Topic category: Other/General
Duke Case: Big time Boomerangs
Boomerang: “an act or utterance that backfires on the originator.”
"We are listening to our students. We’re also listening to the Durham community, to Duke staff, and to each other. Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster.
"But it is a disaster nonetheless.
"These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.
". . . We want the absence of terror. But we don’t really know what that means . . . We can’t think. That’s why we’re so silent; we can’t think about what’s on the other side of this. Terror robs you of language and you need language for the healing to begin.
This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists....It’s part of the experience. [Independent, 29 March 2006]
"If it turns out that these students are guilty, I want them expelled. But their expulsion will only bring resolution to this case and not the bigger problem. This is much bigger than them and throwing them out will not solve the problem. I want the administration to acknowledge what is going on and how bad it is.
"Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night, and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me.
"Everything seems up for grabs--I am only comfortable talking about this event in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public. But worse, I wonder now about everything. . . . If something like this happens to me . . . What would be used against me--my clothing? Where I was?
"I was talking to a white woman student who was asking me “Why do people -- and she meant black people -- make race such a big issue?” They don’t see race. They just don’t see it.
"What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?
"You go to a party, you get grabbed, you get propositioned, and then you start to question yourself. [Independent, 29 March 2006]
". . . all you heard was 'Black students just complain all the time, all you do is complain and self-segregate.' And whenever we try to explain why we’re offended, it’s pushed back on us. Just the phrase 'self-segregation': the blame is always put on us. [Independent, 29 March 2006]
". . . no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central to this conversation, how to keep her humanity before us . . . she doesn’t seem to be visible in this. Not for the university, not for us.
"I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that’s not so upscale.
"And this is what I’m thinking right now – Duke isn’t really responding to this. Not really. And this, what has happened, is a disaster.is This is a social disaster.
"The students know that the disaster didn’t begin on March 13th and won’t end with what the police say or the court decides. Like all disasters, this one has a history. And what lies beneath what we’re hearing from our students are questions about the future.
"This ad, printed in the most easily seen venue on campus, is just one way for us to say that we’re hearing what our students are saying.
"Some of these things were said by a mixed (in every way possible) group of students on Wednesday, March 29th at an African & African American Studies Program forum, some were printed in an issue of the Independent that came out that same day, and some were said to us inside and outside of the classroom.
"We’re turning up the volume in a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait. To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.
"We thank the following departments and programs for signing onto this ad with African & African American Studies: Romance Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences; Franklin Humanities Institute; Critical U.S. Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Classical Studies; Asian & African Languages & Literature; Women’s Studies; Latino/a Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; European Studies; Program in Education; and the Center for Documentary Studies. Because of space limitations, the names of individual faculty and staff who signed on in support may be read at the AAAS website: http://www.duke.edu/web/africanameric/"
What "happened" was that a hoax was perpetrated and the Duke Three and the families and teammates and their families were the victims!
If and when the 88 are sued as a result of their issuance of the incendiary “Social Disaster” ad and/or other malicious and/or reckless things or acts, their names will appear in the complaint or the complaints!
Duke students being railroaded should be presumed to be innocent, instead of used to promote political and personal agendas.
Then again, what should be expected of faculty at a university led by Mr. Brodhead?
Not long after the hoax began, President Brodhead issued the following “Response to the Duke Lacrosse Situation”:
”Dear Duke Alumni and Parents,
“Last week I wrote to you about the allegations against members of the Duke men's lacrosse team, which have troubled me and everyone else at the university and our surrounding city. Today I have written to our community to announce five steps we are taking to address the issues raised by those allegations. They include an investigation of and changes to the lacrosse program, an investigation of our administrative response to this situation, an examination of Duke's student judicial process and practices, an evaluation of our campus culture, and the Richard H. Brodhead appointment of a presidential council to offer guidance on these matters. I also look forward to continuing a dialogue with leaders in Durham and at North Carolina Central University.
“I hope you will read the following letter http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2006/04/rhbletter.html. I want you to know that I believe a stronger and better university will follow our united efforts to address the problems before us.”
I believe that Mr. Brodhead’s resignation or removal is the first step toward “a stronger and better” Duke University.
It is NOT as if Mr. Brodhead was NOT put on notice.
Example: An April 10, 2006 e-mail to Mr. Brodhead, the text of which immediately follows.
“Dear Mr. Brodhead:
“I write to ask you to consider two questions. First, does your response honor or dishonor the presumption of innocence? Second, is your response one you would welcome if your son were wrongly accused of a horrific crime?
“We now know that the complainant - she is not a victim unless you presume guilt - did not bear the DNA of any of those she accused. Not on her body, not in her body, not under her nails, and not on her clothing. That is certain. In court, it is alone enough that any defense lawyer, any prosecutor, would bet confidently on acquittal. Here it means there will never be an indictment. You can take that to the bank.
“And - we have been told that pictures reveal that before any disturbance arose, (1) this complainant already bore the scratches she falsely blamed on Duke students; and (2) she was severely impaired by alcohol or another substance. We have no evidence that anything she says is trustworthy.
“Had Duke indulged the presumption of innocence - by saying the University respects the presumption of innocence and would withhold comment until the legal process had proceeded far enough to make an intelligent assessment - 46 of its students would not have been so insensitively maligned by the university charged with acting in loco parentis.
“Would you have said any of these things, all from your April 5 letter, about your own son, had he been one of the 46 presumptively innocent students?
“I can tell you this much. When I was at Duke in the early 1970's, I saw a stripper in a dorm, right on the campus. I saw a lot of beer drinking in dorms. I'm sure it still goes on. It is bad conduct. But those who engage in it should not be publicly villified by the university. And that is what you have done.
“You have a responsibility to Duke students who appear to have been falsely charged with a hideous crime. You have failed miserably to discharge it. I am embarrassed at the incident, which your conduct has magnified and aggravated.
“Please step back. Consider how you might begin to level the scales of justice, at least try to revive the presumption of innocence. It is time for another letter. Your first one was way out of line. If you were an elected official, you should be recalled; a judge, recused; a university president - canned. None of that will happen, because you have a nose for political correctness, which is apparently triumphant at Duke, far ahead of the presumption of innocence. I am sorely disappointed. Please try again.”
President Brodhead continued to stick to his guns until the Duke case was in free fall and Mr. Nifong, nearly politically dead. Seeing the huge handwriting on the wall, he unapologetically invited Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to return to Duke University, in what seems to me to be part of a legal strategy to attempt to mitigate damages in anticipation of a lawsuit.
The writer of the wise warning letter made but one mistake: assuming that the criminal justice system in Durham County was not corrupt and therefore there would not be an indictment.
Michael J. Gaynor
Biography - Michael J. Gaynor
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.
Gaynor's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.