Local News

Durham Mayor: 'We've Moved Forward'

Posted April 12, 2007 11:19 p.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2007 6:39 a.m. EDT

The Duke lacrosse case not only put the university under a national microscope, but the city of Durham as well.

Now that the case is over, residents are trying to figure out how to move forward.

More than a year ago, the public call for justice in the Duke lacrosse case reached a fever pitch. Demonstrations depicted Durham as a hotbed of racial tension and class divisions.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell said he wasn't surprised by the public outcry over the case.

“That’s to be expected. People are very vocal in this community. We provided a forum for them to speak out, and they did it in a controlled manner,” he said.

Durham, Duke and North Carolina Central universities endured the weight of national scrutiny for more than a year. On Ninth Street in Durham Thursday, just blocks from Duke’s campus, people had various thoughts about the case.

“Everybody is embarrassed. It was a debacle,” said Durham resident Penny Shikowitz.

“You got to look at it and say, ‘They didn’t have the evidence. You got to move on,’” said resident Ita Yarborough.

For students at Duke, life after the lacrosse case means a new, more open dialogue amongst students.

“The administration has really made it a point this year to being groups together talking about prejudices that are there on campus,” said Jessica Lutkenhaus.

At N.C. Central, where accuser Crystal Mangum was enrolled, students said the case served to unite their campus behind their fellow student.

“We are still on her side,” said Montressa Johnson. “We supported her 100 percent. We were behind her.”

Student Corey Dinkins said the case brought the community together even more.

As Mayor Bell sees it, the relationship between Durham and Duke is stronger, and there’s a renewed and improved relationship between Duke and N.C. Central.

"By in large, we've moved forward," he said.