noteworthy significance in the argument, and this is where Elliott did have a point. Including this statement as I did implied that Duke's intent in all of this was to be able to subject them to "Duke justice," and that is not something I am prepared to substantiate publicly. There is, however, ample reason to argue that this was the DPD's intent and ALE's intent - so that Judicial Affairs would subject them to Duke justice even though a court would have to throw out the citations - and that is what I want readers to take from all of this. Equally important is that Duke proved completely indifferent to these abuses and indeed seemed to support them by continuing to apply "Duke justice" based on this illegally obtained information.

So while Elliott is correct that there was some sloppy writing in this single sentence from my argument, I am nonetheless taken aback by his assault on Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, and we look forward to the opportunity to respond to a number of his statements of "fact."

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