Sunday, April 02, 2006

Duke lacrosse rape

ESPN summarizes the story here of a Black exotic dancer who was allegedly raped by three Duke University lacrosse team members in a private home in Durham, NC on March 13. The woman, who is a student at N. C. Central University (also in Durham), is supported by Durham's district attorney, Mike Nifong. Protestors marched across Duke's campus, to the home of Duke President Richard Brodhead, and to the home where the alleged assault occurred.

The event also sparked protests in Durham, since the story involves issues of assault, rape, racial epithets, class, treatment of women by athletes and Duke vs. Durham.

From Newsweek:
According to Duke Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek, the police information "left many questions unanswered." A week and a half after the incident, police obtained a court order that 46 of the 47 men on the team (all but its one black member) be required to give DNA samples. By now the parents were hearing about the incident, and they began hiring lawyers, who told the young men to remain silent. The three team captains did come forward to deny the allegations to Duke University President Richard Brodhead.

Lots of questions here:

Why was there a 12-day gap between the night of the assault and the suspension of the lacrosse season by Brodhead?

Why is the lacrosse team still allowed to practice pending the outcome of the investigation?

Did the predominantly white team specifically ask for black dancers? If so, would this suggest premeditation?

What work does the Duke Center for Black Culture perform, other than make nice soundbites? If Duke-Durham relations are at the boiling point, it looks like the Center has done nothing of substance to help the Durham community.

Some other observations on Duke and Durham:

Duke is in Durham, but no longer really part of Durham. 85% of the students are from out of state, and most of those are from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. It's the old Town and Gown problem, but some communities handle the mix better than others.

Duke has gone to great lengths to isolate itself on occasion from Durham. For example, Duke once closed off all streets on Duke property with barricades, and added a little yellow box marked "private street" or "private road" to all street signs leading in to the campus. Why? Because Duke could.

For years, Durham police and Duke officials have minimized legal infractions by Duke athletes. Why should lacrosse be any different?



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