The Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Review Committee was one of the few positive responses of the Duke administration to issues publicized and revealed by the lacrosse affair. Yesterday was a sad day as Duke has yet again prioritized short-term liability over responsibility, continuing its pattern of indefensible, morally indifferent decision making that has put Duke in this rapidly expanding multimillion dollar hole with the cancellation of that committee.
The explanation that the review was ended because of fairness to the committee members who might be deposed is a preposterous joke. Here’s a solution: ask them if they’re ok with that, and if they aren’t, find others. This was a liability decision, and while Duke has lots of that, if we allow legal liability to freeze essential university processes like this review committee, it may not happen for another six years. If there are certain administrators or faculty who cannot perform their duties because of pending civil liability and theoretically even eventual criminal charges, then they should be at least temporarily replaced.
Now is a time when bodies like the Duke Student Government are most needed. DSG should demand that the committee go forward, one way or another. It is unacceptable to use these lawsuits as an excuse not to do what clearly must be done. Justice for Duke students should come first.
Most importantly, Duke representatives will inevitably attempt to blame the lacrosse players as they have in the past for this hold up for having the audacity to demand accountability and financial redress for the harm done to them by other Duke representatives. Don’t believe that load of horse manure. It is Duke’s own unwillingness to either act responsibly, ethically, legally, and probably constitutionally or to hold itself accountable that has caused this mess. These lawsuits are not bad for Duke. The people responsible for creating this liability are.
Duke Students for an Ethical Duke
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Letter to the Editor: Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Review Committee
Yesterday the Chronicle delivered the regrettable news that the Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Review Committee had been terminated at the request or suggestion of the General Counsel for Duke University. As even Dean Nowicki admits, this decision had much to do with limiting Duke's liability. Today, Ken Larrey penned and submitted a letter to the Chronicle regarding the termination of this committee. We hope to see it published in the next two days. The letter's current draft follows: