Local News

Committee To Probe Duke Lacrosse Culture

Posted April 6, 2006
Updated December 9, 2006

— At least one Duke University professor says that university officials knew about problems with the men's lacrosse team's off-field behavior, but looked the other way.

Some neighbors near the house on 610 Buchanan Blvd., where an alleged gang-rape may have happened, said the team was out of control.

"The question is whether members of this team respect fellow students, members of the community, whether they respect people generally," said School of Law professor James Coleman.

Coleman said the university wants to know if the proper authorities have been paying attention to a pattern of behavior.

Was it a series of overlooked events at all levels of administration and coaching that led Duke lacrosse players to think it was OK to hire an exotic dancer for a night of fun on March 13?

"That's the environment that they were living in that night," Coleman said. "The question is, was there a pattern?"

Those are questions that Coleman and six other faculty members will attempt to answer in an internal review of the team's history.

"We're not looking at individuals. We're looking to see if there's a breakdown in the system," Coleman said. "This is a situation that is very volatile."

After interviewing everyone from friends to neighbors to staff members, Coleman and other committee members will report their findings to Duke President Richard Brodhead in early May.

Coleman is asking anyone with information that may help the review to contact his office.

The committee is one of five points of action Brodhead announced on Wednesday, the same day lacrosse coach Mike Pressler submitted his resignation to the university.

An attorney for Pressler issued a statement  Thursday saying that the resignation should not be construed as an indication that he has done anything wrong because he has not.

"Coach Pressler has worked hard as the Lacrosse Coach at Duke for the past 16 years to try to develop young men who are a credit to Duke University, both off and on the field," Edward Falcone said in the statement.

It went on to read:

"Coach Presser felt that it was in the mutual best interest of himself and Duke University to resign as Coach."
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