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Statement from Trustees Chairman Robert Steel on Lacrosse Situation
Editor's Note: Robert Steel is the chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees
Durham, N.C. - The trustees of Duke University have been in active conversation with President Brodhead and the university's senior leadership since the outset of the controversy involving the men's lacrosse team. We appreciate the constancy of President Brodhead's responsible leadership at a time when the facts are not clear and emotions run high.
President Brodhead has spoken eloquently about the challenges our community faces and the values that must guide us in doing so, in addressing the serious issues that have surfaced as a result of this incident. First and foremost, we await a resolution of the facts surrounding the party of March 13, and join in calling for full cooperation with the police investigation. As President Brodhead has consistently stated, the crimes alleged are grave and, if verified, will warrant severe punishment from both the criminal justice system and Duke's student judicial process. Simultaneously, we must protect the rights of students who have maintained their innocence and not been charged with any crime.
As President Brodhead has noted, we need not -- and will not -- wait on the resolution of this case to address broader issues that range from the social culture of our students to difficult questions involving race, class and Duke's relationships with its Durham neighbors. We endorse the steps President Brodhead is taking to deal with both the immediate situation and these wider challenges.
The trustees recognize and deeply regret how the current situation has cast a cloud over the many wonderful people who comprise our campus and the larger community of Durham. We are especially grateful to Mayor Bill Bell and Chancellor James Ammons and many others in the Durham community and at Duke for their wise and statesmanlike leadership during this troubled time.
When all of the facts are in, Duke will be judged by how it responded to the challenges before us. The trustees recognize these challenges and pledge our personal and collective support over the coming weeks to ensure that Duke University responds in a manner consistent with the great institution we know it to be.
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