Sunday, November 18, 2007

Letter to the Editor

Elliott's Column

Correspondence with Elliott Prior to Column

Elliott's Full Correspondence with KC Johnson

Dr. Gustafson's Chronicle Correction

Letter sent to the Chronicle [letter published]:

I am profoundly hurt and disappointed by what Elliott has produced here, but I am especially appalled at the way Elliott has gone about producing it. We are all (DSED and Friends/partners) preparing a well-reasoned, fair, and well informed response to Elliott's column, not only a necessity but also a courtesy to Elliott that we believe he has not extended to us, nor is it what he has provided to the readers of the Chronicle. I hope that in addition to this letter, the Chronicle will publish that response defending our integrity with the same publicity with which Elliott has besmirched it.

In the meantime visit our Blog,, where you will find much of the substantiation that he demanded and that I provided to him. Elliott made it clear that unless I betrayed my own integrity by revealing to him anonymous sources, he was going to publish a column attempting to eviscerate DSEDuke and me. Though I easily substantiated my arguments - indeed I bent over backwards to meet his absurd time demands - with publicly available sources, he ignored them.

With some minor modifications to a single sentence from my piece in the NRR, I stand by my arguments as I have done my research. We welcome criticism, and as Dr. Gustafson will attest, we often have to pry it from him.

However, it is a bit much to be accused of things like “plagiarism” and “rush to judgment” in a defamation piece for which the near entirety of “investigation,” let alone writing, was conducted long after Elliott’s deadline for submission of the column. Equally odd was the absurd claim we are “rapidly losing support,” substantiated by a flagrant, malicious misquote of Dr. Gustafson (intentional or not) and anonymous “chron[icle message board] postings,” according to Elliott, who accused us of substantiating with “hearsay” and “gossip.”

Regarding what he calls our lack of “policy objectives,” Elliott did not even inquire about them, nor did he ask about any of our non-lacrosse related initiatives. We have not sought publicity for much of what we have done because we wait until we have done our due diligence. We invite the Chronicle to do a story on our other objectives in the near future.

Elliott has made a variety of mistakes and wildly misappropriated several quotes. While he included a quote of which I am quite proud, he left out the most important sentence: “similarly, when we are shown to be wrong, we must readily admit that we are wrong.” I am committed to that statement, and we hope Elliott will make the same humble commitment. I do not know what has prompted this betrayal of his usual journalistic integrity or his rush to discredit us, but we hope that we will be able to continue working for a better, ethical Duke together.

Ken Larrey
Duke Students for an Ethical Duke

1 comment:

Jim in San Diego said...

I have previously sent a couple of (unpublished) blogs to this site. If you have them, you know where I stand on the issues you address.

You will find it extraordinarily difficult to avoid unfair, even anti-intellectual attacks upon you, your webite, your motives, your politics, and your ancestry. Your stand for an ethical Duke is a direct challenge to the philosophy and behavior of an influential part of the community there.

These people are not used to being critiqued or challenged. They fight dirty. By that I mean they do not argue rationally from verifiable facts. Inconvenient facts are not allowed to intrude on a good dogmatic argument.

From afar, I support your goals, and wish you well. My children are at risk from an unethical Duke, or an unethical anywhere else. This concerns me greatly.

Thank you for making the effort to change things.

Jim Peterson