Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Lawsuit Breakdown: Conspiracy to Interrogate without Counsel

[The series Lawsuit Breakdown will attempt to highlight the main points of the lawsuit filed on 12/18/07 by attorneys for Ryan McFayden, Matt Wilson and Breck Archer with a focus on Duke University's involvement in the scandal.]

The following excerpt outlines the complaints against Duke in the conpsiracy between Duke Police Defendants, Duke Officials Defendants and Durham Police Defendants to "orchestrate the mass interrogation of uncounseled students" (p. 126).
Duke Police and Duke Officials understood and agreed to:
(1) Deliver all 47 team members to Gottlieb and Himan, at a designated location, to be interrogated by Durham Police;
(2) Create a false sense of security in the team members by minimizing the seriousness of the investigation and the charges being investigated, and encourage team members not to seek legal counsel or to reveal the planned interrogations to anyone;
(3) Provide no information to the Plaintiffs or their teammates about the nature or scope of the interrogations;
(4) The team members would not be informed that, during the interrogations, every one of them would be asked to volunteer to give their DNA and a “mug shot” photograph, or that a team of CSIs from the Durham Forensic Services Unit (“FSU”) had been mobilized for purpose of taking DNA swabs, mug shot photographs, and pictures of any scars or marks on the team members’ arms and torso.
(5) The team members would also not be advised that if they submit DNA samples and mug shot photographs voluntarily, they waive their right to a report of the results of all DNA testing and photo identification procedures as soon as they are available; and, further, that they could have that right merely by requesting a Nontestimonial (“NTID”) Order be obtained for the same purposes; and, further that, absent an NTID Order, a right to that information would not arise again unless the individual is indicted, and then only pursuant to constitutional and/or statutory discovery; and
(6) Provide a primary location and/or a satellite location(s) for isolated interrogations of individuals (p. 127) .
The Durham Police were then to report to Duke Police and Duke Officials "with information relating to their charging decisions" (p. 128). Duke Police and Duke Officials implemented the plan according to the agreement. At 7:00 pm on March 21st the players were instructed to report to the Duke Police Department at 3:00 pm the next day, leaving little time to consult significantly with counsel. They were told they were "going in to answer one or two questions" (p. 129), leaving out the plan to take DNA samples and photographs and subject the team to harsh and deceitful interrogation. Ekstrand alleges the advice given to the captains the week before by Wasiolek, the effect of which was "'you don't need a lawyer,' and "'don't tell anyone this is happening, not even your parents'" (p. 129), had been disseminated to the rest of the team. The rest of the team, however, did not know the purpose of the questioning or the severity of the allegations, and certainly not that they could all be charged as accomplices based on their presence at the party. Duke administrators, it seems, were demonstrably well aware of and acting in accordance with these intentions:
The University Officials’ agent responsible for coordinating the mass interrogation was directed to notify the Durham Police that the team members were told of the planned interrogations without sufficient time to discuss it fully with their parents (p. 130).

The disaster that likely would have resulted from these interrogations was averted only by the exhausting overnight efforts of Bob Ekstrand and his paralegal, Stef Sparks.

Next, Ekstrand alleges a conspiracy by both Duke Officials and Durham Police to retaliate against the players for delaying the interrogation to speak with their parents and counsel before being questioned by police.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lawsuit Breakdown: Jurisdiction Part 2

[The series Lawsuit Breakdown will attempt to highlight the main points of the lawsuit filed on 12/18/07 by attorneys for Ryan McFayden, Matt Wilson and Breck Archer with a focus on Duke University's involvement in the scandal.]

Follow-up on Lawsuit Breakdown: Jurisdiction in the Rape Claim Investigation

It has become clear that the matter of jurisdiction deserves another post. As a reminder, here are the two main points on this issue:

1. The Duke University Police Department had Jurisdiction
2. ALL of the defendants conspired to publicly and privately conceal the fact of the Duke Police Department's "jurisdictional obligation" (p. 4)

1. Jurisdiction
It appears more and more that the matter of jurisdiction is more or less incontestable. As the lawsuit convincingly demonstrates, not only was there an established protocol as well as precedent designating this rape investigation under the jurisdiction of Duke Police rather than the Durham Police, but this rape investigation was transfered from the Durham Police to the Duke Police: "pursuant to the Durham Police Departments [sic] written protocol, General Order No. 1006 R-1, a transfer of the investigation to the Duke Police Department was initiated [...] immediately a cadre of Duke Police officers and supervisors descended upon the E.D. in response" (p. 94) where they were briefed on the bizarreness of Mangum's behavior, the inconsistencies of her stories, and the "specious circumstances surrounding her rape claim" (p. 94).

That the investigation belonged to the DUPD seems established.

2. Conspiracy
It gets worse. A lot worse.

We may revisit this section to add more commentary, but many of these excerpts from the complaint speak for themselves. What Ekstrand is alleging implies that Bob Steel and high level administrators were issuing commands to suppress exculpatory evidence and manufacture fraudulent evidence in order to conceal Duke's involvement in the affair, both publicly and privately, as well as its jurisdictional authority.

"Duke Police Supervisors, Duke Officials, and Durham Police Supervisors would overrule their investigators’ decision to wind up the investigation, and, instead, agree to put Mangum’s false claims into the hands of a known rogue officer, who they knew had a documented, alarming pattern and practice of abusing Duke students, falsifying testimony and fabricating evidence to
close holes in his many baseless prosecutions of Duke students on misdemeanor charges" (p. 113).

"Defendant Robert K. Steel, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Duke University Board of Trustees, through the CMT and/or Duke Police Supervising Defendants understood, agreed, and conspired to direct the Duke Police officers and investigators to (1) cease all participation in the investigation, (2) conceal evidence of their prior role in the investigation and evidence of their authority to intervene and control the investigation, and (3) fabricate false and misleading 'witness' statements calculated to conceal their personal observations of Mangum’s bizarre behavior" (p. 141).

"On or about March 27, 2006, in response to a request for Duke Police Officers’ statements from Nifong’s assistant, Sheila Eason, Duke Police Supervising Defendants directed the Duke Police Officers who interacted with Mangum at DUMC to violate protocol and standing General Orders by not writing a standard incident report or operations report on the forms prescribed for that purpose. Instead, the Officers were directed to write what can only be characterized as 'bystander witness statements' that conceal the exculpatory evidence they derived from their interactions with Mangum" (p. 146).

Ekstrand goes on to explain the suspiciously uniform nature of these "bystander witness statements."

As we have known for some time, the Bowen/Chambers report (evaluating the administration's initial response) justified the Duke administration's slow response to the allegations by pointing to a report by Duke Officer Christopher Day which suggested Mangum was not credible. When the existence of Officer Day's report was revealed, Ekstrand says, the media began asking "a barrage of questions about...why he was involved in the investigation" (p. 98) being a Duke Policeman.

"Duke Police and Durham Police agreed to misrepresent what transpired on the loading dock of the E.D. and told reporters that Officer Day was 'eavesdropping' on Durham Police conversations, and had no place in the investigation" (p. 98)

Day's report, however, "contained a synopsis of much of the exculpatory evidence gathered by Durham Police and Duke Police on March 14th, and concluded that the felony investigation had been closed. Because everything in Day's report was already approved by the command and was at odds with the directive to conceal exculpatory material, Day was directed to write a 'Continuation' report" (p. 150) which "deliberately impeaches his own contemporaneously written synthesis of the reports he received in the transition briefing at the E.D. in the early morning hours of March 14, 2006" (p. 150). By impeaching his own report, Day was forced to discredit the evidentiary and exculpatory value of his report.

There are three Duke Police Officers that the complaint lists as individuals who were forced to commit these frauds: Officers Mazurek, Falcon, and Day. Officers Mazurek and Falcon have since obtained employment elsewhere. Ekstrand's explanation of this fact implying they were each "free to report any exculpatory information" (p. 149) seems to imply that much of Ekstrand's substantiation for these accusations of conspiracy against Duke Officials and Duke Police defendants may be coming from these very officers. If such is the case, their testimony could prove devastating.

Wait until we get into Ekstrand's allegations of Duke administrators' efforts to "force waivers of the plaintiff's fifth and sixth amendment rights" (p. 155).

Stuart Taylor wasn't messing around when he predicted this case was going to get "uglier and uglier and uglier" at our Nov. 2nd event. Whether or not these allegations are successfully contested, the whole affair got quite a bit uglier on Dec. 18 with the filing of this complaint.

Lawsuit File (Video and Audio Included)

Ekstrands website, www.ninthstreetlaw.com, has posted the complete pdf file of the complaint, which includes audio and video attachments. The file is a 72 MB pdf.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lawsuit Breakdown: KC Johnson Weighs In

[The series Lawsuit Breakdown will attempt to highlight the main points of the lawsuit filed on 12/18/07 by attorneys for Ryan McFayden, Matt Wilson and Breck Archer with a focus on Duke University's involvement in the scandal.]

The following Q&A with KC Johnson was provided by Liestoppers:

What parts of the filing came as a surprise to you? Any new information you were not aware of?

To me, the single most signifiant aspect of the filing comes on pp. 217-221, discussing the treatment of Matt Wilson. Wilson, it's clear, received disproportionate punishment based on his status as a lacrosse player. More problemmatically, however, the filing alleges that in his Judicial Board inquiry, he was asked multiple questions about the party.

If Wilson was asked even one question about the party, such an act would have violated the University's stated policy, that it was not and could not investigate the case, since doing so would be tantamount to obstruction of justice. In short, if this claim is true, the University had, by its own admission, obstructed justice.

The other significant element that wasn't public information was the extent to which Duke tried (and succeeded) to make sure that McFadyen signed a FERPA waiver--which allowed the University to describe his suspension and made sure that there would be no problems in denouncing him publicly.

The conduct is particularly egregious for three reasons: (1) as the claim pointed out, other students who had sent far worse e-mails were punished less; (2) Brodhead was an English prof--presumably he was familiar with the book; (3) if the University was able to track McFadyen down to sign a FERPA waiver, why didn't the University ask him what the e-mail referenced? Of course, when the University actually got around to doing that, the suspension was lifted.

As the onion gets pealed back more, is it about as bad as you anticipated or worse based on this filing?

It's about as bad as I had expected. The filing hints at greater involvement than has been documented to date by Bob Steel--which could create a most interesting discovery process.

What is your assessment of Sam Hummel's role within this filing? Will he be added to it?

I doubt Hummel will be added. The question with him is (a) whether his supervisors knew of his activity; and (b) whether it can be proven that he did anything on Duke's time or equipment. Are there people, for instance, who could testify that they saw him creating wanted posters on a Duke copier? The creation of those posters was a direct harm to the three plaintiffs, obviously.

Could the Honorable Judge Stephens be a likely candidate for an addition to this? It has come to light he enabled some very unethical things without doing the appropriate amount of homework?

Stephens won't be added to the filing--unfortunately, incompetence isn't grounds for a civil suit. I think we see from this filing that there's a long trait of laziness in the Durham DA's office. It recalls Nifong's claim at the criminal contempt trial that he had open file discovery because that way he could be saved the problem of actually reading his own files and determining whether documents needed to be handed over to the defense.
Is any portion of the filing weak in your opinion?

It's hard to imagine the filing against Meehan or DSI surviving--they are both highly vulnerable to the three accused players, but if Meehan and DSI hadn't entered into an agreemet with Nifong to intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence, I'm not sure it would have affected the position of the three plaintiffs.

I also think the filing could have done more with the point that Duke failed to require its faculty to treat all students equally on basis of race, class, gender, or athletic status. McFadyen was in Reeve Huston's class--subjecting him to one of the most egregious acts of faculty harassment in the case.

Could this new information, if validated in a court of law lead to federal charges?

Unfortunately, no. It's clear the feds rejected becoming involved for political reasons--they had overwhelming evidence that a crime occurred. How often does the Justice Department turn down a request from a sitting AG? I can't imagine anything that will bring about a federal inquiry at this stage.
Do you feel the actions of Tara Levicy in this frame are becoming more serious than what you initially assessed?

No, but only because I always had assessed her actions as very, very serious. It's worth remembering that this case never would have reached Nifong but for two people--Levicy and Gottlieb.

The filing very cleverly positions Levicy as she should be known--the de facto accuser. Since the police had no statement from Mangum until 4-6, it was the zealot Levicy who was consistently providing the "voice" of the "victim"--and, as this filing makes clear, was constantly changing her story to fit the prosecution's needs.

The filing also gives the lie to those who have claimed that Levicy is blameless because, as a Duke employee, she was covered in the civil suit the three falsely accused players settled with Duke.

Do you think anything has been held back in an effort to combat Duke/DPD's response?

Possibly, though the filing does go to great lengths in explaining the Duke PD's role. The allegation that Duke Police officers were pressured to give incomplete pro-Mangum reports is a very, very troubling one.

One aspect of the case as a whole about which we still know little is the full extent od DPD-DukePD contact. If I were Duke's attorneys, I'd be afraid of what discovery could yield on this score.

What can we expect in the additional filings by other unindicted players?

We know that the other players are represented by some of Washington's top lawyers. If they file, then, I would expect the document to be as or more powerful than this filing.

Why was there no dollar amount attached to this filing?

To keep open the prospect of negotiations.

Anything you wouldlike to add?

I'm especially intrigued by the prominence given to Bob Steel in this filing. Steel is one of the few figures involved in the case who not only has never been deposed but who has not been recently interviewed. His only on-the-record interview (to the New Yorker, in Aug. 2006) was a disaster for Duke. (Recall he asserted that the season was cancelled because Duke had to stop the photos of the team practicing, whether this was fair or not.) His deposition, if discovery is allowed to proceed, could be very interesting.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kim Curtis Gone

To follow up on our previous Kim Curtis post, Duke Students for an Ethical Duke has been told by two confidential sources with knowledge of personnel decisions that Kim Curtis, the political science professor who was sued by former student and lacrosse player Kyle Dowd for giving him a failing grade on the basis that he was a lacrosse player, will no longer be returning to Duke University for the spring of 2008. Duke was forced to settle with the Dowd family and changed both his grade and the grade of the only other lacrosse player in the class, who was also failed on the final assignment, to a "P" for passing. Though the Dowds amassed overwhelming proof of their allegations, and in spite of the settlement, Duke refuses to acknowledge that a violation took place and has continuously refused to reprimand Curtis or punish her in any way.

We have learned that Curtis and her husband Romand "Rom" Coles, both members of the Group of 88 and signers of both the listening ad and the clarification letter, are in the final paperwork stages of accepting employment from Northern Arizona University. Rom Coles has been a candidate for the McAllister Chair at NAU, and it seems that he has accepted the position (or obtained a different one).

Curtis has been one of the most outlandish condemners of the lacrosse team, frequenting protests, suggesting in writing that the aforementioned lacrosse players were guilty of obstruction of justice, and even donating to the Diane Catotti campaign for Durham City Council - a candidate who attempted to block an independent inquiry into the conduct of the Durham Police. Couple that with the almost undeniable grade retaliation and discrimination, and it is unthinkable that Duke has been content to allow this kind of conduct.

Though it is a welcome and somewhat reassuring development that Curtis will no longer have the power and authority to abuse Duke students, it remains a troubling matter that Duke continues to condone the kind of conduct she has displayed.

[Updated 7:51 pm 11/26/07]
Another relevant Curtis-link to Durham in Wonderland

[Edited 12:31 pm 1/10/08]
Our information was apparently incorrect. Apparently Kim Curtis will still be teaching one class during the Spring semester 2008. She and her husband will be leaving the following semester.

Lawsuit Breakdown: Jurisdiction in the Rape Claim Investigation

[The series Lawsuit Breakdown will attempt to highlight the main points of the lawsuit filed on 12/18/07 (part 1, part 2 and part 3) by attorneys for Ryan McFayden, Matt Wilson and Breck Archer with a focus on Duke University's involvement in the scandal.]

The revelation in what we will call the Ekstrand lawsuit, henceforth, that the investigation of Crystal Mangum's false rape claims was not within the jurisdiction of the Durham Police Department, but instead the Duke University Police Department seems to be an enormous one, and the implications of this revelation are extensive indeed. The assertions made regarding jurisdiction (not yet referring to the alleged conspiracies, mind you) seem to be easily verifiable, and it will be interesting to see if the defense challenges them.

The lawsuit seems to make two key points regarding the matter of jurisdiction:

1. The Duke University Police Department had Jurisdiction
2. ALL of the defendants conspired to publicly and privately conceal the fact of the Duke Police Department's "jurisdictional obligation" (p. 4)

1. Jurisdiction
The former point seems easily provable, and the suit appears to do so citing both legislation and precedent. The suit explains that "the Duke Police Department had original, primary, and continuing authority to investigate Crystal Mangum's false accusations from March 14, 2006 through January 12, 2007" (p. 33). The grounds for this authority are that the residence at 610 N. Buchanan, the site of the alleged rape which had been purchased by Duke University roughly two weeks prior to the alleged incident, was property of Duke University. In accordance with North Carolina state law enacted in 2003 and amended in 2004, the Duke police have and did have "primary jurisdiction over all properties owned or controlled by Duke University, regardless of location" (p. 36).

Not only does the suit establish the legal authority of the Duke Police Department, but Ekstrand further demonstrates that "Durham and Duke Police Departments had an established practice of strictly dividing cases according to the jurisdiction allocation agreement" (p. 37). The DUPD "was required to-and did- initiate and conclude investigations" (p. 37) of crimes alleged on Duke property regardless of location and regardless of the severity of the reported crimes including sexual assault and rape. The Duke Police handled reports of 22 forcible sex offenses and rapes between 2003 and 2005. Assaults alleged to have occurred everywhere from 2100 DUMC North Hospital in 2005 to Koehane dormitory and 2017 Yearby Street in April and July of 2006, respectively, both after the false rape claims of Mangum, were handled entirely by Duke Police. Similarly, in September of 2006 the Duke Police handled a report of Breaking or Entering of a Motor Vehicle and Injury to Personal Property reported at 704 N. Buchanan Blvd, a residence that became Duke property in the very same transaction in which Duke acquired 610 N. Buchanan, the site of the alleged rape.

The essence of this first point, the matter of jurisdiction, is that the Duke University Police Department serves as an agency for its own jurisdiction (Duke owned property) in every way that the Durham Police Department serves its jurisdiction, the City of Durham. The fact that the Duke Police had jurisdiction in this matter poses a number of problems for Duke, the first being that Duke is therefore likely responsible for the conduct of Durham police. The second problem is that it means the entire time, from March 14, 2006 to January 12, 2007, the Duke police and indeed Duke had the power to put an end to the extraordinary abuses of the police investigation. Moreover, this revelation puts the lie to every statement Dick Brodhead and other university agents made claiming there was nothing they could do.

All of this looks much worse for Duke in light of the second point, the allegations of conspiracy to conceal jurisdiction.

2. Conspiracy
"After Mangum’s allegations became a national media story, the Duke University Defendants and Durham Police Defendants conspired, agreed, and understood that the Duke Police Department would abandon its investigation of Mangum’s false claims, and cede the investigation to Sgt. Mark D. Gottlieb, a known rogue officer, who, upon information and belief, only weeks before, was taken off the patrol beat due to his abusive tactics with Duke students" (p. 33)
The lawsuit alleges that in particular Bob Steel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Brodhead, and the rest of the Crisis Management Team "directed the Duke Police Department not to intervene" (p. 42). Moreover, the lawsuit alleges that:
"Duke University Defendants, Ex-District Attorney Michael B. Nifong, and the City of Durham Defendants colluded to conceal from the public the fact that the Duke Police Department had the authority and obligation to initiate and conclude an investigation of Mangum’s false claims" (p. 33-34).
Contrast these two allegations with the following internationally publicized address from Duke President Richard Brodhead:

“To determine responsibility, we need to learn the full truth as quickly as possible. While I have urged and while I continue to urge everyone to cooperate with this inquiry to the fullest. Unavoidably, we have to look to the Durham Police to take the lead in the investigation. Duke doesn’t have the power to compel testimony from citizens of this city, and Duke lacks access to warrants, DNA records, and other confidential information. I have confidence in the authorities to find the truth and I have confidence that the authorities will take whatever legal steps are necessary in the best interests of this community.” (we should have a video clip of this within a few days)
For well over a year, this line of argument has been integral to the Duke administration's defense: that there was nothing it could do. If the allegations in this lawsuit are true, that would be a rather indefensible position, and moreover it would prove to be a rather malicious lie. If true, these allegations will prove that Brodhead, Steel, and the CMT were not merely guilty of failing to stand up for their students but directly responsible for putting the matter into the hands of a known corrupt investigator, Gottleib, who had a history of wildly and even violently abusing Duke students - a history readily familiar to those on the Crisis Management Team.

Still think the lacrosse affair is over?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lawsuit Breakdown: The Defendants

[The series Lawsuit Breakdown will attempt to highlight the main points of the lawsuit filed on 12/18/07 (part 1, part 2 and part 3) by attorneys for Ryan McFayden, Matt Wilson and Breck Archer with a focus on Duke University's involvement in the scandal.]

The Duke University defendants identified in the lawsuit are grouped as follows:

A. Duke University Defendants
__1. Duke Police Defendants
____a. Duke Police Supervising Defendants
____b. Duke Police Investigator Defendants
__2. Duke Officials Defendants
____a. Crisis Management Team Defendants
____b. Duke Administrator Defendants
__3. Duke SANE Defendants

1. Duke Police Defendants
The inclusion of the Duke Police in the lawsuit comes as quite a surprise to a number of us that have followed the affair as they have not been given much notice. However the lawsuit's allegations regarding the matter of jurisdiction - that Duke Police and not Durham Police in fact had jurisdiction as the site of the alleged rape was Duke property - in this affair constitute an intriguing matter that has been widely unnoticed and overlooked. Then again perhaps the lawsuit explains why we haven't heard much about this issue of jurisdiction:
"The fact of Duke Police Department’s jurisdictional obligation to investigate Mangum’s false accusations was kept secret through another overarching conspiracy among all Defendants to publicly and privately conceal it" (p. 4).
The lawsuit names several individuals within the DuPD as defendants grouped as supervising defendants and investigator defendants.

We will delve into the fascinating matter of jurisdiction in a separate post.

2. Duke Officials Defendants
__a. Crisis Management Team (CMT) Defendants
The lawsuit explains that "the CMT was formed to direct the University’s conduct in the
investigation of Mangum’s false allegations" (p. 13). Each of the members, listed below, are listed as individual defendants in the lawsuit.
Crisis Management Team:
Robert K. Steel, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Duke University Board of Trustees; Richard Brodhead, President; Peter Lange, Provost; Tallman Trask, Executive Vice President; John Burness, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations; Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs; Victor J. Dzau, Chancellor for Health Affairs, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Duke University Health Systems, Inc.; and Allison Halton, University Secretary.

We will elaborate on each individual's alleged involvement in subsequent posts.

__b. Duke Administrator Defendants
The Duke Administrator Defendants are Duke administrators not member to the Crisis Management Team, and are listed below.

Kemel Dawkins, Vice President for Campus Services; Suzanne Wasiolek, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Stephen Bryan, Associate
Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs; and Matthew Drummondd, Senior Manager IT in Auxiliary Services and Head of the University’s Duke Card Office.

3. Duke SANE Defendants
The complainant in the false rape claim, Crystal Mangum, was examined by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) nurses at the Duke University Medical Center.

The Duke SANE Defendants are listed below.

Duke University Health Systems Inc. (DUHS); Private Diagnostic Clinic, PLLC (PDC), Julie Manly M.D., member of the DUHS House Staff, a physician member of the PDC, and an affiliated physician at Duke University; Theresa Arico R.N., clinical nurse on DUHS’s staff; and Tara Levicy R.N., SANE-in-Training.

Similarly, more to come on each individual's involvement in subsequent posts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three More File Suit, Name Brodhead Among Defendants

Current senior Ryan McFadyen as well as former lacrosse players Matt Wilson and Breck Archer have all filed a federal lawsuit against a long list of defendants including Mike Nifong, the City of Durham, Duke University, top administrators and members of the faculty. The complaint lists 35 causes of action, and among the allegations are fraud, negligence and conspiracy. The three players are represented by Bob Ekstrand, formerly a defense attorney for many of the lacrosse players not indicted.

Of particular interest is that the suit names Duke President Richard Brodhead as one of the defendants, a notable inclusion considering the Blue Committee, charged with a standard evaluation of the president conducted three years into his tenure, recently gave Brodhead an ostensibly hearty thumbs-up. A Duke spokesman David Jarmul offered part of Duke's defense: "Duke University reasonably relied on the statements of a prosecutor whose path of destruction could be stopped only by the North Carolina Attorney General."

However, as DSEDuke has repeatedly pointed out, the defense that Duke administrators were relying on flawed information from a district attorney who was the only man to blame is difficult to maintain when one considers that Duke administrators were repeatedly approached by defense lawyers (notably the office of Ekstrand himself) offering to disclose much (and later all) of their files as early as March of 2006, according to Ekstrand. These efforts were also documented in Until Proven Innocent. Though the Duke administration repeatedly met with Nifong and police, neither Nifong nor the Duke administration would listen to the defense.

We will post again soon after reviewing the 391 page complaint.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Kim Curtis' Return to Duke

A number of people have asked what we intend to do about Kim Curtis, who it seems is returning to the classroom next semester. She will be teaching PolSci 183 - Ecological Crisis and Pol Theory in addition to being listed under various independent study and research courses.

Kim Curtis failed two lacrosse players in her class on their final assignment during the Spring of 2006, the same Spring in which the lacrosse episode began. One student, Kyle Dowd, filed suit against both Curtis and the university on the grounds that Curtis had given him failing grades for participation and for his final paper and a mathematically impossible failing grade for the semester simply because Dowd was a lacrosse player. Dowd and his family tried repeatedly to work with the university to correct the situation, one that would have prevented him from graduating and forced his employer to withdraw its job offer, but they were forced to file suit in spite of their good intentions. Their lawyers put together an almost impenetrable case, which you may review here, and the university was forced to settle on behalf of itself as well as Curtis and changed his grade to a P for passing. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. For a more complete account of the appalling story of Professor Curtis, see KC Johnson's post entitled Dowd and Duke.

We are seeking comment from Duke administrators regarding Curtis' return to campus, and will post once we have learned more. Neither the university nor Curtis has publicly acknowledged any wrongdoing, nor has there been any indication of action taken by the university against Curtis.

If the Dowd side of the argument is correct - and as the settlement by Duke would seem to confirm - Kim Curtis has engaged in one of the worst possible violations of an educator's responsibility. The university's unwillingness to address the misconduct of its own professors is an extraordinary problem that is at the heart of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke's mission. It is simply impossible to maintain an ethical institution in which those with the most responsibility and power, the professors (especially tenured), are held to seemingly non-existent standards.

In what is an unacceptable double standard, the university has made clear throughout the lacrosse affair that it will hold its students to exceptionally high standards and will even approve of the violation of students' constitutional rights to do so (see Good Neighbor Policy).

As KC Johnson says, "as to grade retaliation—even one instance is one instance too many for any university, much less one with the academic prestige of Duke."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

UNCW Professor Chris Halkides

Dr. Chris Halkides, associate professor in UNCW's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, attended Stuart Taylor's Nov. 2nd speech and decided to write a piece on it. For this piece, he also interviewed Duke's own Dr. Stephen Baldwin, among others. We have posted his piece here.

Dr. Halkides also explains his interest in the affair and what motivated him to journey all the way to Durham to hear Mr. Taylor speak.