January 18, 2007

Retaliatory grading by a Duke professor?

Consider this:
A former Duke lacrosse player has filed a civil suit against Duke University and a professor, charging that the teacher unfairly gave him a failing grade after an escort service dancer said she was raped at a lacrosse team party....

The lawsuit said [Kyle] Dowd and another lacrosse player -- neither of whom was charged in the sexual assault -- were in [Kim] Curtis' "Politics and Literature" class last spring. Before the scandal broke, the lawsuit said, both players were passing the course. But after the rape case made news, both players failed the final assignment, and Dowd's final grade was an F. The players were the only ones to receive F's, the lawsuit said....

The lawsuit said Kyle Dowd had a 3.4 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale going into his last semester at Duke. He got a C-plus and a C-minus on the first two papers in Curtis' class, according to the suit. Curtis had told students they would be graded on three papers and class participation, with each counting 25 percent toward the final grade.

When Dowd contested the grade, Curtis sent him an e-mail message saying she had failed him in class participation because he had missed the last month of the class, according to the lawsuit. Dowd had to miss five class sessions to meet with lawyers in the investigation that focused on the team, the lawsuit said.

You missed a month of class when class participation is 25% of the grade? It seems to me that you ought to have better evidence of the defendant's wrongdoing before you file a case... Hey! What does that remind me of?

ADDED: This post got a lot of comments, nearly all of them siding with the student and many of them criticizing me for seeming to side with the professor, so I'll say a little something more. First, this is a very minimal post. It does not directly express my opinion of the whole affair. So let me make several additional points that may let you see how I think about these things:

1. I don't like to see lawsuits, especially by students who are suing their teachers because they don't like their grades. At some point, I accept the need for lawsuits. For example, when I went to college, at the University of Michigan, one of the professors was reported to tell his students that women shouldn't become what he was teaching students to be and that therefore women could only get, at best, a B in his course. If these reports were true, he clearly deserved to be sued.

2. Complaining about your grade when you've missed a month of class looks very bad to me. His excuse -- that he was always meeting with lawyers -- sounds lame. Commenters who disagree are extracting material from his legal complaint. They need to recognize that they are looking at the student's version of the story. You should wait to hear all the facts before being so sure you know what happened. And if you don't see that you're acting like the people who assumed the truth of the prosecutor's side of the rape story, you need to think again.

3. Obviously, many teachers are biased in how they present material in class and how they judge what the students write. It may well be that Curtis has a very strong point of view and isn't fair to students who say divergent things, but I don't think students should sue teachers for that. Your remedies are mostly internal to the university. There is not a good role for courts to play here. Students will often say that a teacher has been "unfair," and they are sometimes right. But think what would happen if courts welcomed lawsuits like this. How many students would find ways to say their teachers had some personal grudge about them? Do you really want all these lawsuits? The cost of the lawyers for the teachers will need to be reflected in the tuition that all students pay.

4. The students who were involved in the Duke incident have reason to be outraged about what happened to them, but we should also see that they are playing hardball and that it is possible for them to go too far.

153 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

Knowing that they can't be fired, professors can be jerks in their ability to mess with students and their lives.

I took a class at Madison called the African StoryTeller taught by Harold Scheub. Scheub used to take attendance in the class by handing around a list for people to sign their names. The class had 100+ people in it. Most people had others sign their names for them if they were not there. I didn't and ended up missing 5 classes out of 45. For this Scheub gave me a C rather than the AB I got on all my exam grades.

I went to complain and he told me to complain to the department head, which I found out later was him. What a bastard!

Balfegor said...

He got a C-plus and a C-minus on the first two papers in Curtis' class, according to the suit.

This kind of suggests to me that a failing grade is not really out of line here. Particularly given grade inflation, a C+ and C- are really indicative of poor performance in the class, and are out of line with his 3.4 GPA. Probably the class simply was not a good class for him -- it might have been the professor's politics, but if it was, it was probably so from the very start, and not a matter of retaliation.

Anonymous said...

Let's do the math. 25% of the grade is attendance, and the students missed at MOST one third of the classes, that is not sufficient to fail unless the grades were poor to begin with.

Trey

minimus said...

For an indepth look at this case and everything else that going on in the Duke Lacrosse imbroglio, Durham-In-Wonderland http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/01/dowd-suit.html is a great resource.

minimus said...

For an indepth look at this case and everything else that is going on in the Duke Lacrosse imbroglio, Durham-In-Wonderland http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/01/dowd-suit.html is a great resource.

SteveR said...

There's a pretty good chance they are borh jerks. Does he deserve an "F" ? Possibly. Did the prof use "retaliatory grading"? Possibly.

The Berg said...

I think the suspicious part of this is that the changed the grade to a D (or D-) because of a "calculation error" when formaulating the grade.

(A + B + C + D ) / 4 = X

That's not that complicated.

Also, I believe he had Dean's Excuses for most if nto all of those missed classes, and you aren't allowed to hold Excused Absences against a participation grade.

And the crux of his argument is not the participation grade, but the grade on his final paper, which he also Failed, and according to K.C. Johnson at Durham in Wonderland here that grade seems out of line with his previous work in that class.

altoids1306 said...

It seems to me that you ought to have better evidence of the defendant's wrongdoing before you file a case... Hey! What does that remind me of?

Absolutely.

However, from first-hand experience, it is true that in certain disiplines, you get better grades if you write what the professor wants to hear.

Ken said...

Ann, you should be more careful. There is a LOT more here than your snide comment suggests.

http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/01/dowd-and-duke.html

Ken said...

Ann, there is a lot more here than your comment suggests.

http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2007/01/dowd-and-duke.html

JCJim said...

Perhaps you missed the part where the grade was changed because of a "calculation error" during the summer. This after being told he would not graduate. Dowd kept in contact with the teacher, informing her of when he would miss class and why. Before ridiculing the student perhaps read the filing.

http://abclocal.go.com/images/wtvd/pdf/dukecivillawsuit.pdf

Sean said...

A civil suit like this is totally different from a criminal case. Of course it's inappropriate for a prosecutor to bring a criminal case without first investigating and determining that the case is strong enough, but it isn't inappropriate, as long as the plaintiff believes in good faith that he has been wronged, to bring a civil suit, with the intent of developing further evidence during discovery or at trial. I venture to guess that failing grades at Duke are very rare. Let's see the professor's notes, let a jury read the papers in question, and then we'll have a decision.

yetanotherjohn said...

Since these are the only failures, I would want to look at the attendance records of the other students. For a normal class, missining 5 sessions is the equivalent of 1 2/3 week (3 one hour classes a week) or 2 1/2 (2 1.5 hour classes a week).

I would also want to see what the professor has done in prior years with people who became ill, had family problems, etc. If the proff cut slack in prior years but not now, that strengthens the case this was a political rather than academic decision.

All that said, this is a bit like suing the police. The system is geared towards upholding the person in authority and not second guessing them.

Jim Hu said...

I would think that having to consult with lawyers in a criminal case would be an acceptable reason for missing class. I would have given an incomplete or a no grade.

PatCA said...

Well, there's this, which was not mentioned in this article: "The university later changed Dowd's grade to a D, citing a calculation error. But Dowd claims the incident nearly kept him from graduating."

Of course there is retaliatory grading! Perhaps not always to the point of F, but sure it happens.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=2720596&type=story

Maxine Weiss said...

Participation?

Since when is "participation" indicative of knowledge?

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

Behavior, demeanor, personality, conduct, .....

....all those things that have nothing to do with knowledge and literacy.

Peace, Maxine

Simon said...

It seems unfair, but it isn't apparent that the professor's done anything wrong. If the students were unable to attend the class because they were dealing with the lawsuit, and the class counted towards enough of their grade to account for their failure, then surely they should be pursuing remedies - to the extent they exist - against the person who falsely accused them and the prosecutor who maliciously investigated them. (If false accusation of rape isn't a tort, it ought to be, insofar as it injures not only its own victims, but in general, genuine victims of rape).

the pooka said...

Here's a different take:

The snotty little shit failed a class, and now wants to take advantage of events surrounding (and his place on) the lacrosse team to bully the (untenured) prof into changing the grade.

I'm with AA on this one: It reeks.

Bob said...

You've accounted for Dowd, but two students were mentioned. Did the other student also miss classes? Just curious.

Cat said...

To go from a C+ and a C- to an F seems "in line"? If he went to an A would that be "in line?" I don't understand. If there is grade inflation wouldn't he still have a C or did she turn the "inflation" off?

I otherwise have no opinion other than by the mid-term the student should know where they stand academically, and what the temperment of the professor is. That is his responsibility. If the student didn't know this, they should have talked to the professor about his "challenges" and if there was a way to work around it or do extra credit. If there wasn't any understanding from the professor, he should have scheduled his lawyer meetings when he didn't have classes.

Anonymous said...

There are missing details in this piece. One being that the 'month' of classes he missed was something he notified the prof about and had to do with meeting his lawyer. (Kind of important when you are being framed eh?) Also, people who have read all 3 papers generally agree that the last paper (the 'F' one) is probably the best of the 3.

I'll try to find the related posts on KC Johnsons blog.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, if you'd been a little more persistent, you probably would have found out your school's process for contesting grades. The department chair wouldn't be the last stop on the chain.

I'd have graded this guy just as strictly on his attendance. He should schedule his lawyer conferences at a different time. I've heard that same refrain about recurring medical appointments. Students don't even think to say, "no I can't make it then, I have a class. Can we find another time?" They think having an excuse somehow changes the fact that they weren't in class.

Anonymous said...

Durham in Wonderland had a good post about this back when the story originally broke. There's a lot more to the story. The professor gave two lacrosse players in her class "F"s on their final papers after stating that the students were accomplices to rape and signing a statement denouncing them.

Their previous papers were iC range. Johnson read their papers and gives his analysis of them (he thinks the final papers were actually the best of the lot).

hdhouse said...

sloanasaurus? you wanted him to call role and you say "here!" or "present". You were absent 11% of the time (if indeed you are telling the truth)and thats a c+. just be thankful you weren't graded on originality of thought.

As to the Dukie 2 c's and 2 f's are at best a D. If he received a "0" for the missed paper i think the math works out as should the dismissal.

who was the attorney who thought this was a worthwhile case?

Glenn Howes said...

As usual, if you want a fuller account you can go to K.C. Johnson's blog.

HaloJonesFan said...

Yeah, this is pretty much what I expected. The "culture of victimhood" has now rebounded, and these guys are going to be "victims" for the rest of their lives. Anything bad happens to them, it's all Nifong's fault.

vbspurs said...

Probably the class simply was not a good class for him -- it might have been the professor's politics, but if it was, it was probably so from the very start, and not a matter of retaliation.

I know -- an otherwise very nice -- Duke psych professor who leans to the left of Jane Fonda (I mean, Tom Hayden).

He has complained many times about the frat boy/athletes in his classes, as they sit there all smug and comfortable in their popularity, conceding that they were not unintelligent, but just intellectually incurious.

He thinks they're all proto if not outright-Republicans.

Even the black ones? I asked.

No comment.

You don't have 'gimme' room with a person like this. Maybe it was retaliatory. These are the kinds of people who are not tolerant of this type of boy (white, well-to-do, athletic).

But something tells me the lads gave them plenty of rope to hang them with.

Cheers,
Victoria

The Drill SGT said...

Ann said...
You missed a month of class when class participation is 25% of the grade? It seems to me that you ought to have better evidence of the defendant's wrongdoing before you file a case...


I attached the suit below. The additional facts include:

1. He got a c+ on the first paper
2. went to Curtis for help on how to improve. Dowd gets a C- on second paper
3. Rape allegations.
4. Curtis signs statement of Group 88.
5. Curts makes public statement that the other players who were there that night (including Dowd) are accomplices to the rape
6. Huge uproar on campus, lots of abuse toward players in and out of class
7. Dowd has to go to meetings with attorneys, misses 5 of 30 classes. Always emails Curtis before hand explaining absence. She is silent on the issue of absences
8. Dowd and other player get only 2 F's in class of 40 on last paper
9. Dowd and other player get only 2 F's overall in class of 40


http://abclocal.go.com/images/wtvd/pdf/dukecivillawsuit.pdf

Anonymous said...

He should schedule his lawyer conferences at a different time. I've heard that same refrain about recurring medical appointments. Students don't even think to say, "no I can't make it then, I have a class. Can we find another time?

Ha ha ha ha....what world do you live in? I have to schedule my doctor's appoinments weeks if not months in advance. And even as high profile as this case is I imagine the attorney has other clients and other commitments. In a lawsuit that I was involved in, the biggest delay and time constraint was the availability of a certified person to take depositions. We were at their mercy. Take it or leave it.

The teacher should have been able to work around the lack of attendance which was for a pretty legitimate and important reason. It isn't as if he was just sleeping in and just didn't feel like going to class.

The real world is a lot different than you seem to think it is.

bearbee said...

This kind of suggests to me that a failing grade is not really out of line here.

You may be correct but the Duke site profile could argue that her strong feminist leanings negatively influenced her judgment.

Rate My Professor comments all recent and negative. Sore loser postings?

vbspurs said...

And this, apparently, is Kim Curtis, the prof.

Kurt Cobain, much?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Oops, sorry. KC Johnson (thanks Glenn!) wrote "background", so it's one of the three ladies to the back.

Either the stylish lady with crossed arms wearing sanitation worker orange, or the stylish lady wearing the floor-length skirt which are all the rage in Argentina (brown knee-high boots, underneath, mandatory), or the indistinct blonde lady with the poofy hair to the far left, and I hope it's her.

Cheers,
Victoria

JohnK said...

Come on Ann, you are supposed to be a lawyer. There are a lot of pretty simple questions that your post doesn't answer that ought to be answered before condemning this kid.

1. Was there anyone else in class or in this professor's classes in the past and how were they treated with regard to their participation grade?

2. What is the Duke policy on participation grades and excused absences?

3. What are her objective non-retaliatory reasons for giving the student an "F" on his last paper?

4. What do other professors in the same field have to say about the quality of the last paper versus the first two?

Unless you know the answers to those questions, you can't dismiss the kid's claim. Further, even if the claim is false, it is hard to have much sympathy for this professor. She might want to have thought about the prospects of a retaliatory grade claim before she shot off her mouth. She knew there were two LAX players in her class. The best course of action would have been to say nothing so that she could give grades without being accused of bias. Look at it this way, if I go out and make very public statements about the intellectual inferiority of blacks, it seems a bit rich of me to them cry foul if a black student accuses me of racism after I give him an "F" even if said student earned the "F".

R C Dean said...

The fact pattern just outlined strikes me as making it more likely than not that this student was failed for being a lacrosse player.

C'mon, Ann, this doesn't bother you at all?

vbspurs said...

Kim Curtis' Ratemyprofessor.com rating

preaches all the discredited leftist ideals. openly grades on student's looks and political position. disregards "inconvenient truths" that dismantle her arguments. just regurgitate what she says in class and you'll pass. typical leftist professor - bitter, used up, incapable of independent thought

This was on 1/4/07.

And BTW:

"Hotness Total: 0"

Hehe.

Cheers,
Victoria

Simon said...

Victoria,
Unfortunately, the idea that Republicans are intellectually incurious is flung mud that has stuck - and not invariably underservingly so. I see the party of Milton Friedman, George F. Will, Antonin Scalia, Newt Gingrich and so on; the left sees the party of George W. Bush. Thus, you'll understand my observation a few months ago that if the left want to portray Ann as being right wing, I'm delighted with that association (although I realize its inaccuracy).

Brent said...

Well with Drill Sgt's list above there is only one conclusion:

Professor Curtis is guilty of abandoning her job's principals.An amazing lack of scruples on her part, which should lead to an additional administrative reprimand.

As for the civil suit: She should FRY!

Balfegor said...

Re: Cat:

To go from a C+ and a C- to an F seems "in line"? If he went to an A would that be "in line?" I don't understand. If there is grade inflation wouldn't he still have a C or did she turn the "inflation" off?

It seems "in line" to me because the result of grade inflation is a cluster of A-B scores at high and middling performance levels, covering, say, 70%-100%. C and D scores aren't automatically pushed down into the 50 and 30 range, though, because there's some point at which a student just isn't performing well enough to pass, and even with grade inflation, a professor is unlikely to stretch that far. A C or D grade, as a result, is basically sitting on the edge of an F.

This, at least, is what I would guess based on my experience with grade-inflated classes, where you had a cluster of A's and B's, and the C's and D's were all essentially right on the verge of flunking. You had to do really badly to get a C, and only a little worse to get an F.

Sigivald said...

I'd think that missing 1/3 of the class due to court appearances would justify an Incomplete grade, assuming Duke has such a thing, rather than an F.

Missing a lot of classes unavoidably due to something like that is the very reason there are Incompletes; an F should, as I understand it, indicate poor scholastic performance or discipline, not having to go to court for a month.

Brent said...

Since others are telling their stories:

I took a class my freshman year at college that found the anthropology professor to be very "anti-Fundamentalist Christian". I often listened silently during his rants about the evils of "born-agains" (like Jimmy Carter).

One day, he had the nerve to bring up a subject in the local news (this was almost at the end of the semester) that involved several friends of mine doing charity work for the homeless. I say "the nerve" because he was saying that no such efforts by "so called Christians" could begin to undo the damage to overall society wrought by their "backwards beliefs" towards science.

I muttered "can't we just stick to the class material?", which was a mistake, because he was ready for a fight. He would not quit derisively asking me questions about my "faith". Not wanting to go through any of it, I got up and walked out of class without a word or demonstration, jeered by a couple of students who picked up the prof's animus.

When the grade came out, the prof gave me a C+, even though I had all A's on the tests and quizzes and the class project. When I saw him in his office, he said that I disrupted his class, and that the college allowed for grade determinations to include class behavior. I went to the Dean, who sided with the teacher, saying that I should have said something to his office earlier in the semester if I "anticipated" any problems.

The only solution was to go to the Board. I got on a meeting schedule, spoke my part, and the Board voted to "look into the matter". One month later, my grade was raised to a "B".

If my child had the same situation today, I'd hire an attorney and sue the prof, and the school, for everything.

Revenant said...

You missed a month of class when class participation is 25% of the grade?

How's does missing *part* of 25% of the grade turn a C into an F? And how does that explain the "calculation error" that turned a D in an F (since Duke later admitted the real grade was a D).

Why is a professor who (a) is hostile to the idea of presumption of innocence and (b) openly hates the student entitled to the benefit of the doubt here? For that matter, why does this stupid bitch even still have a job? She should have been fired just for signing that ad.

Anonymous said...

Jacques Lacan is the poster boy of postmodernism. He argued that everything was imaginary and that there wasn't anything that is real.

He was a practicing psychoanalyst. When his patients came to see him they had only to fork over the money. Lacan argued that psychoanalysis was imaginary, and so the only symbolic transfer that was necessary was the giving of the money. The psychoanalytic hour was a crock, Lacan said, in that time itself is imaginary.

He would then decide in what way the subject was sick or ill depending on how he imagined the case. If they still had money to fork over, then they were sick, and needed to continue to "see" him.

In this case Duke University's group of 88 are simply following in Lacan's suit. Give them the money, and they will decide your grade based on a totally arbitrary and imaginary signifier -- a C or an F or an A. Hey, they're just letters and don't mean anything anyways! Relax! Give them the money and be quiet. It's all imaginary.

It's the same way with Patricia Williams or others in the critical race theory. If they decide there's been a crime then OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! It doesn't matter if anything real has taken place, or if there is evidence. Evidence isn't real, it's just another kind of imaginary social construct -- (like gravity -- as Sokal would add)!

Anonymous said...

Ann, your comments are off the mark. As other posters have noted, professors are not above being challenged on their grading practices. Grades are important and have an impact on student's lives.

The student in question had a 3.4 GPA (which is good enough at Duke to graduate cum laude). The fact that the got a C+ and C- on two assignments in and of itself should raise some flags. Especially in a school known for grade inflation like Duke.

Additionally, class participation is usually seen as a way to improve one's grades not decrease it. As an undegraduate, a number of my classes allocated a sizable portion of the grade to class particpation yet I do not know of a single student who grades suffered because of not participating. Class participation was a carrot and not stick even when it said it would be on the syllabus. Teachers mainly wanted to encourage participation and not punish those who were shy. If a student was penalized for missing class or not participating it surely was not two letter grades.

As mentioned, the student in question had a legitimate excuse as to why he was missing class that he notified the professor of. If it was problematic, she could have asked the student to make up some of the missed class time or at least notified him that it was problematic as opposed to failing him and putting his career in jeopardy.

Ann, your position is more extreme than Duke University's which was actually willing to modify the grade. My brother went to Duke and I know they are loathe to do this under almost any circumstance so they along with most people's visceral reaction is that is unfair to penalize a student two letter grades for something that was probably beyond his control.

Ann, I really can't see your argument here.

Zeb Quinn said...

Any conservative who has taken poly sci classes from stridently liberal professors knows this game and how it's played. If one treasures one's GPA for grad school application purposes one quickly learns to mask one's true political opinions.

Anonymous said...

Simon, btw there is nothing wrong with being the party of George W. Bush. People seem to confuse being articule or inarticulate with intelligence.

foxlets14 said...

Dowd is represented by one of the best trial attorneys from one of the most prestegious firms in the state. Win or lose it will be very expensive and embarrassing to the professor and Duke. I believe that is the object of the suit. These players and their families have a deep and raging resentment toward Duke and certain professors and the financial means for legal pay back. This suit is the first of many to come.

The Drill SGT said...

There apparently were 30 meetings. sounds like twice a week for 15 weeks. He missed 5 meetings. His attendance was rated at F. That would seem like a formula that gives you 1 free absence, then she'd need to reduce 1 grade per absence.

Is that reasonable?

the pooka said...

For that matter, why does this stupid bitch even still have a job? She should have been fired just for signing that ad.

That's it. Keep it up, wing-nuts. Lefties like me love nothing more than listening to you destroy your credibility by saying things like that.

Cat said...

I want to ammend my previous comment after reading all about this student and in particular, this professor on KC's site, Durham in Wonderland.

It turns out the student did behave responsibly and after you review her public statements and what she has said in emails, I find it hard to believe she didn't dismiss their work and give them a retaliatory F.

The story about her defending black male students at the neighboring college (NC Central?) after they threatened a white male and white female Duke student outside an eatery in retaliation to the LAX story and then struck/rendering unconcious out a white male is telling. She wanted others to help her publicly discredit the Duke students who were threatened and assaulted because she refuses to acknowlege black on white crime can exist.

Another interesting thing to note is that Dowd's mother wrote a conciliatory email to the "Duke 88" and the response was hostile to her son, particularly from a Prof Baker who called her the mother of a farm animal among other things. It makes me wonder if Baker was so stupid as to make those remarks in writing that Curtis may have been too and proof such as that could give weight to Dowd's case (just a guess of course).

Anonymous said...

Hey Kirby, excellent post about that nut Lacan. I was thinking about mainstream psychoanalytic theory when I posted earlier, and I appreciate your bringing up Lacan. Your excellent post accurately lumps him in with the arational.

Trey

Cat said...

Brent - I never had an experience as extreme as yours, but do not doubt it happened. I am curious about the name of the course and the materials - did they have anything to do with Christianity?

In my experience professors like yours are also the sort of professors who deliberately designed their classes to promote their views by assigning books such as "Blowback" and "Jihad vs. McWorld." These classes are never educational - other than educating me on the view of the professor - and a waste of tuition. Yet, the college approves such classes for credit.

I often spoke up in class to refute the professor's assertions (the US has killed thousands of people already through oil for food? Isn't that the UN? Who is counting the deaths and how do they know it's due to the "OFF" program?) and I know I was labeled as a hostile "conservative." Fortunately, that label to those certain lefty professors also meant I must be a gun-toting-crazy-irrational-prone to violence student. They were physically afraid of me. It was absurd since I never asked questions in anger, just curiousity. Seriously, when I spoke to them after class for further instruction on an assignment, they would visibly flinch and assume they were about to be threatened which made me respect them even less for assuming the worst about me. They had no respect for their students.

Thankfully, I had just as many who didn't behave like them and were actually concerned with EDUCATION not ideology.

Anonymous said...

Actually, regardless of how this case turns out, it makes me think that we may need to consider figuring out a way of not putting the name of anyone accused of a crime in the media (at least not until conviction.) The reason is simple. With the widespread use of search engines, it is a given now that if you apply for a high profile position, you will get 'googled.' If your name has even showed up in an article saying "John Smith was accused of throwing snowballs at the teacher" or whatever (although if your name is John Smith you are probably 'google-proof', but not if it is Murgatroyd Dinkledorf) then even if the charges were dropped or it was a baseless allegation, the employer is likely to just not take a chance and hire someone else.

Anonymous said...

The lawsuit and retaliatory grading issues aside, class participation was a quarter of the grade? That's laughable. Are students graded for mastery of material or for sitting in their seats like good little boys and girls?

Christy said...

Ann, why are you bringing up this 2 week old issue now? That's not like you. What is your agenda here? Did you just hear about it? Can we take your response to be typical of the Madison professorial community?

Discovery should be very entertaining, btw. I wonder if Curtis will miss any classes to meet with her lawyer?

Brent said...

hdhouse, pooka, et al:

Read the lawsuit (address above at jcjim post).

Visiting Assistant Professor Curtis (email and phone available on the Duke Website - that's the disadvantage of being a university employee!):

is TOAST!

And she should be. You don't get your own version of the rules. She signed on to Duke's rules. She broke the rules with extreme prejudice. Now she gets to pay! Hey!

And Duke allowed her to. So, they get to pay, too!

And she doesn't even have tenure!
Imagine if that intellectual nincompoop did . . .

Pogo said...

The Duke professors, the Gang of 88, are about to experience what happens when idealism meets the law of gravity.

Perhaps she can defend this grade, perhaps not. There is a strong perception that she let her dislike of Athletes as a class skew her professional judgement. Her encouragement of the rush to judgement has had consequences for a bunch of innocent young men. And now she's on the receiving end of some payback, deserved or not.

"There's a black man dead for no reason, and now the man responsible for it is dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch."

Revenant said...

That's it. Keep it up, wing-nuts. Lefties like me love nothing more than listening to you destroy your credibility by saying things like that.

Wing-nut (n): Someone who believes false accusations of rape are wrong and that professors who abuse their students deserve to lose their jobs.

Its a label I cheerfully accept.

Simon said...

The partisan moderate said...
"Simon, btw there is nothing wrong with being the party of George W. Bush. People seem to confuse being articule or inarticulate with intelligence."

I have to dissent from that point. Bush strikes me as the poster child for the intellectually incurious. Indeed, in many ways he strikes me as being outright anti-intellectual - he exudes that sort of macho "any problem can be solved by rolling up your sleeves and working hard" attitude, the idea - one I find so obnoxious, too, from Obama - that there are platonic "right" solutions for every problem just waiting to be revealed through some process of strenuous effort. That isn't to say that I think Bush is stupid, and I understand that some very intelligent people struggle to express themselves clearly. But he none-the-less ably represents many of the things I find most frustrating and awkward about my party. Is a President Bush better than a President Kerry? A President Gore? You bet. But that currency only buys you so much, and I can name any number of people I'd prefer to have been able to vote for on the GOP tickets in '00 and '04.


Brent - I wonder how dissenters in Barrett's class fared for grades. I mean, you'd have to assume that he wouldn't be stupid enough to mark dissenters down in the glare of the spotlight, but then again, can you assume any level of intelligence of someone with Barrett's beliefs? ;)

Cedarford said...

Elizabeth - I'd have graded this guy just as strictly on his attendance. He should schedule his lawyer conferences at a different time.

As I understand it, these were common representation meetings with players and parents (many who traveled cross country to attend). The meetings and conferences were intense and lasted several hours and impacted class attendendence by all the accused players.

These meetings followed a very bad incident where students were told by the Dean of Students not to notify their parents of the fact that they were targets of police searches and interrogations and to avoid getting a lawyer and "come clean" with both the cops and Duke Administration.

The student suing had a 3.4 GPA and as part of his lawsuit preps paid to have his 3 papers evaluated by a senior Professor in the same field as Curtis. Papers were rated B to B-, with the final paper the best.

Dukes policy on Dean's excuses and missed classes follows:

http://www.aas.duke.edu/trinity/t-reqs/deansexcuse.html

and

http://www.aas.duke.edu/trinity/t-reqs/attendance.html

The lawsuit states Duke University expects students to contact the instructor if any classes must be missed for unavoidable circumstances. For each missed class, Dowd did so with Curtis and did not get a response from her. This followed on the heels of her public announcement that Dowd and the only other person she failed out of 40 students - also a lacrosse player - were accomplices to rape.

Lawsuit of course seeks discovery of Prof Curtis's past grades in the 12 years she has been a spousal "visiting" professor (husband has tenure at Duke), and how she dealt with other students who had unavoidable absences and either missed turning in graded work on time, or turned in all work on time (Dowd and the other flunked "rape accomplice") but missed classes.

Duke obviously is not happy at all about the lawsuit and is resisting discovery of Curtis's email and past dealings with students.

10:29 AM
Kris said...
There's a lot more to the story. The professor gave two lacrosse players in her class "F"s on their final papers after stating that the students were accomplices to rape and signing a statement denouncing them.


A lot more. Curtis also was denouncing the students off-campus. Her actions plus the "Gang of 88" letter are now listed as basis for a change of venue based on Duke being hostile to it's own students and it's influence on a jury pool as Durham's largest employer. The latest letter and various statements by Leftist faculty may be added to the change of venue request.

KC Johnson notes this appears to be the 1st time in history that criminal defendents have filed change of venue motions stating the pervasive hostility and actions of a clique of Faculty towards it's own students poisons the jury pool.

rafinlay said...

And of course, if this were to actually go to trial, there is a much larger likliehood of there being students with memories of unfair professors on the jury than there is of other professors to stick up for their colleague. I'd say settle this one fast.

reader_iam said...

"Plenty of rope"?
"He should schedule his lawyer conferences at a different time. I've heard that same refrain about recurring medical appointments."

From the suit, #25: "As to class participation, Kyle Dowd missed six out of the thirty class sessions in the "Politics and Literature course. The first absence was an excused absence for a lacrosse team game that was played out of state. The other five absences took place after the institution of the criminal investigation, and each of these five absences was caused by Mr. Dowd's need to meet with attorneys relating to the criminal investigation. At that time, every member of the lacrosse team had been publicly named by the prosecutor as a target of the investigation, and each faced the prospect of being indicted for felony crimes carrying potential prison sentences in excess of twenty years."

The suit goes on to say that of the five classes missed due to meetings with attorneys, in four cases the teacher was notified in advance, so it's not like he just didn't show up and didn't say anything.

Let's adopt of bit of perspective here. First, how do six--and, really, it seems that just the five having to do with legal matters are at issue--classes constitute missing almost a month? If the class meets 2x a week, that's three weeks' worth; if 3x, that's two weeks' worth. Since no one is contending that these were missed all in a row, we're talking about six classes missed spread out over what I'd assume (dangerous, I know) is something like a 14- to 16-week semester. Unless a prof's standard for judging class participation is based purely on attendance (which words mean different things, by the way), it seems a little silly to use these absences as justification for lowering a grade significantly. Now, it's possible that when there, Dowd did not contribute--but in so far as we have seen Curtis quoted in the suit, or elsewhere, that's not what she said nor how she framed this issue when the grade was contested. Of course, that doesn't mean she didn't.

I don't get the analogy to medical appointments, though I have a certain sympathy for Elizabeth's position on the sometimes cavalier way some people choose to schedule appointments. First, we don't know how those appointment times were set or under what time constraints. We also don't know if Dowd was meeting with only his own private attorneys--who you'd hope would be more sensitive about scheduling meeting times because they're being paid, but I wouldn't count on it. Remember, as the suit states, this was during the period when every member of that lacrosse team had been labeled a suspect with the potential of indictment. What if some of those meetings involved attorneys for others? Think of all the schedules involved, for attorneys and clients (and, perhaps, parents, who might be from out of state and having to coordinate with their work schedules) alike! What if Dowd was being deposed? How optional was that? He was supposed to have said, "sorry, I have class then?"

Puh-leeze. That is, simply put, absurd. We are not talking about contesting a parking ticket here, or fending off an accusation of, say, vandalism. Had Dowd put his priorities in the way it's suggested he should have, he would have been, at best, a fool.

OK, well then: Maybe he should just have dropped out of school (notwithstanding the monies paid, notwithstanding a job pending graduation that summer) and put his full attention toward his legal problems; in this way, no accommodation would have been required or requested. Marvy, except that Dowd was never charged in the sexual assault or rape. Even if he had been, he's still entitled to some presumption of innocence. But the fact is, he wasn't then, he hasn't been since, and is anyone suggesting he will be?

Short of dire illness or injury, I can't think of a better excuse, because it's not just an "excuse," for missing class than meeting with attorneys when facing potential felony charges, especially in a case such as this one, especially in a case being conducted in such a political climate, and especially when there is real danger of an injustice being perpetrated on one. (As an aside, because it's not really on point, but students get "excused" from class for all sorts of reasons, including breakups with SO's, extra-curriculars, job-hunting, stress over one thing or another, etc. and let's not pretend they don't. Or that profs don't have that discretion.)

OK, well, all of this is fine and good, but it's not the teacher's problem. Her rules are her rules. We have to defend that principle. Well, I suppose one can take that position. But then it's a clear situation of defending something in a theoretical vacuum without measuring its effects in the real, messy world involving real human beings. Isn't it?

As for the papers (and I'm not going to question anyone's skepticism about grade inflation, etc., nor am I ever going to argue against high standards thereof, in theory and for the overwhelming most part in practice):

The suit claims that prior to the final semester of his senior year (which this was), Dowd had a GPA of approximately 3.4 out of 4.0 (it doesn't specify if this is just at Duke, or also includes his time at Johns Hopkins). It also claims that he "had received a grade of less than a 'C' on a paper only one time prior in any class" (emphasis added, and again, it doesn't specify if this is just at Duke or if it also includes his time at Johns Hopkins).

If this is true, then it would seem to me that a failing grade, somewhat out of the blue, isn't really "not really out of line," at least in a vacuum. OF COURSE, the prof gave two separate explanations, according to the suit. One (the second, in timeline terms) is that Dowd confused the characters in the book on which the paper was based. If that's so--and it's not just an inadvertent misstype of a name in one place, or something like that--I personally could accept that as grounds for assigning an "F,"--or at least a "D," depending on what and how one grades generally-- to a paper, especially at the senior level.

The other reason given (according to the suit, so we don't know if there were additional ones), the first one in the timeline, was that "Dowd had made strong statements in the paper without backing them up." Without reading the paper, it's impossible to tell whether this means an "F" is deserved or not, in context of the whole paper. In any case, I'm struck by the sheer irony of the words "strong statements in the paper without backing them up"--in the context of the broader Duke case, many of the statements that have been made by members of the university community in connection with that, and even some by Nifong himself, and even, it regrettably apepars, the woman at the center of the case. Of course, that has no bearing on the paper itself and how papers should or should not be graded, but how amazing when one thinks of it! It seems to me that, in 2006, there was a whole lot of "making strong statements without backing them up" going on down in and around Durham, and not just in class papers. Ahem.

Speaking of high irony, here's an excerpt of an e-mail Curtis sent to all the students in her classes, as reprinted in the filing (see #18):
"I know this has been and continues to be a difficult time for all of you. For many reasons, I do not think the classroom is the best place for discussing the things the allegations and now ongoing criminal proceedings raise. But I also don't want to act as if we all aren't troubled, tried, and in need of conversation and fellowship. ..."

You should go and read the rest of that e-mail. She offers to meet for coffee, lunch or a walk in support. She does not, of course, offer to understand why someone might need to be excused from class because they are "troubled" and "in need of conversation" with their lawyers.

Of course, that's different.

(There's so much more that could be said, based on the filing alone, and even more so if one actually reads broadly and deeply about this case and its main characters. The problem, of course, is that so much of what's been said about this case from the beginning has been based neither on the broad or the deep, but rather on the narrow and the shallow.)

Pogo said...

P.S. How did I miss out on all that "drunken white male privilege" anyway?
Was I at band practice when they handed it out?

Anonymous said...

About those first two grades, though -- one really would have to try hard to get a C in an undergrad social sciences class.

buffpilot said...

I'll add my experience. I took a night class for my masters. Before even signing up for the class I told the professor I would miss 25% of all classes due to sitting nuclear alert and up to 33% total due to flying commitments. I asked if I could still get an 'A' if all my work was done on time and of that quality. He said yes, it would be no problem. I received an 'A' on every assignment and the final. Got my report card 'B'. When I went to complain he said I missed a third of his classes and that was to much and so he downgraded me. I went to the department head and was told that since I "didn't have written prior permission" I had no case. This was the math department! Learned later both these guys hated republicans and my Prof was furious when I showed up for class in a flight suit. He never said a word to me. On the bright side the flight suit did attract the girls :) Yea, the '80s were great.

The idea this Professor wasn't out for these guys is ludicrous on its face and should be treated as such. I hope they sue the pants off them and can't wait for the civil suits against the prosecutor.

Elizabeth said...

"Ha ha ha ha....what world do you live in? I have to schedule my doctor's appoinments weeks if not months in advance. "

DBQ, I live in that same world, and I don't schedule appointments that would require me to cancel class. I have no fewer problems than my students have in making appointments; if I had to miss a month of classes because of other engagements, my department would have to replace me in the classroom. If I were a student who knew I had to miss a month of classes, I'd arrange for an incomplete (though with a C/C- average I wouldn't be granted one) or I'd drop the class if that were possible.

There are other issues raised in this case, and none of us at this time know all the facts conclusively, but I don't think this student has been treated unfairly in terms of the attendance issue. If his papers were graded unfairly, then the instructor would be at fault. But attendance grades aren't necessarily about excuses/unexcused. I don't care why students are absent; if they're not in class, they're not going to do well in the class. But I'm always willing to work with students who are in difficult circumstances and who take it on themselves to confront those problems.

Hey said...

Everyone here is forgetting one major thing. Our proprietor is VERY hostile to athletics. Ann can be relied on to complain about any sports metaphor as being an example of sexism. She is also an art-school grad, and appears to uphold the stereotypical pose of the fine arts towards athletics (which athletics tends to return fully).

The only 2 people who failed the class were lacrosse players, Dowd missed class because of a criminal controversy that Prof Curtis was in part responsible for creating, the players were facing threats on their life from protestors holding Castrate signs in front of the house of some of the players and the New Black Panthers. See here http://liestoppers.blogspot.com/2006/11/from-wall-of-silence-to-community.html for what was going on in front of 610 Buchanan, the site of the party and Dave Evans' house.

This is but the first of many meritorious suits against Duke. Curtis has a pattern of behaviour of malice against Duke lacrosse players specifically, and any white male Duke student in general (heck any Duke student). That two white jocks that the Prof took a public and private political stand against are the only ones to fail isn't coincidence.

Ann's statement does show that anyone who could be sick or otherwise have to miss class should avoid her classes, and that any one engaged in athletic pursuits should not take her classes. I like Ann, her site, and frequently defend her, but she has some very serious issues with respect to certain concerns.

Simon said...

Eli Blake said...
"Actually, regardless of how this case turns out, it makes me think that we may need to consider figuring out a way of not putting the name of anyone accused of a crime in the media (at least not until conviction.)"

In rape cases, certainly. There is something seriously flawed with a system that purports to rest on the precept of "innocent until proven guilty" yet grants (usually quite successfully) anomynity to the accusor (the present case suggesting why "victim" is not an appropriate term), but not to the accused. You know, once they're actually convicted, give the media a field day. Take out a billboard ad. Put them in the stocks. Put them in a gibbet if you can persuade the Supreme Court to overrule Coker. But in these cases, flung mud sticks.

Are there any particularly compelling arguments against symmetrical anomynity that I'm overlooking?

Re DBQ's skepticism about students planning their doctor visits around class rather than the other way around ("I have to schedule my doctor's appoinments weeks if not months in advance") - I'd change doctors if that's true. Our family doctor can usually fit us in within 7-10 days.

The Jerk said...

The real world is a lot different than you seem to think it is.

No, actually, it isn't. Generally, lawyers schedule appointments around their clients' schedules, not vice versa. If he couldn't find a lawyer who could accomodate his class schedule, he should have gotten a different lawyer.

Hey said...

Elizabeth: You may not care why a student is excused, but you would be violating policy at nearly every university, and definitely at Duke, if you retaliated against a student for missing classes based on an excused absence.

I want to understand this: by inference you are saying that if a student who had Cs in your class was struck with a serious medical problem with one month of class to go and missed 5 classes due to this, you would FAIL them, even though they completed any work remaining? Whether it was Cancer and they had to meet with an oncologist, or it was shingles and they were in debilitating pain for which they were taking large amounts of opioids and had to consult with a pain specialist?

At my alma mater, if you had a crises that made it impossible to complete the work for a class or classes, you would be given a Pass (no grade) if your mark was above a certain level or an incomplete if it wasn't. You would not have any negative consequences for circumstances outside of your control, though you may have to repeat courses if you hadn't previously been high performing enough.

Further, you appear to be abysmally ignorant of how hard it is to schedule when you are a student and have 5-7 classes rather than a professor with 1-3 (as well as that the prof doesn't even attend all the meetings in a class that a student is responsible for). 20 hours a week of classes during the workweek, exactly in the heart of when one can meet with doctors or lawyers, and one has to juggle many classes, not just yours.

Thank you for so publicly declaring that you are an absolutely unreasonable person who every student needs to avoid. Interviews, medical crises, legal crises, and school pursuits are completely irrelevant when it comes to attending Elizabeth's class. You attend or you die, no excuses allowed.

How completely unsurprising that you describe yourself to be a Women's Studies Instructor. Could you be more of a raging stereotype?

J said...

"You missed a month of class when class participation is 25% of the grade? It seems to me that you ought to have better evidence of the defendant's wrongdoing before you file a case... Hey! What does that remind me of?"

My God, Ann. Do you even have any concept of how wrong you are? The guy wasn't in class because of a malicious prosecution the professor herself worked to promote. I'm really starting to hope these families have the resources to utterly destroy Duke University. If people within my profession were working this hard to destroy it's credibility I'd be a little more concerned than you seem to be.

Brent said...

Cat,

In answer to your question: my class was Origins of Humanity. The only pertinent relationship to Christianity had to do with later "church pronouncements" (Bishop Usher) and the like on origins prior to Darwin.

I can certainly see taking issue with "church views vs. scientific views" being a valid point of the class. But the constant, EVERY class meeting rants by the Professor about the negative toll of "today's anti-science fundamentalists" on society was entirely unnecessary. Not to mention deeply offensive to numerous of the other students, whom I counseled to just suck it up and take it. That's counsel I would not give today.

Every Professor is due respect whatever their personal views. That does NOT give them the right to create a hostile atmosphere towards the deeply held views of others, much less to grade those certain students any differently.

Bottom line: Professor = employee. I now encourage my children and their friends to make contacts with their college administrators before their freshman classes have even started - call it "networking". Have them attend all the orientations and pre-start-of-school functions that they can, and make friends with the admins. That way, if an instructor problem arises, you have a back-up to go to. It once saved my daughter an entire letter grade in a misunderstanding with an assistant prof during her sophomore year. Even more impressively, "pre-knowing" a Dean of Admissions helped save a friend's son from receiving academic probation because of an in-class verbal disagreement with a poli sci prof, in a situation not too far removed from the one I experienced 30 years ago.

Revenant said...

Generally, lawyers schedule appointments around their clients' schedules, not vice versa. If he couldn't find a lawyer who could accomodate his class schedule, he should have gotten a different lawyer

First of all, nothing in the article says that Dowd was a client of the lawyers in question. This witch-hunt involved dozens of lawyers working dozens of accused players, plus those working for the DA. It goes without saying that none of the latter group would have done anything to help the players, and most of the former would be concerned only with *their* clients' schedules.

Secondly, even if Dowd could have rescheduled the meetings in such a way that they didn't interfere with any of the courses he was taking, Curtis could only use that as an excuse if she had a standing and draconian policy towards student absences. She's fighting dicovery of her past excused absences, which she almost certainly wouldn't if they supported her story -- 'nuff said on that.

Finally, even if both of the above held up, her and Duke's exceptionally poor behavior towards these two students is going to weigh heavily against them at trial. The typical juror is going to have a hard time seeing past the fact that she's a hateful bitch and objectively assessing her grading policy, even in the exceedingly unlikely event that she didn't fail them just for being on the team.

reader_iam said...

An observation and a question:

The conclusion of the Althouse post is, in my judgment, ambiguous; that is to say, it can be read in more than one way.

Is it a surety that Althouse is taking the side of the professor here?

Because I note that that's the assumption that everyone, on all sides, is making. And I suggest that the conclusion of this post doesn't provide a firm, indisputable ground for that assumption.

LoafingOaf said...

The lawsuit states Duke University expects students to contact the instructor if any classes must be missed for unavoidable circumstances. For each missed class, Dowd did so with Curtis and did not get a response from her.

If that's true it suggests Curtis was up to something. Funny me, I thought professors are supposed to be on your side and not be such pieces of work to deal with. If you contact a professor in advance about having to miss classes for legit reasons, why the hell can't the professor reply and make sure the student knows what will happen, clarify her policy, and advise him? Probably because she was looking forward to flunking him.

We don't know what happened, but it looks likely she abused her student for the reasons others have been posting, with the smoking gun that it took a "calculation error" to make sure he got an F.

We already know this professor is an unfair person and generally a wackjob.

Here's a quote from a Duke professor expressing his concerns about the behavior of some of his colleagues:

Roy Weintraub, an economics professor at Duke, drafted this week's letter. "It was something that had been bothering me for a while, that the Duke faculty was being characterized as being hostile to its own students, especially statements by faculty members that have been construed that way," Weintraub told TIME. "I wanted to make sure that there was some expression that students are welcomed in our class, including lacrosse players, students in good standing."

I'm biased against Curtis because the more I read about her on other blogs the more I see she's a stereotypical "moonbat" to a laughable degree. So I'm at risk of prejudging her the way she prejudged LAX students. It's possible he flunked the last paper because he was distracted by the turmoil. I would've sought to put my studies on hold if I were going through that. Nevertheless, my gut tells me this case has some merit and/or this prof is not a good person, and that economics prof tells us some of his colleagues were being hostile to students.

If this student feels he has a legit case, take her to court. It's what the courts are there for. I'm sure discovery will be fun!

The Drill SGT said...

I read Ann's teaser as having a Nifongian twist to it. After all, he is the most logical person in this case to have filed a case without credible evidence of wrong doing. Having said that, I think Curtis has some explaining to do in discovery. She's earned it IMHO.

It seems to me that you ought to have better evidence of the defendant's wrongdoing before you file a case... Hey! What does that remind me of?

LoafingOaf said...

hey: Thank you for so publicly declaring that you are an absolutely unreasonable person who every student needs to avoid.

Yeah, she sounds a bit harsh. I thought so in the plagiarism thread, where it almost sounded like she enjoyed nailing a quota of two students to the wall per semester. Add to that a couple students per semester getting killed by attendance and that sounds like a dangerous class to take. lol Maybe she had a few too many students B.S. her around when she was an easier touch?

Ernie Fazio said...

An observation not about the grading, but about the overarching issues involved in in the NYT in an article about the aftermath of a college date situation. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/fashion/14love.html?ex=1169787600&en=9872b22133adeb4c&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Anonymous said...

Is it a surety that Althouse is taking the side of the professor here?

Well, it's not death and taxes surety, but its a decent third place.

Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Whoa! Ivory tower alert! If you think that's too little to go on before filing a lawsuit, then I can tell it's been a long time since you litigated a case.

By modern standards, that's plenty to go on. Not that it should be, but it is. Where I practice (Ohio, Kentucky and the respective federal courts located here), I see claims that are far less credible than that. In Kentucky, you couldn't even get that kind of case dismissed on summary judgment, because their standard of review is really screwed up. Usually these cases end with the defendants kicking in "shut up" money to make the plaintiff go away. It's extortion, but the defendants do the cost/benefit analysis and they're better off throwing some money at the plaintiff. No defendant is willing to stand on principle these days. It's quite sad.

Revenant said...

Maybe she had a few too many students B.S. her around when she was an easier touch?

If you can't handle B.S., Women's Studies probably isn't the field you should be teaching in.

</snark>

Elizabeth said...

I want to understand this: by inference you are saying that if a student who had Cs in your class was struck with a serious medical problem with one month of class to go and missed 5 classes due to this, you would FAIL them, even though they completed any work remaining?

Your example is a poor analogy. A student with a legal problem meets with his attorney during a specified time period on a given day, but then he doesn't go home and collapse in bed due to the physical debilitation of cancer. If a student can possibly schedule an appointment for a time not conflicting with his course, then that's what he should do.

Following announced grading politices is not "retaliating." My attendance policy is spelled out in writing on Day One, nor do my policies violate the policy of any institution at which I have taught. I'm not going to spell out my policies here, since they're not in question. My argument is only that there's nothing wrong with faculty setting and following an attendance policy in determining grades.

Elizabeth said...

How typical. If I'd posted about how plagiarism is no big deal, and what the heck, students should just come to class when they feel like it, the same conservatives using me as their effigy for Kim Curtis here would be waxing on about Lacan and deconstruction and Marxism and isn't it terrible how the liberals have ruined scholarship and integrity in the academy.

The Drill SGT said...

OK Elizabeth,

I know you're the math prof (well I was anyway). You do the math

3 papers at 25% each

class participation at 25% (he made 25 of 30? classes)

average C+, C-, F and F = F?

strange way to compute an average. Appears to me more like

F(MIN) of C+, C-, F and F = F

or a LIFO inventory model

and as for attendance, she seems to have applied a 1 letter drop for each missed class and did it retro-actively. Not well spelled out. We'll see in discovery if that was standard or a special for LAX players.

Seven Machos said...

Would an incomplete be too much to ask in this situation, Elizabeth?

Cedarford said...

The Jerk responded to:
The real world is a lot different than you seem to think it is.

The Jerk - No, actually, it isn't. Generally, lawyers schedule appointments around their clients' schedules, not vice versa. If he couldn't find a lawyer who could accomodate his class schedule, he should have gotten a different lawyer.

Again, I guess you have never experienced the real world where large numbers of litigants are involved, either as defendents or plaintiffs where funds are pooled for lawyers and experts representing them as a class.

You appear to believe law services is like pizza delivery. Call and get a single person who agrees to meet on your time, or call another pizza place.

Real world?

It doesn't work that way. Especially with over 100 students and parents represented by 14-20 joint counsel....lawyers pooled by varied expertise required, in a case of national prominence. With advice on a range of threats to defendents - from Black Panthers death threats, NCAA officials, loss of athletic scholarships, community death threats, to state medical forensic
personnel, to hard drive contents and "racially tinged MP3 rap songs", to cops violating contsitutional rights, to Nifongs lynch mob, to hostility of Duke itself.
All complex matters dealt with as groups....not the customer-pizza delivery situation you imagine.

This is not a case of calling a lawyer to deal with a single person's Will and setting mutually agreeable one-on-one meeting hours.

******************
Prof Curtis is what is called a "trailing spouse", hired because her husband, a Foucault postmodernist with tenure was able to induce Duke to make his wife part of his employment package. A paid "visiting professor" the last 11 years.
She was a PhD candidate he met and married in his post-doc days at UMass-Amherst.

I agree with other posters. Duke does not want discovery.

Duke would have to reveal how it has dealt with students that had car accidents, were National Guard called out on national emergencies, had a child die, or other Dean's excused absences handled. I dare say that flunking a cum laude student, let alone 2 in the same class, for lapses in attendence is extraordinarily rare.

When you add the professor was a venomous bitch who had publicly denounced the 2 of her students she later flunked as rape accomplices and ignored emails of the litigant explaining his civil rights required meeting with attornies others accused of major felonies...

Flunking the two is now widely seen by students and alumni as her way of attacking and destroying them. Doing her part for the "Cause". And so being, a threat to future students faced with retaliation for their race, gender, and class.

And it really isn't about the money. It is a furious family out to get a pound of flesh from Duke and their vengeful, hateful "spousal package" prof they hired as their agent.

At a minimum, they will seek career destruction of a woman whose politics motivated her to seek "discrediting" of white Duke mugging victims, who felt an imperative to sabotage the records of two academically superior students.

I experienced something not so eggregious, but bad enough, as a Gulf War vet from a TA who asked in a MBA class if I and another vet were "big men, proud of killing innocent Iraqis??" I told her options were to apologize the next class or I would make it a personal mission to destroy her career. She apologized.

Hey said...

Elizabeth: You're being willfully obtuse. They weren't drawing up wills here. We're talking about days long sessions with large numbers of lawyers, players, and parents. They had no control of the schedule, were refused time with the DA when trying to provide evidence of alibis, and were strategizing to figure out who could be targeted by this DA.

Obviously your field is clouding your judgement. I'm surprised you didn't sign the Group of 88's statement or issue one in sympathy.

Dealing with a possible indictment that could imprison you for 20 years or more is essentially identical to having a debilitating medical condition that drains you physically and emotionally. It's not analogous to a 1 hour physical, therapy session, or seeking a prescription for a minor issue.

The synopsis (aka syllabus) for this course is available here: http://www.aas.duke.edu/reg/synopsis/view.cgi?s=01&action=display&subj=POLSCI&course=104&sem=1135 This does not explain how the 25% will be allocated or any policy on absences. The lawsuit alleges taht there was no further explanation of how this mark would be treated.

There is no formal procedure of how to be excused from classes due to a personal emergency or illness. The procedure here http://www.aas.duke.edu/trinity/t-reqs/deansexcuse.html is only for missing graded assignments (which the students handed in on time). The Dean did inform professors that Lacrosse players may have to miss classes due to the allegations, and this is the only formal way of dealing with missing classes at Duke. Given that the Prof. was informed ahead of time of 4 absences and allegedly did not respond in any way to these emails.

What else is a student supposed to do? If the facts as alleged in the Dowd suit are correct, how could they have avoided being failed by Ann or Elizabeth? Aside from not playing sports, not being male, and not being falsely accused of multiple felonies (all players were accused by the AV and Nifong, as well as by Prof Curtis).

This behavior, along with allegedly 2 conflicting explanations for why the final paper deserved an F, represents prima facie evidence of grade retaliation and bad faith. Duke's behavior of last minure "discovery" of additional transfer credits from Johns Hopkins that allowed Dowd to graduate and then the mid-summer "realisation" of a "grade miscalculation" is further evidence of misconduct on Prof. Curtis' part. Administrations are not in the habit of handing out credits to ensure people graduate if they legitimately failed a class. Professors and departments will frequently informally make changes to help out a student, but formal procedures are notorious for their futility, especially against the wishes of the professor in question.

While there may be some additional evidence (we have only seen the complaint) that contradicts the Dowds' story, it is a strong case and deserves respect rather than the cavalier dismissal it is receiving from Ann and, especially, Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I'm with you on this one, Elizabeth.

Bruce Hayden said...

Elizebeth, et al.

The problem with the idea of an established grading policy here is that absenses can be excused. The question then is why weren't these absenses excused? There is evidence that the student asked for such, and the prof didn't respond.

Now, normally profs have a lot of discretion in this area - as evidenced by all the war stories above, and, in particular, the one by the buff pilot.

But that discretion doesn't take into account a jury of 12 second guessing her. Profs get away with all sorts of stuff because they aren't really very accountable to anyone.

But this prof is going to be faced with the uphill battle of trying to defend her refusal to excuse the absences, in light of the actions that she took against the students and the rest of the LAX team. And pretty much anything that she might do to rebut this claim on the basis of previous refusals to excuse will open her files to the plaintiffs. Indeed, I think that it would be interesting as his attorney to look at the occasions where she did and did not excuse absenses, and see if there were any correlation between refusals and those refused being white male athletes. Of course, she may also face the same problem if she continues to claim that the student's last paper was so bad - how many of her students whom she failed have been white male athletes? Obviously, a fishing expedition, but one that will be somewhat hard to avoid.

If I were a betting man, I would bet on the plaintiff here. The prof is going to have an uphill battle proving that she wasn't engaging in retaliatory grading. The plaintiff has the "F" and the actions of the prof against the LAX team, etc. How is someone with her record, etc. going to convince a jury that her personal feelings didn't intrude in her grading? Yes, technically, the burden will be on the plaintiff, but he clearly has enough to go forward, and the reality is that she will be the one with the uphill fight.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that the C and C- might not help the prof that much. Yes, they might show some previous inability to do the work. On the other hand, they could be seen as indicia that the prof had animus against the student even before the alleged rape, given his other grades at Duke. And it may not be that useful for the defense to try to distinguish between her ongoing animus against LAX players, and her special animus towards them after the alleged rape.

This is somewhat similar to a racist espousing anti-Black sentiments, and then going on and assaulting someone who was driving too slowly, and then calling the person assaulted racist names. Showing the previous anti-Black sentiments isn't going to help him get off.

Craig said...

Elizabeth: How do you reconcile the apparently unanswered correspondence? Assuming arguendo a student was, by being absent, going to fail your class, if he sent you an email prior to his absence, would you not alert him to this fact? Would not his absence and then his continued efforts in class alert you that you and he were not on the same page?

reader_iam said...

Elizabeth, !!:

??

vbspurs said...

Everyone should read Reader_Iam's fisking of the situation, for its sensible tone and suggestion to read the email.

Here is another suggestion.

The alleged actions taken by Professor Kim Curtis to another student -- namely an athlete-scholar who was also in the Army ROTC.

This is the human equivalent to a progressive feminist, of a red flag to a San Fermin bull.

What a piece of work this woman is. And how many of her like, I have met in academia.

Cheers,
Victoria

Tom in LA said...

Does anyone think that, had the accuser been one of Curtis's students, she would have been given an F for missing classes for meeting with the police?

Pete the Streak said...

Elizabeth:"My argument is only that there's nothing wrong with faculty setting and following an attendance policy in determining grades."
Except for the sick student, right?It appears to me your backpedaling has begun.

Elizabeth, two questions (and answer honestly, please):
1) Would you treat attorney appointments the same for
a) A plaintiff in a high profile gay-bashing case in which you had publicly condemned the defendant, and
b) The defendant in the above
case?
2) When your personal attendance policy conflicts with the University's own stated policy, would you consider your own to supercede the University's?

OK - a third question (sorry): if the defendant above had notified you in advance of each of the absences, would you simply ignore it, or respond along the lines of "You know my policy. Schedule your meetings at your own risk"?
Real life gets complicated, doesn't it?
As our proprietor hasn't as yet jumped in to 'defend' her implication in her post (not that she needs to), I assume she simply desired a spirited discussion. Well done!

Pete the Streak said...

Elizabeth: oops - my bad. You already stated your policy does not conflict with the University's policy. Please accept my apology, and disregard question #2 above.

Anonymous said...

You're misinformed, and need to check out KC Johnson's blog. It is undisputed that she engaged in grade retaliation, and the course participation had nothing to do with it. Duke changed the student's grade.

Had one of my colleagues done this, I would be demanding her head on a platter. Anyone who does this should be summarily fired and never allowed to set foot on a university campus again.

Closing ranks is not commendable when it entails defending those with no professional integrity. Shame on you.

However, my question is what kind of mush-minded department would allow a faculty member to assign as much as 25% of the grade to something as subjective and squishy as participation. That in itself needs to be corrected. If I tried to do that, my Dean would step in and correct that, and it wouldn't be pleasant.

Anonymous said...

The teacher gave grades on a letter scale. That's a 5 point F-A corresponds to 0-4.

The student had half the grade at a C, that means even if he Flunks the other half the grade he gets a D.

Using the scale the teacher used when she assigned grades to the first two papers a student who makes an average of a C on the first two papers can't fail the course it you use actual arithmetic to calculate the grades. They syllabus announcement of 25% each certainly suggests the teacher knows arithmetic and intends to use it.

Vindictiveness is the only explantion for this grade.

If the teacher had given grades of 78 and 72 on the papers instead of C+ and C- (ie., used a 100 point scale instead of a 5 point scale) then the F might make sense. But she didn't.

tjl said...

"Following announced grading politices is not "retaliating."

Under ordinary circumstances this is true. But the circumstances here aren't ordinary. Curtis went out of her way to say and do things that broadcast her view that the players were guilty and deserved punishment. Even before taking a leading role in the witchhunt, Curtis had already built a campus reputation for hard-edged race/class/gender dogmatism. There is ample evidence to question Curtis' ability to set aside her ideological passions and grade objectively.

the pooka said...

I'm with Elizabeth on this one too.

"...stupid bitch."
"...hateful bitch."
"...venomous bitch."

Everything about the comments here just reinforces how mean, vindictive, and ugly the contemporary Right is.

Way to keep the moral high ground.

I think I'm done with this blog.

The Jerk said...

Again, I guess you have never experienced the real world where large numbers of litigants are involved, either as defendents or plaintiffs where funds are pooled for lawyers and experts representing them as a class.

This wasn't a class action. I've litigated several, and you don't know what you're talking about.

It doesn't work that way. Especially with over 100 students and parents represented by 14-20 joint counsel....lawyers pooled by varied expertise required, in a case of national prominence.

Presumably one of the 14-20 could have met with Dowd at a time that did not conflict with his schedule. It isn't necessary to have every single person at every single meeting.

R C Dean said...

Generally, lawyers schedule appointments around their clients' schedules, not vice versa. If he couldn't find a lawyer who could accomodate his class schedule, he should have gotten a different lawyer.

Take it from a lawyer with 20 years of practice:

This is bullshit.

If you want a good lawyer, you will get one with a busy schedule, and you will have to compromise your schedule to meet with him.

R C Dean said...

Everything about the comments here just reinforces how mean, vindictive, and ugly the contemporary Right is.

A lefty professor participates in a lynching of students based on their race, and goes out of her way to flunk them,

and the right has a monopoly on hate.

Got it.

Palladian said...

"Everything about the comments here just reinforces how mean, vindictive, and ugly the contemporary Right is."

What does this case have to do with the "contemporary Right"? It's interesting how so many commenters (mostly the self-described "lefties") have decided that this case is somehow yet another political litmus test for everyone, and that what "side" you're on is indicative of what "side" you're on politically. This is why politics is so annoying to me; life becomes a game of reductio ad absurdum that requires forcing everything in the world into one or the other compartment of an imaginary binary mold.

Supporting this woman does not make you a liberal. Supporting the falsely accused lacrosse players does not make you a conservative. It is possible to have an opinion on something without joining a political philosophy. Unfortunately this need to politicize everything in the world is part of the problem at the heart of this whole mess at Duke. It seems that this "visiting Assistant Professor" was unable to see the world except through her own cracked political prism, in the same way as did everyone who rushed to condemn these young men. And the same problem now afflicts those who seek to use opinions about the merits of this case as yet another way to condemn people as part of some nefarious political conspiracy. It's a stupid game, the equivalent of a turf battle, except the turf you're fighting for is a fallow, barren vacant lot.


"I think I'm done with this blog."

Good riddance. It's precisely a few commenters like you that have made this a less attractive place to have a discussion.

ShadyCharacter said...

Elizabeth!

I may be speaking for no one but myself (though I doubt it), but your inflexible posturing on this thread risks exposing you as completely unreasonable. In the sense that you appear impervious to reason. Pooka's just throwing mud as is typical for lefty trolls on this site (what, never heard a lefty use a bad word before?), but would it kill you, Elizabeth, to actually respond to the questions raised?

I'm not surprised by posts like Pooka’s, but I am by Elizabeth, who has consistently been one of the most reasonable posters on previous contentious comment threads - as long as no one dissed New Orleans anyway :)

So you would really feel comfortable with failing a student for missing 5 of 30 classes, for which you received advanced notice and did not respond, even if they were DYING OF CANCER??? [“couldn’t they schedule their bone marrow transplant so it wouldn’t conflict with my class schedule?”]

If so, someone needs to update your "ratemyprofessor" page :)

As an aside, I got through 4 years of Ivy undergrad and 3 years of Ivy law school with an abysmal attendance rate and also a pretty consistent 4.0.

If I had to weigh attending a class versus meeting with a lawyer to avoid 20+ years in jail, I think I’d go with meeting with the lawyer. I think that’s true for everyone, including you, Elizabeth.

Of course, in actual fact, when I had to weigh attending a torts class against watching a rerun of Judge Judy, the good Judge was almost always the winner, so take that how you will…

Finally, to Ann and Elizabeth both:

You, a professor! :)

Mike said...

After reading through all of this, following the links, and factoring in my experience with 20+ years of teaching (and grading) at the University level, my predicition is this is not going to go well for Ms. Curtis (and Duke). I'm surprised at Ann's take on this (assuming that she is, indeed, expecting a bad outcome for the students).

The Jerk said...

Take it from a lawyer with 20 years of practice:

This is bullshit.


Either your 20 years of practice consists chiefly of watching Matlock reruns, or you've never had an important client.

I see you've equated failing a course with being lynched - good show!

PatCA said...

This thread illustrates the everyday hostility in academia to students perceived as Right. And you wonder why males are not attending college in the numbers they used to? The posters' defense of Curtis' actions becomes quite personal--because the facts don't seem to be on their side.

I think discovery will be enlightening. I wonder why this prof did not use an Excel sheet to calculate her grades, for instance, like most people I know. Or perhaps she did, and it factored in minus points for political prisoners...er, students?

ShadyCharacter said...

"Too far" would be if Duke had to start selling buildings to pay the settlements.

A handful of worthless professors losing their jobs, and hopefully houses and retirement savings seems about right.

ShadyCharacter said...

What I find most telling is that if this set of facts emerged where the prejudice of the professor was based on the students being black or gay Ann and the defenders of unlimited professorial discretion on this comment thread would be 180 degrees the other direction.

Ann seems to admit as much when she takes issue with a misogynistic hypothetical professor dinging female students while not seeming AT ALL concerned with a misandronystic professor engaging in equally egregious behavior.

Or maybe Ann is being super subtle again, which does happen...

Elizabeth said...

Shady, no it won't kill me to answer questions. But keep in mind, please, that I'm at work and I'm not keeping up with this discussion in real time.

I'm not going to respond to the personal attacks and stupid assumptions posed by Hey regarding me and the field (fields, more accurately) that I teach in. That's his or her own problem with projection.

Pete asks would I treat a gay student and a jock the same way--Jesus H. Christ, yes. Get real. I'm not the faculty member being accused of unfair treatment, so stop trying to make me a substitute for this Duke professor. I would never, under any circumstances, make a student or student a public target.

I don't count attendance/participation at 25%, so I can't speak to or defend her grading. I find that percentage unrealistic. In fact, I rarely put any one assignment at 25%; I like to give students the opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve, especially as I teach a lot of survey lit courses for non-majors.

I do defend the concept of having an attendance policy, as I've noted before. Mine offers a lot of room, but emphasizes the cause-effect problem of missing too many classes. If a student misses in-class lecture and discussion in a lit class, they will find that a problem when they take exams or write papers on material covered in class. Students who know they're going to run afoul of attendance, due to extraordinary circumstances, need to decide, in conference with me, whether they can keep up with the work, or whether they need to withdraw. Because they're not in class, they'll miss out on participation points, but if they do really well on papers and exams, that doesn't cause too much damage. The problem is in doing well on those other tasks without attending class.

Imagine what it's like to be a student in post-Katrina New Orleans, living in a trailer with no internet access, or sleeping on the couch in a home you're sharing with a bunch of family members, or even, as with one of my students last semester, living out of the trunk of your car, and moving from couch to couch. At the same time, you're working full or part time, and also meeting with contractors and insurance adjusters to recover some of your losses. Every faculty member at my institution is working with students to make sure they don't drop the ball on academic standards, but at the same time are able to keep up with their post-flood recovery. I've changed my written policies since the storm, but I'm even more likely to push students to attend. When students start missing class repeatedly, I start emailing or calling them--that's part of the policy encouraged by my college, to follow up and try to remedy whatever problem the student is having getting to class. Usually I'm able to find a solution that might include meeting with me to discuss what they've missed, getting an Incomplete, and so forth. It's very rare. Looking over my last few semester, my classes average an enrollment of 28 and about of those, 23-25 people consistently end up taking the final exam. I must be doing something right.

I'm very impressed with how these students manage to get to class despite their challenges, and I'm very proud that I haven't had to drop my academic requirements to accomodate any student. No curving grades, no reducing reading or writing assignments.

I've never had to fail a student solely over excessive absence--the F would come about by missing exams and other assignments.

Some people have addressed me here on questions about this professor's grading of the papers, or her signing of the 88 thing, etc. Why ask me about that? I spoke only to the issue of attendance. Missing a month of class is going to cause most students some problem. If their grade was borderline passing to start with, then an F is a possible result. It looks like this teacher ignored the student's efforts to meet with her about his absence; I find that unprofessional. My argument is probably too reductive for this case: I support a teacher having and enforcing an attendance policy. That doesn't have to preclude recognizing real-world events that disrupt normal life. It's apparent in this case that the instructor might have unfairly graded the student's final paper, that she might have had options for adapting her policy because of the student's need to meet with his lawyer (what I don't know, nor does anyone here, is whether he had the option of adapting his meetings to allow him to go to class--that's something that should have come up in a meeting between teacher and student, which did not occur, and, it appears is the teacher's fault.)

So, I'm done with this for now. I have a class coming up and I have to prepare. It is indeed a vivid discussion. I recognize that my initial comment left a lot up to speculation, so I'll take the heat for that. But as for any who feel led to leap to the conclusion that I treat my students differently according to their gender, athletic status, race, whatever--stick it in your ear.

Elizabeth said...

Oh Shady, really. If you're dying of cancer, DROP THE CLASS and focus on your health!

When a student is experiencing any horrific disruption, health or legal, I discuss every option available. That might include asking them to consider what's worse: graduating a semester later than expected, or failing to complete assignments or doing work far below their ability due to the other circumstances. I've allowed students to drop or take an I and then finish the course with me as an Independent Study. But a lot depends on the student taking responsibility to contact me and keep on top of their problem. If the student at Duke did that, and the instructor ignored him, then she's going to have a lot to explain.

Hey said...

Shady: It's mysandrist.

Ann: I've stated that they have a prima facie case. We don't have the prof's response, so who knows. Duke's actions don't look like those of an innocent, but rather appear to demonstrate consciousness of guilt. This will take a long time to sort out.

As to why this case should be pursued: Duke has demonstrated that it is biased against its students. The actions of the administration, from Brodhead on down, have been to throw the students under the bus to mollify faculty and the community. Internal processes are face saving excercises that do not provide justice to students and overweight the concerns of faculty (they have to put up with the faculty member long after the student in question leaves, so why give an obstrepurous pain in the ass one more thing to feel aggrieved over). In this case there are 2 faculty members sensibilities at risk, Curtis and her husband. Her husband has enough juice to get and keep a job for his wife, despite her lame publishing record and attitudes. She has tenure in an un-tenurable position (10 year Visiting faculty??? ha!), and obviously has the department chair cowed.

If the University was willing and able to bring faculty to heel for these kinds of transgressions then there would be no need for the suit. Unfortunately tenure lets profs do anything and makes sheep of administrators, especially when dealing with Leftist Radicals. The only remedy is a lawsuit, and I dearly hope that discovery is painful and shameful for Duke and Curtis. I welcome thousands of these lawsuits, for they will improve the quality of education by making these professors to expensive to hire and retain and will discourage touchy feely courses that can't be evaluated by disinterested observers.

On the attitude towards the case: Ann I'm disappointed with your cavalier dismissal of the civil suit, despite your clear understanding of the problems surrounding the larger allegations. Your update improves on the situation, but is still shockingly unreasonable. I have missed classes for reasons good and bad. Good reasons profs gave me leeway on deadlines and content, while for bad you need to perform at the same level as people who were in class. This isn't high school, so missing classes shouldn't get you a failing grade by itself, especially if there were very good reasons, rather than just that there was a raging kegger the night before.

Mike said...

Elizabeth said: "Jesus H. Christ, yes".

My Dad used this expression, but he could never tell me what the "H" stood for.

vbspurs said...


Way to keep the moral high ground.


There is NO MORAL GROUND on either side, get it?

For anyone to think that one side or the other is better en masse than the opposite is misguided at best, bonkers at worst.

I think I'm done with this blog.

Bye. Don't let the Althouse door hit you on the way out.

And note to my fellow right-wingers:

Calling women "bitch" ain't cool.

I know Puffy-n-them made the word much more mainstream than it ever was, but if you get a reaction (sanctimonious though it is) like little Pooky over here, you have ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

You better not post "Bitch" in reply. Beeatches! :)

Cheers,
Victoria

ShadyCharacter said...

In the abstract I can see the attraction some might have for the idea that "missing a month" of classes might be a big deal, but when you look at the actual facts at hand, this is a ridiculous argument. First, it’s NOT TRUE. He missed 5 classes out of 30, not 1/3 of the class sessions.

Why the hostility to determining whether others in this very class or previous classes taught by this professor missed that many or more without being similarly penalized?

Why accept that FAILING a student is an appropriate response to a student, with advance notice even, missing a handful of classes as opposed to giving an incomplete?

Why are you guys cutting this teacher so much slack? It looks more than a little like a case of circling the wagons, justice be damned.

Oh, and Jerk and you other people saying that it’s atypical for a client to have to adjust their schedule to accommodate their lawyer’s are simply WRONG. I’m a lawyer and my clients OFTEN have to rearrange their schedules to fit with mine. They gladly do so and this often involves much more important considerations than missing a college literature class. They want representation BY ME, not by a random lawyer. Once a transaction is underway, they need MY attention, not that of some joe schmoe lawyer without any familiarity with the deal. Lawyers are not burger-flippers or gas station attendants. If I hire Perry Mason to be my attorney, it is not the same thing to have the Jerk step in and handle my client meeting.

It’s a little like a good contractor who can’t get to your bathroom remodel for a couple of months and can be hard to schedule appointments with. Watch out for the contractor who can start work tomorrow and doesn’t seem to have any conflicts with other jobs… I’m not surprised you haven’t encountered this in your own practice Jerk.

Another thing – the idea that it’s “hardball” to file this case, or that it’s an overreaction on the part of the student ignores a couple of fundamental facts. By FAILING the student this teacher jeopardized his graduation, and his career prospects. THAT IS A BIG DEAL.

Dismissing this as opening the door for students to contest their grades, as if it’s little Johnny suing so that his B+ will be changed to an A, appears to me to be willful blindness of the issue at hand in the present case.

Though maybe I’m just missing something…

vbspurs said...


Pete asks would I treat a gay student and a jock the same way--Jesus H. Christ, yes. Get real. I'm not the faculty member being accused of unfair treatment, so stop trying to make me a substitute for this Duke professor. I would never, under any circumstances, make a student or student a public target.


Quite right, Elizabeth.

I can't apologise for anyone but myself (even if I am casting myself as the Althouse Scold, today), but you have never shown yourself to be a vindictive, petty, ideological person -- like Kim Curtis has done in the past.

Knock 'em dead in your forthcoming class!

Cheers,
Victoria

Brent said...

Elizabeth-

You seem to be perfectly reasonable to me on the issue of attendance: giving the benefit of the doubt, actively involving yourself in the situation to help the student. These are things that Visiting Assistant Professor Curtis at Duke did not do, making her the antithesis of a teacher like you.

What gives everyone else here a hard time is the impression that you are condoning the attendance policy of Visiting Assistant Professor Curtis, which, as you have demonstrated, is not anything like your own policy.

Brent said...

Ann -

You are solidly leaving the impression that you are choosing to side with Visiting Assistant Professor Curtis on her attendance policy, and your update gives the impression that you are doing so simply because you are also a Professor and "understand" her side of it.

The facts in this case are more clear than the OJ trial: the school changed the grade, yet the teacher is unrepentant. The emails are available for everyone to peruse, and the professor has made NO effort to publicly tell her "side".

This time it's easy.

Revenant said...

Either your 20 years of practice consists chiefly of watching Matlock reruns, or you've never had an important client.

How was Dowd an important client? He was one of 40 accused rapists.

Eh, who cares. The bitch is going to lose her money and hopefully her job. The student can't get back his time or reputation, but hopefully the money will make things a little more acceptable for him.

Cedarford said...

The Jerk, an expert on lawyer conferencing with multiple clients, says: This wasn't a class action. I've litigated several, and you don't know what you're talking about.

Au contraire, my shyster friend. You had a class - a class of 46 players subject to search warrants, DNA sampling, orders to all be at the police station at various times for questioning and processing. Plus Duke faculty calling for all of them to be expelled, threats of violence being made. Duke Admin misrepresenting their stake in it and telling students not to retain attorneys or tell their parents...

A massive mess, and the group retained several lawyers to see mainly what felony charges would be made...but also specialized counsel that met with students and parents on DNA, privileged communications the cops were trying to breech.
Times were not at each student's discretion, major felony charges and the lynch mob were not trivial compared to how they should just attend class as their 1st priority in life...

As it is, Mr. Lawyer Expert Jerk, I do know something about this from a massive military witch hunt in the early 90s on drugs. 30 enlisted, 3 officers, and 5 to 8 civilians were being investigated and interrogated by military police, the DEA assholes showing up claiming jurisdiction, state DAs claiming off-base jurisdiction. Base command slapping AWOL charges, missing duty charges for soldiers answering civilian court orders.

To combat this mess, the group hired 3 civilian lawyers except the officers, also had 2 military counsel dealing with base jurisdiction. No one was charged or indicted initially, no one knew who had authority. The DEA was a cancer asserting authority over everything but not allowed on base, the military was writing soldiers up for obeying the DA's warrants and missing duty.

Both the military and civilian lawyers were very busy. They scheduled meetings and said if their clients wished to avoid jail or career damage, they better show up. As an officer, I dealt with civilian and military lawyers seeking to excuse 3 in my Department for meetings, and with military police demanding they drop critical jobs instantly and scoot over to the base headquarters whenever the MPs found it convenient. Eventually, the military lawyers assigned became the point of contact.

Net result? Some E-1 bozo with a family struggling in debt had gotten a pile of drugs to sell, sold to civilians, who thought there was a massive drug ring on base. That was it. That was all 3 months of hell found. (Later one of the guys innocent of any drugs had the bright idea of robbing a few stores to pay off huge legal bills...)

I appreciate the maelstrom the Duke students were sucked into and credit all those guys with being able to do final exams and final papers under such pressure.

That Dowd notified his professor of his legal obligations after a Dean said many of the lacrosse players would necessarily be missing classes was proper. That the radical professor found silence on responding to her students need for absences - did not offer alternative ways of getting what was missed by a tape or notes or ask if they wanted incompletes. It appears to have been not just improper - but vicious retaliation and from the suit, claims it was a good way of striking back and patriarchal white male oppressors who were rape accomplices deserving her wrath.

*************************
Elisabeth - you seem more reasonable today. Wait and see what happens with the suit. My guess is Duke will settle to avoid the players and then the public getting all Curtis's goods through discovery, that Dowd's grade will be changed to "Pass", he gets his Cum Laude distinction. And next year, the "visiting professor" now on her 12th year of "visiting" will find "new and exciting opportunities" at NCCU.

Anonymous said...

What is this "missed a month of class" business? Duke is on a semester system so the class must have met twice a week for 15 weeks. Dowd missed five classes--half a month, not a full month.

Now do the math. Five of 30 is 20%. If all that was required in class was attendance, and even if Dowd's absences were totally unexcused, his attendance grade would have been 80%--not an F. A "B-." How does a C-, a C+, a B- and an F average to anything other than a C?

Anonymous said...

I hope she will lose her money if she was acting out against the students.

I am not holding my breath that she will be fired. Academia does not work that way in my experience. Ward Churchill still eats courtesy of the Colorado taxpayers who are currently paying him to not come to work and "teach." Perhaps he will be fired. Someday. Odd on how long till her is hired by another school?

Trey

Anonymous said...

In my reading of Elizabeth I see her defending a teacher's perogative to have and enforce an attendance requirement. Sounds good to me.

I have NEVER heard Elizabeth write or infer that it is OK to discriminate against someone. Again, I concur.

The problem is not the teacher's stated policy, the problem is that the teacher may have violated that policy in order to discriminate against her students.

All healthy people stand against bigotry. If the facts support that the teacher discriminated, I hope the student files federal charges against her and Jesse Jackson come to ensure justice.

OK, it was fun to type that last bit!

Trey

reader_iam said...

if you don't see that you're acting like the people who assumed the truth of the prosecutor's side of the rape story, you need to think again.

Oh, really. Well, only a few people actually "extracted material from his legal complaint" so it's reasonable to think it's possible that I'm included in that assessment. Huh. I could have sworn that while "extracting that material" I was relatively cautious in specific areas about what was and was not there, and what we can and cannot know. Must be wrong. Certainly wasted any time I spent trying to do that.

I'm acting like the people who assumed the truth of the prosecutor's side of the rape story.

Whatever you say, Ann, whatever you say. I know better than to even try to prove a negative.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this was definitely retaliatory grading. The school came back after the fact and changed the grade, which seems to be a clear admission of "guilt". Then again, the lawsuit is retaliation for that retaliation.

In other words, it's one big he-said/she-said, tit-for-tat mess that should have never gone this far. It all should have been resolved internally and it looks as though the school tried (no matter how lamely) to do just that when they changed the grade. A move which I'm sure they're regretting.

Protesting the F in the first place wasn't unreasonable--apparently the guy wouldn't have graduated with that failing grade--but once the school changed the grade to a passing one, what was the point of pursuing the issue farther? Was he going to be hamstrung professionally with that grade on his transcript? Was he going to have Human Resources departments telling him, "I'm sorry Mr. Dowd, but I see you received a D in Women's Studies, so we're going to have to pass on your application for the position of Assistant Regional Sales Manager." Gimme a break.

Giving profs grading autonomy as long as they conform to school and department policies and protecting them from the threat of lawsuit is particularly important these days. If you set the precedent that students can turn to civil lawsuits if they don't like their grades you'll have every grade-grubber out there doing so, but it won't be in an attempt to change that F to a D, it'll be to change that B+ to an A-, or even that A- to an A. Stupid, trivial stuff.

As for the importance of attendance, it's not just important that students show up for classes to learn the material, but to learn that even though no laws are compelling you, it's important to show up anyway. It seems to me that profs who are lax on attendance are that way not because of some high-minded opinion about the maturity of their students but for the more pedestrian reason that keeping track of attendance is just a pain. OTOH, making 25% of a grade dependent on attendance is stupid not because it puts an undue burden on the student, but because it makes passing the class too easy. Just show up and you're a quarter of the way there.

OT: Victoria, I take it that "Ho'" would be right-out then?

Anonymous said...

from tmink:
I am not holding my breath that she will be fired. Academia does not work that way in my experience. Ward Churchill still eats courtesy of the Colorado taxpayers who are currently paying him to not come to work and "teach." Perhaps he will be fired. Someday.

Big difference between Churchill and Curtis. Churchill has tenure. Curtis doesn't.

Elizabeth said...

Many thanks, Victoria, Brent, TMink (am I missing anyone?). I deeply appreciate your kind words and defense of my integrity.

Brent, I understand your point. I am not defending this teacher's approach, but her right to set a policy and expect students to adhere to it. If she applies it unfairly, is unavailable to her students, singles out students for public condemnation, and so forth, there's no defending her. I would hope that all will be revealed at some point.

Cat said...

Did anyone else read the link vbspurs/Victoria posted by a parent of another student experience (an athlete and member of the ROTC) with Curtis who she failed for missing class and a paper assisgned while he was away at a Duke sponsored championship event? He also asked permission to be absent and looked for assignments and she ignored him until failing him on his return. All other professors gave permission and he completed those classes with A's and B's. But Curtis fails him?

Very similar. Interesting that she's consistantly late with returning their draft papers too.

MadisonMan said...

Elizabeth, I've been on travel and am just back in town, and I'm with you 100% on this. Expectations for my class are clearly spelled out (Class participation is 10%, solely to give me wiggle room for students on the knife edge between grades). I Have a very hard time failing students making an honest effort.

My read on this is that the prof in question did not clearly spell out her expectations. She did not follow through when the student started to get into trouble. She's not a good professor for that reason. You don't want to hand-hold completely, but sometimes a concerned word from a professor helps steer the student back.

That said, I have a hard time hearing the I was at the lawyer's excuse without eyerolling. But you would not (or actually probably would) believe how many of my students' relatives die over the course of the semester. And how the deaths almost always strike the relatives of students who are failing.

Cat said...

Ann, for the first time, I don't agree with you at all on your second post/clarificaton of your position.

We are not like those who rushed to judgement of the players. In fact, we are just adding up what we know about Curtis from HER OWN WORDS in public and via email - nothing specific to Dowd, but her words would certainly imply the fact that she felt all players were guilty and were protecting the rapers seems to indicate a predjudice against the two LAX students she just happen to fail. Do you really think that was just a coincidence? That doesn't raise your eyebrows at all considering her PUBLIC statements?(there is another student who is not suing - yet - but do)

Just as with the rape case, I am taking what I know, so far, and saying this doesn't smell right. That doesn't make me at all like Nifong or the Group of 88.

Also, I think your case of the professer at U Michigan's predjudice against women is very SIMILAR to the the public statements Curtis made about LAX players specifically and white Duke students in particular.

You should also look at the story of the ROTC student who was failed by Curtis. It may (I say may) be a pattern with Curtis singaling out certain students.

Revenant said...

And if you don't see that you're acting like the people who assumed the truth of the prosecutor's side of the rape story, you need to think again.

That's just ridiculous.

There was never any evidence that a rape had occurred. There is plenty of evidence that the teacher hated the two players -- e.g., her public statements -- and it has already been conceded that they shouldn't have gotten F's.

Maybe accusing a person of being a rapist without having any reason to think so is, in your mind, equivalent to believing that a misgrade exactly of two students by a teacher who hated those exact two students is very unlikely to be an innocent mistake. Common sense says otherwise.

And in any case, simply running the "88" ad should have gotten her, and the other 87 teachers, fired in the first place.

LoafingOaf said...

If you set the precedent that students can turn to civil lawsuits if they don't like their grades you'll have every grade-grubber out there doing so, but it won't be in an attempt to change that F to a D, it'll be to change that B+ to an A-, or even that A- to an A. Stupid, trivial stuff.

Trivial to you. You weren't the target of a hoax, a renegade DA, and a lynch mob (amongst whom your professor was taking part) that was out to destroy your life in addition to your academic career.

I agree that, in general, people should avoid lawsuits. And, in general, students shouldn't be suing over grades. But if Dowd's allegations have merit, this would be one of those exceptional cases where he should be fighting back hard, despite the advise of those who are more concerned in making sure university scandals are brushed under the rug.

These are things for him to discuss with his attorney. It's no skin off your back either way, I understand. You're not in his shoes, you're worried about all kinds of other things more so than his interests, nor do you have to be a future student in this deranged and hateful professor's classroom.

What "grade-grubbers" decide to do or not to do in the wake of this lawsuit has nothing to do with the merits or lack of merits of Dowd's case, since Dowd is not a "grade-grubber" and this professor has much to answer for.

With the stipulation that I don't have nearly all the facts about the specific allegations, Dowd's situation looks much closer to Althouse's example of when she would support a suit than to your example of "trivial stuff" from "grade-grubbers."

And she has a track record of unfair, unethical, and hostile actions against Duke students who are of certain persuasions that she is prejudice against. Google around, she's a real piece of work. May she get what she deserves.

Kev said...

"It is possible to have an opinion on something without joining a political philosophy."

Palladian, your 10:08 a.m. comment from today should be framed (or at least posted on every "political" blog in the entire blogosphere). Count me in as someone else who's tired of people who are incapable of seeing any issue without filtering it through a political prism.

Anonymous said...

And she has a track record of unfair, unethical, and hostile actions against Duke students who are of certain persuasions that she is prejudice against. Google around, she's a real piece of work. May she get what she deserves.

From what I've read about this prof, I don't much like her either, but it isn't up to keyboard warriors to decide whether she works at Duke or not, it's up to Duke and the parents who send (or refrain from sending) their children there.

What's surprised me since this story broke is the glee with which people who call themselves Conservative have been willing to jump on the pro-lawsuit bandwagon and express such lax attitudes about the importance of class attendance. You know, Conservative = work hard, follow the rules, you'll go far. If you get screwed you don't whine and cry about it, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and soldier on. WTF happened to that?

I recall all of the harassment/discrimination lawsuits and threats of lawsuits that were tossed around during the Clinton regime in the '90s. I didn't like it then and I don't like it any better now.

This lawsuit isn't about any sort of "justice", it's about revenge and that's lame.

vbspurs said...

Palladian, your 10:08 a.m. comment from today should be framed (or at least posted on every "political" blog in the entire blogosphere). Count me in as someone else who's tired of people who are incapable of seeing any issue without filtering it through a political prism.

So I went back and read it, and realised, wow -- Kev is very right.

This was exceptional, Palladian:

Supporting this woman does not make you a liberal. Supporting the falsely accused lacrosse players does not make you a conservative. It is possible to have an opinion on something without joining a political philosophy.

As was your closing paragraph.

Thanks for the highlight, Kev, because in these hundred-strong threads, where you have to bring a pickaxe to slough through, one sometimes misses the golden nuggets.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

If you set the precedent that students can turn to civil lawsuits if they don't like their grades you'll have every grade-grubber out there doing so

Because lawsuits are free.

Or, wait -- because parents like wasting thousands of dollars on lawyers because their kids can't handle the schoolwork.

No, I've got it -- because the majority of American college kids have parents who will mindlessly spend money on anything their kids demand they spend money on.

Or perhaps its that juries *love* whiny rich kids who try to force people to give them a free pass.

Whatever. Meanwhile, back in reality, few people are going to view a lawsuit as an effective way to improve their GPA. This bitch obviously deserves to get sued, but the typical professor is either smart enough or honest enough to refrain from flagrant discrimination.

The Drill SGT said...

My opinions, for what they are worth.

I think these LAX players got a raw deal from both the Justice system and from their Duke.

I think that folks within the Group of 88/87 were biased against white males in general and the players in particular. I think that their public statements and professional actions reflect that.

WRT the specifics of the case, I think that Dowd has a cause of action. He may be right, he may be wrong, but it is an issue. Yes, it would have been better if the Duke Administrative processes had provided a full remedy, but university policies are biased in favor of the powerful (e.g faculty)

While, I'm not in favor of lawsuits in general, I think that discovery in this case should be fascinating. Women's Studies profs and AA studies profs love to use what I consider to be spurious statistical correlations to incorrectly demonstrate causality in things like "comparable worth" or "racial profiling". It will be amusing to see that sort of tool attack "progressive grading". Imagine looking at the demographics of who fails in Dr Curtis's classes. The anecdotal evidence says three white males, all athletes, 1 in ROTC and 2 on the LAX team. I wonder when you do a regression analysis of overall GPA, race/gender and Curtis grades whether a pattern will emerge. Same analysis on absences. Any bets on whether it is a lot more likely to fail the class if you are white or male than female or black?

A whole new sub discipline of statistical analysis. makes me want to go do research :)

And yes, the irony of having the LAX players, whose lives were made a living hell by an out of control legal system and PC Duke, use the legal system against the same folks that wanted them castrated on the quad before any trial does have a nice equity to it.

bearbee said...

"That said, I have a hard time hearing the I was at the lawyer's excuse without eyerolling."

But isn't that easily corroborated? Couldn't one ask for supporting documentation?

tjl said...

"juries *love* whiny rich kids who try to force people to give them a free pass."

Frivolous lawsuits get filed all the time that never reach a jury. Defendants settle, more often that not, because they find it far cheaper than litigation. A high-profile wrongful-grading case, if successful, probably will inspire lots of dubious filings. The cost of settling these will be reflected in future tuition hikes.

Since the university has already corrected the grades, going forward with the lawsuit at this point seems merely vindictive. Curtis, before joining the "rape" witchhunt, had already earned a campus reputation as a race/class/gender harpy. (See her reviews at ratemyprof.com). One wonders why the players ever signed up for her course to begin with. The best remedy might be for students to shun Curtis' courses, depriving her of any power to do harm.

PatCA said...

I'm surprised as well by our update, Ann. This student's case is so far removed from the everyday student's, I don't see how you could object to it going forward.

MadisonMan said...

But isn't that easily corroborated? Couldn't one ask for supporting documentation?

Sure -- and you prove that the student has things in his life that take precedence over the classroom. Well, is he a student or not? There are always excuses when students miss class. Sometimes the excuses are valid. Sometimes students need to drop courses to get their lives in order.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Meanwhile, back in reality, few people are going to view a lawsuit as an effective way to improve their GPA. This bitch obviously deserves to get sued, but the typical professor is either smart enough or honest enough to refrain from flagrant discrimination.

"Whatever" right back atcha, and meanwhile in the real world where grade competition and students' sense of entitlement is so high ("I paid your ridiculous tuition, now where's my 'A'?") that many will try every means at their disposal to get that 3.8 changed to a 4.0, lawsuits and threats of lawsuits over grades is the ultimate in whining. Also, meanwhile in the real world, as tjl points out, frivilous lawsuits are filed all of the time in hopes the threat alone will get litigants the revenge they're looking for, monetary compensation, or that tearful appearance on Oprah followed by a nice book deal.

And yes, the irony of having the LAX players, whose lives were made a living hell by an out of control legal system and PC Duke, use the legal system against the same folks that wanted them castrated on the quad before any trial does have a nice equity to it.

Maybe so and maybe this prof is a "[word which Victoria has deemed off-limits]" who "obviously deserves to get sued", but crying "discrimination" and then hiking up your skirts and running to the courts is what the other guys do. Better for him to walk away, work his way up in the business world, become fabulously wealthy, and then laugh every time Duke comes crawling to him for alumni contributions.

Elizabeth said...

There are always excuses when students miss class. Sometimes the excuses are valid. Sometimes students need to drop courses to get their lives in order.

I agree, MM. I had a student recently who, when I contacted her about having missed two weeks of class, told me she'd been at work. I told her she'd have many, many problems in college if she scheduled works shifts during times that she'd enrolled for classes. She didn't miss any more classes after that, and told me her employer had been completely understanding. I suspect she hadn't told her boss that she had class. (Drill Sgt, if you're tracking stats, that's a young African-American female in a women's studies class.) Sometimes students just don't realize that they can make a decision and speak up. I've had students say they need to miss class to go to a tutoring or counseling session on campus. No tutor or counselor will make an appointment during a student's classtime; students simply take it for granted that they cannot say, "Not then, I have a class. When else can we meet?"

Elizabeth said...

Let me throw my lot in with Victoria. This thread is thick with the word bitch and it's sickening.

vbspurs said...

I hate when people target (white, whatever) males for abuse for their "maleyness" -- forgive me, I just watched You, Me & Dupress --, and I hate when people do the same for women.

As for 'Ho', Ploorian, in belated response since I wasn't reading the thread anymore, I'd say, mebbe.

As the incomparable Greta Garbo said in Ninotchka:

"Comrades, don't make an issue of my womanhood"

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

A high-profile wrongful-grading case, if successful, probably will inspire lots of dubious filings.

Maybe it will, but that's no reason to hope the students lose in this case.

Maybe your nightmare scenario will come true and universities will suffer lots of suits over grades. That'll be the price they pay for all those decades of failing to properly manage their instructors.

Anonymous said...

I hate when people target (white, whatever) males for abuse for their "maleyness" -- forgive me, I just watched You, Me & Dupress --, and I hate when people do the same for women.

I can sympathize with this kid and the way he's been discriminated against and I can understand why he'd want to get his pound of flesh out of this whole thing. I can also understand why his primarily Conservative defenders would sympathize with him.

What's bothered me is the way in which those same Conservatives have uncritically defended his decision to use a tactic which is very contrary to the fundamentals of Conservativism (namely personal responsibility and letting the marketplace decide what's best).

"Comrades, don't make an issue of my womanhood"

Hah!

Maybe your nightmare scenario will come true and universities will suffer lots of suits over grades.

It's not about a "nightmare scenario", it's about precedence.

That'll be the price they pay for all those decades of failing to properly manage their instructors.

For all of the pointy-headed liberal bias that's prevalent on campuses, the one thing most universities still take very seriously is grade integrity. It's also not as though a senior hasn't had time to figure out what the rules are. Namely, if you get into a course you can't avoid where the difference between your ideas of what "truth" is and what the prof's ideas of what "truth" is are very divergent, you need to play ball to some extent. It isn't "fair", but then not much in life is.

The Exalted said...

the lawyer arranges his schedule around the client's, not the other way around. the kid chose to miss his classes, he wasn't forced to.

that being said, anyone who would fail a student caught up in this circumstance is severely lacking in sense and compassion. she should have given him an incomplete. karma's a ___, hope she learns this firsthand.

bearbee said...

....the one thing most universities still take very seriously is grade integrity

How do you reconcile that statement with the following? Has grade inflation, at Harvard, reversed since 2001, or was it not grade inflation?

Doubling of A's at Harvard

A Harvard University report last spring complained of grade inflation that makes it easier to get high grades. Now the academic dean, Susan Pedersen, has released data showing that 49 percent of undergraduate grades were A's in 2001, up considerably from 23 percent in 1986.

Ivy League grade inflation

Fewer than 20% of all college students receive grades below a B-minus, according to a study released this week by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. That hardly seems justified at a time when a third of all college students arrive on campus so unprepared that they need to take at least one remedial course.

Anonymous said...

How do you reconcile that statement with the following? Has grade inflation, at Harvard, reversed since 2001, or was it not grade inflation?

I'll clarify by explaining that what I mean by "grade integrity" is "an even playing field for students relatively free of favoritism and bias". So it's possible to inflate grades in a fairminded way.

In other words, I don't think we're talking about the same thing. (Grade inflation is not good, but I can see it as a response by a school to students' and parents' demands to get their "money's worth".)

Anonymous said...

The exalted wrote: "the lawyer arranges his schedule around the client's, not the other way around. the kid chose to miss his classes, he wasn't forced to."

I needed you to tell that to my divorce attorney. When I was fighting to retain custody of my child, she (my attorney) could have said 5 am and I would have said "Thanks, see you at 5." I missed meetings, clients, visits to see my mother, WHATEVER to take care of the situation. I think I would be almost that accomodating if I were charged with rape.

Trey