Wednesday, May 30, 2007

William Jockusch
[street address omitted] (without the xxx -- to foil spammers)

Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Gates,

I write you because your foundation is a donor to Duke University. I admire your decision to use part of your wealth to support higher education. As you know, education opens doors, and Duke has doubtless given a fine education to many deserving people.

However, Duke University needs a wake-up call. The statements of many of its faculty during the recent Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax have been outrageous. I quote a sampling of the worst Duke faculty statements in Appendix 1. These statements have been repeatedly and fiercely criticized in blogs and news reports, but the faculty in question just don't get it. Typically, they are defiant, refuse to apologize, and insist that they are in the right, and the lacrosse team and blogs are somehow wrong. This continues right up to the present. Yet Duke has failed to take any action against these faculty, who include both a large number of professors, and even Duke’s own Dean of the Social Sciences.

I believe it is long past time for Duke to fire most of the faculty quoted in the appendix. While initial outrage at the rape accusiations, before the facts were known, is understandable, it is not understandable that, now that it is known that these accusations were false, nearly all of these faculty refuse to apologize, and many seem to wish that the rape accusations were true. I believe that neither academic credentials nor tenure should excuse their lack of basic human fairness. However, Duke, even with all the criticism its facultys’ actions has engendered, has failed to take any public action. Therefore, I call on you to stop supporting Duke University, just as, I am sure, that at Microsoft you would have fired a division chief who failed to discipline misbehaving employees. It gives me no pleasure to make this request, but I believe it is necessary.

If you fail to act, and instead continue to support Duke, then, regardless of whether you intend to or not, and regardless of whether you like it or not, you are supporting statements like the ones in Appendix 1. I hope and believe you don’t want to do that. And that’s why I’m asking you to stop giving to Duke.


William Jockusch

Richard Brodhead, President, Duke University
Sarah Deutsch, Dean of the Social Sciences, Duke University
Mimi O’Brien, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Duke University
Posted online on 5/30/07 at
Online version corrected on 6/3/07.

Appendix 1 – Duke faculty statements.
Comments are mine. Emphasis is from the originals.

“There can be no confidence in an administration that believes suspending a lacrosse season and removing pictures of Duke lacrosse players from a web page is a dutifully moral response to abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us” – Houston Baker, Professor of English, Duke University, in a letter dated 3/29/06, made public by Mr. Baker at the time, and currently available at

“At Duke University this past spring, the bodies left to the trauma of a campus brought to its knees by members of Duke University’s Lacrosse team were African American and women.”
“The culture of men’s sports . . . remains unindicted in this curious yet predictable aftermath of the men’s lacrosse teams’ documented record of demeaning, brutish, rude, and alcohol-ridden conduct.”
– both by Karla Holloway, Professor of English, Duke University, Summer 2006 issue of the Scholar and Feminist. From the context of the article, it is clear that it was written after April 11, 2006, when it was revealed that DNA tests failed to match any of the accused players to the items from the rape kit. The entire article is currently posted at

“The decision by the university to readmit the students . . .is a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship.” – Holloway, resigning from a campus committee to investigate race relations. The decision Ms. Holloway refers to was made public on 1/3/2007, after the accuser had changed her timeline for the attack, and said she was no longer sure she had been raped. Ms. Holloway’s letter is quoted at

“Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster.
But it is a disaster nonetheless.
These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.” -- full-page ad in the Duke Chronicle, signed by 88 faculty, including Sarah [aka Sally] Deutsch, who is currently Dean of the Social Sciences at Duke. The list of signers was formerly posted on Duke’s African and African American Studies website, but has since been removed from there. The full ad is currently available at
The list of signers is currently available at

“There have been public calls to the authors to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these.” – 87 Duke faculty, including many of the original 88, in a letter posted January 16, 2007, and available at

“These three players, an entire team, a team with an unsavory, [unclear] history. The history of the lacrosse team is the history of being inhospitable. The history of being bad neighbors to the Durham community. At the heart of the lacrosse team’s behavior is the racist history of the South”
-- Grant Farred, Professor of Literature, Duke University, in a talk given at Williams College, on April 30, 2007.
This was after the April 12, 2007 announcement by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper that “we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges”.
The talk is quoted online at
The post contains what appear to have been audio links to Professor Farred’s recorded voice, but the links currently do not work.

Appendix 2

Description by Ralph Luker of an encounter with Ms. Deutsch at a May, 2007 conference of the Labor and Working Class History Association.

Sally Deutsch, who is one of "the Duke 88", seemed to think that I should know better than to be found blogging with KC Johnson. She bristled noticeably when I said that, after all, he'd turned out to be correct about the lacrosse case. "You mean about the charges being dropped? she asked. I started to say: "No. Read my lips: ‘There was no rape.'" But the hairs were already standing up from the back of her neck up over to her eyebrows and her eyes were flashing. It's a good thing that KC and I are not looking for a job at Duke. Professor Deutsch has just moved from chairing Duke's history department to dean of the college of arts and sciences.

Mr. Luker’s statement is posted online at
My comment is that if, as Mr. Luker’s statement makes it appear, Ms. Deutsch would not want to hire someone who loudly and publically says there was no rape, then Duke should not employ Ms. Deutsch, and particularly not in a position where she has great influence over hiring decisions.

Appendix 3

A widely-read blog which has continually taken issue with Duke faculty statements. The purpose of this appendix is to show that both Duke and its faculty have had fair warning about the nature of the facultys’ conduct.

Appendix 4

News reports which have taken issue with Duke faculty conduct around the case. Unfortunately, much of this criticism is couched in terms of denouncing “leftist faculty”, rather than denouncing faculty who are just plain wrong. However, like the previous appendix, it shows that both Duke and its faculty have had fair warning.

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