Brodhead Statement on Report Reviewing Administrative Response

In my April 5 letter to the Duke community, I outlined a series of steps the university would take in response to the controversy raised by the men's lacrosse team party of March 13. Today I am releasing a report that reviews the response by the Duke administration as events unfolded after March 13. It is the result of an investigation by William Bowen, President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former President of Princeton University, and Julius Chambers, former Executive Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and former Chancellor of North Carolina Central University. They were assisted in their work by Danielle Carr Ramdath, a member of the Mellon Foundation staff and a Duke Ph.D.

I welcome the support in today's report for our general response after learning about the incident and for the multiple steps announced in my letter of April 5. I read with considerable interest the report's analysis of why the administration did not respond more swiftly to the incident and of how our work was complicated by the sporadic fashion in which information came to light. As Drs. Bowen and Chambers note, the situation was one of rapidly changing circumstances and considerable uncertainty--indeed, the events at the heart of the case remain in dispute to this day.

I also appreciate the report's candid suggestions regarding the communication issues that have come to light. Some of its recommendations echo those in the reports released last week, notably, improving communication between the athletic department and other parts of the Duke administration, and strengthening the oversight and expectations for student conduct, especially for athletes and students living off campus. We will be moving to address these issues in the weeks ahead. I also value the authors' insights into the administrative composition of the university and am committed to bringing a range of perspectives to bear on discussions by the senior leadership.

Throughout the report, there is a tone of concern about the way Duke perceived and addressed the racial dimensions of the episode. The racial issues that have surfaced since March 13 have a long background in the history of our country, of Durham and of Duke. That's all the more reason why we must continue to strive to create a world of full equality and mutual respect across the lines of race. Promoting understanding and sensitivity in racial matters will be a major item on the agenda of the Campus Culture Initiative, another of the steps I announced for the University on April 5. In the larger community, I have been heartened by the cooperative spirit shown by a variety of leaders -- particularly Chancellor Ammons, Mayor Bell and Reverend Barber. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with them and others as we work to ensure mutual respect among all students and community members. In addition, Chancellor Ammons and I -- as well as others in our administrations -- are continuing to explore further areas of cooperation between Duke and North Carolina Central University.

Today's report, plus the two released last week on the lacrosse team's history prior to March 13 and on Duke's student judicial processes and practices, are posted on a special website. I invite you to read all the reports, which contain valuable insight and information.

William Bowen and Julius Chambers have distinguished themselves in many ways over their remarkable careers. That they gave of their time to investigate Duke's administrative response is a great service indeed. They have helped us learn from this difficult situation, and they have given those outside Duke an independent assessment of our actions. I thank them for their analysis and, still more, for their wisdom.