Guilt or Innocence is Irrelevant, I Guess

I thought this article by Robert Johnson (via Instapundit) about the Duke Lacrosse case was interesting in that it highlighted how many people on the Duke campus believed that the actual guilt of innocence of the players involved was irrelevant.

First, there was the Duke administration.  I don't think anyone can doubt at this point that the players' guilt or innocence was irrelevant to the actions of the Duke administration, since they meted out their punishments long before the investigation into the facts of the case had even really begun.  Duke was clearly worried most about its reputation and about protecting itself from lawsuits, a not unreasonable fear given this.

It is the actions of the faculty that are truly amazing.  Johnson shows us the thinking of a number of members of the Duke faculty, known as the group of 88, that came out with public statements about the matter.

[Duke Professor Wahneema Lubiano] was pleased "that the Duke administration is getting the point":
the banging of pots and pans had hammered home that a specific claim to
innocence in this case mattered little. "Regardless of the 'truth'
established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house
on N. Buchanan Blvd.," she mused, "the engine of outcry in this moment
has been fueled by the difficult and mundane reality that pre-existed
this incident." To Lubiano, the "members of the team are almost perfect
offenders in the sense that [critical race theorist Kimberle] Crenshaw
writes about," since they are "the exemplars of the upper end of the
class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the
dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group
on campus."

Professor Alex Rosenberg added:

The sole defenders of the lacrosse players in this case, the professor
suggested, are extreme advocates of the economic status quo

Though its not really news nowadays, I guess, the article is a nice reminder that universities tend to have a hard core of faculty that see the world in terms of race, class, and gender rather than individuals and individual action.  Makes you wonder how they go about assigning grades.  In fact, their desire to see the Duke case cast in terms of race and gender apparently caused them to ignore outright political abuses one would normally expect them to decry:

Most stunningly, Rosenberg claimed that every member of the
Group of 88 believed that Nifong was motivated not by the pursuit of
justice but by the looming Democratic primary for D.A. If true, this
breathtaking assertion means that the Duke faculty, despite recognizing
that a local prosecutor was abusing his office to railroad their own
institution's students, chose to go public instead with a mass
statement denouncing the students targeted by that very same prosecutor.

  • http://kim.scarborough.chicago.il.us/ Kim Scarborough

    Uh, what article? I don't see a link.

  • http://smilerz91.blogspot.com Chris

    How sad is it that being a white male automatically makes you guilty of something in the eyes of many?

  • Garble

    How sad is it that being a white male automatically makes you guilty of something in the eyes of many?

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 19, 2006 2:29:28 PM

    That's funny. Depending on context you could put any group you want in place of white male and sentence would make just as much sense.

  • http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/3326-Friday-AM-Links.html Maggie's Farm

    Friday AM Links

    According to Duke faculty, the lacrosse players are guilt anyway, as one prof is quoted in a piece at HNN:Regardless of the 'truth' established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house on N. Buchanan Blvd., she mused, t

  • http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/3326-Friday-AM-Links.html Maggie's Farm

    Friday AM Links

    According to Duke faculty, the lacrosse players are guilt anyway, as one prof is quoted in a piece at HNN:Regardless of the 'truth' established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house on N. Buchanan Blvd., she mused, t

  • http://www.voluntarytrade.org Skip Oliva

    This is one example of why I oppose "academic freedom." If I were Duke's president or a trustee, I would demand the Group of 88's dismissal.