While a poster below chastises either me or Richard Brodhead (I’m not quite sure which) for “NPR-type language,” the situation at Duke gets uglier. Now there is evidence that a woman who happened to pass by the house where the alleged rape allegedly took place also experienced racial abuse, in the form of shouted racial epithets; she was so upset, she called 911 to report it.

There seems to be an awful lot of outrage on campus about what may have happened, including a Take Back the Night March, a flier calling on people involved to “come forward,” and a group called the Concerned Citizens at Duke University, which distributed a statement saying that “the university is cultivating and sustaining a culture of privilege and silence that allows inappropriate behavior to plague the campus.”

An interesting charge; I wonder what the foundation of it is. Duke is certainly a privileged place, a university that sometimes feels more like a country club. But that statement makes it sound as if the cultivation of silence began after the alleged rape…

Meanwhile, Brodhead is clearly trying to walk a line between expressing outrage and prejudging the players. “If you were at a university where the president meted out punishment based on what he reads in the newspaper, it would be a pretty dangerous place,” the Times quotes him as saying.

According to the Duke Chronicle, Brodhead was accosted by a group of students who felt that the university was not taking a hard enough line. “I promise you, you will see this University respond with great and appropriate seriousness once the truth is established,” Brodhead said to the group. “I want this to be resolved as quickly as you do.”

That, too, is interesting: Brodhead is at least trying to turn this sad and tawdry business into a teachable moment. Let’s hope it works.

Following a press conference Tuesday, President Richard Brodhead is confronted by student protesters on West Campus.

Media Credit: Anthony Cross
Following a press conference Tuesday, President
Richard Brodhead is confronted by student
protesters on West Campus.