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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  February 28, 2007
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Duke Case: Academic Credentials Can Be Deceiving

"Notable among the atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany was Kristallnacht. The candlelight event on the behalf of accuser Crystal Mangum ought to be memorialized as 'Crystalnacht' on the anniversary of that event to acknowledge the moral role models of the organizers. That day could mark an opportunity for Duke to review their progress in paying reparations to the lacrosse players and their families, and to review Duke’s efforts in providing remedial civil rights training to their civil rights faculty, particularly the Group of 88."

So said "deanysmith" in a February 2, 2007 on Ruth Sheehan's Metro Blog at the News & Observer website.

“Whatever happened at the lacrosse party last spring, three facts remain undisputed: racial epithets were used; a Duke student group hired two female strippers for the entertainment of young men; and underage drinking was encouraged. In the ensuing months, we have heard our students grapple with these and related issues that reflect patterns of behavior found, not only on our campus, but-according to colleagues elsewhere-at our peer institutions as well."

So said Duke's John Aldrich, professor of political science; Peter Burian, professor of classical studies; William Chafe, professor of history; Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science; Fred Nijhout, professor of biology; and Wendy Wood, professor of psychology (together, the Duke Six) in a piece published in The Duke Chronicle. 


"Kristallnacht, also known as Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, Crystal Night and the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria on November 9-10, 1938.

"Jewish homes and stores were ransacked in a thousand German cities, towns and villages, as ordinary citizens and stormtroopers destroyed buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in smashed windows — the origin of the name 'Night of Broken Glass.' Jews were beaten to death; 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps; and 1,668 synagogues ransacked or set on fire."

Examining Kristallnacht can be edifying.

The Nazis claim "provocation": the assassination of a German diplomat by a Jew.

Wikipedia: "Herschel Grynszpan, a German-Polish Jew living in Paris, France, had received a letter from his family describing the horrible conditions they experienced in... deportation. Seeking to alleviate their situation, he appealed repeatedly over the next few days to Ernst vom Rath, Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, who could not help him. On Monday, November 7,1938 Grynszpan shot vom Rath in the stomach. He attempted and missed three additional shots. Two days later, on November 9, vom Rath died."

What do the assassination of vom Path and the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Ream hosting a stripper party with a stripper who claimed to have been gang raped have in common?

Each was shamelessly used as a pretext to pursue a political agenda at the expense of innocent people.

The assassination was real, but The New York Times recognized Kristallnacht as a incredible overreaction: "No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenceless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday."

The gang rape claim was a horrible hoax, but The New York Times treated it as real, set aide its official motto--"All the news that's fit to print"--and set about hyping a phony story of wealthy young white males attending an elite educational institution (Duke University) kidnapping, raping and sexually assaulting a poor black women (Crystal Gail Mangum) trying to support herself and her two children while pursuing a college education at a historically black college (North Carolina Central University) and dozens of teammates (all but one white) concealing their heinous crimes.

The Duke Six's guest column is dated February 23, 2007 and entitled "Moving forward at Duke.  It includes a very selective statement of facts worthy of Durham County District Attorney Michael B. Nifong leading a Durham grand jury to indict innocent persons.

Instead of attempting to make amends, the Duke Six overlook what is enormously important, focus on minor problems and try to "move forward."

"The time has come to move forward. The primary issue is how we live as a community at Duke-how we behave toward each other, the values we espouse, the rules we pledge to uphold in our interactions. Now is the time to turn what has been a time of crisis into an opportunity for constructive change-to help make Duke a model of mutual respect and caring."

So far, if my information is correct, one of the Group of 88 has apologized.  That person may be in a position to think about moving forward.  The rest need to get real and repent. 

"Whatever happened at the lacrosse party last spring, three facts remain undisputed: racial epithets were used; a Duke student group hired two female strippers for the entertainment of young men; and underage drinking was encouraged. In the ensuing months, we have heard our students grapple with these and related issues that reflect patterns of behavior found, not only on our campus, but-according to colleagues elsewhere-at our peer institutions as well."

How myopic are the Duke Six?

Instead of addressing the "related issues" (like the framing of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, aka the Duke Three, for first-degree felonies by a politically opportunistic prosecutor who pandered to black voters who wanted a prosecution regardless of the actual facts and the failure of Duke University's administration and many of its faculty members to stand up for the presumption of innocence and the due process and equal protection rights of the Duke Three), the Duke Six focused on racial epithets at the party (without mentioning Durham County, North Carolina District attorney Michael B. Nifong's use of the anti-Irish epithet "hooligan"), even though none of the Duke Three used such epithets and being a teammate of someone who considered himself sufficiently provoked to use one is hardly personal misconduct; the hiring of female strippers by the lacrosse team (although other strippers, male and female, have been hired by others and hiring strippers is not a crime); and underage drinking, which was facilitated, if not actually encouraged, but also is hardly unique to lacrosse player, or athletes generally, or Duke students.

"The comments of one Duke student illustrate the larger problem. 'I went to a fraternity party on campus last fall,' a first-year woman disclosed, 'and was shocked to see a stripper there, and hear insulting remarks made about her.' After listening to numerous such comments, it is clear that the hiring of such dancers for organized parties is no anomaly at Duke."

I denounced stripper parties long before the Duke case, and if Duke wants to ban stripper parties on campus, bravo by me, but that party last March was off-campus  

"'We are all guilty,' another woman student declared, 'because we have never called to account those people who have engaged in date rape or sexual assault.' Stories of racism (often indirect) are frequent, as are those of women being treated as sexual objects, or of gay students being denigrated. These stories from our students expose a reality many of us had previously ignored. It is time to create a different kind of campus culture."

We are not "all guilty," because we are no all empowered to call "to account those people who have engaged in date rape or sexual assault."  But let's call all rapists and sexual assaults to account, as well as those who file false reports and try to railroad innocent people.  That won't pose a problem for the Duke Three or the other members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team, but the accuser and the prosecutor in the Duke case will have plenty to explain.

"How do we do that? First by making diversity a substantive and pervasive reality in our daily lives. Our curriculum needs to engage the reality of difference in American society and culture, as well as in civilizations around the world. Our service-learning courses should make experience with those different from ourselves a time of growth and enhanced understanding, not just additions to student resumes. The recent Gates and Duke Endowment gifts are important first steps in that direction."

The lesson of the Duke case is that "due process" and colorblind justice are needed, not that more (or less) diversity is needed.  Instead of celebrating "difference" for the sake of difference, we should celebrate America and study other civilizations.

"Second, we need to create patterns of residential life that discourage exclusivity and encourage interaction across barriers of ethnicity, region and gender. Every student is free to choose their own friends. But the structures of the University should discourage, not encourage, parochialism. Living with people of different backgrounds is part of the rich challenge of existing in a world of many colors and varied cultural perspectives. Previous attempts by the University to address this issue have not been particularly successful, and we believe a new effort is in order."

Big Brother knows best?  I don't think so.  America's Declaration of Independence speaks of God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Colleges should offer opportunities, not oppressively "discourage...parochialism."

"Third, we need to demand accountability from every member of our community to maintain respect for each other, especially across racial, ethnic, sexual and gender lines. No use of racial epithets should be tolerated. Any denigration based on gender or sexuality should be equally unacceptable. Duke students who experience abusive or irresponsible behavior should feel confident that they can speak out and know that their concerns will be heard and acted upon."

I'm for civilized behavior and personal responsibility and against racial epithets, to be sure, but respect is earned, not compelled, and any accountability imposed by Duke for "abusive or irresponsible behavior" needs to respect robust of expression and not be used as a subterfuge for imposing groupthink.

"Fourth, we should redeem, and uphold, our belief in the student-athlete. We should have no double standards in academics or admissions and should insist on full integration of academic life and athletic life."

No double standards?  Does that mean no affirmative action?  No "legacy" preference?  Or just no athletic preference?  Is athletic ability not a factor worthy of special consideration?

"Finally, we at Duke should take pride in being part of a community of honor. Students and faculty alike should pledge to uphold a code of mutual respect and of caring about each other. Pride in those standards should be essential to being part of the Duke community."

That sounds good.  But in the Duke case it was the Duke administration and the Group of 88 that behaved dishonorably.

"As faculty members, we promise to reassert our obligation to participate in the governance of this university, and to acknowledge our responsibility for helping to create a more healthy campus community."

Hopefully, they will do much better that they did in writing their guest column.

"In this spirit, and consistent with the principles articulated by President Brodhead when he established the task force on Campus Culture, we ask our president, our administrative leaders and our Board of Trustees to embrace these goals and the specific measures needed to achieve them. Because without such leadership, this moment of promise will pass, and Duke University will be a poorer place."

President Brodhead is a big part of the problem.  He needed a spine.  Now he needs to resign.  The 88ers should apologize instead of verbally whack the innocence and whine.

Duke University Professor Michael Gustafson at his Blog of Convenience addressed what LieStoppers called "the false dilemma promoted by six fellow Duke professors in a guest column for The Chronicle"in a piece called "Juxtapositional Fallacies.

Professor Gustafson: 

“The column begins 'the time has come to move forward.' The first paragraph ends with, 'Now is the time to turn what has been a time of crisis into an opportunity for constructive change -- to help make Duke a model of mutual respect and caring.'

"The next three paragraphs then look backward, excoriating the lacrosse team and its party, followed by two paragraphs about unrelated events - one where a stripper had insults hurled towards her by a fraternity and one where a woman declared that, 'We are all guilty...because we have never called into account those people who have engaged in date rape or sexual assault.'

“Six highly respected, very established Duke faculty from five different departments wrote this column. People whose careers have been marked by excellence in research in their fields - for that is what earns a person tenure here - wrote this. For that reason alone, if not others, it is important to look at this work."

The Duke Six are Professor Gustafson's colleagues, but their guest column should be judged on its own merit (or lack of merit), not their reputations and resumes, and the column is contemptible in the circumstances.

Professor Gustafson:

“The second paragraph begins, 'Whatever happened at the lacrosse party last spring, three facts remain undisputed: racial epithets were used; a Duke student group hired two female strippers for the entertainment of young men; and underage drinking was encouraged.' Eleven months on, and these six faculty members pin those as The Big Three Undisputed Facts.

“I would have created a list of some other ones. They would include the undisputed fact that the district attorney gave over four-dozen interviews to the media calling Duke students an array of names; that the district attorney stated in court filings that the entire white membership of the team should have DNA samples taken and that the results of those would indicate the innocent; that the district attorney is now facing multiple ethics charges from the bar for his behavior; that colleague James Coleman has asserted that the lineups used to identify the three men were fraudulent and that the DA has, in various ways, mooned the justice system; that there were multiple stories told about that night above and beyond the fog that we, as people of good conscience, would understand as a part of an actual rape; that our students had death threats made against them outside of and in open court; that our president said even if they didn't rape that woman, whatever they did was bad enough; that a faculty member failed a lacrosse player after writing on an open message board that a student who claimed to be physically threatened and attacked should be publicly portrayed as a liar and his integrity denigrated however possible; that three students face 30 years in jail for these alleged crimes."

Bottom line: Professor Gustafson has deftly exposed his colleagues as politely as he could as ignoring the elephants in the room.

Professor Gustafson:

“But instead, these six distinguished faculty members, in telling us we should 'move forward,' skip all that. I have no choice but to believe that moving forward, to these six faculty members, means take the story DA Nifong chose to tell and then fast-forward to now as if nothing else had happened. I have no choice but to believe that these faculty members, in seeing that the reality of the situation in no way plays into the assumptions of white, male, athlete privilege that our (blessedly former) colleague Houston Baker championed want us to base our thoughts and actions on the narrative created in the first two weeks rather than the realities discovered over the past eleven months.

“… Now, worried that the lacrosse case has fallen apart because of an improper (and perhaps illegal) investigation and the fact that so many agendas have been directly tied to the sinking ship that is the SS Nifong-Wilson-Gottlieb? Put the words 'stripper' and 'sexual assault' and 'racism' and 'guilty' and 'gay students being denigrated' as close as possible to the word 'lacrosse.'

“In being told the three 'undisputed' facts, we are being told to forget that the Coleman Report quashed any sense of racism on the team; to forget that men on the team publicly stated their outrage over racist comments, if made, by their teammates; to forget that Devon Sherwood called those 46 men his brothers; to forget that the women on the lacrosse team - empowered, strong, intelligent women led by an empowered, strong, intelligent woman publicly wore their thoughts on their wrists about the innocence of three of those men.

“We are being given a false dilemma - either show outrage against the lacrosse team and its party and support those who made noise about it, or deny that racism and sexism and assault exist. Either believe that the entire campus culture is flawed (and we're the ones to fix it), or support sexist insults and racial division.

“Fortunately, my high school English teachers cared enough about their students to make sure we were armed against such false dilemmas and juxtapositional fallacies. I can know that racism exists while understanding that the primary element that needs our attention in the lacrosse case involves the due process being denied three members of our community. I can know that issues of underage drinking continue to be an important part of the discussion of campus life without relying on discussions of the lacrosse party to take the lead. I can know that rape and sexual assault are counted with the most heinous crimes and greatest evils that can be done to a person without believing that such a crime took place in this case. I can know that an individual on the lacrosse team got into a back-and-forth with a woman where both used language that is beneath them and hurtful without assigning those words of feelings to anyone else on the team or to any other white man or black woman in the world without cause.”

Bottom line:

Until the academics who excoriated the Duke Three and their teammates acknowledge their egregious behavior, they cannot expect to be taken seriously.

Michael J. Gaynor

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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,,, and 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

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