The Disgrace of the Duke 88

By: Carey Roberts

The three lacrosse players have been declared innocent, Duke University has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement, and Michael Nifong’s law license has been yanked. But unfinished business remains.

Three weeks after Crystal Gail Mangum made her false allegations of rape, 88 Duke professors ran an advertisement in the student newspaper asking, What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like? [source]

The rambling April 6, 2006 statement lamented, “… no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central to this conversation, how to keep her humanity before us.” But no mention was made about the humanity of three male students falsely accused of rape.

Worse, the professors’ manifesto used the logic of the lynch mob, fostering the notion that since a Black woman claimed to be a victim of rape, everyone at Duke was now tinged with racism: “We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists … It’s part of the experience.”

Exactly who are the members of the Duke 88 and what is their agenda?

The most vitriolic member of the bunch was professor Houston Baker, who repeatedly indulged in racist and sexist claims. In his letter to Duke provost Peter Lange, Baker charged, “Young, white, violent, drunken men among us – implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators – have injured lives.”

Young, violent, drunken men among us – Dr. Baker, that’s the language of the KKK, not of a university teacher.

Karla Holloway, chair of the university’s Race Subcommittee, justified her membership in the Duke 88 because she desired to express her support for “all” students at Duke. When asked whether her support for all students included the beleaguered lacrosse players, she refused to answer.

When Crystal Gail Mangum changed her story for the umpteenth time and the case had more holes than the frayed netting of a lacrosse stick, the Duke 88 fell back on their neo-Marxist slogans and stereotypes.

History professor William Chafe made the claim that “Sex and race have always interacted in a vicious chemistry of power, privilege, and control.” Somehow Dr. Chafe forgot his history lessons about the notorious case of the Scottsboro Boys, the nine Black teenagers who were falsely accused of rape in 1931.

Wahneema Lubiano outrageously argued the lacrosse players were probably guilty since they were “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.”

Rich, white, male, and heterosexual – yep, guilty as charged.

So when the DNA tests failed to link Mangum to any of the lacrosse players, Lubiano poo-poohed the news as part of a “demand for perfect evidence on the part of the defenders of the team.”

Likewise, professor Thavolia Glymph fretted the DNA results would cause the Duke 88’s crusade to transform the campus to start “moving backwards.”

And even after her radical leftist colleagues fell under withering criticism, Gang of 88 member Paula McClain refused to express remorse. “I’m not going to be intimidated into modulating speech,” she retorted.

And for real entertainment, a visit to the websites of the Duke 88 provides a revealing glimpse into the mindset of these academic elites.

Like professor Kathy Rudy’s website that reports she is “Currently workig on a new project critiquing animal rights from speciesist persective.” [source]

Speciesist perspective? Workig?? Thank goodness this black-gowned agitator is teaching women’s studies, not English spelling and grammar.

And literature professor Antonio Viego, whose website proudly announces he specializes in “queer ethnic studies and lesbian and gay theory.” [source] Parents, have you ever wondered where your $34,000 tuition money is going?

The Duke 88 advertisement marked a critical turning point in the Mangum rape case. It condoned the actions of the campus potbangers, hardened racial divisions in the Durham community, and provided fodder for Michael Nifong’s re-election campaign.

And just 12 days after their statement came out, two members of the lacrosse team were arrested on charges of rape, first degree sexual offense, and kidnapping. A month later, a third player was indicted.

A year later, these young men have been declared innocent and a semblance of normalcy restored to their lives. But their names and reputations are forever associated with a heinous crime.

Meanwhile, the identities of the Duke 88 remain unknown to the public, their deed of infamy hidden behind the cloak of anonymity and plausible deniability.

So let it be said that these 88 men and women acted in a scurrilous manner to foster race hysteria, inflame gender relationships, and trample on the due process protections for three men falsely accused of the crime of rape [source]:

1. Stan Abe – Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
2. Benjamin Albers – University Writing Program
3. Anne Allison – Cultural Anthropology
4. Srinivas Aravamudan – English
5. Houston Baker – English and African & African-American Studies
6. Lee Baker – Cultural Anthropology
7. Christine Beaule – University Writing Program
8. Sarah Beckwith – English
9. Paul Berliner – Music
10. Connie Blackmore – African & African-American Studies
11. Jessica Boa – Religion & University Writing Program
12. Mary T. Boatwright – Classical Studies
13. Silvia Boero – Romance Studies
14. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva – Sociology
15. Matthew Brim – University Writing Program
16. William Chafe – History
17. Leo Ching – Asian & African Languages
18. Rom Coles – Political Science
19. Miriam Cooke – Asian & African Languages
20. Michaeline Crichlow – African & African-American Studies
21. Kim Curtis – Political Science
22. Leslie Damasceno – Romance Studies
23. Cathy Davidson – English
24. Sarah Deutsch – History
25. Ariel Dorfman – Literature & Latin American Studies
26. Laura Edwards – History
27. Grant Farred – Literature
28. Luciana Fellini – Romance Studies
29. Mary McClintock Fulkerson – Divinity School
30. Esther Gabara – Romance Studies
31. Raymond Gavins – History
32. Meg Greer – Romance Studies
33. Thavolia Glymph – History
34. Michael Hardt – Literature
35. Joseph Harris – University Writing Program
36. Karla Holloway – English
37. Bayo Holsey – African & African-American Studies
38. Mary Hovsepian – Sociology
39. Sherman James – Public Policy
40. Alice Kaplan – Literature
41. Keval Kaur Khalsa – Dance Program
42. Ranjana Khanna – English
43. Ashley King – Romance Studies
44. Claudia Koonz – History
45. Peter Lasch – Art, Art History
46. Dan A. Lee – Math
47. Pat Leighten – Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
48. Frank Lentricchia – Literature
49. Caroline Light – Institute for Critical U.S. Studies
50. Marcy Litle – Comparative Area Studies
51. Ralph Litzinger – Cultural Anthropology
52. Michele Longino – Romance Studies
53. Wahneema Lubiano – African & African-American Studies and Literature
54. Kenneth Maffitt – History
55. Jason Mahn – University Writing Program
56. Anne-Maria Makhulu – African & African-American Studies
57. Lisa Mason – Surgical Unit-2100
58. Paula McClain – Political Science
59. Louise Meintjes – Music
60. Walter Mignolo – Literature and Romance Studies
61. Alberto Moreiras – Romance Studies
62. Mark Anthony Neal – African & African-American Studies
63. Diane Nelson – Cultural Anthropology
64. Jolie Olcott – History
65. Liliana Parades – Romance Studies
66. Charles Payne – African & African-American Studies and History
67. Charlotte Pierce-Baker – Women’s Studies
68. Wilma Pebles-Wilkins
69. Arlie Petters – Math
70. Ronen Plesser – Physics
71. Jan Radway – Literature
72. Tom Rankin – Center for Documentary Studies
73. Marcia Rego – University Writing Program
74. Deborah S. Reisinger – Romance Studies
75. Alex Rosenberg – Philosophy
76. Kathy Rudy – Women’s Studies
77. Marc Schachter – English
78. Laurie Shannon – English
79. Pete Sigal – History
80. Irene Silverblatt – Cultural Anthropology
81. Fiona Somerset – English
82. Rebecca Stein – Cultural Anthropology
83. Susan Thorne – History
84. Antonio Viego – Literature
85. Teresa Vilaros – Romance Studies
86. Priscilla Wald – English
87. Maurice Wallace – English and African & African-American Studies
88. David Wong – Philosophy

Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. ( The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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