April 12, 2007

Vincent Carroll on Duke

From the Rocky Mountain News:

The most remarkable fact about the Duke lacrosse fiasco is not that it took nearly a year for obviously flimsy charges to be dropped against the players. That’s a long time, but it was only in January that the North Carolina attorney general took over the case from the corrupt Durham County district attorney.

Nor is it the fact that District Attorney Mike Nifong would so crudely exploit stereotypes of well-to-do white male athletes in order to entice black votes in a re-election campaign. Race-baiting is a time-honored political tactic, although one deployed more frequently decades ago — and then mostly against blacks, of course.

The most remarkable feature of this legal debacle isn’t even the cheerleading for the prosecution that could be found in such major media as The New York Times. As biased and credulous as many reports were, a few were first-rate. For example, the late Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes deftly demolished the prosecution’s case in a report last fall.

No, the most astonishing fact, hands down, was and remains the squalid behavior of the community of scholars at Duke itself. For months nearly the entire faculty fell into one of two camps: those who demanded the verdict first and the trial later, and those whose silence enabled their vigilante colleagues to set the tone. (More)

One minor bit of good news is that Duke was one of the few private colleges not to see a big boost in applications this year, falling 1%. The Common Application website has made it so easy to apply to up to 20 private colleges without re-entering facts that most colleges appear to have enjoyed double digit increases in application this year.

"The schools that traditionally have been a little less selective than the most selective schools ... Claremont, Pitzer, Colgate, Hamilton, Skidmore, Trinity, Middlebury ... just went bananas," Reider said. "Colgate is now where Dartmouth was. Dartmouth is where Amherst was. Amherst is where Brown was. Brown is where Stanford was. Stanford is where Harvard was, and Harvard is all by itself, taking 9 percent. ... Things like that are crazy."

Pitzer College, which has about 960 students and is east of Los Angeles, is one of the private campuses that has seen a huge jump in interest from students and subsequently has become much more selective.

Ten years ago, it accepted 65 of every 100 applicants. This year, it took 26 students out of every 100, down from 38 in 100 just last year. Its average SAT score has increased, too, from 1,206 last year to 1,323 this year.

"It is huge," said Pitzer President Laura Trombley. "In a way it is kind of affirming. When you are this selective, people begin to certainly rethink their conception or perception of the institution."

In other words, we must be doing something right here at Pitzer (one of the Claremont Colleges) because more 17 year olds think we're cool. Pitzer is benefiting from the worst house on the block strategy popular among lazy homeowners for prospering from a gentrifying market. It got so hard to get into the other four Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna) that Pitzer has gotten pulled along in their slipstream.

Come May 2, a lot of colleges will likely find that they had fewer enrollments than they expected based on past experience, and will be desperately dialing their waiting lists. I suspect Duke will lead the list.

Still, as I've pointed out over and over, undergraduate college reputations just don't change much over the decades, no matter how badly the school screws up, so Duke will still be golden. For example, the Claremont Colleges had their own hate hoax in 2004, when a professor tried to frame her white male students in the trashing of her car, which she actually did herself. I described it here in the American Conservative. But applications to Claremont Colleges soared this year.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

I would be more interested to see the impact on alumni donations to Duke. I'm guessing there will be a drop off this year.

Anonymous said...

With those fat SAT scores, I bet most students are smart enough not to let one disgraced professor, or even a bit of less than admirable conduct on the part of an administratoin, even a few faculty, overly affect their choice of where to go to school.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing there will be a drop off this year.

Maybe, but I'd be surprised if it was at all significant.

It's more likely that they will diversify themselves into financial disadvantage; I remember reading an article a few years ago saying that, at least at Stanford, minority alumni donated, on average, far less than Whites. Even when adjusted for financial success after graduation. And ethnic Chinese, who are academically strong, were the stingiest.

AMac said...

A few thoughts by (non-Duke) faculty on the Carroll editorial in the comments at John in Carolina.

Anonymous said...

At least a few Duke professors spoke up for the accused:


Anonymous said...

The Duke 88 what a bunch of scumbags. This brings to mind William Buckleys comment about how he'd rather be governed by the first 100 in the phone book,than by the Harvard faculty. I suspect the governing capacity of academia has deteriorated quite a bit since that quote was made! I would love to ask that old dyke Hillary Clinton if she would have signed the ad,had she been on the faculty. The answer is obvious,hell she'd be the one who would've written it! But it would be nice to see the old hag squirm.

Anonymous said...

Coach K had their backs.

Anonymous said...

I disagree Steve.

I think for young white men, the idea of institutions hostile to them will be a deciding factor.

I'd imagine at least a decade of young white men deciding to pass on Duke, or at least only those with lower qualifications trying "the worst house on the block" ploy.

IMHO Duke has really hurt itself. It will be of course the place where minorities and feminists apply, but too much of that is not good for institutions (alumni success, donations, etc).

Anonymous said...

From Ann Coulter, last year:
"However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don't hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money.

Also, you can severely reduce your chances of being raped if you do not go to strange men's houses and take your clothes off for money. (Does anyone else detect a common thread here?)"

I will also add if said stripper you hired is black and you are white, and in a community with a large Black component, SEND HER BACK! DON'T LET HER IN THE DOOR! If you are rich, too, this goes double. If you're all of the above and a college student, don't even entertain the idea of a stripper coming to your party. The act of not accepting her could get you expelled for racism.

Anonymous said...

I'll add Steve that you're making an assumption error:

That because College reputations in the past have not changed radically, they will continue to maintain the same state in the future.

Is this so?

I'd argue that there are factors that could change that:

1. College applicant numbers, more or less people going to college will drive the market for admissions both ways.

2. College affordability, if many high SAT/Grades students are driven out of Private Markets and go on to public universities that could affect rankings.

3. Latino-ization of the population leading to lack of interest in College and reduced requirement for social success/status.

There's probably a whole lot of things I have not thought of, but bottom line I don't think the relative social and demographic stability we saw in America in the Post War era is indicative of America today.

Anonymous said...

The Duke 88 faculty should be tarred and feathered and shipped out of town on a rail.

Steve, I'd like to see you comment on the Robert Epstein book to "abolish adolescence." It seems that a lot of dysfunctionality of both students and professors comes from never growing up. Peter Pans who never face real world responsibility can make up any theory of life and politics they want. Who's gonna call them on it?

The New York Times? All the Times journalists are Peter Pans too.

Anonymous said...

A lot of students who would have applied to Duke realized that it is in a mostly black city. Even most left leaning students don't want to live near a black ghetto. I was forced to come here for grad school because this was the only place where my fiancee and I were both accepted. I almost wish I had accepted UNC's offer instead. Chapel Hill is a great place to hang out on Friday nights. Durham is a cesspool populated by criminal morons. I spend a good amount of time near the hospital where many of the locals can be heard in conversation. Forrest Gump was more insightful than most of these people.