One of the biggest academic stories of recent years was the Duke lacrosse scandal, and one of its central exhibits was the rush to judgment by Duke faculty members who signed the notorious “Group of 88" statement two weeks after the allegations surfaced. As everyone knows, the case fell apart despite DA Mike Nifong’s efforts to railroad the accused. Long before Nifong was disbarred, K.C. Johnson raised serous criticism about the Group of 88’s response, citing particularly the signers’ disrespect toward due process and their overheated, bullying, and illiberal reading of identity politics into the affair from the start.
If anybody was wondering about how the neglect of basic rights might have damaged the reputations of the signers, however, Johnson has a recent update on the careers of several of them. It appears at Minding the Campus under the title “Whatever Happened to the Group of 88?”
One of the leaders was Grant Farred, Johnson writes, who “denounced as ‘racist’ those Duke students who registered to vote in Durham.” Farred “charged that unnamed lacrosse players had committed perjury,” but that didn’t stop Cornell from luring Farred away from Duke and promoting him to full professor.
Another signer, Charles Payne, “violated Duke rules by authorizing departmental funds to pay for the Group of 88’s ad.” He is now Frank Hixon Professor at the University of Chicago.
Rom Coles is now McAllister Chair in Community, Culture & Environment at Northern Arizona U.
Karla Holloway spent a semester at Harvard’s DuBois Institute.
Wahneema Lubiano spent the Spring 09 semester in Prague. Johnson isn’t sure what her project was, but he notes that, “having been granted tenure by Duke without a scholarly monograph,” for the last 13 years she has listed two manuscripts as “forthcoming.”
Houston Baker is now Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt.
Three members of the Group have been promoted to deanships at Duke. Three Group members contributed to a recent issue of Duke Magazine, which went out to all graduates.
Johnson doesn’t mention any signer of the document who has suffered one bit from its publication. If readers of Brainstorm know of anybody who did sign it and has been called to account for it, please add a comment.