Tuesday, September 05, 2006

# Posted 12:04 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SEE DICK RUN: Richard Brodhead, president of the much beleagured Duke University, has an op-ed I like very much in this morning's WaPo. Brodhead was the dean of Yale College while I was a student there, and he is one of the most impressive public speakers I have ever seen.

Brodhead's purpose is to challenge the reigning conventional wisdom, according to which the American educational system is being overwhelmed by its Asian rivals. Yet during a recent tour of Asia, Brodhead encountered a:
...widespread worry, most loudly voiced in China. This is the fear that Asian higher education is long on discipline but short on creativity and that the very strengths of their system may prevent the fostering of a versatile, innovative style of intelligence that will be the key to future economic advancement.
In the 1980s, the reigning conventional wisdom held that the US economy couldn't keep up with Germany and Japan because of their well-planned industrial programs. Then as now, fiercely independent Americans fear the disciplined foreigner while underestimating the importance of freedom itself.

The same often held true with regard to the Soviet Union. Both the conservative Henry Kissinger and the liberal Paul Kennedy foresaw the decline of the West.

While recognizing the shortcomings of our primary education system, Brodhead counsels (wisely, I think) for America to build on its unique strengths. He writes that:
We need to promote everything in our system that breeds initiative, independence, resourcefulness and collaboration.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Is this guy trying to get some good press after his terrible leadership over the Laccrosse teams purported problems.

It makes me wonder just how good he was in Yale.
Brodhead was held in very high regard by the students, and seemed to command considerable respect among the faculty and administration as well.

Moving from dean to president is a considerable promotion, and Duke seems to have chosen him based on his record as dean at Yale.
Davod has it exactly right. Brodhead threw the Duke lacrosse team and its coach under the bus. He did the same thing at Yale when a profesor there was implicated in a murder. It's all about leadersip, David, not speaking ability. Try this one out: Bordhead said the Dule lacrosse players have the opportunity to prove their innocence in court. How about innocent until proven guilty?
I haven't followed campus politics at Duke very closely, so I will refrain from comment on that.

But I was at Yale during the murder and investigation you mention, Anon, and my memory strongly disagrees with your presentation of the matter, although I could use a refresher course.
Sorry about the spelling errors in my previous comment. On Brodhead:

One of the more troubling aspects of the Duke Lacrosse case is how many on the faculty and in the student body at Duke basically threw their team to the wolves. Among other things, the season was cancelled, the coach was forced to resign, and protests against the players were widespread. For sure Duke had a serious public relations problem, not only because of the seriousness of the alleged crime, but also because of the different races of the victim and the accused. However, I personally viewed the reaction of Duke University President Richard Brodhead – not standing up for the team -- as a significant failure of leadership. Unfortunately, this isn’t his first. From Michael Rubin at the NRO: “Forget the Facts: Duke's president has a history of allowing public relations to trump principle.”

…Prior to assuming the presidency of Duke, Brodhead was dean of Yale College. He was a popular teacher and, at least for the first half of his tenure as dean, a well-liked administrator as well. Then tragedy struck. On December 4, 1998, senior Suzanne Jovin was found stabbed to death and left at an intersection in a neighborhood adjacent to the Yale campus which housed many Yale professors and graduate students.

Many universities are shy about adverse publicity. At Yale, it’s an obsession. My freshman year, lacrosse player Christian Prince was shot and killed on the steps of a church, a couple dozen yards from a student dormitory. He was white; his alleged assailant was black. It was Yale’s worst nightmare. Parents and applicants peppered admissions officers and tour guides with questions about New Haven safety. The Damocles’ sword of incitement and town-gown racial tension hung over Yale’s administrators.

When Jovin was murdered, justice took a backseat to damage control. Within days New Haven police and Yale officials publicly fingered political scientist James Van de Velde, Jovin’s senior essay adviser. He was a star lecturer and had been a residential college dean. He was also a former White House appointee under George H. W. Bush and a member of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserves. Most Yale professors lean to the left of the student body; few in the political-science and international-relations departments have real-world experience. Van de Velde was the subject of personal jealousy and political animosity. Many faculty members—including Brodhead—looked askance at his desire to emphasize practical policymaking over theory. Some questioned, for example, his willingness to help Jovin write—in 1998—about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden to the U.S. to be unscholarly. From an academic point-of-view, Van de Velde was a black sheep.

Yale administrators did not care that there was neither evidence nor motive linking Van de Velde to Jovin. Her body had been found a half-mile from his house. Just as at Duke, Brodhead spoke eloquently about the principles of due process, but moved to subvert it. Citing the New Haven Police Department’s naming of Van de Velde among “a pool of suspects,” Brodhead cancelled Van de Velde’s spring-term lecture, explaining that “the cancellation of the course doesn’t follow from a judgment or a prejudgment of his hypothetical involvement in the Jovin case.” As at Duke, Brodhead insisted that due process would prevail. Despite Van de Velde’s stellar student reviews and distinguished record, Brodhead then let his contract lapse. Van de Velde left New Haven, his career in shambles.

Brodhead’s willingness to offer up a sacrificial lamb undercut justice in other ways. Three days after the murder, New Haven police spoke to Van de Velde, but declined his offers to let them search his home, take a DNA sample, or take a polygraph exam (they did dust his car for fingerprints; their findings provided no link).

They did find Jovin’s fingerprints on a plastic soda bottle found at the crime scene. The soda bottle also had someone else’s fingerprints—not Van de Velde’s. But, having a suspect, why process evidence? The Fresca bottle was crucial. She did not have the bottle when last seen alive on the main campus by a fellow student. That was a half hour before she was found dying almost two miles away. That particular brand of soda was sold in only one store on campus. By the time the police visited it—months later—that store’s surveillance tape had been erased. Nevertheless, her likely presence there turned the half-hour timeline upside-down, and raised the probability that her attacker(s) had forced her into a vehicle, attacked her, and then dumped her—not the type of news Yale parents want to hear. Jovin may also have fought off her attacker. Subsequent tests of material taken from beneath her fingernails revealed DNA that did not match Van de Velde’s, that of her boyfriend, any other friend or acquaintance, or any emergency worker who tried to save her. Neither Yale nor the New Haven police have explained why it took two years to test the scrapings. Nor have they explained why they ignored eyewitness accounts of a tan or brown van seen parked at the crime scene at the time of the crime. Van de Velde drove a red Jeep Wrangler. Brodhead has never apologized. In March 2000, a Yale spokesman dismissed press inquiries saying that more attention to the case “can only hurt Yale” (he would later deny he said it). Public relations trumps justice. Today, Jovin’s murder remains unsolved….

John in Carolina continues to be the “go-to” guy for fair and balanced coverage of Duke Lacrosse. It appears that he has access to some inside information on the case that he plans to share with us later today.
Post a Comment