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Duke student paper column blasts NCCU's academic standards

Posted May 23, 2008

— A Duke University spokesman said Friday the university neither stands behind nor supports an opinion piece that its student-run newspaper published last week and that blasts the academic standards of nearby North Carolina Central University.

In the May 15 piece, "Summa cum loony," guest columnist Kristin Butler, who graduated this year, criticizes NCCU for awarding a diploma to Crystal Mangum, the woman who accused three former Duke lacrosse players of raping and sexually assaulting her in March 2006. She began by noting that NCCU graduated a man last year who had been convicted of armed robbery of two Duke students a decade earlier.

Butler, a Duke student, says Mangum's actions were "flagrant violations" of NCCU's honor code. At the time of the alleged assault, Mangum, who worked as an exotic dancer, was enrolled at NCCU.

Among the violations, Butler writes: lewd, indecent or obscene conduct, violation of the alcohol policy and "the real doozie, 'knowingly making in public a false [oral or] written or printed statement with the intent to deceive and/or mislead or injure the character or reputation of another.'"

"Because of the university's blatant refusal to enforce its own rules, I will never again take an NCCU degree seriously," she writes, because it "no longer guarantees good character, and it's just too hard to tell the thugs and liars apart from the high-performing majority."

The Chronicle's editor, Chelsea Allison, said she supported the decision to run the column, but that the opinions expressed in it are the author's alone and do not reflect that of the paper or its staff.

"At The Chronicle, we value the right to free speech, and I don't think that whether I agree with the views in a column is necessarily relevant to making editorial decisions," she said in a statement.

"'Summa cum loony' has sparked a very passionate dialogue, and we have published and plan to continue to publish responses from NCCU alums and others with interest in the issue," Allison added.

The two universities have had a fragile relationship since Mangum's allegations surfaced more than two years ago, raising the issue of race and class in Durham.

Keith Lawrence, Duke's director of media relations, said The Chronicle is editorially independent of the university, which has no control over what is printed.

The university did reach out to NCCU following the column's publication to express its concern, however.

Lawrence said the two schools have worked hard to maintain a solid relationship and added that he hopes the column not jeopardize it.

NCCU had no comment. Some students on Monday said they were offended, but many said they paid little attention to it.

A column in an April 18, 2007, edition of NCCU's student newspaper, The Campus Echo, referred to Duke lacrosse case and called for physical violence. The reaction from then-Chancellor James Ammons was much like Duke's reaction to Butler's column.

In "Death to All Rapists," guest columnist Solomon Burnette wrote that black people cannot expect justice from the legal system and said "retributive correction," "whether intellectually, artistically or physically," was needed.

Ammons said the inflammatory views were Burnette's and that the university did not advocate violence as a means to seek justice.


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  • penny for your thoughts May 27, 2008

    Hate to say it, but the article in the Duke paper is right on. The young lady is 100% correct. I know several EXCELLENT people who work at Central, and some EXCELLENT alums, but they have to get their ship in order and quick!

  • dianadarling May 27, 2008

    I was going to NC State during the day and had to take a full time job for financial reasons. so I switched to NCCU's nite program. worked full time and took a full load at nite. CAKE WALK compared to NCSU.

  • LibertarianTechie May 26, 2008

    And to think, if the service the lacrosse team hired to get them two white strippers had actually sent them white strippers, non of this may not have happened!

  • LibertarianTechie May 26, 2008

    Here is the thing, although the Duke players were charged, none were ever found guilty. And Mangum, while technically she did violate NCCU student policy, she was never charged with a crime, so therefore she didn't violate the policy. Technical, yes, but legally sound!

  • 7734 2 06 May 26, 2008

    I found this on another website but I totally agree:

    "Magnum has been given the good housekeeping seal of approval by the good people of Durham and North Carolina which validates the underlying charges made by the lacrosse athletes in their many lawsuits.

    Attorneys for Duke and Durham don't need additional proof that their legal strategy is circling the bowl."

    Maybe now that she is "competent" her name will be added to the civil suit. Where are the criminal charges?

  • 7734 2 06 May 26, 2008

    foetine wrote: "Why did the lacrosse team hire two black strippers?" "It wasn't merely about having a woman dance - it was about fulfilling their elite white desires to control a black woman."

    They didn't, they requested white strippers. This is a well known fact. But the facts don't seem to matter in this case, hence the lawsuits.

  • 7734 2 06 May 26, 2008

    foetine wrote: "But notice that the only black member of the team didn't come to the party so the white players didn't order up black women to make him feel comfortable."

    Not true.

    'Sole Black Duke Lacrosse Player Says White Teammates Stereotyped'

    "Sherwood was at the party the night of March 13, and stayed through the dance, but then left with other underclassmen, he said."


  • davidgnews May 23, 2008

    alanrmnc - you hit that nail on the head. I'm no fan of Duke, but really .... that gal deserves jail time.

  • alanrmnc May 23, 2008

    God Bless this young lady. I wish more people had the guts to say what she said. NCCU failed the system by allowing Cyrstal Mangum to continue her education. The two of the three young men from Duke weren't as lucky. They were unable to complete their educations as Duke, because Duke enforced the standards that NCCU failed too.

  • Tarheel born May 23, 2008

    Well Said !!! It's just hard to deny the truth !!! What an embarrassing situation NCCU has - again !!