clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

James on Polarization

Some people have commented on my request to have an indication that I do not endorse the previous editorial we published. I wish to clarify my position, so that it is clear and understood.

J&B&I have had as the theme of our site, "Three guys having fun," and I will admit that these past eight months have definitely not been fun for us as Duke fans. I will say that the friendship between the three of us remains strong.

I am most concerned about the polarizing effects of people's responses to the lacrosse incident. Personally, I think, based on what I have seen and read in the media, that the three players are not guilty of the charges they are facing. On the other hand, they are not angels and certainly acted in an extremely irresponsible manner. I think many of us reading this will agree with that.

The problem comes from a segment of those who support the lacrosse players, who have been directing their ire towards the university. There is an unstated orthodoxy that these advocates wish to enforce on the community. You could see it recently on our bulletin board system where some people posted views that supported the lacrosse players, but did not fit the unstated orthodoxy. These people were attacked perhaps with more energy than even those who might advocate the players guilt. This disturbed me greatly, and I will admit, was a significant turn-off for me.

I specifically requested that I not be associated with attacks on the university community. There are many stakeholders in this situation, and the community is one of them that gets little notice. Life at a university is a wonderful period where one can be exposed to new and different ideas, from many different perspectives. Mocking those perspectives, criticising those perspectives, and attempting to silence those perspectives does a grave injustice to all. (For those who argue that conservative views have no place, I invite you to visit a business school, or take a first year economics course. If you can repeat that claim with a straight face, you probably slept through the classes.)

More specifically, there are those who have criticised President Brodhead, and some have called for his resignation. Personally, I think 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, furthermore, we do not know what President Brodhead is trying to do behind the scenes. It is important to realize, though, that his first duty is to the university as a whole, and his real measure of success or failure is how he advances the university as a world class teaching and research institution, NOT whether or not the lacrosse players are exonerated. It is my allegiance to Duke that calls for the university to excel in academics and research first and foremost. The excellence in atheletics is also wonderful, and I do not see those goals as being in conflict, but, if forced to choose between athletics and academics, I will pick academics every time. I think we sometimes lose sight of that purpose for the university, and that is why I am frequently more proud of our engineering advances, our research, and how we expand the knowledge of mankind.

I did not see the recent Our Call as advancing this agenda, which is why I respectfully requested the clarification. In my opinion, I think we ought to be concentrating more on the weaknesses of the legal case and supporting the defendants as they clear their names, and, of course, we ought to concentrate on basketball! J&B&I are all adults, and we can and do have different opinions at times, but we are unified in our love of Duke, and in our respect and friendship for each other.