Quick Takes: Duke President Apologizes, Harassment Case Divides Northeastern Ill., Study Abroad Economics, Michigan State in Dubai, Hawaii Moves Ahead With Lab, Racism or Playing Race Card?

October 1, 2007
  • Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University's president, gave a speech Saturday in which he apologized for several decisions and inactions taken by the institution in responding to rape allegations against four of its lacrosse players -- allegations that have since been discredited. Brodhead defended Duke's basic approach of saying that the alleged crime would have been terrible, but that the accused students needed to be presumed innocent. But he also expressed regrets, for which he apologized. "First and foremost, I regret our failure to reach out to the lacrosse players and their families in this time of extraordinary peril," he said. He also said that some professors and that some of their comments were "ill-judged and divisive." While the professors "had the right to express their views," he said. "the public as well as the accused students and their families could have thought that those were expressions of the university as a whole. They were not, and we could have done more to underscore that." In addition, Brodhead said that "by deferring to the criminal justice system to the extent we did and not repeating the need for the presumption of innocence equally vigorously at all the key moments, we may have helped create the impression that we did not care about our students. This was not the case, and I regret it as well."
  • Harassment allegations against Miguel Perra, former president of an honor society at Northeastern Illinois University, by two female students have divided the campus, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Some say that the behavior involved wasn't criminal while others accuse the university of not taking it seriously enough.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday on the tale of two Emory University students with nearly identical study abroad experiences at Brazil’s Pontifícia Universidade Católica. Upon returning, the student who studied abroad through Emory -- and paid full Emory tuition -- received credit for his studies. Meanwhile the other, who saved $15,000 by enrolling in courses through a national exchange program, did not.
  • Michigan State University plans to open a campus in Dubai, offering several undergraduate and master's programs, The Detroit Free Press reported. The program will be financed without state funds, but with a revolving line of credit set up by a quasi-government agency in Dubai.
  • Despite years of protest, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents voted Thursday to approve a plan for an Applied Research Laboratory, affiliated with the U.S. Navy, The Honolulu Advertiser reported. The system president, David McClain, defended the academic freedom of researchers who may wish to work on military projects, and, given the lucrative nature of military contracts, described the plan as "a financially attractive construct."
  • Comments by a long-time critic of the impact of big-time athletic programs on college athletics are bringing accusations of racism -- while others accuse Rutgers University officials of throwing around the term much too loosely. William Dowling is a professor of English at Rutgers whose new book, Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University (Penn State University Press), details his unsuccessful campaign against an increased emphasis on athletics at Rutgers. In an article in The New York Times last week, Dowling was quoted as saying: “If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine. But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.” Those comments, the Associated Press reported, have Bob Mulcahy, the Rutgers athletics director, calling the remarks "blatantly racist" and President Richard McCormick blasting them as "inaccurate and inhumane" and having "a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse." Dowling noted to the AP that he was answering a specific question from the Times about the argument that athletics programs helped minority students. "If someone has a way to answer that question without mentioning race, I would like to hear it," said Dowling, who called the accusation of racism the "cheapest rhetorical ploy I've ever heard."
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